Caldo Tlalpeño

Landscape photo of caldo tlalpeno.

Perfectly spicy and filling, caldo tlalpeño is a chicken soup with lots of veggies and chickpeas. Temptingly red, the only secret to the flavor is in smokey chipotles.


For the soup:

  • 2 pounds skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs and drumsticks
  • Water, for boiling
  • 3 medium Roma tomatoes
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 24 chipotles in adobo
  • 23 medium unpeeled potatoes, diced
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 medium green zucchinis, cut into half moons
  • 1 cup chickpeas, cooked
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped cilantro
  • Salt, to taste

For serving: 

  • Mexican red rice
  • Diced Chihuahua cheese
  • Diced avocado
  • Mexican crema


Make the broth. Place the chicken in a large pot. Cover it with water. Bring it to a boil over medium-high heat and let the chicken cook for 30-40 minutes. Add more water as needed so that the chicken is always covered. Use a spoon or strainer to remove the scum from the top. Once the chicken is fully cooked, remove it from the pot and set it aside. Remove the pot from the heat and set it aside.

Shred the chicken. Rinse the chicken under cold water to remove any curdled blood or scum. Discard the skin and carefully use your hands or a fork to shred the chicken. Set it aside.

Blend the tomatoes. Carefully scoop about 1 cup of chicken broth into the blender. Add the tomatoes, garlic cloves, and chipotle. Process until you get a smooth mixture. Strain it into the pot and discard the pulp.

Simmer the broth. Place the pot back on the stove over medium heat. Stir to combine and add the potatoes and carrots. Let the soup simmer for 10-15 minutes.

Add the zucchini. Throw the zucchini, chickpeas, and cilantro into the pot. Stir and cook for another 10 minutes or until the potatoes and carrots have softened and are fork-tender.

Season and serve. Season with salt to taste and remove the pot from the heat. Add shredded chicken, red rice, and Chihuahua cheese to each bowl. Ladle hot soup into the bowls. Top with diced avocado and a swirl of Mexican crema. Enjoy!

Keywords: Mexican soup recipe, tlalpeno soup, Authentic Mexican recipes