Barbecue Chicken Soup Is the Best Busy Weeknight Dinner Solution

When you’re looking for a quick and simple dinner, this is the one recipe you need to keep in your weekly rotation.

Vertical overhead image of a black ceramic bowl of corn and chicken soup with crushed tortillas chips on top, with another identical bowl at the top left of the frame and smaller dishes of shredded cheese and chopped herbs to the left, printed with orange and white text near the midpoint and at the bottom of the frame.

I don’t know about you, but the whole “summer cold” thing is something that my husband and I seem to battle each year.

It’s totally a bummer, because the weather is nice and warm outside, but we can only bring ourselves to move from the bed to the couch, and back again. All we want to do is be outside enjoying the sunshine, but alas, we will stay inside.

To get on the other side of this summer cold and get us back out into the world, I am making this barbecue chicken soup at almost every single opportunity I have to do so.

An easy soup recipe is just the thing to cure a cold, but it’s also the ideal solution for a weeknight meal when you want to get dinner on the table quickly.

This recipe is so ridiculously simple to bust out, you will feel like you are being tricked or something. With each richly flavored bite, you will think, “How did this not take me all day to make?!”

Everyone else will just be happily slurping away, none the wiser that you got it wrapped up in less than 30 minutes.

Vertical overhead image of two black ceramic bowls of barbecue chicken soup garnished with crushed tortilla chips, on a white cloth napkin with a spoon, with medium-sized and small bowls of tortilla chips, chopped fresh herbs, and shredded cheese at the top left corner of the frame, on a blue-gray surface.

Cozying up to a bowlful is so satisfying, and it’s ideal for making during the summer because it has fresh pops of sweet corn in every spoonful. When the season comes to a close, frozen corn still makes a delicious substitute.

This is also a great idea for using up leftovers. Any time when I have leftover chicken, which happens often when I cook a whole chicken in my Crock-Pot for meal prep, I am always reaching for this easy recipe. It calls for shredded cooked poultry, so you could also use the rest of that rotisserie chicken that you have lingering in the fridge, or turkey after a big Sunday meal.

You can even use shredded pork, if you have some left over from a previous night’s dinner.

A recipe like this really transforms the meat into something new that is juicy and fantastically flavorful.

Vertical overhead image of a black ceramic bowl of barbecue chicken soup with a spoon in it and crushed tortilla chips on top, with another identical bowl in the top right corner of the frame, and three smaller bowls of chips, chopped green herbs, and shredded orange cheddar cheese at the top right, on a striped white cloth on top of a gray surface.

The best part of this recipe is that you can use any type of barbecue sauce you want for it. If you want to shake things up, I encourage you to think about branching out.

When I want a little twist, I love a spicy sweet sauce, a chipotle version, or even a smoky hickory option to impart more flavor. It’s great for clearing the sinuses, too!

Vertical overhead image of a spoonful of barbecue chicken soup being held up to the camera with a bowl containing more below, garnished with crushed tortilla chips, with another bowl of the same dish and smaller bowls of shredded cheese, chips, and chopped herbs in soft focus at the top left corner of the frame, on a blue-gray surface topped with white cloth napkins.

Nothing is more comforting that this recipe, and I hope our summer colds will be kicked as soon as possible after eating heaping portions of it.

Whether you are aiming to serve a big crowd, or trying to cure a cold, this is the recipe to reach for, without question. Since it’s so hearty, it’ll keep you full and satisfied.

Top it all off with some tortilla chips for crunch, and shredded cheddar cheese for a savory, smooth, melty addition. Finally, sprinkle some fresh cilantro over the top to lighten up every bite with a hint of freshness.

To check out other suggested toppings for this recipe, keep reading through to the end of the article. I’ve outlined some of my favorites below.

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Horizontal image of a black bowl of homemade barbecue chicken soup, on a beige cloth with a spoon to the right, with another identical bowl and two smaller bowls of chopped herbs and grated cheese in soft focus in the background, on a gray surface.

Barbecue Chicken Soup

  • Author: Meghan Yager
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x


Barbecue chicken soup is a recipe that can be on the dinner table in less than 30 minutes – which is pretty much the best thing in the world.


  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
  • 2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded (about 2 lbs)
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup barbecue sauce
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 tsp chopped fresh cilantro, to taste

Optional Toppings:

  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  • Crushed tortilla chips
  • Chopped fresh cilantro


  1. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large Dutch oven or stock pot.
  2. Add garlic and saute for 30 seconds. Stir in corn, shredded chicken breast, chicken stock, barbecue sauce, cumin, salt, and pepper.
  3. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to simmer and let cook 10 minutes.
  4. Stir in the cilantro just before serving. Serve warm with shredded cheese, crushed tortilla chips, and extra chopped cilantro, or your choice of toppings.


Nutritional information below does not include optional toppings.

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Category: Soup
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Dinner

Keywords: barbecue chicken, barbecue chicken soup, barbecue sauce, chicken

Cooking By the Numbers…

Step 1 – Mince Garlic, Shred Chicken, Chop Cilantro, and Measure Remaining Ingredients

Peel and mince one clove of garlic.

Shuck the corn, and cut the kernels from the cobs.

If you are using frozen corn, be sure to defrost and drain the kernels. You can also use canned corn. Just make sure to drain and rinse the kernels with cold water in a colander.

Horizontal overhead image of two small glass bowls of chopped herbs and spices, two small square bowls of minced garlic and oil, two slightly larger round glass bowls of barbecue sauce and chicken broth, and two medium-sized stainless steel bowls of shredded cooked chicken breast and corn kernels, on a blue-gray surface with white streaks and flecks.

Shred the cooked chicken, if you haven’t already.

Chop enough cilantro leaves until you have 1-2 teaspoons total.

Measure out all of the remaining ingredients as listed.

Step 2 – Make the Soup

Add the olive oil to a Dutch oven or stock pot over medium heat.

Horizontal closely cropped overhead image of a two-handled light blue and cream-colored enameled saucepan with oil and a small pile of minced garlic in the bottom, on a blue-gray surface.

Once it’s hot, add the garlic and saute for about 30 seconds, until fragrant.

Stir in the corn, chicken, chicken stock, barbecue sauce, cumin, salt, and pepper.

Horizontal overhead image of a pale blue and cream-colored enameled saucepot with two handles, with separate piles of corn, shredded chicken, and barbecue sauce at the bottom, on a blue background.

Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for about 10 minutes.

Horizontal overhead image of a pale blue and cream-colored enameled two-handled cooking pot, filled with a mixture of shredded corn, herbs, red sauce, and shredded chicken breast, being stirred with a red silicone utensil with a silver metal handle, on a blue-gray background.

Stir in the cilantro just before serving. If you’re not a fan, you can omit this ingredient, or substitute fresh chopped parsley or chives instead.

Horizontal overhead image of an enameled light blue and cream-colored cooking pot with two handles, filled with a soup mixture with a red tomato base, corn kernels, shredded chicken, and a pile of chopped fresh green herbs in the middle, being stirred with a red silicone slotted spoon with a silver metal handle, on a blue-gray surface with white streaks.

Serve warm with extra cilantro, cheese, and tortilla chips, if desired.

Toppings Make Everything Better

If you like toppings, you might want more than the standard tortilla chips, shredded cheddar cheese, and chopped cilantro.

Here’s a list of other toppings that I love to pair with this soup:

  • Cornbread or flour tortillas
  • Chopped avocado
  • Hot sauce (if you like it spicy)
  • Crispy chopped bacon
  • Freshly chopped tomatoes

What are your favorite toppings to pair with a soup recipe like this one? Tell us in the comments below, and be sure to rate the recipe as well.

Horizontal image of a black bowl of homemade barbecue chicken soup, on a beige cloth with a spoon to the right, with another identical bowl and two smaller bowls of chopped herbs and grated cheese in soft focus in the background, on a gray surface.

If you’re a soup fan, don’t forget to check out more delicious chicken soup options from Foodal:

Photos by Meghan Yager, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on June 30, 2013. Last updated: December 28, 2020 at 17:24 pm. With additional writing and editing by Allison Sidhu.

Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.

About Meghan Yager

Meghan Yager is a food addict turned food and travel writer with a love for creating uncomplicated, gourmet recipes and devouring anything the world serves up. As the author of the food and travel blog Cake 'n Knife, Meghan focuses on unique foodie experiences from around the world to right at home in your own kitchen.

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