taco soup

First things first: I can’t take any credit for this recipe. It comes from our good friend Pamela, who got it from some friends in San Diego. It’s sort of like a thin chicken chili that you eat with copious amounts of Fritos scoops (accept no substitute!). When Pam still lived in Seattle, we used to eat this at her house all the time. She made it in a big slow cooker, and once famously bought a second slow cooker in preparation for an EPIC taco soup party.

Head taco soup chef, with Tallulah the goat:
Pam & Tallulah

Anyway, it’s the easiest thing in the world to make, but it’s delicious. And while I’m so incredibly tempted to mess with it (add some cilantro, replace the canned beans with cooked dry beans, make my own taco seasoning), but I know that would be messing with perfection. You can’t alter something this sacred.

taco soup

In honor of our friend Pam, Sarah and Kaitlin and I whipped up a batch this evening for our weekly viewing of The Killing (omg so good!). We couldn’t remember the exact recipe and we couldn’t call Pam because she’s on a plane London right now, so we guessed. I think we got it all. If not, you can expect a correction soon.

Be forewarned: this mildly spicy soup may make you break out in a soup sweat, so have some tissues and a big glass of ice water on hand.

taco soup
(note: this soup is NOT photogenic)

Taco Soup

serves 4


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 lb. ground chicken or turkey
  • 1 packet of regular taco seasoning
  • 1 packet of hot taco seasoning
  • 1 14-ounce can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 14-ounce can of tomato sauce
  • 1 14-ounce can of corn
  • 1 14-ounce can of black beans
  • 1 14-ounce can of kidney beans
  • 1 6-ounce can of green chilies
  • grated cheese, hot sauce, sour cream, and Fritos scoops (very important!), for serving


In a large Dutch oven or stockpot, heat the oil over medium high heat. Once shimmering, add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, 6-7 minutes. Add the turkey or chicken and cook, stirring constantly, until the meat is no longer pink, 2-3 minutes. Add the taco seasoning and cook 1-2 minutes, or until fragrant.

Add all the cans (do not drain) and 1 can of water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook at least 20 minutes and up to an hour. Serve with cheese, sour cream, scoops, and hot sauce.


2 thoughts on “taco soup

  1. You make me proud! I was just telling Michelle that we should cook up some taco soup here in Edinburgh – if I could just stop drinking whisky and eating tikka masala for long enough.

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