Cream Cheese Is The Secret Ingredient For Silky Taco Soup

Pots of traditional taco and tortilla soups served in Mexico and whipped up in kitchens around the globe might be made with a rich brothy base of tomatoes with shredded chicken, peppers, beans, and aromatics like garlic and onion. It's certainly delicious, especially when garnished with diced avocado and crispy tortilla strips, but the simple addition of cream cheese can turn the batch into more of a creamy soup. It's exactly how Tasting Corner recipe developer Catherine Brooks achieves a silky texture in our creamy taco soup recipe.

You might be more accustomed to smearing the smooth spread on a bagel or incorporating it into classic New York-style cheesecake, but its versatility allows it to amp up taco soup too. Plain cream cheese tastes mild so it's an ingredient that can smooth out the soup's consistency without altering the flavor much. Cream cheese also melts well so it will blend into the base of the soup to create silkiness. It doesn't take much to make the magic happen, and our recipe only uses four ounces of cream cheese for five servings. We think it's a smart way to use up that half-eaten block of cream cheese before it's taken over with mold to eliminate food waste and upgrade the soup all at once.

Flavored cream cheese will amp up taco soup's flavor and texture

Try to use full-fat cream cheese instead of reduced fat to elevate your taco soup because the fats allow it to melt into the soup better. You can use a flavored variety like vegetable or jalapeño cream cheese to add more flavor and spice to the pot of soup. A block or a tub will do fine, just measure out the proper amount so the soup doesn't become too cheesy and thick. Use our recipe as a guideline if you have your own variety of taco or tortilla soup or to upgrade our easy slow-cooker chicken tortilla soup. And if you're making a larger pot of soup, use an eight-ounce block of cream cheese for every eight servings.

Catherine Brooks recommends adding the cream cheese with chicken stock and diced tomatoes and stir until it's incorporated. Melted or softened cream cheese cut into cubes is another technique so it melds with the other ingredients in the soup quicker. The best way to soften cream cheese is in a warm water bath, but you can soften it on the counter or stovetop while you work on the rest of the soup. To contrast with the texture and flavor of creamy taco soup, add garnishes like lime wedges for zest, diced avocado, or fresh cilantro in each bowl of silky taco soup.