Chicken Tortilla Soup that is restaurant delicious (or better!), accidentally healthy, easy to double/triple for a crowd, freezer friendly and tastes like it’s been simmering for hours but on your table in 30 Minutes! Does it get any better?!
This Chicken Tortilla Soup is the soup of my dreams. It’s almost dump and run for the ideal easy weeknight dinner or fabulous for crowds. It is loaded with juicy, tender shredded chicken, hearty black beans, sweet corn, fire roasted tomatoes, tangy green chiles, kickin’ poblanos, creamy enchilada sauce and aromatic onions and garlic, seasoned to perfection and all topped with crispy, salty homemade BAKED Tortilla Strips! This Chicken Tortilla Soup recipe is warm and comforting, hearty, savory, filling, and healthy, requires minimal effort (seriously one of the easiest soups you will ever make) and is destined to become a new family favorite!
CHICKEN TORTILLA SOUP RECIPE VIDEO
Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe
Is it possible to have another favorite soup?! I already am in love with my other Mexican inspired Soups from Mexican Chicken Corn Chowder, Chicken Fajita and Rice Soup , Cheesy Taco Soup, White Chicken Chili and Salsa Verde Chicken Tortilla Soup but this Chicken Tortilla Soup has been on my bucket list for some time and I was just waiting to get it perfect to share with you – enter perfection. I am sooooooo in love with this Chicken Tortilla Soup and can’t wait for you to love it too!
It’s so good you will never need to make a special trip to your favorite Mexican restaurant again to satisfy your Tortilla Soup cravings because you can make your own pot for the same price as one bowl – in 30 minutes.
This Chicken Tortilla Soup comes together incredibly quickly and the majority of “making” this soup is simply dumping in cans and spices and results in a fresh and flavorful soup with a punch of flavor. You will also love that this Chicken Tortilla Soup is a meal-in-one made with common pantry staples so you can make this soup any night of the week!
What Ingredients are in Chicken Tortilla Soup?
- Chicken: This recipe uses 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts that simmer with the soup. Feel free to swap out for chicken thighs if you prefer. You can also sbustitute approximately 3 cups shredded rotisserie chicken. You will want to added this already cooked chicken to the Chicken Tortilla Soup at the end of cooking with the cilantro and heat through.
- Onion: You can substitute the onion with 1 teaspoon onion powder.
- Garlic Cloves: You can substitute the garlic with 1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder.
- Poblano Pepper: These peppers boast a very mild heat, nothing like a jalapeno, so don’t be afraid of them! You can substitute with chopped green bell pepper if you prefer then add more hot sauce to taste.
- Seasonings: This Chicken Tortilla Soup has a medium kick to it which I think will be perfect for most people. If you are very sensitive to spice or want to make this very kid friendly then substitute the poblano with a green bell pepper and decrease the chili powder to 1 teaspoon.
- Canned Mild Diced Green Chilies: Make sure you purchase mild green chiles – I have accidentally used the hot chilies before and they are HOT! Mild green chiles, however are more tangy than hot so you don’t have to worry about them making your soup spicy.
- Fire-Roasted Diced Tomatoes: Fire roasted tomatoes boast a wonderful smoky flavor and are sweeter and less acidicy than regular diced tomatoes. Most grocery stores carry them but if you can’t find them, then substitute regular diced tomatoes.
- Canned Black Beans: You can substitute with pinto beans, kidney beans, cannellini bean or your favorite bean.
- Canned Sweet Corn: I use canned corn for this Chicken Tortilla Soup for convenience but feel free to use corn fresh off the cob if you prefer. You can also use frozen corn but add it toward the end of cooking, just so it has time to warm through, otherwise it can disintegrate.
- Mild Enchilada Sauce: Feel free to use your favorite homemade enchilada sauce if you prefer. I suggest using mild enchilada sauce because you can always add more heat but it is hard to take away!
- Chicken Broth: Take care your chicken broth is low sodium otherwise omit the chicken bouillon and add salt to taste.
What spices do you put in chicken tortilla soup?
We are going to create our own custom “Taco” seasoning with:
- chili powder
- ground cumin
- smoked paprika
- dried oregno
I also add chicken bouillon to enhance the overall flavor, but this is optional. If you skip the chicken bouillon, you are definitely going to want to add additional salt to taste.
How Do you Make Chicken Tortilla Soup?
This Chicken Tortilla Soup is SO EASY it’s going to blow your mind! Because easy can be delicious when you use the right techniques and spices!
- First, we melt olive oil over medium high heat in a large Dutch oven/soup pot. Add onions and sauté for 3 minutes. Add bell pepper and poblano peppers and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly then add our garlic and sauté 30 seconds.
If you aren’t familiar with poblano peppers, I like to think of them as mild jalapenos. They are not nearly as spicy as jalapenos but still have a little kick. They are thick like green bell peppers so they stand up beautifully in soups. If you are sensitive to heat at all then feel free to substitute with a green bell pepper.
- Now all that’s left to do is add our Chicken Tortilla Soup ingredients consisting of chicken breasts (uncooked) mild diced green chiles, fire roasted tomatoes, black beans, sweet corn, enchilada sauce and chicken broth along with our plethora of fiestalicious spices to create the most jaw dropping soup with some seriously explosive flavor and wonderfully hearty texture.
- We simmer our Chicken Tortilla Soup for 20-25 minutes in order to develop the flavors and for the chicken to cook in the bubbly broth – and bonus – no chopping or handling raw chicken!
Cooking chicken this way in which it is covered and gently simmered until cooked through is known as poaching. I LOVE this fool proof method for cooking chicken as the moist heat gently cooks the chicken and prevents it from overcooking too quickly so you get succulent, tender chicken every time – as long as you don’t overcook your chicken which is pretty hard to do. That being said, I recommend checking your chicken right at 20 minutes or even earlier if you have extra thin chicken breasts. You will know they are ready when they easily shred with a fork.
- After the chicken is cooked, shred it and add back to your Chicken Tortilla Soup along with a splash of lime juice and freshly chopped cilantro – and viola – gourmet tasting Chicken Tortilla Soup in 30 minutes!
- But of course, we are not quite done. One of the best parts of Chicken Tortilla Soup or any Mexican soup is all the toppings! Don’t underestimate the power of cheeeeese, sour cream, avocados and of course your easy, homemade tortilla strips!
What Goes with Chicken Tortilla Soup?
Topping your Chicken Tortilla Soup with your favorite garnishes is half of the fun and the most important part for added texture and flavor. You can create a toppings bar and let everyone pile on their favorites of:
- Cheese: a must in my book! use freshly grated cheese for superior taste and melting ability.
- Sour cream: adds a wonderful creaminess to the Chicken Tortilla Soup and is my favorite topping! Its refreshing tanginess also cuts through and compliments the robust, rich flavors. You can also use fat free sour cream or Greek yogurt.
- Cilantro: chopped cilantro adds a fresh, zesty flair.
- Lime Juice: you can use bottled juice or fresh lime juice, but whatever you do – don’t skip! The lime juice awakens the flavors of the entire soup!
- Tortilla Strips: tortilla Strips are the tortilla in Chicken TORTILLA Soup! You can use store bought or homemade (recipe below) or crushed tortilla chips work great too.
- Avocado: chopped or sliced avocados add a wonderful creaminess. I prefer chopped so I can get a bite of avocado in every spoonful.
- Pico de gallo: a spoonful of pico de gallo ins’t necessary but adds a depth of freshness I love.
How Do you Make Tortilla Strips for Chicken Tortilla Soup?
Making your own homemade tortilla strips is so crazy easy and delivers chip quality results -AND you can never guess these tortilla strips are BAKED not fried. Not only is this healthier but it is way simpler. We make our tortilla strips while our chicken is simmering so it requires no extra time!
- Cut tortillas into ½ inch strips. I have found the easiest way to do this is to stack all the tortillas together then use a pizza cutter to cut them all at once. It literally takes 1-2 minutes to cut them all.
- Next, light spray a large baking sheet/jelly roll pan with cooking spray. Add your tortilla strips and toss with 1 tablespoon vegetable oil. Arrange strips in a single layer and lightly season with freshly cracked salt.
- Bake at 425 degrees F for 12-16 minutes or until light golden brown.
- Try not to eat them all before your Chicken Tortilla Soup is done cooking
Can I use Tortilla Chips in Chicken Tortilla Soup?
I love my Homemade Tortilla Strips but you could also use your favorite chips such as Lime Tortilla Chips to play with the flavor and because it’s easy to always have chips on hand!
Can I use Rotisserie Chicken in Chicken Tortilla Soup?
Yes! Using rotisserie chicken or shredding cooked chicken you already have on hand works great for this Chicken Tortilla Soup. You will need approximately 3 cups shredded chicken.
Can I Add Cheese to Chicken Tortilla Soup?
Cheese is one of my favorite toppings for Chicken Tortilla Soup. You can add cheese to the actual soup or hold it and add to individual servings. Feel free to go crazy and mix it up with Pepper Jack or Monterrey Jack and of course Cheddar is always amazing.
How do I thicken Chicken Tortilla Soup?
I don’t think you’ll need to thicken this Chicken Tortilla Soup because we use enchilada sauce which is already thick. If you would still like thicker soup, then you can use either masa masa harina or cornstarch.
- Masa harina: Masa harina is a very finely ground corn flour made from corn that’s dried, cooked in water with slaked lime. It has a very distinctive flavor. To use, whisk 3 tablespoons with 1 cup of water until a paste forms. Add to the soup at the end of cooking and bring to a simmer until thickened.
- Cornstarch: Whisk 2 tablespoons cornstarch with 1/2 cup water until dissolved. Add to the soup at the end of cooking and bring to a simmer until thickened.
How do you Make Chicken Tortilla Soup Creamy?
You can make Chicken Tortilla Soup creamy 3 different ways:
- add 4 oz. softened cream cheese at the end of cooking and stirring until completely melted. This is the method I use in my Cheesy Taco Soup and Mexican Chicken Corn Chowder and it is fabulous.
- add part sour cream, part cream cheese or part sour cream and part heavy cream.
- substitute 2 cups of the chicken broth with heavy cream or half and half.
- adding cheese directly to the soup will also help make it creamy and thicker.
How Spicy is this Chicken Tortilla Soup?
This Chicken Tortilla Soup has a medium kick to it which I think will be perfect for most people BUT if you are sensitive to spicy food or want to make this ultimate kid friendly then substitute the poblano pepper for a green bell pepper and reduce chili powder from 2 teaspoons to 1. At this point you can add hot sauce to your individual servings if you like it spicier.
How do I spice up my tortilla soup?
Hot sauce is my preferred Method to spice of Chicken Tortilla Soup. You can serve your Tortilla Soup with a bottle of hot sauce on the table or with the toppings so everyone can customize their own spice level.
How long does Chicken Tortilla Soup last?
Chicken Tortilla Soup tastes even better the next day! It will last in the refrigerator for up to 5 days in an airtight container. You may need to add a little water to the soup when reheating.
Tips for Chicken Tortilla Soup
- Prep Ahead. You can prep all your topping while yours soup is simmering so you an literally eat dinner in 30 minutes!
- Make it less chunky. I love chunky soups – the higher the ratio of chicken and veggies to broth the better – BUT the “chunkiness” of this Chicken Tortilla Soup is totally up to your personal preference. For a less chunky soup, simply add additional chicken broth.
- Double the recipe. This soup is fabulous for crowds and can be easily doubled and frozen for later – winning!
How Do I Make Chicken Tortilla Soup in the Crock Pot?
This easy Chicken Tortilla Soup can easily be adapted to your slow cooker. This method is fabulous if you are going to be away and can’t babysit the stove.
To make Crock Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup we are going to use all of the same ingredients with the exception of the olive oil. We will eliminate the olive oil and and instead use cooking spray.
How to Make Crock Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup:
- Spray slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray and add chicken.
- Add all remaining Chicken Tortilla Soup ingredients except cilantro, lime juice and tortilla strips and give the top ingredients a stir to combine.
- Cook on LOW for 6-8 hours or on HIGH for 3-4 hours or until chicken is tender enough to shred.
- Remove chicken to a cutting board, shred chicken and return chicken to slow cooker along with cilantro and lime juice and cook on LOW for 10 minutes so the chicken can soak up more flavor.
- Stir in additional chicken broth for a less chunky soup if desired and season with salt/pepper/hot sauce to taste.
- Top individual servings with desired garnishes.
Can I Freeze Chicken Tortilla Soup?
Finally a soup that freezes without any hassle! Soups with dairy or pasta in them can be sketchy when frozen but this Chicken Tortilla Soup freezes and reheats beautifully as long as you keep the tortilla strips separate and don’t add any dairy products to the main soup (just add them to your individual portions).
How to Freeze Chicken Tortilla Soup:
- Cool. Cool Chicken Tortilla Soup completely before freezing.
- Package soup in a freezer safe container. You can use sandwich size plastic bags for individual soup portions, quart size bags or freezer bags. To easy fill these bags, place them in a container that you can wrap the top around the edge of – for example, place a sandwich size bag in a mug then cuff the edges around the mug. This keeps the bag open and prevents it from collapsing when you are pouring in your Chicken Tortilla Soup. Final packaging tip, make sure to let out any excess air before you seal.
- Label. Make sure to label your bags so it doesn’t’ become a freezer mystery. You also want to label so you can be sure to use your soup within 3 months.
- Freeze. Once cooled and labeled you are ready to freeze your Chicken Tortilla Soup. Once the bag is solid you can lay it flat in a single layer so it’s stackable to save space.
- Defrost/Reheat. The easiest way to thaw your soup is in your refrigerator overnight then reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave.
If you forget to thaw your soup beforehand or are hit with a need-Chicken Tortilla Soup-now craving then you can defrost the soup in the microwave. Transfer frozen soup into a microwave-safe container, partially cover and microwave for 2-3 increments, until the soup has become slushy, stirring in between so it thaws evenly.
Now get ready for the barrage of compliments for the best Chicken Tortilla Soup! At home. In 30 minutes.
Looking for more Chicken Soup Recipes?
- Thai Chicken Noodle Soup
- Italian Sausage Tortellini Soup
- Minestrone Soup
- New England Clam Chowder
- Tomato Basil Soup
- White Chicken Lasagna Soup
- Lemon Chicken Soup with Tortellini
- Chicken Tortellini Soup
- BBQ Chicken Chili
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