Chicken Tortilla Soup

4.81

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Chicken Tortilla Soup is the ultimate cozy meal! This hearty and spicy Mexican soup is loaded with flavor, shredded chicken, toppings and homemade crispy tortilla strips. I like to serve this with alongside some jalapeño cheddar cornbread and a cold strawberry or watermelon margaritas.

Chicken Tortilla Soup.

I’m all about cozy meals and soup cannot be a cozier choice to serve! Whether it’s this Enchilada Chicken Tortilla Soup, Pumpkin Chili, Cuban Black Bean Soup, or even these Vegetarian Black Bean Enchiladas, I cannot pass up the opportunity to enjoy a comforting meal!

Ingredients You’ll Need for Chicken Tortilla Soup

Ingredients for Chicken Tortilla Soup.
  1. Chicken – Boneless skinless chicken breasts. One pound of chicken is plenty enough to make 4 servings of soup.
  2. Broth – I prefer to use a store-bought or homemade chicken broth or chicken bone broth for this soup because it make it much more flavorful than plain water!
  3. Chipotle in adobo – This will give a nice amount of heat to the soup and a hint of smokiness. If you don’t like spice, simply leave out the chipotle and/or adobo sauce.
  4. Corn tortillas – Used to make the fried tortilla strips for serving! They are made by cutting the tortillas into thin strips then quickly frying in hot oil and sprinkling with flaky sea salt. You could crush up a few corn chips instead if you are short on time.
  5. Toppings – For me the best part about any soup is the toppings! I topped it with sliced avocado, sour cream, lime wedges, sliced jalapeño and cilantro leaves.

For the rest of the ingredients, please refer to the recipe index card below!

Chicken Tortilla Soup in bowl.

How To Make Chicken Tortilla Soup

  1. For the crispy tortilla strips. Slice corn tortillas thick or thin (it’s up to your preference!), fry in hot oil for 1 minute or until crisp, then transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Sprinkle with flaky salt.
  2. For the soup. Sauté the onions, garlic and spices together.

3. Blend. Add cooked onions and garlic, chipotle in adobo, diced tomatoes, and a splash of broth to the blender. Pulse until very smooth. Transfer back to the pot and add the rest of the broth.

4. Chicken. Add chicken to the soup, and cook for 35-40 minutes until the chicken is cooked. Remove the chicken and shred it up and return it back to the pot.

5. Serve the chicken tortilla soup. I like to top it with a dollop of sour cream, lime wedges, avocado and the crispy homemade tortilla strips!

Tips and Tricks

Use an Instant Pot! You can cook this in the Instant Pot under the high fuction for 15 minutes.

Make it ahead. Make a big batch of this soup to save for meal prep or store any leftovers in the fridge for up to 5 days in an air tight container. To freeze, allow it to cool completely then transfer to a freezer bag. It will stay good for several weeks. Thaw in the fridge or transfer it to a microwave safe bowl or pot to heat on the stove.

Chicken. This recipe uses raw, thawed boneless skinless chicken breasts.

  1. To use frozen chicken, make sure to add a few extra minutes to the cooking time.
  2. To use rotisserie chicken, only cook it for 10 minutes in the pot since it’s already cooked.

Add ins. Make this soup your own by adding in canned or frozen corn, canned black beans, or using fire-roasted tomatoes instead of regular canned diced tomatoes.

Chicken Tortilla Soup with toppings and a glass of beer.

Recipe FAQs

How do you reduce the spiciness in tortilla soup?

Leave out the chipotle in adobo sauce! It gives a wonderful smokiness to the soup but it adds some head! Swap it out for a less spicy pepper, a hint of cayenne pepper or leave out the chiles all together! You can also leave out the pepper and in exchange, add some spices. I like to use a tablespoons of my homemade taco seasoning recipe.

Can this soup be made vegan?

Of course! Swap out the chicken broth for vegetable broth. Instead of chicken, use shredded jackfruit (like my jackfruit tinga tacos), canned black beans or red beans and cubed sweet potatoes to make it a bit more filling!

What is the history of chicken tortilla soup?

When I went to make this, I wasn’t going after a super traditional version, though I did want to know the history. I found this article in the LA Times that speaks a bit about the history of tortilla soup. It’s super interesting a worth a read.
To paraphrase, the exact origin can’t be traced per se. They think it started in Mexico City but maybe it didn’t. It made its way to California in the mid 20th century and landed. The versions are definitely different. Mint was added, tortillas were ground up in the base of the soup (which honestly sounds delicious). It went and evolved through various iterations. 

Chicken Tortilla Soup with toppings and a glass of beer.

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4.81 from 21 votes

Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe

Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 40 minutes
Total: 50 minutes
Servings: 4
Chicken Tortilla Soup is the ultimate cozy meal! This hearty and spicy Mexican soup is loaded with flavor, toppings and homemade crispy tortilla strips. Serve with jalapeño cheddar cornbread and a cold chelada for dinner!

Equipment

  • 1 medium skillet
  • 1 large pot or Dutch oven
  • blender
  • Baking Sheet

Ingredients 

Fried Tortilla Strips:

  • 5 to 6 corn tortillas, cut into thin or thick strips
  • 3 tablespoons neutral oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon flaky sea salt

Tortilla Soup:

  • 1/2 yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 chipotle in adobo
  • 1 (15-ounce) can can of diced tomatoes
  • 5 cups chicken broth , divided
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts

For Garnish:

  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 1/4 cup sour cream, whisked with a squeeze of lime juice and a pinch of salt
  • Lime wedges
  • 1/2 jalapeño, sliced
  • Cilantro leaves

Instructions 

To Fry up the Tortilla Strips:

  • Place a bed of paper towels or a clean kitchen towel on a baking sheet or cutting board. We’re going to use this to drain the tortillas after they leave the oil.
  • Slice up the corn tortillas into whatever size you prefer. I usually go for thin but this is about freedom so do as you please. Pour the oil in a pan set over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot and shimmering, add the tortilla strips, in batches, frying them up until crispy, about 1 minute. Transfer them to the towel and sprinkle with flaky sea salt. Repeat with frying the tortilla strips, adding more oil as necessary. Set them aside.

For Pot Directions:

  • To the medium pot, set over medium-high heat, add a tablespoon of olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the onion and garlic cloves. Cook for about 5 to 6 minutes, until the onion becomes translucent.
  • Add the spices and salt and mix until the spices are fragrant. Turn off the flame and scoop the onions and garlic, and transfer them to a blender.
  • To the blender, add the chipotle in adobo, can of diced tomatoes and a splash of broth. Pulse until very smooth, about 1 minutes. Pour it back into the pot, along with the remaining chicken broth. Give it a taste and adjust the salt according to taste. I added a pinch or two of salt.
  • Place the chicken breasts in the soup mixture and bring to a simmer. Turn the heat to medium-low and cover the pot with the lid. Cook for about 30 to 35 minutes, until the chicken is cooked. Remove the lid and remove the chicken. Using two forks, shred the chicken and return it to the pot.

To Serve:

  • Divide the soup amongst bowls. Top it with a small handful of tortilla strips, a dollop of sour cream, a few slices of jalapeño, a squeeze of lime and a few leaves of cilantro.

Notes

Tips and Tricks
  • Use an Instant Pot! You can cook this in the Instant Pot under the high fuction for 15 minutes.
  • Make it ahead. Make a big batch of this soup to save for meal prep or store any leftovers in the fridge for up to 5 days in an air tight container. To freeze, allow it to cool completely then transfer to a freezer bag. It will stay good for several weeks. Thaw in the fridge or transfer it to a microwave safe bowl or pot to heat on the stove.
  • Chicken. This recipe uses raw, thawed boneless skinless chicken breasts.
  • To use frozen chicken, make sure to add a few extra minutes to the cooking time.
  • To use rotisserie chicken, only cook it for 10 minutes in the pot since it’s already cooked.
  • Add ins. Make this soup your own by adding in canned or frozen corn, canned black beans, or using fire-roasted tomatoes instead of regular canned diced tomatoes.
 

Nutrition

Serving: 4g | Calories: 385kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 8g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 51mg | Sodium: 2054mg | Potassium: 827mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 333IU | Vitamin C: 20mg | Calcium: 109mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Dinner, Soup
Cuisine: American, Mexican
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Cozy Latin-Inspired Comfort Food Recipes

Hi! I'm Adrianna and this is my cozy space on the internet that is super-charged by butter, flour and copious amounts of pasta. Stay awhile, will you!

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19 Comments

  1. More summer recipes with eggplants please. Eggplant is the perfect and versatile summer vegetable. You can make and come up with so many wonderful summer recipes with eggplants. Please, I beg you, share more summer eggplant recipes!! Please

  2. 1 star
    Really wish the directions were a bit clearer. I used one (can) of chipotle in adobo. Would’ve been nice if it was listed as “one singular pepper”

  3. 5 stars
    Made it with some substitutions because I didn’t have a few things – white beans instead of black, diced instead of crushed tomatoes, and beef broth combined with cream of chicken soup instead of chicken broth!! It turned out awesome and I really love this recipe!! Thank you