Chicken Tortilla Soup

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Chicken Tortilla Soup is my favorite comforting chicken soup. It's loaded with flavor and spices, the broth is part creamy and part chunky and topped with an assortment of goodies. Bonus, it can be batched ahead for any days you need a comforting lunch or dinner!

Bowl of completed chicken tortilla soup recipe topped with tortilla strips, avocado chunks, jalapeños, cilantro, and a lime wedge with a metal spoon in bowl on a wooden table with a blue patterned linen napkin in the lower left corner and jalapeños and tortilla strips in top left corner as well as bottom right corner and 3 lime wedges in top right corner.

Why I love Chicken Tortilla Soup

There was one restaurant in Tucson, AZ where I grew up called Café Terra Cotta and they had the most epic tortilla soup in the city. It's since closed but during the good old days of high school (when we literally didnt have a care in the world) we’d go out for lunch or a girls night out and without fail, each and every one of us would order tortilla soup. It was equal parts smoky and spicy and I made sure to add extra cheese once it arrived to the table. It's a memory that I'll forever have and being able to recreate that magical soup in my own kitchen brings me great joy!

Ingredients/Substitutions

Ingredient shot of all of the ingredients in individual clear bowls including olive oil, onion, garlic, jalapeños, salt and pepper, oregano, cumin, ground chipotle, tomatoes and green chiles, chicken stock, black beans, corn, shredded chicken, cheese, cilantro, green onion, and corn tortillas on a white countertop.
  • Olive Oil- You can totally sub this ingredient with another oil of your choice such as avocado oil, canola oil, etc.
  • Onion- Onions add an extra kick of flavor to any recipe and this one is no exception!
  • Garlic- We cannot live without garlic. Soak in that captivating scent during the first few steps of this recipe!
  • Jalapeño- Sliced jalapeños if you want a bit of a kick
  • Kosher Salt and Black Pepper- These two are a must in any recipe, they are so simple yet so important!
  • Dried Oregano- This spice complements the rest of the flavors beautifully!
  • Cumin- Any sort of Mexican dish is not complete without this spice! This is one of the key ingredients to pull all the flavors together.
  • Chipotle Pepper- We're adding some spice to this recipe because why not!? If you'd rather keep the spice level mild, you can skip this spice.
  • Fire Roasted Tomatoes and Green Chiles- These add SO much flavor to this recipe. It gives a nice smokey flavor without a ton of spice.
  • Chicken Stock- If you want to skip the chicken entirely and make this vegetarian - just use vegetable stock and you're in business.
  • Black Beans- While black beans are traditional in a Chicken Tortilla Soup, you could use Pinto Beans if you prefer!
  • Frozen Corn- I like using frozen corn for convenience but if you prefer to use canned or fresh corn, go for it!
  • Rotisserie Chicken- Any sort of shredded poultry works in this. Chicken is my favorite but if you're making this and have leftover turkey - be my guest!!
  • Cheese- Freshly shredded cheese - I always opt for freshly shredded over the pre-shredded. It melts better and it's just more flavorful as it's freshly grated.
  • Cilantro & Green Onion- Fresh herbs like cilantro, scallions or chives add a nice punch of flavor.
  • Corn Tortillas- Crispy tortilla strips or crumbled up tortilla chips are the secret ingredient when it comes to chicken tortilla soup. The crunch really levels up the dish love making my own chips and strips - use this as a guide.
  • Limes- Lime juice - adds a little extra oomph
  • Avocado- The avocado chunks adds a nice creamy touch to this soup without being overwhelming!

*For a full list of ingredients and instructions please see recipe card below

How to make this Chicken Tortilla Soup

Blue saucepan with chopped white onion, chopped jalapeños, and garlic on a white countertop.

Step 1: Turn on the stove to medium-high heat. Put a large saucepan on the stove and add the onion, garlic and jalapeño.

Blue saucepan with chopped white onion, chopped jalapeños, garlic, cumin, dried oregano, salt & pepper, and ground chipotle on a white countertop.

Step 2: Cook until the onion is see-through and the jalapeño is soft. Then add salt, pepper, dried oregano, cumin and chipotle pepper. Stir until it is all mixed together and cook for 1-2 minutes more.

Blue saucepan with chopped white onion, chopped jalapeños, seasonings, and chicken stock on a white countertop.

Step 3: Add fire roasted tomatoes and chicken stock to the pan and wait until it boils. Then turn down the heat so it is just simmering and let it simmer for 30 minutes without stirring.

Blue saucepan with chopped white onion, chopped jalapeños, seasonings, chicken stock, shredded chicken, black beans, and corn on a white countertop.

Step 4: After 30 minutes, use an immersion blender to make the soup smooth before adding black beans, corn and shredded chicken into the pot.

A ceramic plate with fried tortilla strips and a paper towel beneath them on a white countertop.

Step 5 (optional): In a small skillet, heat the vegetable oil over medium high heat. Once hot, add the tortilla strips in a single layer, frying quickly for about 30-45 seconds, flipping them once to ensure both sides get crisp. Remove the tortillas once crisp with a pair of tongs and transfer them to a paper towel lined plate to dry.

A blue saucepan with completed chicken tortilla soup recipe surrounded by clear bowls of ingredient toppings such as cheese and cilantro in top left corner, a plate of fried tortilla strips in lower left corner, clear bowls of green onion and jalapeños in top right corner, and clear bowls of 3 lime wedges and cubed avocado in lower right corner on a white countertop.

Step 6: Once everything is added, taste it to see if you need to add more salt or pepper before dividing into 4 bowls equally. Top with cheese, avocado, cilantro, crisp tortilla strips, lime juice, and jalapeño slices.

How to Store Chicken Tortilla Soup

To store this recipe, transfer the remaining soup to a container of choice and cover. This will stay fresh in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.

If you prefer to freeze this soup, you can transfer it to a tightly sealed container and freeze for up to 4-5 months. When you're read to eat, you can reheat by placing it in a saucepan on medium-low heat or place in the microwave until warm.

Tip and Tricks

  • When you shred your own chicken - use a stand mixer to do it in 15 seconds!! It's my favorite hack!
  • The flavor starts at the very beginning of this recipe - so be sure to sweat the onions and jalapeños to really start developing flavors at the early stages.
  • After step 2, I like to use an immersion blender to blend the base of the soup. A lot of tortilla soups are SUPER chunky but I prefer a blended base and then add some chunks from the chicken, corn and black beans

FAQs

How Can I Make This Recipe Creamy?

You can make this soup creamy by adding avocado chunks or adding a splash of heavy cream!

Is Chicken Tortilla Soup Gluten Free?

Yes it is! Typically most corn tortillas are gluten free. However, it's always best to double check when shopping for these at the store!

If you tried this recipe, please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how it goes in the 📝 comments below. Thanks for visiting today!

Chicken Tortilla Soup from www.whatsgabycooking.com (@whatsgabycookin)

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Author: Gaby Dalkin
4.9 from 84 votes
The most perfect chicken tortilla soup you'll ever make! Inspired by Cafe Terra Cotta (who used to make the most perfect tortilla soup in Tucson, AZ), you'll never make another recipe ever again!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Soup, Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine Mexican, Tex Mex, Southwestern
Servings 4 people

Ingredients
  

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 onion roughly chopped
  • 3-4 cloves garlic roughly chopped
  • 1 jalapeno pepper stem and seeds removed and roughly chopped
  • kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground chipotle pepper
  • 1 14- ounce can fire roasted tomatoes and green chiles
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • ¾ cup black beans
  • ¾ cup frozen corn
  • 1 cup shredded rotisserie chicken

Toppings:

  • shredded cheese - colby jack / monterey jack / pepper jack your choice
  • quartered limes
  • cubed avocado
  • cilantro
  • sliced green onions
  • 2 small corn tortillas cut into thin strips
  • sliced jalapenos

Instructions
 

  • Heat a large saucepan over medium high heat. Add the onion, garlic and jalapeno and sauté for until the onion is translucent and the jalapeno softens. Season with the salt, pepper, dried oregano, cumin and chipotle pepper. Stir to combine and cook for 1-2 minutes until the spices toast.
  • Add the fire roasted tomatoes and the chicken stock and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and simmer for 30 minutes.
  • Using an immersion blender, blend the soup ingredients until smooth. Taste and adjust salt and pepper as needed. Add black beans, corn and shredded chicken.
  • Divide the soup into 4 bowls and top with cheese, avocado, cilantro and crisp tortilla strips. Add extra lime juice if desired and/or jalapeno slices. Serve immediately.
  • To make the tortilla strips: In a small skillet, heat the vegetable oil over medium high heat. Once hot, add the tortilla strips in a single layer, frying quickly for about 30-45 seconds, flipping them once to ensure both sides get crisp. Remove the tortillas once crisp with a pair of tongs and transfer them to a paper towel lined plate to dry.

Notes

Tip and Tricks

  • When you shred your own chicken - use a stand mixer to do it in 15 seconds!! It's my favorite hack!
  • The flavor starts at the very beginning of this recipe - so be sure to sweat the onions and jalapeños to really start developing flavors at the early stages.
  • After step 2, I like to use an immersion blender to blend the base of the soup. A lot of tortilla soups are SUPER chunky but I prefer a blended base and then add some chunks from the chicken, corn and black beans

Substitutions / Variations

  • While black beans are traditional in a Chicken Tortilla Soup, you could use Pinto Beans if you prefer!
  • Any sort of shredded poultry works in this. Chicken is my favorite but if you're making this and have leftover turkey - be my guest!!
  • If you want to skip the chicken entirely and make this vegetarian - just use vegetable stock and you're in business.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 277kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 37mg | Sodium: 554mg | Potassium: 589mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 557IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 77mg | Iron: 2mg
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127 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This soup was great - full of flavor, but not too spicy which means my husband and kids loved it too. Will be going into my regular rotation of fall/winter meals!

  2. 5 stars
    This was so easy and delicious! I modified with veggie broth and more beans and corn to keep it vegetarian and it was fantastic! Will be making again soon

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