This Chicken Tortilla Soup is one of our most highly-rated recipes on the blog! Delicious and healthy, loaded with chicken and veggies, this soup will warm you to your bones! Make it in an Instant Pot, on the stovetop, or in a slow cooker! Video. Plus 40+Best Chicken Breast Recipes and 50 Easy Dinner Ideas!

This Chicken Tortilla Soup is one of BEST recipes on the blog and hands-down one of our favorite dinners. Delicious and healthy, loaded with chicken and veggies, this soup will warm you to your bones! Make it in an Instant pot, on the stovetop, or in a slow cooker!

Hey friends, I’m so excited to share this Chicken Tortilla Soup with you! Full of flavor, this Mexican Soup is made with chicken, veggies, chicken stock, tomatoes, chilies, black beans, lime, and cilantro. Delicious and hearty, it is nourishing, comforting and soul-warming! Perfect when feeling under the weather.

Why I love this recipe!

  • I love how adaptable this recipe is. Make it with chicken thighs or chicken breast. Use dry black beans or canned beans; for a low-carb version, use no beans at all; it’s totally up to you.
  • Use your Dutch oven on the stovetop, or make it in your instant pot or slow cooker. The flavorful base of this soup is what makes this recipe shine. Once you nail that, the recipe is so versatile. We think it’s the best recipe for Chicken tortilla soup out there!
  • It’s EASY! The best part is after you saute the veggies for a few minutes, you can dump everything else in the pot, and just let it cook and be totally hands-off.

Chicken Tortilla Soup Video (Instant Pot)

Chicken Tortilla Soup Ingredients

Chicken tortilla soup ingredients.

Ingredients Notes

  • Tomatoes – use canned diced tomatoes, fire-roasted diced tomatoes, or use fresh diced tomatoes w/ their juices
  • Chilies -For ease, we use canned mild green chilies , but feel free to use a fresh poblano chili
  • Chicken – boneless chicken thighs offer up great richness, while boneless chicken breast keeps this light and lean; both work great.
  • We love using dry black beans if using the instant pot or canned black beans in the stovetop version, but both work in either instance. You can also leave the beans out completely or sub corn.
  • Fresh Lime Juice and cilantro elevate.
  • Spices: in addition to the Mexican seasonings, adding a little chipotle here elevates. Use ground chipotle or the adobo sauce from the can for a delicious smoky heat!

How to Make Chicken Tortilla Soup (Stovetop)

In a large Dutch oven or soup pot,  saute onions, garlic, carrots and celery, in olive oil, for 5 minutes over medium heat. Add the chicken (whole), tomatoes, black beans, and chilies.

Add chicken stock, water, salt and all the spices.  Give a good stir, and bring to a simmer. Cover, and gently simmer until chicken pulls apart easily, about 30 minutes.

Shred the chicken with two forks, either right in the pot or on a cutting board.

Season with lime juice and cilantro.

Squeeze with a generous amount of lime juice and taste for salt, adding more if necessary. Garnish with cilantro.

How to make homemade Tortilla Chips:

For the healthiest, tastiest tortilla chips, spray strips of fresh corn tortillas with olive oil spray and a sprinkle of salt, and bake until crisp, or feel free to use store-bought tortilla chips or leave them off entirely for a low-carb version.

Homemade tortilla strips on a sheet pan.

Expert TIPS

  1. Use flavorful chicken stock and enough salt to ensure your soup has good flavor. You can always add a chicken bouillon cube if it tastes bland. Conversely, if your soup is too salty, add a little water.
  2. Add chipotle, whether ground or from the can, it really elevates the soup, adding a smoky heat. Add gradually to taste, remembering that the toppings will help moderate or mute the heat. If you are sensitive to heat but love the smoky flavor, add a little smoked paprika to taste.
  3. Fresh Lime enhances the soup. Start with a squeeze of half a lime, then add more to taste. If you added more tomato than the recipe called for, this will add acidity to the soup, so you’ll need less lime.
  4. Never cook jalapenos in the soup unless you like your soup extra spicy! I always add as a garnish at the end of cooking to moderate the heat better.

Chicken Tortilla Soup Toppings

These toppings elevate the tortilla soup- and ding flavor and texture. You don’t need all, but pick a few!

  • Shredded Mexican cheese, or cheddar (or crumbled cotija)
  • Sour cream- (or Mexican Crema) adds a nice creaminess and is especially lovely if your soup is tastes too spicy.
  • Avocado– if going dairy-free, avocado adds a nice richness!
  • Cilantro– it just belongs here. If you can’t tolerate it, scallions work too!
  • Tortilla chips- homemade or store-bought, add a great texture!
  • Fresh jalapeño- thinly sliced, or add hot sauce for heat.
  • Lime wedges
This Chicken Tortilla Soup is one of BEST recipes on the blog and hands-down one of our favorite dinners. Delicious and healthy, loaded with chicken and veggies, this soup will warm you to your bones! Make it in an Instant pot, on the stovetop, or in a slow cooker!

Serve the chicken tortilla soup in bowls with a few of the toppings.

How to store Chicken Tortilla Soup

The soup will keep up to 4 days in the fridge or freeze for up to 6 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge before reheating. Leave all the toppings off when storing, and add right before serving.

 Chicken Tortilla Soup in a bowl with all the toppings.

Chicken Tortilla Soup Faqs

How do you thicken Chicken Tortilla Soup?

Chicken Tortilla Soup can be thickened in two ways- add soft corn tortillas, torn into small pieces, into the simmering soup; they will dissolve and thicken it. You can also use corn meal; create a slurry, whisking a few tablespoons of corn meal with water, then whisk this paste into the soup, simmering it for 15 minutes, thickening the soup, and giving it a beautiful corn flavor.

Is Chicken Tortilla Soup Healthy?

Chicken tortilla soup is very soothing for a sore throat or cold and healing and nourishing to the body. It is low in carbs, high in protein and nutrients while being low in calories. Black beans add good healthy fiber to the soup.

How do you add flavor to soup?

Find the balance between salt, spicy heat, and acid, in this case, lime. If the soup tastes bland, try adding more salt and lime.

Can Chicken Tortilla Soup be made vegan?

Absolutely! Use veggie broth instead of chicken broth, and replace the chicken with pinto beans and corn. Feel free to add other veggies like bell pepper and zucchini.

What to serve with Chicken Tortilla soup?

We love this soup and hope you do too. ❤️

⭐️ Please rate it for us and share your adaptions or your thoughts in the comments below!

xoxo

Sylvia

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Chicken Tortilla Soup

  • Author: Sylvia Fountaine | Feasting at Home
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 30
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 12 cups 1x
  • Category: soup, dinner idea,
  • Method: stovetop, pressure cooker
  • Cuisine: mexican

Description

Our Chicken Tortilla Soup recipe is highly rated- it’s a fast and flavorful soup that can be made on the stovetop or in an instant pot! ⭐️ Please rate it for us and share your adaptions or what you think of it in the comments below!


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 12 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 5 garlic cloves, rough chopped (or sub 12 tablespoons granulated garlic)
  • 12 cups carrots, diced
  • 1 cup celery, diced
  • 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes and juices (or fire-roasted) or 1 1/2 cups diced tomatoes w/juices
  • 4ounce can, mild green chilies (or sub a poblano chili, diced)
  • 2 lbs chicken (boneless, skinless, thighs or breasts) left whole -see cooking notes
  • 1 cup dry black beans ,or sub 1 to 2 14-ounce cans black beans (or sub corn) see notes
  • 4 cups chicken stock or broth (or water with 4 chicken bouillon cubes)
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 teaspoons salt, more to taste
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • lime juice from 1-2 limes
  • optional: for a smoky heat, add a little chipotle (either the adobo sauce from canned chipotles, or a little ground chipotle powder to taste. )

Garnish with any or all of the following:  tortilla strips, grated cheese, sour cream, avocado, hot sauce, cilantro, fresh jalapeño, scallions, and lime wedges.


Instructions

  1. In a Dutch oven over medium heat (or an Instant Pot) saute onions, garlic, carrots and celery in olive oil, 4 minutes. (If using granulated garlic, add with the spices, and if using fresh poblano chili, add it now).
  2. Add the diced tomatoes and their juices, green chilies, whole chicken, and black beans. Pour in the chicken stock, water, salt and all the spices and give a good stir.
  3. Bring to a simmer, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes, until chicken is tender and pulls apart easily.  Alternatively, set the Instant Pot to pressure cook on high,  for 25 minutes, if using dry beans, or 14 minutes if using canned beans, and manually release. See notes for modifications.
  4. Shred the chicken with two forks, either right in the pot, or in a bowl. (At this point, you could add frozen corn to the soup heating it up.) Return the shredded chicken to the pot and simmer on low for a few minutes.
  5. Squeeze with a generous amount of lime juice and taste for salt, adding more if necessary- especially if you used dry beans, you will need to add more. You want a good balance between lime and salt. (If the soup tastes bland, it probably needs more of each.)
  6. Divide among bowls and top with tortilla strips, grated cheese, sour cream, scallions or avocado and cilantro. Add hot sauce for added heat.

Notes

I use a 6-quart Dutch Oven, or a 6-quart Instant Pot. Doubling the recipe will not fit in a 6-quart.

Black beans: If your dry black beans are very old, I recommend soaking them first or extending the pressure cooking time to 30-35 minutes. You can also use dry beans in the stovetop version, but I recommend soaking them first. For a more brothy soup, use only one can of beans vs. two. ( I prefer this soup brothy.)

Chicken Breast: If using whole chicken breasts in the instant pot, lower the pressure cook time to 9-12 minutes and use canned beans. Set at 8 minutes for smaller breasts or 12 mins for extra-large chicken breasts. If cooking on the stove top, cutting extra large chicken breasts in half will shorten the cooking time.

Frozen Chicken: If using frozen chicken breasts or chicken thighs in the instant pot, add 3-4 minutes (make sure they are not all stuck together in one block). 

For the tastiest tortilla chips, spray strips of fresh tortillas with olive oil spray and a sprinkle of  salt, and bake in a 300 F oven until crisp.

For a bean-free version you could swap out 2 cups of corn for the beans ( Trader Joes, frozen fire-roasted corn is great) adding it to the soup after chicken is cooked.

For slow cooker version, do steps 1 & 2 as stated above, cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours, or on High for 3 to 4 hours.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 3/4 cups
  • Calories: 392
  • Sugar: 3.9 g
  • Sodium: 729.2 mg
  • Fat: 22.2 g
  • Saturated Fat: 5.6 g
  • Carbohydrates: 23.6 g
  • Fiber: 6.5 g
  • Protein: 25.3 g
  • Cholesterol: 111.3 mg

Keywords: best chicken tortilla soup, chicken tortilla soup, chicken tortilla soup recipe, instant pot chicken tortilla soup, best tortilla soup, instant pot chicken soup recipes, instant pot tortilla soup, chicken tortilla soup instant pot,

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Comments

  1. Never ate a chicken tortilla soup with carrot and celery, nor do I think they belong in this type of soup. I’d also not want to put canned black beans on a pressure setting.

  2. Definitely a crowd pleaser! So delicious & easy! I doubled the recipe & it couldn’t fit into my instant pot so I recommend doing it in separate batches.

  3. This recipe is so good that my husband, who has never liked a single other soup before, requests it.
    I add in a jalapeño to cook with the onions and finish with Chipotle Cholula. I serve it with cilantro, avocado, sour cream, and oven-baked tortilla strips. Truly incredible!

  4. Delicious! I made this in a Dutch oven rather than instant pot. Added some smoked paprika, used a can of pinto beans vs. black beans.

  5. I just made this! It’s sensational. It’s by far the best chicken tortilla soup I’ve made. I’m now searching your site for more recipes!

    1. My favorite chicken tortilla soup recipe and even better than most restaurants! I follow the recipe as written. This is in our rotation and the whole family enjoys.

  6. This is the best Chicken Tortilla Soup recipe, hands down. I make this soup at least once a month and everyone always loves it!!!

  7. I am cooking this in a slow cooker. In your notes you mentioned it would thicken but not sure how. I am using slowcooker and have a few more hours left and I check occasionally and note that it is not very thick. I am using 2 cans of beans. Also, I just realized I didn’t add the water which I can still do but it raises the question of it thickening. Maybe you will see this before the next couple of hours and, if not, I will just deal with it. Sure it will taste great! Looking forward to my dinner this evening.

    1. Hi Carol- it will not thicken, this is a brothy soup. Can you point me to where it says that? I can’t seem to locate it, to fix it. Thanks!

      1. Hi Sylvia, I copied the paragraph,
        Shred chicken thighs with two forks (either right in the pot, or on a cutting board). The soup will thicken. (At this point you could add corn, and return to saute setting for a few minutes.)

  8. We keep making this over and over with variations depending on what we have on hand, however its delicious every time!!

  9. Fantastic Recipe! I’ve made it many times and always receive compliments. My kids, who are picky eaters, also love this soup.

  10. Delicious!!! I didn’t put in any beans or corn. It was still amazing. I also put in a ton of all the spices. I loved it!

  11. My husband surprised me and made this soup himself for dinner the other night. He even made the tortilla strips from scratch!! This was such a delicious soup – we‘ll be making it again for sure. 🙂

    1. That is the best Ingrid! Happy you both enjoyed. It always tastes extra good when someone else cooks!

  12. I’m so glad I found this recipe! My husband and I absolutely love this soup! I’m making a pot today since its a cold and rainy day here in Oregon. I use about a one pound thawed chicken breast cut into 4 pieces before adding to the pot. It’s plenty of chicken for us. I also use one can of black beans and just a pinch of chipotle seasoning. I shared some with a friend and she wants the recipe.
    Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

    1. Hi Larry, you can always click “print recipe” and it will take you to an ad-free version ( you don’t actually have to print it).

  13. Absolutely love this recipe… only changes I make are that I toast the spices for a min or so before adding the rest of the ingredients in, & after I take the chicken out to shred and before putting it back in, I’ll hit the soup with an immersion blender for a couple seconds as I like it on the thicker side

  14. Great flavors, as always! I do the prep during a break in the day (work from home) and it comes together so fast for dinner. Love it!

  15. I was trying to replicate the tortilla soup packet from costplus world market- but make it gluten free. This was better. I used fresh garlic (to be sure it was gf), three large boneless breasts from Costco, and since I didn’t have celery I used 1 c chopped bell peppers, and bc canned beans often trigger gf sensitivity I sprinkled the whole thing w one packet of mahatma Spanish rice- adding a 14 ounce can of tomato sauce so it would still be brothy. It was perfect! Thank you for a great recipe.

  16. I saw this recipe one day, made it the next day, tortilla strips and all. My family and I absolutely loved this recipe. My son, who never says much about whether he likes something or not, gave praise and complimented how much flavor the soup had…. You won’t be disappointed with this one…. BTW, I add 8 oz of green chili’s instead of the recommended 4 oz.

  17. Yum! I added some smoked paprika and crumbled up about 8-10 tortilla chips into the broth, letting them dissipate, because a former tortilla soup recipe called for that, and I think it adds a lot to the flavor.

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