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!



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Chicken Tortilla Soup

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 399 reviews
  • 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


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!


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.


  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.


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.


  • 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

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  1. Absolutely a favorite of our family!! The steps are so easy and except for some preliminary chopping of the veggies everything goes in easily and cooks to perfection each time. I serve with honey cornbread on the side which goes great with this.

    1. Great to hear Papita! Glad you are enjoying and I love the pairing with honey cornbread. Yum!

  2. This is hands down my favorite IP soup recipe. I make it for my family every other week. I follow the recipe exact, and use organic Chicken Bone Broth, and organic canned black beans & corn. Its seriously so simple and delicious! Especially with a big spoonful of sour cream to top each bowl. It also gives us a few days of leftovers. I told myself next time I made it, I’d have to leave a review 😂 So here we are.

  3. Delish! I made this in the instant pot with skinless, boneless thighs, which I sauteed first. Used hatch chilis and added some sazon, zucchini and leftover succotash. Rich and delicious without being heavy.

    1. Perfect and love your creative additions! It’s a soup that feels good all year around.

  4. Made this for a crowd and everyone agreed it was the best chicken tortilla soup they’ve ever had! I have to say your recipes are rivaling the NY Times, great job, Sylvia and crew!

    1. Awww… super sweet, thanks Robert, we try! Glad you enjoyed this soup!

  5. I made this tortilla soup tonight and it was amazing. I really appreciate the clear steps and tips. The chicken was so easy to shred and so juicy. Made my own tortilla strips too following the instructions. At 30 minutes my instapot still wasn’t naturally released yet and I didn’t want it to cook too much more than it was supposed to. So I did the quick release which still took over 5 minutes.

  6. Super easy to make! I did use half the green chiles because I can’t handle the heat! Haha! Delicious! I used chicken thighs, and they were so juicy and shredded with little effort. I also used canned black beans, which worked out perfectly!

    1. Perfect, sounds tasty Lori! Thanks for sharing your adaptions- helpful!

  7. We have this on rotation at our house and it is my go-to dinner to make for friends. So healthy and so much flavor! Thank you!

  8. I’ve made this for two dinner parties recently and it’s a huge hit. I completely filled the instant pot and it was almost empty after the last one. I cooked for 12 minutes on the chili/stew function and let it naturally release for about 20 minutes. I sub crushed tomatoes as I like the tomatoes more blended. It’s a winner! So delicious. Always get requests for it! 🙂

  9. Love this recipe and use it all the time and just switch up the ingredients. I often times use salsa verde instead of the tomatoes and chiles or sometimes use Rotel.

  10. Made it on the stovetop with canned beans, no problem. Didn’t really have to make any adjustments at all. Easy, quick, delicious, and healthy. Exactly what we were craving on a cold night. My husband had three bowls. Makes a lot. Thank you, as always, for your perfect recipes.

  11. Such a delicious recipe. I actually decided to make a vegetarian version by using vegetable broth, a can of black beans and one can of corn. This still allowed it to be very brothy and to top I used avocado and tortilla chips. Really enjoyed it and thanks for sharing it!

  12. Omg this is fabulous. Thank you so much for the tips and notes too. They helped very much. The baked tortilla strips were so darn good! I made this with all broth and no water so I omitted the the salt, and rightly so. In the end it needed no additional seasoning but every single topping you listed adds more and more flavor. Unless you don’t like a topping listed I recommend using them all! My bowl was scrumptious, filling and totally satisfying! I wanted to post a pic but couldn’t figure out how, although it looked almost identical to yours.

    1. Great to hear Jeanette! Glad you enjoyed all the flavors. And sorry,our website doesn’t let you upload pictures, but you always can on FB or Instagram!

  13. This dish was amazing! Tons of flavor and very easy to make. My wife who’s NOT an instapot fan loved it. I made only one change and that was to season and brown the chicken in the instapot. Removed the browned chicken then sauteed the onions, etc., in the chicken juices. Wow. Thank you for sharing!

  14. Hi, if using canned beans should you rinse first? Also, I only have bone in skin on thighs but figure that will work too. Thoughts?

    1. Hi Blair! I usually rinse the beans first. Bone-in thighs are fine- if they have skin, you may want to brown them up first.

  15. This soup is absolutely perfect. My young kids gobble it up! It’s perfect the way it is, but I have made it so many times now in the instant pot and in a dutch oven, with chicken, or adding already cooked chicken at the end, I have started adding things here and there to get more veggies in the kids. We use hominy instead of corn, and I throw in zucchini if I have one. I use smoked paprika in place of some of the chili powder. Thank you for such an amazing recipe!

  16. Wow! This is the best CTS I’ve ever tasted. Don’t know why it’s so much better than others. Used chicken bone broth; no water (extra broth); no celery so used grd. celery seed. Excellent!

  17. This recipe came out great. I made it with frozen chicken breasts and no problem. Everyone loved it. Even the kiddos. So simple and so delicious. Especially with all the toppings. Thanks so much for sharing the recipe. We are definitely making this crowd pleaser again.

  18. All these recipe blogs are so dorky. Truly. But guess what? This is the best chicken tortilla soup I’ve ever had. Simple, clean, and spiced right. Follow the recipe, you’ll see. Thank you!

    1. Hi Lori, I think you could drop the frozen chicken in just fine ( as long as it is in pieces- breasts, thighs-not a whole chicken) and not change anything!

  19. Did you add the seasoning pellets from the Trader Joes Frozen Mexican Corn? Or remove the pellets and just add the corn?

    Thank you for the recipe!

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