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

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 398 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

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

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Comments

  1. Easy to follow and super yummy. My husband isn’t always big on soup and he loved this one 10/10 will be making again.






    1. Hi Kimberly! I would add 3 minutes- and be sure they are separated and not in one big block.

  2. This is a really delicious soup. Lovely blend of flavours. I omitted the tortillas but added red and green peppers and sweetcorn. Definitely would recommend. Yum 😋






  3. This soup is delicious! I made it in my instapot and doubled everything in the recipe EXCEPT the liquid. I only used 4 cups of chicken stock, pressure cooked for 14 minutes and it came out perfectly and with great flavor! I can’t imagine this recipe with double the amount of chicken stock and water as well.






    1. I hardly ever comment on online recipes but I just want to give kudos to you for this recipe. I made it tonight and really loved it! Even though I didn’t have any lime in the house, it was still quite tasty. Next time I’ll be sure to have lime on hand!






  4. I just made this and my husband keeps commenting about how great it is as he goes back for additional bowls of soup! Adaptions I made: I didn’t have 2 lb of chicken, just one breast that was a little under 1 lb, but the pot still seems to be full of chicken after I shredded the breast. I did add about 1/4 cup of quinoa due to the lack of chicken. I used fire roasted tomatoes. I also used 2T of garlic powder instead of fresh garlic, and added 1t of smoked paprika. Topped it with chopped cilantro, avocado, and toasted flour tortilla strips. Served it with a slaw on the side (sliced cabbage, cilantro and green onions with lime juice, olive oil and salt). Great dinner that I will definitely make again!






  5. I have been making this recipe for several years and it is easily the best tortilla soup recipe that I’ve found. I always get compliments on it and friends/family frequently request it.






  6. Please clarify slow cooker directions. “For slow cooker version, cook as stated above, then cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours, or on High for 3 to 4 hours.”. If we’re cooking as stated above, why put in slow cooker? Please let me know when to transition to crockpot.

    1. Hi Heather, After steps 1 & 2 you can transfer to the crockpot. Instructions are more clear now!

  7. Amazing recipe!! Perfect instructions and taste is incredible if steps followed- my family loves this soup with baked honey cornbread.






  8. This is my favorite chicken tortilla soup recipe. I’ve been making it consistently for years, and everyone always tells me how great it is. My kids regularly ask for me to make this. It’s delicious!






  9. Has the recipe card changed? I’ve made this countless times over the last year or so, and this time when I was making it I couldn’t seem to find the same directions as before for a) using an instant pot (the directions seem much more brief now?), and b) using frozen chicken breasts or thighs. I relied on having made it so many times before, but I sure miss the old directions. (Or am I imagining things??)

    1. Hi Jessica- it has changed just very slightly to make it more clear. Instant pot directions are in the recipe card body. If using frozen chicken with dry beans in the instant pot the pressure cooking time will not change. Hopefully this helps!

  10. I’m planning to make this soup tonight (Instant Pot version). If I don’t add beans at all, would I need to pressure cook on high for 25 minutes or 14 minutes? Also, it is a manual release right? Thanks!

    1. Hi Julia, Check the notes in the recipe card, there are some specific instructions for cooking time depending on what cut of chicken you are using. Yes, you can manually release.

  11. My daughter-in-law made me the soup when I had Covid and it tasted like the best thing I’ve ever eaten and have been making it since….. I think it is absolutely delicious and it really hit the spot 😉






  12. Delicious and easy to make. I substituted a poblano chili (the dark green, big shouldered chili mislabeled as “pasilla” here in California) as described in the recipe because we have easy availability here, and kept the chili powder amount the same. Enjoyable spice level.






  13. I’ve made this several times in my instant pot and today I cooked it on the stovetop. Either way it is an amazing recipe. I added one can each of black beans and corn and use all the toppings. The tortilla strips are amazing and a big hit with my family. Thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe.






  14. Have you made this with frozen chicken breasts? I have had a lot of success pressure cooking frozen chicken and it still turns out great. Wasn’t sure if you had a particular tip on doing so in this recipe?

    1. Yes, I think it works just fine as long as they aren’t huge, you should be fine. Perhaps add a couple of minutes?

      1. Wow wow wow… this turned out AMAZING. I used medium -large sized frozen chicken breasts and 15 mins in the pressure cooker worked great. I also added Chipotle powder, which I toasted with all my spices at the start, and used homemade bone broth. I have been asked to make this on a near monthly basis from now on!






  15. The perfect easy recipe! I’ve made this many times with a variety of simple modifications based on stocked ingredients.






  16. Love this instant pot recipe. So easy to make and super delicious.

    I also like to add a cup oor two of cubed chayote to mine. You can use it in place of or with the carrots. 💚






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