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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


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