Chicken Tortilla Soup is comforting, delicious, and so easy to make at home! Full of freshly cooked or rotisserie chicken, black beans, sweet corn, and healthy veggies and served with all of your favorite toppings, it’s the perfect weeknight dinner and one of my very favorite soups to make!
Chicken Tortilla Soup
Chicken Tortilla Soup, also known as Sopa de Tortilla, is a traditional Mexican soup with several versions and interpretations. Originating in Mexico City, there is one constant among all tortilla soup recipes- the presence of fried tortillas.
I first tried chicken tortilla soup two decades ago while eating at the restaurant, El Torito. An instant favorite, I always ordered a big bowl whenever I had the chance.
Filled with vegetables, chicken, and all your favorite toppings, chicken tortilla soup is easy to make entirely from scratch or with time-saving shortcuts.
What’s In Chicken Tortilla Soup?
For the full list of ingredients scroll down to the recipe card at the bottom of the post.
- Vegetables: onion, poblano pepper, jalapeño pepper, bell peppers, canned tomatoes
- Chicken breasts or Chicken thighs
- Seasoning + aromatics: garlic, ground cumin, chili powder, coriander, Italian seasoning, cilantro
- Low-sodium chicken broth or chicken stock
- Red enchilada sauce
- Canned black beans
- Whole corn kernels
- Green onion
How to Make Chicken Tortilla Soup
1. Sauté the vegetables:
Grab a large Dutch oven or stockpot and sauté the onions over medium-high heat. Once the onions have started to soften, add the poblano pepper, jalapeño pepper, red and green bell peppers, and garlic.
2. Add the seasoning and broth:
Stir in the salt, cumin, chili powder, coriander, Italian seasoning, canned tomatoes, and chicken broth.
If you don’t have all of the spices available, feel free to substitute with approximately 1 tablespoon of your favorite taco seasoning, plus more to taste.
3. Add the chicken:
Bring to a boil and add the chicken. Reduce to a simmer and cover. Allow chicken to cook for approximately 25 minutes.
4. Shred the chicken:
Remove the cooked chicken from the pot and set it aside until it is cool enough to handle. Meanwhile, add the enchilada sauce, black beans, corn, cilantro, green onion, and lime juice to the soup. Mix well to combine. Return the shredded chicken to the pot.
5. Simmer and serve:
Allow the soup to simmer for an additional 10 minutes. Serve with all your favorite toppings!
Chicken Tortilla Soup Toppings
One of the best parts about chicken tortilla soup is the toppings! And, you guys, this soup WANTS you to have fun with the toppings!
- Fresh greens- chopped cilantro and green onion
- Avocado- you want this, trust me
- Fried tortilla strips- homemade or store-bought
- Heat- chopped jalapeño or serrano peppers
- Dairy- cheese, Greek yogurt, or sour cream
- Fresh lime wedges
The heat level of chicken tortilla soup is entirely up to you; in general, however, this soup is relatively mild. If you are sensitive to spicy food, you may want to consider omitting the jalapeño. Also, make sure that the red enchilada sauce you choose is not spicy.
1. Tomato paste. Tomato paste is an amazing natural thickener for things like soups and sauces. Add a couple of tablespoons just before you add the spices, mixing well to thoroughly combine with the vegetables and prevent it from burning.
2. Corn tortillas. All you have to do is chop up a couple of small corn tortillas and toss them in with the simmering soup. You’ll notice that after a period of time, the tortillas will dissolve right in with the soup! The corn tortillas also add really excellent flavor to the broth so it’s a total win-win.
Yes! Chicken tortilla soup is one of the best soups to freeze (just leave the toppings out of it). For best results, thaw, reheat and enjoy within 4 months of freezing.
How to Store Chicken Tortilla Soup
Chicken Tortilla Soup tastes awesome leftover. In fact, I’m just going to go ahead and say that it may even taste better 1-2 days after it is initially made. For that reason, I strongly recommend making a BIG pot of this delicious healthy goodness to enjoy all week.
If you’re not really into eating the same thing two days in a row, you can easily freeze the leftovers for a quick family meal or in pre-portioned containers for lunch.
How to freeze Chicken Tortilla Soup:
- Allow the soup to cool completely before dividing or transferring. I recommend refrigerating overnight, if possible.
- Freeze in either large gallon or quart-sized freezer bags or in freezer-friendly containers.
- Do NOT freeze with the toppings.
- Place the soup-filled bags on a baking sheet or on a flat surface in the freezer to freeze, always making sure to leave a small amount of room in each bag for expansion during freezing.
- Freeze completely and stack each on top of each other or side-by-side for easy storage.
To thaw: transfer frozen bags of soup to the refrigerator to thaw overnight.
Have you tried making this Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe?
Tell me about it in the comments below! I always love to hear your thoughts. And tag me #theforkedspoon on Instagram if you’ve made any of my recipes, I always love to see what you’re cooking in the kitchen.
Chicken Tortilla Soup
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 medium onions - chopped
- 1 poblano pepper - seeded and diced
- 1 jalapeño - seeded and diced (optional)
- 1 red bell pepper - seeded and chopped
- 1 green bell pepper - seeded and chopped
- 6 cloves garlic - minced
- 2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
- 1 teaspoon coriander
- 2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 2 (15 ounce) cans fire roasted tomatoes
- 8 cups low-sodium chicken broth - (or water)
- 3 chicken breasts
- 10 oz red enchilada sauce - (approximately)
- 1 (15 ounce) can black beans - drained
- 2 (15 ounce) cans whole corn kernels - drained
- ½ cup cilantro - chopped
- ½ cup green onion - chopped
- 1 lime - juiced
- Tortilla strips
- Lime wedges
- Sour cream
- Chopped cilantro
- Sliced avocado
- Add olive oil to a large stock pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook for 4-6 minutes, stirring often. Add the poblano pepper, jalapeño, red, and green bell pepper. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute.
- Add the salt, cumin, ancho chili powder, ground coriander, Italian seasoning, canned tomatoes, and chicken broth (or water), to the pot. Cover soup and bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to a simmer over medium-low heat. Add the chicken breasts and return the lid to the pot.
- Allow the chicken to cook for 25-30 minutes. Carefully remove the chicken breasts from the pot and transfer to a clean cutting board. Let rest until cool enough to handle then shred with a fork.
- Return the shredded chicken back to the pot. Add the enchilada sauce, black beans, corn kernels, cilantro, green onion, and lime juice. Simmer for an additional 10-15 minutes.
- Garnish with fresh cilantro, chopped green onion, lime juice, avocado, sour cream, and tortilla strips, if desired.
- If you are super sensitive to spicy foods, I recommend skipping the jalapeño and adding half the recommended chili powder. Also, make sure that whichever red enchilada sauce you choose is not spicy.
- If you do not have all the spices listed to make this soup, your favorite taco seasoning would make an excellent substitute. Add approximately 1 tablespoon in place of the cumin, chili powder, salt, and coriander. Season with more taco seasoning or salt to taste.
- Feel free to add pre-cooked shredded chicken breasts or even shredded rotisserie chicken!
- Nutritional information does not include the optional garnishes.
(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.)