Chicken Tortilla Soup
This easy Chicken Tortilla Soup is bursting with fresh, zesty Tex-Mex flavor! Top your tortilla soup with crunchy tortilla strips, avocado, and sour cream for a comforting weeknight dinner. Ready in under 40 minutes!
The Best Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe
This one-pot Chicken Tortilla Soup brings delicious comfort and a surprising element of fun to the table. It’s a family favorite soup recipe filled with tender chicken and veggies, made in one pot and ready in under 40 minutes!
My friend Meghan shared this recipe with me many years ago. It’s a riff on the chicken tortilla soup from local restaurant Brasa. While this soup is no longer on their menu (sadly), I’m happy that we can still enjoy its goodness at home!
Why You’ll Love This Chicken Tortilla Soup
- Hearty ingredients. This soup starts with a seasoned broth, loaded with bites of fresh veggies, sweet corn kernels, black beans, and chicken. It’s an easy recipe that’s bursting with Tex-Mex-inspired flavors.
- Quick to make. Your chicken tortilla soup comes together on the stovetop in under an hour. Simmer everything together, and serve your bowls topped with crunchy tortilla strips and more of your favorite toppings!
- Cheesy goodness. What makes this one-pot soup recipe extra special is the surprise hiding at the bottom of the bowl: chunks of fresh mozzarella cheese! The cheese keeps its form, but the warm soup transforms it into ooey-gooey blissful bites. This reminds me of the cheesy yum in lasagna soup, which EVERYONE loves!
Chicken soup is the ultimate comfort food, isn’t it? If you love this wholesome chicken tortilla soup, try more easy recipes like Thai chicken soup, coconut curry chicken soup, and chicken wild rice soup.
What You’ll Need
This easy soup recipe is loaded with robust Mexican flavors and ingredients, like chili powder, Mexican oregano, corn, and black beans. Scroll down to the recipe card for a printable ingredients list.
- Onion and bell pepper
- Olive oil – For sauteing the vegetables and garlic.
- Seasonings – This easy tortilla soup is seasoned with chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, Mexican oregano, chipotle powder, salt, and black pepper.
- Diced tomatoes – Canned diced tomatoes are convenient and perfect in this soup.
- Tomato paste – Adds richer tomato flavor to the soup.
- Chicken broth – Be sure to use low-sodium broth, to better control the salt.
- Corn and black beans – Typical Tex-Mex ingredients add nutrients, protein, flavor, and texture to the soup.
- Chicken – You can either grab a roasted deli chicken or cook/roast two chicken breast halves yourself.
- Lime juice – A squeeze of lime juice adds a bright note to the soup.
- Mozzarella cheese – Down under all those tasty spoonfuls of soup lies the real star of the show, melty mozzarella cheese! I add chunks of mozzarella to the bowls before filling them with soup.
- Garnishes – I always offer avocado, cilantro, green onions, tortilla crisps, (more!) lime, and sour cream when serving.
How to Make Chicken Tortilla Soup
This chicken tortilla soup comes together quickly, perfect for busy weeknights. Below is a visual step-by-step. You’ll find the printable instructions in the recipe card at the bottom of the post.
- Saute the onions and peppers. Cook the onion, sweet bell peppers, and garlic in the oil until just softened.
- Add the broth. Stir in the chicken broth, tomatoes, tomato paste, and seasonings. Bring to a boil. Afterward, reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Add the remaining ingredients. Lastly, stir in the corn, black beans, shredded chicken, and lime juice. Simmer until everything is heated, about 10 minutes.
- Serve. Ladle the hot soup over fresh mozzarella and avocado in individual bowls. Top with your desired garnishes and serve with fresh lime on the side.
Tips and Variations
Here are a few tips and variations to keep in mind when making this one-pot soup.
- Use leftover chicken. If you have any leftover chicken breasts in the fridge, this recipe is a great way to use them. Whenever I roast or grill chicken breasts, I often cook more than I need for a recipe, and then throw the extra chicken into the freezer for a later meal – which comes in handy when making this soup!
- Make it spicy. Want to give this soup an extra kick? Stir in some chopped or sliced jalapenos for added heat. Or offer jalapeno on the side. Or sprinkle in some ground chipotle powder, which will also give a smoky flavor besides the heat.
- Taste test before serving. I always sneak a spoonful or two of this soup before serving to see if it needs any extra salt or other spices. All of the ingredients – tomato paste, chicken broth, deli chicken, beans, etc – can have varying levels of saltiness, so it always pays to taste test and adjust if needed.
- Make it creamy. If you prefer creamy soups, you can stir in some cream or half & half, or even a bit of cream cheese, while the soup is simmering.
Toppings turn this easy chicken tortilla soup into the best kind of make-it-your-own dinner. Load up your bowls with your favorite toppings, add a few lime wedges to squeeze over top, and dinner is served! Here are some of our favorite soup topping ideas:
- Green onions
- Sour cream
- Tortilla crisps or chips (see below)
- Sliced jalapenos and/or pickled jalapenos
- Hot sauce
- Pickled red onions
- Shredded cheese (especially if not using mozzarella)
Easy Homemade Tortilla Strips
Crispy tortilla strips are the perfect garnish for a bowl of chicken tortilla soup! You can find bags of tortilla strips at the store near the croutons. It’s also super easy to make tortilla strips at home in just two steps:
- Cut tortillas into strips. Cut corn tortillas into strips, about 1/4″ in width.
- Fry. Fry the strips in olive oil. Transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel to drain. Sprinkle with salt if desired.
How to Serve Chicken Tortilla Soup
When our family eats this chicken tortilla soup, we always add fresh mozzarella and avocado to the bottom of our bowls. Cut up large chunks of fresh mozzarella, or use small mozzarella balls or even smaller mozzarella “pearls”. For the avocado, just cut it into bite-sized chunks. When you ladle the hot soup over the mozzarella, the cheese transforms into soft, super melty, ooey-gooey fun!
For a satisfying Mexican-inspired dinner, pair this soup with your protein of choice, like these zesty grilled shrimp skewers or a Southwest salad with chicken and a starter of Southwest egg rolls. Wash down your meal with a refreshing margarita or tequila mojito!
Storing and Reheating Leftovers
- Fridge. Leftover chicken tortilla soup can be kept in an airtight container and stored in the fridge for up to 4 days. Be sure to keep any toppings separate and add them just before serving, as some (like avocado) won’t reheat or store well.
- Freeze. Allow the soup to cool completely, then transfer it to airtight, freezer-safe containers. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge.
- Reheat. Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop, bringing it to a simmer, and then serve as usual with your favorite toppings.
More Easy Soup Recipes
- Minestrone Soup
- Cheesy Pizza Soup
- Shrimp and Corn Chowder
- Homemade Ginger Chicken Soup
- Italian Turkey Tortellini Soup
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Chicken Tortilla Soup
- 1 yellow onion chopped
- 2 sweet bell peppers any color(s) you like, chopped
- 3 large garlic cloves minced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
- ½ teaspoon ground chipotle powder
- 1 to 2 teaspoons kosher salt to taste
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 can 28 ounces diced tomatoes
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 32 ounces low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 can 14 ounces corn, drained – or use fresh sweet corn kernels, so good!
- 1 can 14 ounces black beans, rinsed and drained
- 3 to 4 cups cooked shredded chicken breasts – a roasted deli chicken works great!
- 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice
Optional Garnishes, see Notes for more ideas:
- fresh mozzarella cut into 1″ chunks – or use small mozzarella balls or “pearls”
- fresh avocado cut into 1″ chunks
- Heat a medium-sized, heavy-bottomed soup pot over medium heat. Add oil. Once oil is shimmering, stir in onion, sweet bell peppers, and garlic. Stir occasionally, until just softened, about 4-5 minutes.
- Then add chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, oregano, chipotle powder, salt, pepper, tomatoes, tomato paste, and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Stir in corn, black beans, shredded chicken, and lime juice. Simmer for 10 minutes more, or until heated throughout.
- To serve: Place avocado and mozzarella in the bottom of individual serving bowls. Ladle hot soup over the top. The cheese will stay in its form but become melted and ooey-gooey, yummy! Top soup with cilantro, green onions, sour cream, and tortilla crisps or chips. Offer fresh lime slices on the side for squeezing over the top.
This post was originally published in 2011, then updated in 2022.