Homemade Chicken Tortilla Soup
Chicken tortilla soup will forever and always be one of my favorites. Who can resist those fresh, well spiced Mexican flavors in a cozy bowl of soup?
This quick version includes so much texture and flavor variations but it truly just comes together so perfectly. Layer upon layer of enticing taste.
And a critical part of what really makes this soup so good are those toppings . So pile the toppings high and serve it warm and steamy!
About This Costa Rican Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe
One of our favorite recipes here at Casa Pura Vida is Sopa Azteca it tastes like home for my husband, I LOVE anything with melted cheese, and the girls have been eating it as one of their first foods ever since we transitioned them to table food.
Although this is similar to a Chicken Tortilla Soup as served in México, I first discovered this soup living in my husbands hometown of San Ramón, Costa Rica.
Making it brings back memories for both of us, and we wanted to share the recipe with you! This is Costa Rican Style Sopa Azteca , and its incredibly easy and fast to make. I especially appreciate this chicken tortilla soup is made from scratch- but Ive got substitutions if you want to take a few shortcuts.
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More Ways To Make Tortilla Soup
- If you are looking to make it in a crockpot then check out my Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup recipe.
- Another delicious variation to try is my Grilled Chicken Tortilla Soup which includes grilled chicken breast, grilled corn and fire roasted tomatoes for a delicious lightly charred background flavor, so good!
- Love a creamy soup? Try my Creamy Chicken Tortilla Soup.
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How To Make Easy Chicken Tortilla Soup
Only 5 steps to making this quick soup:
Chunky Chicken Tortilla Soup
This Chunky Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe comes together in 30 minutes and packs a ton of flavor and veggies! Make this soup for dinner any night of the week or freeze some for later.
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You guys know by now I love all Mexican-inspired food and tortilla soup is no exception. This Chunky Chicken Tortilla Soup is a game-changer when it comes to quick and easy meals because it comes together in about 30 minutes!
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How To Make This Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe
Making creamy tortilla soup is a pretty easy process. Its more or less simply adding the ingredients to a large pot in a particular order! When all is said and done, this recipe yields 12 servings.
First, place two tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot and heat over medium heat.
Add the onions, green pepper, garlic, and cilantro and sauté until fragrant.
Then, add the chicken broth, tomatoes, beans, corn, chilies, and lime juice, and stir.
Add the remaining spices and then the chicken breasts.
Cover the pot and bring everything to a boil.
Once boiling, lower the heat and let simmer over medium heat for 10 minutes.
Remove the chicken breasts from the soup and let them rest for 10 minutes on a plate. Add the cream cheese and milk to the pot, and stir until the cream cheese is melted.
Add the Pennsylvania Dutch Noodles and let simmer for 10 minutes.
Put the shredded chicken back in the soup and let simmer for an additional 10 minutes.
Garnish with whatever youd like , and serve!
To make homemade tortilla chips, start by cutting the corn tortillas into thin strips. We like them very thin because it creates extra crisp chips!
Toss the strips with olive oil and salt to coat them.
Bake the strips at 400°F for about 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown.
The Perfect Fall Tortilla Soup Recipe
Its here the official season of soup! At least, thats the case in my house. Anything thats warm, cozy, and filled with flavor is a yes for us!
Today, Im sharing one of my very best soup recipes with you: creamy chicken tortilla soup. Its savory and flavorful, and its made with protein-rich ingredients that leave you feeling full and satisfied!
Each ingredient in this recipe plays a vital role, with the most important being the egg noodles. Thats because soup requires the perfect balance of texture! You need a bit of soft, a bit of crunchy. And you certainly cant have soggy noodles! For that reason, its important to choose the perfect brand, which is why I went with Pennsylvania Dutch Egg Noodles.
The way the noodles pair with the crunch of the onion and pepper and the flavor of the beans delicious! Shop them here!
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Tips For The Best Chicken Tortilla Soup
- Be generous with the spices and cilantro. You can even add more to taste than what Ive listed.
- Bloom the spices. That sautéing step with the onions really livens up their flavors.
- Use bone-in cooked chicken for best flavor.
- Dont substitute water or bouillon cubes for broth. You wont have as much flavor in the soup.
- Load up on the tortilla chips or strips, this is chicken tortilla soup after all. Depending on the texture you prefer you can wait to add them with individual servings. Some people like to cook them right into the soup .
Chicken Tortilla Soup Big Batch And Freezer Friendly
This chicken tortilla soup is loaded with shredded chicken, bell peppers, black beans and corn. Because it’s a big batch recipe and makes so much you will love being able to freeze portions of it for a quick and effortless dinner another time. Such an easy freezer meal the whole family will love.
I love chicken tortilla soup, everyone in my family actually does! I always make this bag batch version and then freeze it for later days.
It taste just as good, maybe even better when reheated later.
That may be a soup thing though, it always tastes 10 x better the next day. I know it’s definitely true for this creamy chicken gnocchi soup.
Throughout trips, home moves and life milestones this tortilla soup has been our go-to, our tried and true.
When we’re in a pinch, just take it out of the freezer, heat, and dinner is served. I have a love/love relationship with this soup.
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Chicken Tortilla Soup: Faqs
Can I use chicken breasts instead of chicken thighs?
Yes! Of note though, theres a bit more flavor in chicken thighs thats really, really delicious for this soup.
How can I make this vegetarian?
This Instant Pot Sweet Potato Tortilla Soup is an excellent vegetarian-friendly alternative.
What goes with chicken tortilla soup?
Tortilla chips, fried tortilla strips, maybe even these jalapeño corn fritters. SO GOOD!
Can I freeze this soup?
Yes, definitely! Just rewarm on the stovetop.
How can I thicken this soup?
Blended dried tortilla or cornmeal can help thicken this up.
Can this be made in the Instant Pot?
Yes! See recipe notes below.
Can I use bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs?
Yes and itll add a TON of flavor to the soup if you do. Itll just take a little bit of time to remove the skin and bones when everything finishes cooking.
What’s In Chicken Tortilla Soup
This is so filling and hearty, it makes for the perfect little bowl of soup for dinner, or even lunch.
But I love that there’s a lot of yummy stuff packed in, like black beans, corn, bell peppers and of course chicken.
You can go wild with toppings too. My top picks are tortilla strips, or crumbled up tortilla chips if you don’t have corn tortillas, sour cream, extra cheese and cilantro.
Here’s the full list of what’s inside this chicken tortilla soup and everything freezes really well!
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Whats In This Chicken Tortilla Soup
The ingredient list in any tortilla soup is usually very simple but the flavor, we assure you, is not. We like to run the aromatic veggies through the food processor, so the bits are nice and small to start things out. Red onion, a hefty amount of garlic, and then a jalapeño, but you could sub any kind of pepper you like. A chipotle would be great here, dried guajillo or ancho chili for a more authentically Mexican take, or a green bell pepper if you are on the Midwestern level spice chart.
You could add other veg if you like, its yours to play around with! Also, how are you about big tomato chunks in your soup? We are a little about them, so we used a can of crushed tomatoes. Delicious tomato flavor with none of the surprise smush-cubes, you know?
But the real bonus of using a can of crushed tomatoes is the ever so slight, almost elegant thickening it brings to this soup. Kicks things up just one notch on the luxe chart and for that, we are big, big fans. If you are looking for an even thicker soup, some recipes will thicken with blended dried tortillas or cornmeal.
Beyond that all you need is:
- Chicken thighs
- Veggie broth
- All the toppings in the world!
How Do You Make Chicken Tortilla Soup
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Tips For Making The Best Chicken Tortilla Soup
1. Use bone-in chicken. This is a trick.
The thing that makes most soup recipes fail is the store-bought broth. Sure, it’s convenient, but it’s a pretty sad replacement for deliciously rich homemade chicken stock.
To keep the convenience factor high and the workload low, we’re boosting thin and watery store-bought stock with chicken bones. In other words, we’re making our own chicken stock.
The difference this simple trick makes cannot be understated. By slowly simmering the bones for hours, the soup takes on an almost creamy feel and is absolutely bursting with flavor.
Keep this trick in your back pocket when making other soups, too!
2. Blend the onions and garlic. What a sneaky little trick.
That’s right, friends, we’re blending our two favorite flavor enhancers right into the soup.
First, saute them until the onions are golden and caramelized. Then, put them in the blender with the dried peppers that were soaked and a little water and blend them until they become a delicious liquid gold.
This means that every single sip of you take will have all sorts of flavor. It works like magic.
3. Use Dried peppers. This is also worthy of being classified a trick.
Most chicken tortilla soup recipes call for chili powder. The problem with that is most chili powder is not awesomely flavorful. If you want to add The Best title to this soup, pick up some dried peppers.
Take a peek at the picture below to see the peppers we like to use in chicken tortilla soup:
Easy Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe
When I see chicken tortilla soup on a restaurant menu, I get excited. Theres something about the slightly spicy broth with tender chicken, the corn and black beans, juicy tomatoes, creamy avocado, and those addictively good tortilla strips on top that I cant resist.
Rather than making a trip out for it, you can make Mexican tortilla soup at home in 30 minutes and its easy. So many ingredients get tossed into the pot all at once and before you know it this hearty, comforting soup is ready. And it tastes better than my favorite restaurant version.
My family loved this easy tortilla soup and I love that its ready so quickly and with very minimal effort. And its better than from a restaurant.
It makes enough that I stashed half in the freezer for those nights when I just want to pull something out of the freezer for dinner. And with winter cold and flu season around the corner, soup is perfect.
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How To Make Ground Dried Mexican Chili Powder
I use 2-3 different types of dried chiles that come in plastic bags , but you can also just use one type. Take each chile, cut off the stem at the top and empty the seeds out of the middle. Cut up the chile into small pieces and fill a coffee/nut grinder . Pulse until you have a fine powder. Use the ground chiles for this recipe and then store any remaining chile powder in a sealed container for several weeks. This is also what I used to sprinkle on top of the sour cream for the final presentation.
- dried Mexican chiles
- cut up chiles in a grinder
- ground Mexican chiles
Can You Freeze Chicken Tortilla Soup
This chicken tortilla soup makes the perfect freezer meal. It has the exact same consistency as when you first made it, when you reheat it.
For me, that’s the test of a real winner when I think of a freezer meal.
Wait to portion out the soup until it has come to room temperature.
My container of choice is a ziploc freezer bag .
I use these because they are easy to store and stack nicely when you lay them full of soup in the freezer. They don’t take up a lot of space in the freezer.
Here’s a helpful tip when transffering ladles of soup to a freezer bag.
You can actually roll the top of the bag over so you don’t make a sloppy mess, so when you go to zip it closed you wont have soup all over your hands.
Add the broth last. And when you go to reheat, you can add extra chicken broth if it has absorbed.
If you need to add extra chicken broth you may just need a tiny pinch of salt to re-vamp that flavor since it got diluted with more broth.
You can also freeze corn tortillas, so that way you have them on hand when you want to reheat a bag of the soup.
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What You Need To Make This Soup
- Corn Tortillas: Cut into thin strips, sprayed lightly with cooking spray, and toasted in the oven, corn tortillas provide a crispy topping for the soup.
- Onion, Garlic, and Jalapeño Peppers: This veggie trifecta is often used in southwestern style recipes.
- Chili Powder, Cumin, Smoked Paprika, Salt and Pepper: Such a tasty combo of spices and seasoning!
- Canned Diced Tomatoes: Use the petite diced tomatoes, with their juice. Fire roasted tomatoes are good, too. Try to find low sodium tomatoes.
- Black Beans: A couple cans of beans add good nutrition and flavor. Substitute pinto beans or white beans if you prefer.
- Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts: If you prefer dark meat, use boneless skinless chicken thighs. If youve done some meal prep and have cooked chicken in your freezer or fridge, thats perfect, too! I use my Instant Pot to make a big batch of shredded chicken or I roast a bunch of split chicken breasts to use later. And yes, rotisserie chicken is fine, too.
- Chicken Broth: This is soup, so you need some broth! Again, look for low sodium, or no salt added.
- Corn: Fresh, frozen, or canned, doesnt matter. Add it near the end of the cooking time so it doesnt get tough.
- Fresh Cilantro and Lime Juice: The fresh herbs and lime juice perk up the soup, adding a nice fresh flavor.
- Toppings: lime wedges, avocado, shredded cheese, sour cream whatever you like best. Dont forget the tortilla strips you made!
How To Make It
Begin preparing this soup by sautéing some chopped onions and jalapeño peppers in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add chopped bell peppers if you like. Stir in the seasonings, garlic, cumin, smoked paprika and chili powder and cook for one more minute to toast the spices a bit. Toasting the spices deepens the flavor.
Add the uncooked chicken breasts, a couple cans of diced tomatoes, undrained, a couple cans of black beans, and chicken broth to the pan. Bring the soup to a boil, then turn it down and simmer for a bit.
Meanwhile, make the tortilla strips in the oven. Its super easy and you wont be able to stop munching on them, so make extra!
When the soup has finished simmering, remove the chicken. If youre using already cooked chicken, nows the time to add that to the pan instead. Add the corn. Shred the chicken and put it back in the soup. Simmer a few more minutes and youre good to go!
Add a sprinkling of fresh cilantro and a squeeze of lime juice. Top with the tortilla strips .
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