So flavorful and nutritious, chicken tortilla soup is mildly spicy and easy to make. With black beans, corn, tomatoes, and homemade crispy corn tortilla strips, it’s sure to please! 

Closeup of chicken tortilla soup in square white bowl, garnished with crushed tortilla chips and wedge of lime.

This popular chicken tortilla soup is easy to throw together, even when you don’t feel like doing any cooking. You can prepare it in less than an hour. With southwestern flavors of cumin, smoked paprika, and chili powder, it’s super flavorful. 

Chicken tortilla soup is popular in a lot of restaurants and it’s so easy to make at home. I’m sure it’s much healthier than restaurant versions, too, because you control the sodium and fat. 

About this chicken tortilla soup

Use boneless skinless chicken breasts for this soup. If you prefer, chicken thighs are great, too. If you’ve done some meal prep and have cooked chicken in your freezer or fridge, that’s perfect, too! I often have bags of frozen cooked chicken ready to use. 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.

Begin preparing this soup by sautéing some chopped onions and  jalapeño peppers. You could also add chopped bell peppers if you like. Add the seasonings, garlic, cumin, smoked paprika and chili powder (or my homemade taco seasoning!) stirring, and cooking 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. If you want, pinto beans would be a good replacement for the black beans. Use low sodium tomatoes, beans, and chicken broth if you can.

Bring the soup to a boil, then turn it down and simmer for a bit. 

Meanwhile make the tortilla strips in the oven. It’s super easy and you won’t be able to stop munching on them, so make extra!

When the soup has finished simmering, remove the chicken. If you’re using cooked chicken, now’s the time to add that to the pan instead. Add a can of corn or frozen corn. Shred the chicken and add it back to the pan. Simmer a few more minutes and you’re good to go!

Add a sprinkling of fresh cilantro and a squeeze of lime juice. Top with the tortilla strips (if you haven’t eaten all of them!). 

Toppings really make this soup shine! Try sour cream, fresh cilantro or green onions, cubed avocado, shredded cheese, or whatever you like!

Oh, don’t forget a Dos Equis. With lime. Enjoy!

NOTE: This recipe was updated 4/14/2021. I hope to update the photos soon so they reflect the recipe more closely.

Overhead view of soup in bowl, with spoon alongside and wedge of lime, on wooden cutting board.

More chicken soup!

 

Closeup of chicken tortilla soup in square white bowl, garnished with crushed tortilla chips and wedge of lime.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Yield: 12 cups
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

So flavorful and nutritious, chicken tortilla soup is mildly spicy and easy to make. With black beans, corn, tomatoes, and crispy homemade corn tortilla strips, it's sure to please! 

Ingredients

  • 6 (5-6 - inch) corn tortillas, cut in half, and then into 1/4-inch wide strips
  • Cooking spray, avocado or olive oil spray
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, avocado oil, or grapeseed oil
  • 1 cup diced onion (about 1 medium onion)
  • 2 jalapeño peppers, finely diced (about ⅓ cup)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, more to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon coarse ground black pepper, more to taste
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 2 cans (14.5 oz) petite diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 cans (15 oz) black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 ½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (2-3 chicken breasts)
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • ⅓ cup fresh cilantro leaves, finely minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • lime wedges, avocado, shredded cheese (Monterey jack or cheddar) for garnishing

Instructions

  1. In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, jalapeño, salt, and pepper, and cook until softened and translucent, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add garlic, chili powder, and cumin; stir and cook for one more minute or until fragrant.
  2. Add tomatoes, beans, chicken, and broth. Increase heat to high to bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to medium-low and partially cover pan to maintain a simmer.
  3. Simmer for 20 to 30 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.
  4. Meanwhile, make tortilla strips. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray, avocado oil, or olive oil spray. Arrange tortilla strips in an even layer on prepared baking sheet; spray lightly with cooking spray, avocado oil, or olive oil spray. Bake for 12-14 minutes,  stirring once, until golden brown and crispy. Check frequently to make sure they don’t burn.
  5. Remove chicken breasts from soup and add corn.
  6. Using two forks, shred chicken. Return to soup, continue to cook until heated through. Add water if soup seems too thick.
  7. Remove from heat and stir in cilantro and lime juice. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper, to taste.
  8. Serve immediately, topped with crispy tortilla strips, lime wedges, avocado slices, and shredded cheese.

Notes

  • Instead of raw chicken, use 1-2 lbs. shredded cooked chicken breasts or thighs. A rotisserie chicken works well!
  • Instead of traditional diced tomatoes, try fire-roasted or the variety with green chiles.
  • Additional toppings: sour cream, fresh cilantro or green onions, cubed avocado, etc.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1 1/2
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 421Total Fat: 20gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 75mgSodium: 1092mgCarbohydrates: 31gFiber: 9gSugar: 10gProtein: 33g

RachelCooks.com sometimes provides nutritional information, but these figures should be considered estimates, as they are not calculated by a registered dietitian. Please consult a medical professional for any specific nutrition, diet, or allergy advice.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram