My Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe is a family favorite and easy go-to meal for busy weeknights. Use up leftover chicken or a grocery store rotisserie to make it even simpler!
Chicken Tortilla Soup is an easy weeknight recipe for a cold winter night, or anytime of the year. We love it topped with cheese, avocado and crushed tortilla chips and served with a big green salad on the side.
Chicken Tortilla Soup
Chicken Tortilla Soup (or sometimes we just call it Taco Soup) is a favorite around our house. Everybody loves it – kids and adults alike! It’s incredibly simple to make, and takes just 30 minutes. You could even cut that down to 20 if you’re using pre-cooked chicken. There are so many delicious flavors in this soup, it’s sure to be a hit with your family, too.
I can whip up a big pot of this Chicken Tortilla Soup and have leftovers because my kids love to take it in their thermoses for school lunches; and it makes their PB&J eating friends super jealous!
What is Chicken Tortilla Soup made of?
Tortilla soup is a classic Mexican soup made with a chicken broth (or sometimes tomato) base. It is simmered with lots of shredded chicken, beans and corn, then topped with tortilla strips and any other favorite toppings you’d like to include.
The base of this recipe is of course CHICKEN! I use different methods for cooking the chicken. I almost always make a couple extra pieces when I cook my Baked Chicken Breasts, and I always have some Slow Cooker Shredded Chicken on hand. If you don’t have any on hand, pick up a rotisserie chicken from your grocery store and just shred the chicken off the bone.
Other ingredients you’ll need for Chicken Tortilla Soup:
Chicken broth – this is the base of your soup. I like to use the low-sodium version so I can control the salt content.
Onion and garlic – Two of my favorite ingredients for just about anything. Minced and sauteed in olive oil they make your kitchen smell fantastic.
Corn (canned, frozen or fresh) – I typically use canned unless we happen to have some fresh on hand.
Black beans or Pinto beans – Black beans are my preference for tortilla soup, but if your family are black bean fans, feel free to use those.
Taco seasoning – Adds all the flavor!
Corn tortillas or tortilla chips (we like to use both) – I like to put soft tortilla strips at the bottom of the bowl; as they soften they actually thicken the soup. Tortilla chips on top add a nice crunchy texture.
HOW TO MAKE CHICKEN TORTILLA SOUP
Soup is one of the easiest meals to make on busy nights because you pretty much just throw a bunch of ingredients into a pot, stir it up and let it simmer. The simmering gives all the flavors a chance to marry and play nice together. This is a versatile recipe as you can use your favorites – salsa or diced tomatoes? You decide! Pinto beans or black beans? You be the judge! Don’t like corn? Leave it out! Plus you can create a toppings station and add even more ingredients to the bowl, just like on Taco night!
For the Tortilla Soup:
Start by sauteing onions in olive oil in a large soup pot. Once they’re soft, add some garlic and taco seasoning and let that cook for about a minute. You’ll want to keep stirring everything so it doesn’t burn.
Add chicken, corn, beans and salsa to the pot, then pour in the chicken broth. Bring the tortilla soup to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cover the pot. Let it simmer for 20-30 minutes.
Time to serve! Place corn tortilla strips in the base of the bowl and ladle in the soup. Top with your favorite toppings.
What really makes this soup Chicken “TORTILLA” Soup is of course the tortillas! You can put some cut up corn tortillas right in the bottom of your bowl and they soften and mix with the soup, making it a little more thick, like a stew. Or you can use tortilla chips, and they won’t melt into the soup quite as much. And if you add the chips as a garnish, they add a lovely crunch to all the softer ingredients.
For garnishes we use things like sliced avocado, fresh lime, cilantro, sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese and diced tomatoes.
What spices are used in Chicken Tortilla Soup?
I use my yummy homemade Taco Seasoning, but you can use a pre-mixed from the store (I like this one). The main seasonings you want to include if you’re not using a taco seasoning blend are chili powder and cumin.
Heat a large pot with a tablespoon of oil. Add diced onions and cook, stirring often, until translucent and soft; about 3-4 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook 1 minute. Stir in taco seasoning and salt and cook an additional minute.
Stir in chicken, corn and black beans, then pour in chicken broth and salsa. Stir and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Taste and add salt as desired.
Place a small handful of corn tortillas or tortilla chips into the bottoms of the bowls. Pour ladlefuls of soup over the chips in the bowls and top with desired garnishes, like cilantro, sour cream, cheese, avocado, and of course lots of tortilla chips!
*Nutritional count does not include optional garnishes.
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Kristin Maxwell is the creator and main recipe developer, writer, and photographer of Yellow Bliss Road. A self-taught cook and self-appointed foodie, she specializes in easy, flavorful and approachable recipes for any home cook.