This easy Chicken Tortilla Soup can be a meal in itself or a tasty appetizer, but the secret ingredient in this recipe is what really sets this recipe apart from others and makes this dish "restaurant-quality"!
Ready in 40-minutes, and it's delicious leftover, too!
Feel free to use a deli or rotisserie chicken if you don't have time to bake chicken!
Southwestern, or Mexican Tortilla soup, is a staple menu item in the southwest and you'll find it in restaurants from El Paso to Oklahoma.
Some versions are tomato based; however, this recipe is chicken-broth based, with tender bites of chicken swimming in a flavorful broth of tomatoes, green chiles, corn tortillas, tomatoes, Mexican seasonings and avocado!
You'll love this recipe!
- Super flavorful - the secret ingredient sets this recipe apart from others!
- Quick and easy to make - just add all the ingredients into a stockpot and it's ready in about 40-minutes!
- Affordable -the ingredients aren't expensive or complicated; in fact, you probably have most of these in your pantry right now!
- Gluten-free and dairy-free - no flour, no cream
Here's what you'll need:
Note: I didn't picture the cilantro and avocado as garnish...I have to go to the store and get them.
Also, Rotel tomatoes are a Texas brand...their kind of a Mexican-tomato mixture with onions and green chiles.
If you can't find them in your store, get stewed tomatoes with onions or use canned plain tomatoes and chop up some bell pepper, onion and/or more green chiles
How to make it:
First, cook the chicken. If you want to use a deli or rotisserie chicken, then by all means do!
How to cook the chicken
There are three ways to cook the chicken: bake, boil, saute. Baking results in the best texture and flavor!
- If you want shredded chicken in your soup, bake it; if you want cubes of chicken in your soup, cut the chicken breast into cubes, then saute on the stove.
- To bake: lightly season with a sprinkling of salt, ground cumin and chili powder, place in a lightly oiled baking dish, cover with foil and bake at 350ºF until the internal temperature reaches 165ºF.
- Boil it: place it in lightly salted water and cook until it reaches an internal temperature of 165ºF.
- Stove-top saute method is the quickest. Cut the breast and thighs into small pieces and place them a bit of oil in a hot skillet.
Once the chicken is cooked, simply saute corn tortillas and add remaining ingredients. The flavor of the soup really develops if you let it simmer for 20-minutes or so.
White or dark meat?
For a really nice, robust tortilla soup, use a combination of white and dark. I usually use one large breast and about eight boneless, skinless chicken thighs.
What's the secret ingredient?
The ingredient that really sets this recipe apart from others is the Latin seasoning: Sazon Goya Coriander and Annatto.
This unique spice brings out the flavor and is what makes this easy chicken tortilla soup of "restaurant-quality."
It comes in an orange box (see ingredients above) and is usually found on the general spice aisle, or sometimes in the mexican food section of your grocer.
Want it spicier?
Add spicy-heat to this quick and easy chicken tortilla soup with more chili powder or add fresh jalapenos, hot pepper sauce (like Tabasco) or cayenne pepper.
Of course, you can also add really hot peppers to this dish (think Habanero peppers), or a spicy meat like chorizo.
For a vegan version of tortilla soup, use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth and obviously no meat. Once you've got the broth the way you like it, add jackfruit, mushroom, beans, corn or carrots!
Can I substitute flour tortillas for the corn tortillas?
Corn tortillas are made from Masa flour which has a unique flavor and texture that make this a true tortilla soup.
Flour tortillas are made of plain white flour and do not have the flavor or texture for this recipe, so you'll definitely want to use corn tortillas!
Don't skip the step of adding the torn corn tortillas to the sauteed onions! This is what gives this soup part of it's delicious flavor!
Start by adding 32-ounces of chicken broth. After you add the chicken, the soup will thicken; if you want a thinner soup, add the remaining 16-ounces of broth
If you want to add canned black or pinto beans or corn, rinse and drain before adding
Storage and reheating
Store soup in air tight container for up to 3-days in refrigerator or up to 3-months in the freezer.
Upon reheating, soup may thicken a bit and you might have to add a little water or broth.
The beauty of this easy chicken tortilla soup recipe is it's flavoring and the secret ingredient that creates a complex flavor, but nothing too "over-the-top" and, you can make it as mild or spicy as you like!
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If you make this recipe, please scroll down and leave a comment and rating! I love to hear from you!
Easy Chicken Tortilla Soup
- 2 lbs. chicken , about 1½-2 cups, shredded and cooked
- 1 tablespoon oil , canola or vegetable
- corn tortillas see recipe notes
- 1 cup yellow onion .diced
- 8 ounces green chiles , canned, diced, not drained
- 2 tablespoons ground cumin , divided; 1 Tablespoon for seasoning chicken; 1 Tablespoon for the soup
- 2 tablespoons chili powder , divided; 1 Tablespoon for seasoning chicken; 1 Tablespoon for the soup
- 1 pkg. Sazon Goya Seasoning see recipe notes
- 10 ounces Rotel tomatoes , not drained
- 1 bunch cilantro (garnish)
- 48 oz. chicken broth , low-sodium
- 2 avocados sliced (garnish)
- 1 can black beans drained (optional)
- 1 can sweet yellow corn drained (optional)
First Things First - Cook The Chicken (See Recipe Notes)
- Set cooked, shredded chicken aside2 lbs. chicken, 2 tablespoons ground cumin, 2 tablespoons chili powder
- Add oil to stockpot on medium heat; add onions and 3 torn corn tortillas; cook 5 minutes1 tablespoon oil, corn tortillas, 1 cup yellow onion
- Add Rotel tomatoes, green chiles, chicken broth, cumin, chile powder and Sazon Goya (see recipe notes about adding the chicken broth)8 ounces green chiles, 2 tablespoons ground cumin, 2 tablespoons chili powder, 1 pkg. Sazon Goya Seasoning, 10 ounces Rotel tomatoes, 48 oz. chicken broth
- Add cooked chicken to the stockpot; allow to simmer on low 15-20 minutes2 lbs. chicken
- Garnish with cilantro and sliced avocado and serve1 bunch cilantro, 2 avocados
- Black Beans: if you want to add black beans, drain a can and rinse them; add them about 10 minutes before serving; always taste and adjust seasonings after you add anything to the soup1 can black beans
- Sweet Corn: if you want to add sweet corn, drain a can and rinse; add the corn about 10 minutes before serving; always taste and adjust seasonings after you add anything to the soup1 can sweet yellow corn
Fried Tortilla Strips (optional)
- While your soup is simmering, put ½ cup vegetable oil in a skillet on medium high heat
- Take four tortillas and cut them into fine strips; place tortilla strips into hot oil; remove and place on paper towel; garnish soup with fried tortilla strips
- Bake: season lightly with salt, pepper, cumin and chile powder; place in a lightly oiled baking dish, covered, and bake until it reaches 165ºF internal temperature - OR-
- Saute on the stove: cut into cubes, place in a big bowl, add seasonings, toss, and add to hot skillet
- I like to use a combination of white and dark meat; I usually us one large chicken breast and 6-8 chicken thighs (boneless/skinless)
- If you use chicken thighs with the skin on, remove the skin before adding to the soup and season them lightly with cumin, salt and chili powder (about 1 tablespoon each)