Tortilla Soup can be a meal in itself or a tasty appetizer, but the secret ingredient in this recipe makes this dish restaurant quality no matter how you serve it! Make this heart-warming soup with meat or vegetarian and serve with chips and guacamole!
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!
The beauty of this 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!
What Type of Chicken Should I Use for Tortilla Soup?
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.
How to Cook the Chicken
There are three ways to cook the chicken: bake, boil, saute. Baking and boiling take the most time.
- To bake the chicken, season it, place in in the baking dish, cover with foil and bake at 350ºF until the internal temperature reaches 165ºF.
- If you want to boil the chicken, place it in lightly salted water and cook until it reaches an internal temperature of 165ºF.
- The stove-top saute method is the quickest. Cut the chicken breast and thighs into small pieces and place them a bit of oil in a hot skillet.
Can I Make this Dish More Spicy?
Add spicy-heat to this tortilla soup with more chile 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.
How Do I Make Vegan Tortilla Soup?
A vegan version of tortilla soup uses 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!
- 2 lbs. chicken see recipe notes
- 48 oz. chicken broth
- 1 can Rotel tomatoes (buy 2 boxes of chicken stock/broth)
- 1 small can diced green chiles
- 1 pkg. corn tortillas see recipe notes
- 1 pkg. Sazon Goya Seasoning see recipe notes
- 1 can black beans drained (optional)
- 1 can sweet yellow corn drained (optional)
- 1 bunch cilantro
- 2 avocados sliced
- 1 medium yellow onion diced
- 2 tablespoons ground cumin divided, see recipe notes
- 2 tablespoons chile powder see recipe notes
- 1 tablespoon oil
First Things First - Cook The Chicken
- There are a couple of ways to cook the chicken-bake, saute or boil. If you want shredded chicken in your soup, bake it. If you want cubed chicken in your soup, saute it on the stove. I don't recommend boiling the chicken because it gets watered down and rubbery:(Bake the chicken: season lightly with salt, pepper, cumin and chile powder; place in a lightly oiled baking dish, covered, and bake until the chicken is at 165ºF internal - OR-Saute the chicken on the stove: cut the raw chicken into cubes, place cubes in a big bowl, add seasonings, toss, and add to hot skillet
- Set cooked chicken aside
- Add oil to stockpot on medium heat; add onions and cook till tender
- Add Rotel tomatoes, green chiles, and half of the chicken broth
- Take three tortillas and tear them into small pieces; add them to the stockpot and bring up the heat till they dissolve
- Add cooked chicken to the stockpot
- If you have the Sazon Goya seasoning, add half a packet ; stir it in, reduce heat, cover and let the soup cook for about 10 minutes; taste for seasonings; you may want to add more cumin, chile powder, or the other half of the package of Sazon Goya seasoning
- If you don't have the Sazon Goya seasoning, add 1 tablespoon of ground coriander to the soup and an additional 3 torn corn tortillas; let it cook till the tortillas are dissolved, then taste. If you like it, move on. If you don't, add more coriander, salt, etc.
- If you want it spicier, add more chile powder; If you want it saltier, add more saltIf you don't have Sazon Goya seasoning, add one more tortilla (torn into pieces); cover and allow to simmer
- 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 soup
- 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 soup
- Slice avocado; chop cilantro; plate and garnish
Fried Tortilla Strips (optional)
- While your soup is simmering, put 1/2 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
- I like to use a combination of white and dark meat; I usually us one large chicken breast and 6-8 chicken thighs (skinless)
- If you use chicken thighs, you may have to pull the meat off the bone...just sayin...
- Corn tortillas: you'll put 3 tortillas into the soup; reserve the remainder for frying tortilla crisps (optional)
- Ground Cumin: you'll sprinkle a little on the chicken and put the rest into the soup; feel free to adjust the amount according to your preference
- Chile Powder: sprinkle a little on the chicken and put the rest into the soup; start out light, add more if you want it a bit more spicy
- If you add beans or corn, you may have to add more broth