Chicken 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! Ready in 40-minutes, and it's delicious leftover, too!
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 the competition! Restaurant-quality!
- 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!
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!
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 chile 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.
Assemble the soup
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 chicken tortilla soup apart from others is the Latin seasoning: Sazon Goya Coriander and Annatto. 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 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.
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
The beauty of this 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!
Chicken Tortilla Soup
- 2 lbs. chicken , about 1½-2 cups, shredded
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 48 oz. chicken broth
- 10 ounces Rotel tomatoes , not drained
- 1 cup yellow onion diced
- 1 bunch cilantro (garnish)
- 2 avocados sliced (garnish)
- 8 ounces diced green chiles
- 2 tablespoons ground cumin divided, see recipe notes
- 2 tablespoons chile powder see recipe notes
- 1 pkg. Sazon Goya Seasoning see recipe notes
- 1 pkg. corn tortillas see recipe notes
- 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 aside
- Add oil to stockpot on medium heat; add onions and 3 torn corn tortillas; cook 5 minutes
- Add Rotel tomatoes, green chiles, chicken broth, cumin, chile powder and Sazon Goya
- Add cooked chicken to the stockpot; allow to simmer on low 15-20 minutes
- Garnish with cilantro and sliced avocado and serve
- 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
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
- Corn tortillas: cut or tear into small pieces 3 tortillas into the soup; reserve the remainder for frying tortilla crisps (optional)
- Ground Cumin: sprinkle a little on the chicken (about 1 tablespoon); put the other tablespoon into the soup
- Chile Powder: sprinkle a little on the chicken (about 1 tablespoon); put the other tablespoon into the soup
- If you add beans or corn, drain and rinse first; you may have to add more broth