Chicken tortilla soup is made with Mexican-inspired flavors plus shredded chicken, corn, black beans, and crunchy tortilla strips in a tomato-based broth. It's perfect for a quick and easy weeknight dinner that can easily feed a crowd!
Chicken tortilla soup is so delicious and full of bold, fresh flavors. Making it at home is fast, easy, and tastes way better than anything you'd get from a restaurant. You can use pre-cooked chicken or pre-shredded chicken, but making your own shredded chicken is really easy and takes less than 10 minutes. Then just add everything to a large pot and simmer away until you're ready to serve. Chicken tortilla soup also makes fantastic leftovers because the longer it sits the more the flavors develop and blend together.
What's in Chicken Tortilla Soup:
- Shredded chicken: Boneless, skinless chicken breast or thighs, trimmed and pounded to an even thickness. Cook the chicken separately and then shred it using two forks before adding it to the soup. You can also use pre-cooked or pre-shredded chicken if you'd like.
- Butter: Or olive oil, for sauteing the chicken. Saute the chicken on both sides for 1-2 minutes just to brown the outside.
- Chicken broth: After sauteing the chicken on both sides, add enough chicken broth to cover the chicken and then cook until the chicken is cooked through. You can also use water.
- Onion: 1 cup chopped, or about half an onion. I used white onion but feel free to use red or yellow onions. You can also saute some fresh minced garlic cloves with the onion, leave out the garlic powder if you do and only saute the garlic for about a minute because it can burn quickly.
- Butter and olive oil: For sauteing the onion. Butter adds flavor and olive oil prevents the butter from burning. You can also use only olive oil if you'd like.
- Corn: 1 and ½ cups fresh, frozen, or canned corn. If using canned make sure you drain and rinse the corn well before adding it to the soup. If using fresh you'll need 1-2 ears of corn.
- Black beans: Drained and rinsed. Feel free to use any bean variety such as pinto or white cannelloni beans.
- Tomato base: Canned tomato sauce, tomato paste, and canned diced tomatoes.
- Chicken broth: I used regular chicken broth, you can use low or reduced-sodium chicken broth, just be sure to taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary.
- Seasoning and spices: Salt, pepper, chili powder, garlic powder, ground cumin, and smoked paprika.
- Lime juice: Fresh-squeezed lime juice adds a touch of acidity and bright flavor to the soup.
- Tortilla strips: Wait to add the tortilla strips until you're ready to serve the soup. Don't add them too soon or they'll get soggy.
How to Make Chicken Tortilla Soup:
Make the shredded chicken: Heat the butter (or olive oil) in a medium saute pan and add the boneless, skinless chicken breast or thighs. Season the chicken on both sides with salt, pepper, and chili powder. Cover with chicken broth or water and bring to a boil. Cook for 8-10 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and no longer pink. Remove from the pan and use two forks to shred the chicken. What I do is hold the chicken down with one fork, then use the other fork to tear apart the fibers of the meat into shreds.
Make the soup: In a large stockpot, add olive oil and butter. Add the chopped onion and saute over medium heat until translucent. Stir in the corn and black beans and then add the tomato sauce, tomato paste, diced tomatoes, and chicken broth. Add the shredded chicken and stir in the seasoning and spices. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat and simmer. The longer you simmer the soup the more flavorful it will be. Stir in the tortilla strips once you're ready to serve the soup and top with desired toppings.
Best Toppings for Tortilla Soup:
- Sour cream
- Fresh cilantro
- Diced avocado
- Shredded cheese
More Mexican Recipes:
More Soup Recipes:
Chicken Tortilla Soup
- 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast or thighs, trimmed and pounded 1" thick
- 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
- ½ tsp. salt
- ¼ tsp. pepper
- 1 tsp. chili powder
- chicken broth, to cover the chicken
- 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 cup onion (about ½ onion), chopped
- 3 cups chicken broth, not reduced-sodium
- 1 (16 oz.) can tomato sauce
- 1 (15 oz.) can diced tomatoes
- 1 (8 oz.) can tomato paste
- 1 (15 oz.) can corn, drained and rinsed
- 1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed
- ½ tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- 2 tsp. chili powder
- 1 tsp. paprika
- ½ tsp. cumin
- ½ tsp. fresh-squeezed lime juice
- 2-3 cups tortilla strips
- sour cream
- chopped fresh cilantro
Make the Shredded Chicken:
- Melt 2 tbsp. of butter in a medium saucepan. Add the boneless, skinless chicken breast or thighs and saute for 1-2 minutes on each side. Season with the ½ tsp. salt, ¼ tsp. pepper, and 1 tsp. chili powder. Add enough chicken broth or water to cover the chicken and cook until cooked through. About 8-10 minutes, but the time can vary depending on the size of your chicken. Remove from the pan and shred the chicken using two forks. I like to use one fork to hold the chicken down and then use the other fork to tear and shred the meat.
Make the Soup:
- Heat the remaining 2 tbsp. butter and the 2 tbsp. olive oil in a large stockpot. Add the 1 cup chopped onion and saute until translucent. About 3 minutes.
- Add the drained and rinsed corn, black beans, and shredded chicken. Stir in the tomato sauce, tomato paste, diced tomatoes, and chicken broth. Add the salt, garlic powder, chili powder, paprika, cumin, and fresh-squeezed lime juice. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer until ready to serve. The longer the soup simmers the more flavorful it will be. Stir in the tortilla strips once you're ready to serve.
- Serve soup topped with more tortilla strips, sour cream, and fresh chopped cilantro. Shredded cheese and diced avocado are also good toppings. Leftover soup lasts (without the tortilla strips) in the fridge for 1 week.