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This Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe features tender pieces of chicken and veggies swimming in a perfectly spiced tomato broth with homemade tortilla strips on top. It’s easy, healthy, and a secret ingredient makes it a little bit creamy!

easy Chicken tortilla soup recipe in a bowl

Why You’ll Love This Easy Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe

  • Packed with Delicious Flavors. An authentic Mexican chicken tortilla soup recipe (or sopa de tortilla con poyo) has always been one of my favorite Mexican dishes (along with Beef Fajitas). As with my hearty and flavorful Green Chili Recipe, this chicken tortilla soup recipe takes inspiration from the original and utilizes a list of simple ingredients you can find at any grocery store.
  • Texture and Complexity. Adding cornmeal thickens the soup, gives it a subtle creamy sensation, and gives it an extra note of tortilla flavor.
  • It’s Good for You. As a lover of toppings, I appreciate the value and necessity of a rich, nutritious soup beneath them. This healthy chicken tortilla soup is packed with lean protein and vegetables (just like my Healthy Turkey Chili). It will leave you feeling satisfied and nourished. And fear not, it still leaves you plenty of room for the good stuff: toppings galore!
  • Comes Together Quickly and Easily. This creamy chicken tortilla soup is primarily adapted from my Crock Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup, but this version is much faster. The chicken is baked before it’s added to the soup (a trick I borrowed from the Pioneer Woman’s chicken tortilla soup recipe). Some recipes (like Chile Verde Pork) rely on a slow cooking method to build big flavor, but this recipe uses chicken, chipotle chiles in adobo, tomatoes, spices, and veggies to produce rich flavor in a fraction of the time.
Two bowls of an authentic mexican chicken tortilla soup recipe

How to Make the Best Chicken Tortilla Soup

The Ingredients

  • Chicken Breast. Scrumptious, tender chicken breast cubes are a healthy, protein-packed addition.
  • Bell Peppers. Diced bell peppers add nutrition and a touch of sweetness to the soup. Bell peppers are rich in vitamins and antioxidants.
  • Jalapeño. Since we’re removing the membrane and seeds, the jalapeño adds a touch of heat without overpowering the soup with spice.
  • Chipotle Chiles in Adobo. A little smoky, tangy, and spicy flavor all wrapped up into one easy package.
  • Crushed Tomatoes. This chicken tortilla soup has a tomato-based broth (like my Easy Taco Soup). Crushed tomatoes give the soup liquid and add flavor.
  • Spices. Chicken tortilla soup contains many important ingredients, but the spices are one of the most important. Cumin and chili powder add warmth, earthiness, and a pinch of spice. For a similar flavor profile, you’ll love Chicken Enchilada Soup.
  • Pinto Beans. For an extra punch of filling protein, fiber, and vitamins. Plus, they add a delicious creamy element to the soup.
  • Cornmeal. Helps thicken the soup and complements the tortillas on top.

The Directions

  1. Add Spices to the Chicken. Lay the chicken breasts on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Two chicken breasts with spices
  1. Bake the Chicken. Bake at 375 degrees F for 15 to 20 minutes. Cut into cubes.
Cut veggies in a pot
  1. Sauté the Veggies. Add the seasonings, tomatoes, chiles, and salt.
Cornmeal being added to a pot of Mexican tortilla soup
  1. Add the Chicken, Broth, and Beans. Bring to a boil, then add the cornmeal. Let simmer for 15 minutes.
  2. Serve. Add desired toppings and DIG IN!

Topping Ideas for a Tortilla Soup Recipe

Make this healthy chicken tortilla soup your own by adding all your favorite toppings! Pick a little, or a lot!

  • Cheese. Use a fully flavored, melty cheese like sharp cheddar, pepper jack, or Monterey jack for a cheesy chicken tortilla soup. A more flavorful cheese won’t require you to use as much, giving you more taste bang for your cheesy buck.
  • Greek Yogurt. Nonfat plain Greek yogurt is my healthy stand-in for sour cream. Both are thick and tangy and cool the soup’s spices. Dollop it on top or stir it in for a creamy chicken tortilla soup.
  • Avocado. Nutrient-dense and creamy, avocado is good for you and will make the soup taste more indulgent than it is.
  • TORTILLAS. Because it isn’t chicken tortilla soup without them. Bake your own tortilla strips or you can purchase them from the store.
Healthy easy chicken tortilla soup with avocado

Storage Tips

  • To Store. Refrigerate soup in an airtight storage container for up to 4 days.
  • To Reheat. Rewarm leftovers on the stovetop over medium-low heat or in the microwave.
  • To Freeze. Freeze soup in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

Meal Prep Tip

Bake the chicken up to 1 day in advance. Store it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to finish the recipe. Dice the bell peppers, jalapeño, and onion up to 1 day in advance. Refrigerate each in separate airtight storage containers.

the best chicken tortilla soup recipe served in bowls

What to Serve With This Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe

  • Baking Sheet. A must-have for everyday cooking and baking.
  • Dutch Oven. My go-to kitchen tool for preparing stovetop soups.
  • Ladle. Ideal for serving soup!

Recipe Tips and Tricks

  • Make Your Own Tortilla Strips. Not only is it easy to make homemade tortilla strips, but it’s also a great way to personalize your soup. When making your own strips, you can choose which brand and variety of tortillas to use. See tips to make your own in the recipe card below.
  • Don’t Overcook the Chicken. While the soup will certainly help keep your chicken moist, it’s still important to cook it properly. Overcooked chicken can become tough and rubbery, which isn’t the texture we want for our tortilla soup.
  • Don’t Skip the Tomatoes. The crushed tomatoes are important for the overall flavor of this soup. If you don’t enjoy tomatoes and prefer a white chicken tortilla soup, check out my White Chicken Chili or Crockpot White Chicken Chili instead.

Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe

5 from 3 votes
This hearty, cheesy chicken tortilla soup recipe is packed with authentic flavor and healthy ingredients. Add all your favorite toppings!

Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 35 minutes
Total: 50 minutes

Servings: 6 servings (about 8 cups)

Ingredients
  

FOR THE SOUP:

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt divided, plus more to taste
  • 1 ¼ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts about 2 breasts
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil divided
  • 1 medium yellow onion diced
  • 1 medium jalapeño seeded, membranes removed, and diced
  • 1 red bell pepper cored and diced
  • 1 green bell pepper cored and diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 2 chipotle chiles in adobo chopped
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth divided
  • 1 (15-ounce) can pinto beans rinsed and drained
  • 3 tablespoons cornmeal

FOR SERVING:

  • Corn tortilla strips or 6 small corn tortillas: see notes to make your own strips this is a must-have! The other toppings are optional but HIGHLY encouraged
  • Shredded Monterey jack cheese
  • Diced avocado
  • Chopped fresh cilantro
  • Lime slices

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet or baking dish large enough to hold the chicken in a single layer with parchment paper. Place the chicken breasts on top.
  • In a small bowl, stir together the cumin, chili powder, and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt.
  • Drizzle the chicken with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of the spice mixture. Set the rest of the spice mixture aside.
  • Bake the chicken until it is fully cooked, 15 to 20 minutes. It should reach 165°F when tested with an instant read thermometer. Transfer to a cutting board and let cool. Cut into bite-sized cubes and set aside.
  • Meanwhile, in a Dutch oven or similar large soup pot, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Once hot, add the onion, jalapeño, red bell pepper, green bell pepper, and garlic. Cook until the onion is softened, about 6 to 8 minutes.
  • Add the reserved spice mixture. Stir and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  • Add the crushed tomatoes, chipotle chiles, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Let cook 3 to 4 minutes, until the tomatoes are slightly reduced.
  • Add the cubed chicken, 3 cups chicken broth, and pinto beans. Stir to combine and bring the mixture to a boil. Stir in the cornmeal. Partially cover the pot.
  • Simmer the soup, partially covered, for 15 minutes, until thickened. Taste and add salt or seasonings as needed. If the soup is thicker than you would like, add in the remaining 1 cup chicken broth until it reaches your desired consistency.
  • To serve: ladle into bowls. Top generously with tortilla strips and other toppings of choice.

Video

Notes

  • TO MAKE YOUR OWN TORTILLA STRIPS: Place a rack in the center of your oven, and preheat the oven to 375°F. Coat a large rimmed baking sheet with nonstick spray. Stack the tortillas and cut them in half, then slice each half into 1/2-inch strips. Place in a mixing bowl, drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil, and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Toss to coat, then spread them into a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until golden brown and crisp, about 8 to 10 minutes, turning halfway through. If they aren’t quite as crisp as you’d like, give them a few more minutes. Set aside to cool.
  • TO STORE: Refrigerate soup in an airtight storage container for up to 4 days.
  • TO REHEAT: Rewarm leftovers on the stovetop over medium-low heat or in the microwave.
  • TO FREEZE: Freeze soup in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
  • Adapted from my Crock Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup.

Nutrition

Serving: 1(of 6)Calories: 319kcalCarbohydrates: 31gProtein: 30gFat: 9gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 60mgPotassium: 1210mgFiber: 8gSugar: 9gVitamin A: 1386IUVitamin C: 60mgCalcium: 104mgIron: 4mg

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Frequently Asked Questions

What Can I Do with Leftover Chicken Tortilla Soup?

Turn your leftover soup into a dip by pouring it into a casserole dish, warming it in the oven, and dunking tortilla chips into it. It is also tasty mixed with rice.

Can I Use Chicken Thighs Instead of Chicken Breasts?

Yes, you can use chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts. They will likely take a little longer to bake, so be sure to check them for doneness.

How Can I Thicken My Chicken Tortilla Soup?

This chicken tortilla soup is fairly thick as written, but you can certainly make it thicker if you’d like. You could try using a little extra cornmeal, stirring in Greek yogurt, or allowing it to simmer and reduce longer on the stovetop.

More Hearty and Healthy Soups

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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4 Comments

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  1. I didn’t make this yet but I’m wondering what adding cornmeal does to the texture. Also not familiar with cooking with chipotle pepper. Is that hot? It already has jalapeño . And I know about jalapeño seeds adding more heat.

    1. Hi Judy! Great question, I actually cover this in the blog post! Cornmeal helps thicken the soup and complements the tortillas on top. For us it isn’t hot but chipotle peppers can add spice to the soup so you can definitely adjust the amounts that you use to fix your own preferences! Enjoy!