Thick and loaded with robust spices, beans, tender chicken, and veggies, this hearty Crockpot Chicken Tortilla Soup is a masterpiece. It cooks hands-free in the slow cooker and tastes great with all of your favorite toppings!
Why You’ll Love This Easy Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe
- It’s Packed with Bold Flavors. This slow cooker soup celebrates the vibrant, crowd-pleasing Tex-Mex flavors that never fail to hit the spot (same with Mexican Chicken Casserole and Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas). This soup gets its flavor from rich spices, chipotle chiles, beans, and juicy chicken. All of these ingredients get amplified in the slow cooker, making this soup ultra flavorful.
- It’s Healthy. If the ease of the slow cooker, simple ingredients, and fab flavors didn’t seal the deal, this healthy chicken tortilla soup is really good for you too (just like my Crockpot Chicken Enchilada Soup)! With protein from lean chicken breasts, fiber from the beans, and vitamins from the veggies, it’s a highly nutritious meal that will satisfy everyone at your table any night of the week.
- It’s Easy to Customize. While I could easily slurp this crock pot chicken tortilla soup soup (and my stovetop Chicken Tortilla Soup) directly from the slow cooker, there are a variety of ways in which you can tailor this soup to your tastes (or for others at your table). Our favorite way to customize this soup? Toppings! From avocado to shredded cheese, you can use the toppings to elevate your bowl with added flavors, textures, and nutrition.
How to Make Crockpot Chicken Tortilla Soup
- Chicken. Tender chicken breasts help pack protein into this soup. Plus, they soak up all the delicious soup flavors and spices as they simmer.
- Bell Peppers. Chopped red and green bell peppers are a tasty and colorful addition to our crock pot chicken tortilla soup.
- Jalapeño. Adds a little freshness and spice without being overpowering.
- Crushed Tomatoes. These form the base of our hearty soup.
- Chipotle Chiles in Adobo. The chipotle chiles in adobo have smokiness and some spice and are KEY to the soup’s flavor. Please don’t skip them. This soup is flavorful but not an overtly spicy chicken tortilla soup (but for more kick, you can add some of the liquid from the can).
- Spices. Chili powder and cumin are the perfect combination for a warm and zesty flavor.
- Cornmeal. Thickens the soup.
- Beans. Makes the soup more hearty and adds a delicious textural element.
- Sauté the Vegetables with the Spices. Cook until softened.
- Pour the Mixture into a Slow Cooker. Your kitchen is going to smell incredible!
- Add the Chicken. Top it with the tomatoes, chiles, salt, and beans.
- Prepare the Broth. Stir the cornmeal and part of the broth together, then pour it into the slow cooker.
- Cook. Cook on LOW for 5 to 6 hours.
- Shred the Chicken. Two forks work well for this.
- Serve. Add the chicken back to the slow cooker. Serve with tortilla strips and other desired toppings. ENJOY!
Crockpot Chicken Tortilla Soup Toppings
Tortilla soup can be bad for you if you get carried away with toppings or choose toppings that are less nutritious. Take advantage of the below options for next-level taste and keep the soup wonderfully healthy:
- Tortilla Strips. Obviously. These crispy delights are the ONE non-negotiable (they make chicken tortilla soup, well, chicken tortilla soup!). They can be pre-made or, for the ultimate healthy crockpot chicken tortilla soup, you can bake your own from corn tortillas (see the directions below).
- Avocado. Need I say more?
- Greek Yogurt. This is a great healthy substitute in a Tex-Mex soup in place of sour cream. Just add a spoonful (or two!) and you’ll have the perfect slow cooker creamy chicken tortilla soup.
- Onion. Diced up red or green onions sprinkled on top add crisp and crunchy acidity.
- Jalapeños. Either sliced or Pickled Jalapenos can give a little zest.
- Cheese. Another worthwhile addition. However, you should use cheese in moderation if you want to keep this more on the healthy side. Sharp cheddar is my favorite here. Since it has bold flavor on its own, a little goes a long way.
Is there a more perfect “match made in heaven” than Tex-Mex and margaritas? I didn’t think so either. Try any of these refreshing margarita recipes with crock pot chicken tortilla soup:
- To Store. Refrigerate soup in an airtight storage container for up to 4 days.
- To Reheat. Rewarm leftovers in a Dutch oven on the stovetop over medium-low heat or gently 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 Plan Tip
Chop the onion, peppers, garlic, and jalapeno up to 1 day in advance.
What to Serve With Crockpot Chicken Tortilla Soup
- Vegetables. You can’t go wrong with a side of Sauteed Carrots, Roasted Sweet Potatoes, or Air Fryer Broccoli.
- Cornbread. Mexican Cornbread, Jalapeno Cornbread, or Cornbread Muffins would be exceptionally tasty with this crockpot creamy chicken tortilla soup.
- Salad. Pair this soup with Avocado Salad, Grilled Corn Salad, or Arugula Salad.
- Chips and Dip. For a side dish (or before-dinner snack) that everyone will love, you can’t go wrong with chips and homemade guacamole or Vegan Queso.
Recommended Tools to Make Crock Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup
- Slow Cooker. Perfect for making this authentic chicken tortilla soup.
- Ladle. Serve your soups with ease.
- Skillet. Great for sautéeing the ingredients in this recipe.
Recipe Tips and Tricks
- Rotisserie Chicken Shortcut. If you prefer, you can make easy slow cooker chicken tortilla soup with rotisserie chicken. Simply stir shredded cooked rotisserie chicken into the soup during the last 10 minutes.
- Only Use 2 Chipotle Chiles. It may seem tempting to go ahead and use the entire can, but do not do this! Their flavor will overpower the soup and may make it too spicy to eat.
- Make Your Own Tortilla Strips. I highly recommend making your own tortilla strips for this soup. They’re easy to make and better for you than storebought.
Crockpot Chicken Tortilla Soup
FOR THE SOUP:
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion diced
- 1 medium jalapeño seeded, membranes removed, and diced
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1 green bell pepper
- 2 cloves garlic minced (about 2 teaspoons)
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 3/4 teaspoon salt plus additional to taste
- 1 ¼ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2 breasts)
- 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
- 2 chipotle chiles in adobo chopped (**purchase these in a can and save the rest for another use; DO NOT use the whole can in this recipe!)
- 1 (15-ounce) can reduced sodium pinto beans( rinsed and drained
- 4 cups low sodium chicken broth divided
- 3 tablespoons cornmeal
- Corn tortilla strips or 6 small corn tortillas: see notes to make your own strips this is a must-have!
- Shredded Monterey jack cheese
- Diced avocado
- Chopped fresh cilantro
- Lime slices
- In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Once hot, add the onion, jalapeño, red bell pepper, green bell pepper, chili powder, cumin, and salt. Cook until the onion in softened, about 6 to 8 minutes.
- Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Transfer mixture from the skillet to the bottom of a 6-quart or larger slow cooker. Keep the skillet handy.
- Arrange the chicken breasts on top of the mixture in the slow cooker. Add the tomatoes, chiles in adobo, and pinto beans.
- Stir the cornmeal together with 3 cups of the chicken broth. Pour into the slow cooker.
- Cover and cook on LOW for 5 to 6 hours, until the chicken is falling apart tender. Dice or shred the chicken, then return it to the slow cooker. Let cook on low for 5 to 10 minutes to allow the flavors to marry.
- 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.
- 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 in a Dutch oven on the stovetop over medium-low heat.
- TO FREEZE: Freeze soup in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
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Frequently Asked Questions
This chicken tortilla soup is already thickened via 3 tablespoons of cornmeal in the recipe. If you prefer your chicken soups with an even thicker consistency, start by adding only 2 cups of chicken broth to the slow cooker. You can then add the remaining 1 to 2 cups if the soup is too thick.
(For those craving thickness and the alternative flavor of white chicken tortilla soup from the slow cooker, try this reader-favorite Crockpot White Chicken Chili.)
Chipotle chiles in adobo are smoked and dried jalapeños in a tomato-based puree. They are widely available and sold in a can; generally, you can find them in the international aisle of a grocery store. The can comes with more chiles than what you need for a single recipe; use your extra for any of these recipes with chipotle chile peppers. (Two of my top favorite recipes that use chipotle chiles are Instant Pot Chicken Mole and Instant Pot Shredded Chicken Tacos.)
While I haven’t tried this myself, I think you could omit the chicken. The soup could lose a little flavor without it, but I know it will still be tasty!