Chicken Tortilla Soup

This CHICKEN TORTILLA SOUP is an easy flavorful meal you can have on the table in 45 minutes or less. Made with mouthwatering ingredients like green chilies, corn, refried beans, and shredded chicken, topped with homemade crispy tortilla strips. Every bite of this soup is satisfying and tasty.

If you love Taco Soup or Creamy Taco Chili, this is the perfect dinner recipe to make next! This delicious take on tacos is a fun twist that’s perfect for family dinner, potlucks, or game days.

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overhead shot of two bowls of soup

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Why We Love Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken tortilla soup is one of my favorite go-to weeknight dinners. It’s a reliable recipe in every way! The ingredients are simple and inexpensive, the whole family gobbles it up, and it’s incredibly easy to make. When it comes to go-to recipes, it doesn’t get much better than this amazing soup!

It’s also worth noting that this easy soup dinner is very filling, too. The shredded chicken and refried beans make sure that this soup isn’t just delicious, but also hearty! 

Every part of this recipe is delicious, but I think my favorite part is the crunchy tortilla chips on top! Adding homemade tortilla chips as a garnish to this zesty soup is SO good, and not something you want to miss out on. The strips are so easy to fry at home and much better than store-bought chips. Once you make them, you’ll see what you’ve been missing out on!

a spoonful of full of tortilla soup

Ingredients You’ll Need to Make Chicken Tortilla Soup

  • flour tortillas – preferably dried out
  • vegetable oil
  • chicken broth
  • Rotel diced tomatoes – I like to use Mexican Lime and Cilantro flavor. 
  • refried beans
  • green chilies
  • ground cumin
  • corn
  • chicken, cooked and shredded – I like to use a rotisserie chicken from the store
  • Salt & pepper to taste

how to make tortilla soup photo collage
How To Make Chicken Tortilla Soup

(full printable recipe at the end of this post)

Let’s start by preparing the irresistible tortilla strips! First, cut the tortillas in half. Then, cut the halves into ¼-inch strips.

Using a 3-quart saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot enough, fry the tortilla strips in the oil! Work in batches, frying about a handful at a time, until they are light brown and crisp.

After frying, remove the tortilla strips from the oil with tongs and drain them on a paper towel. Sprinkle them with a dash of sea salt, and set them aside. The salt is optional of course, but it’s a tasty touch!

Time to make the soup! In a medium stockpot over medium-high heat, combine the chicken broth, tomatoes, beans, chilies, and cumin. Stir everything together to fully combine, and bring the mixture to a boil. Once it’s boiling, add the frozen corn. Then, reduce the heat and let the soup simmer for about 5 minutes. 

Toss the shredded chicken in the pot and mix it all together. Allow the soup to cook for a while longer until everything is heated through. This should just take a few minutes!

Ladle the soup into bowls while it’s cozy and warm. Top with the tortilla strips and your favorite toppings, and enjoy!

a ladle full of tortilla soup

 

What If I Don’t Have Rotisserie Chicken?

If you don’t have rotisserie chicken from the store or leftover chicken you can cook chicken right in the pot before you start making the Tortilla Soup.

  • Cut up one pound of boneless skinless chicken breast, into 1-inch pieces
  • Using a dutch oven (or large stockpot) that you will be cooking the soup in, heat a little vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the chicken to the pot and saute for about 5-10 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. 
  • You can either chop the chicken pieces with a wooden spoon while cooking or once they are cooked you can remove them from the pan and shred the chicken.  You can also leave the chicken in bite-size pieces for the soup if you wish.

Chicken Tortilla Soup Tips

You want to make sure your tortillas are dried out before you fry them up. If your tortillas are fairly fresh and moist, just put them on a baking sheet, then place them in the oven that’s set to 200F for about 10 minutes. If the tortillas are older and already dried out, you can skip this step. 

You can also make the tortilla strips a few days in advance. They only need to pan fry for a minute or so on each side. Once they’re crisp, salt them and save them for later.

When you’re letting the soup simmer, I recommend covering the pot. When the pot’s covered, the steam can’t escape, and the soup will cook a bit faster. Additionally, I like how rich the flavors are when you cook the soup with the lid on!

a bowl full of tortilla soup

 

Storage Suggestions

How long will this chicken tortilla soup stay fresh? In an airtight container in the fridge, this soup will stay fresh for up to 4 days. It also reheats wonderfully in the microwave, making it one of my favorite leftover lunches. The tortilla chips can be stored in a baggie at room temperature for up to a week!

Can I freeze it? You sure can! This soup will stay fresh in your freezer for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to serve it, simply place the frozen soup back into your pot and let it thaw out at a low temperature. Once thawed, reheat at medium-high heat, stirring frequently. 

bowls of soup next to a white pot of soup
Toppings and Substitutions

Just like tacos, you can top chicken tortilla soup with your favorite toppings. Some of our favorite toppings are:

  • homemade tortilla strips – storebought work too
  • shredded cheese
  • sour cream
  • chopped jalapeno slices
  • black olives
  • avocado
  • chopped cilantro
  • a squeeze from a fresh lime slice

Here are a few substitutions you can try 

  • Of course, you can use leftover chicken, rotisserie chicken, or simple saute or boil some chicken breasts and shred. But this tortilla soup would also be great with browned ground beef. 
  • Want to make your soup a little bit creamy? Yum! Just toss in half a cup of heavy cream to the soup when it’s almost done cooking. Once it’s stirred in, the broth will be lighter in color and a bit silkier and creamier. 
  • Swap out refried beans for black beans (I like Bush’s Seasoned Black Beans)
  • Want to add a little spice? add 1 teaspoon chili powder

Soup Is Always A Good Idea

When I need a bowl of delicious comfort, here are more soup recipes I love turning to!

Easy Roasted Tomato Soup – A rich, bold pot of Roasted Tomato Soup can be on your dinner table in 30 minutes. This recipe relies on canned tomatoes to keep it easy and smoked paprika and cayenne pepper to kick the classic tomato soup up a notch.

Creamy Chicken Gnocchi Soup – Chicken Gnocchi Soup is packed with chicken, potato gnocchi, and spinach bathing in a thick and creamy broth. A bowl of this hearty, chicken dumpling-like soup isn’t required, but it’s absolutely recommended.

Old Fashioned Vegetable Beef Soup – This Old Fashioned Vegetable Beef Soup is a flavorful hearty soup packed with various colorful vegetables, tender beef, broth, and noodles. Just like grandma used to make!

Hearty Southwest Black Bean Soup – This hearty Southwest Black Bean soup is super easy to prepare and, like many soups and chilis, it only gets better with age. You can have it on the table in 30 minutes!

Like This Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe? Pin It!

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home made tortilla soup in a bowl and in a white pot

 

This is definitely a soup recipe that will find its way to your table any time of year!

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Originally posted in February 2011. UPDATED February 2021. We spiffed up this post with more info and better pictures! No changes to the original recipe.

overhead shot of two bowls of soup

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 6 (6-inch) flour tortillas, (preferably dried out)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 (14.5 oz) cans chicken broth
  • 2 (14.5 oz) cans Rotel diced tomatoes (I like to use Mexican Lime and Cilantro)
  • 1 (16 oz) can refried beans
  • 1 (4 oz) can diced green chilies
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 2 cups chicken, cooked and shredded (I used a rotisserie chicken from the store)
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Optional Toppings

  • Monterrey Jack Cheese, shredded
  • fresh cilantro, chopped
  • fresh lime wedges

Instructions

  1. If your tortillas are fairly fresh and moist, you want them a little dried out. So, to dry them out a little, put them on a baking sheet and put them in a 200°F oven for about 10 minutes. (if your tortillas are older and more dried out, you can skip this step).
  2. Cut the tortillas in half, then cut halves into 1/4-inch strips.
  3. Using a 3-quart saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Fry tortilla strips in oil, about a handful at a time, until they are light brown and crisp. Remove with tongs from oil; drain on a paper towel. Sprinkle with salt (optional) and set aside.
  4. In a medium stockpot, over medium-high heat, combine broth, tomatoes, beans, chilies, and cumin and bring to a boil.
  5. Add corn, reduce heat and simmer for about 5 minutes.
  6. Add chicken and heat through.
  7. To serve; ladle soup into bowls. Top with cheese, tortilla strips, and cilantro. Serve with lime wedges.

Notes

If you don’t have rotisserie chicken from the store or leftover chicken you can cook chicken in the pot before you start making the Tortilla Soup.

  • Cut up one pound of boneless skinless chicken breast, into 1-inch pieces
  • Using a dutch oven (or large stockpot) that you will be cooking the soup in, heat a little vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the chicken to the pot and saute for about 5-10 minutes, until chicken is cooked through. 
  • You can either chop the chicken pieces with a wooden spoon while cooking or once they are cooked you can remove them from the pan and shred the chicken.  You can also leave the chicken in bite-size pieces for the soup if you wish.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 313Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 48mgSodium: 766mgCarbohydrates: 22gFiber: 4gSugar: 3gProtein: 17g

Nutrition information is estimated based on the ingredients and cooking instructions as described in each recipe and is intended to be used for informational purposes only. Please note that nutrition details may vary based on methods of preparation, origin, and freshness of ingredients used.

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soup with home made tortilla strips on top