Chicken Tortilla Soup

This Chicken Tortilla Soup has tons of flavor, with corn, black beans, green chiles, and plenty of spicy smoky broth. Finish with melted cheese and crunchy tortilla chips for a delicious meal!

Might Chicken Tortilla Soup be the best soup of all? I’d certainly say it’s in the running.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

I happen to love soup as a general food group, but I understand why some people don’t love it.

Sometimes soup can be a bit too watery and not hearty enough to be a main meal, but this is where Chicken Tortilla Soup is an exception to the rule. It can certainly be a meal in and of itself!

The flavors are also wonderful, with a slightly spicy, smoky broth, and that general Tex-mex flavor theme.

Add gooey cheese and crunchy chips to the mix, and it’s almost reminiscent of nachos, but in a little bit of a healthier form.

Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe

Leftovers also keep beautifully, so sometimes I’ll make a double batch and freeze some of it.

All you need to jazz it up before serving is a few toppings like sliced avocado or guacamole, sour cream, cheese, and chips, and it’s ready to go.

How to Make Chicken Tortilla Soup:

In a large pot, sear a few chicken breasts in oil until golden on the outside, but not fully cooked through:

Easy Chicken Tortilla Soup

Remove the chicken to a plate, then add onion and olive oil to the pot:

How to Make Chicken Tortilla Soup

There should be lots of remaining brown bits on the bottom of the pan from the chicken, and we’ll incorporate those flavors into the onion!

Cook for about 5 minutes, until the onion softens, then add minced garlic:

Best Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe

Stir that around for 1 minute, until fragrant, then add oregano, coriander, cumin, and ground chipotle:

Chicken Tortilla Soup Easy

Stir that around for 1 minute to wake up the spices, then add black beans, corn, diced green chiles, tomato paste, and diced tomatoes:

Healthy Chicken Tortilla Soup

Then add chicken broth or stock, plus the reserved chicken breast:

Recipe for Chicken Tortilla Soup

Simmer the soup gently for about 15 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through.

Remove the chicken to a board, then shred with two forks:

Easy Chicken Tortilla Soup

Put the shredded chicken back into the soup:

Authentic Chicken Tortilla Soup

Ladle the soup into bowls, and add avocado, tortilla chips, sour cream, cheese, cilantro, or whatever else you’d like:

Best Chicken Tortilla Soup

If I’m feeling up to it, I’ll fry my own tortillas instead of using bagged chips, but it’s quite a bit more work. Hearty store-bought tortilla chips provide a great crunchy texture for the soup.

Chicken Noodle Soup is another one of my quick favorites for comforting soup, as well as Sausage and Kale Soup, and Carrot Coconut Soup. Enjoy!

Can Chicken Tortilla Soup be frozen? Yes, definitely! Cool it in the fridge first, then freeze for up to 2 months.

How to Make Chicken Tortilla Soup in Crockpot: You can adapt this by putting all the ingredients in a slow cooker, and cooking for 8 hours on low. The flavor is not as good as on the stove, but it’s still flavorful.

Is Chicken Tortilla Soup gluten-free? Yes, this one is.

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5 from 14 votes

Chicken Tortilla Soup

This Chicken Tortilla Soup has tons of flavor, with corn, black beans, green chiles, and plenty of spicy smoky chile flavor. Finish with melted cheese and crunchy tortilla chips for a delicious meal!
Course Soup
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword chicken tortilla soup
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 415kcal
Author Joanne Ozug


For the Soup:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil divided
  • 1.25 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 1 small onion chopped (2 cups)
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground chipotle
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 cups corn kernels frozen is fine
  • 15 oz can black beans drained and rinsed
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 4 oz can diced green chiles
  • 32 oz box chicken stock or broth
  • salt
  • black pepper

Ideas for serving (garnishes):

  • tortilla chips
  • sour cream
  • shredded colby jack cheese
  • guacamole or sliced avocado
  • cilantro


  • Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large soup pot set over medium high heat.
  • Season the chicken breasts generously with salt and pepper, then sear in the pan for about 2-3 minutes on each side, until golden brown on both sides, but not cooked through. 
  • Remove the chicken to a plate, then add the chopped onion, 1/8 tsp salt, and the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Turn the heat down to medium, and cook for about 5 minutes, until the onions have softened.
  • Add the garlic, and cook for 1 minute, until fragrant.
  • Add the cumin, chipotle, oregano, and coriander, and cook for another minute.
  • Add the corn, beans, tomato paste, diced tomatoes, diced green chiles, chicken broth, and reserved chicken breasts. Bring the soup up to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
  • Cover the pot with a lid, turn the heat all the way down to low, and simmer gently for 15 minutes, until the chicken breast is cooked through to 165F. 
  • Remove the chicken breasts to a board, and shred with two forks. Return the shredded chicken to the soup.
  • Taste the soup and make any necessary seasoning adjustments, then serve with desired toppings. Enjoy!


Calories: 415kcal | Carbohydrates: 40g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 60mg | Sodium: 700mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 5g

Post updated with new photos, writing, and tips in September 2018. Originally published September 2011.