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Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe

So now that things are kinda, sorta settling back into some type of pattern of post-holiday normalcy (I know, what’s that?), I figured I’d share a delicious, tasty and healthy dish with you – a chicken tortilla soup recipe.  I know it’s pretty cold in most areas of the country – even here in New Orleans – so thoughts of warm, spicy soup have been flowing in my head for days.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

This chicken tortilla soup recipe is very easy to make and is totally delicious – which is a win/win for everyone.  We’ll walk through some of the ingredients and steps and then get right on to the recipe. Ready? OK!

One of my favorite parts about this recipe is the variety of vegetables it contains. As you see below we have onions, carrots, celery, red bell pepper, tomato and garlic.  These ingredients are the basis for many delicious soups, and this one is no exception.  Where we get southwestern-y is in these additional seasonings: cumin, cilantro and chipotle in adobo sauce.  These three ingredients really elevate the flavor of this soup and transform it from ordinary to divine.

Vegetables & Spices for Chicken Tortilla Soup

I know some people are averse to dark chicken meat, but for this soup, I highly recommend investing in some high quality boneless, skinless chicken thighs.  You won’t have to do any additional cleaning of the meat and the best part is the connective tissue is typically removed for you when you buy it boneless, so the meat is more tender and palatable than if you try to debone the thighs yourself.  Chicken thigh meat is delicious and packed with flavor – perfect for this soup.

So while this chicken tortilla soup is really tasty, my favorite part about it are the garnishes! I love garnishes, especially those of a Tex-Mex/southwestern nature.  This soup contains up to seven garnishes – fried corn tortilla strips, avocado, Monterey jack cheese, sour cream, salsa, green onions and lime wedges. I’m in heaven, really. I enjoy all of those items so much.  I packed each bowl that I had with tons of these ingredients.

Garnishes for Chicken Tortilla Soup

Speaking of fried tortilla strips, this is actually the part where you’ll need to pull out your skillet of oil or your Fry Daddy.  Actually, I just got a Fry Daddy for Christmas (thanks to Cousin Jeff) so now frying is going to be 100% easier for me.  I’m pretty excited about it – it’s the little things, ya know?  Anyway, the frying of these tortilla strips is fairly easy to execute.  Simply slice the corn tortillas into strips and place into hot oil.  Cook for about a minute then drain on paper towels. Remember to salt them while hot.  And that’s it.  Very delicious and easy to make.

Frying tortilla strips

I’ll also note that this soup recipe freezes great so you can save some for later.  This recipe is easy to double and then you’ll have tasty soup for the rest of the winter.  Keep the garnishes separate, of course. Otherwise, you’re good to go.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Now that you’re ready to eat, let’s get on to the recipe!

Yield: 6 servings

Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe

This delicious chicken tortilla soup recipe is sure to please any crowd! Garnished with avocado, cheese, sour cream salsa and more - this soup's a winner.

Ingredients:

Soup:
  • 2 tablespoons light olive oil
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 2 carrots, peeled and sliced into 1/2" coins
  • 2 stalks celery, cut into 1/2" slices
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 tablespoon roughly chopped garlic
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon chopped chipotle in adobo sauce
  • 6 cups chicken broth or stock
  • 1-28 ounce can whole tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves (small stems are okay)
  • 6 corn tortillas - 3 for soup; 3 for garnish
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
Optional Garnishes:
  • Thinly sliced green onions
  • Sliced avocado
  • Shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • Sour cream
  • Salsa
  • Lime wedges

Method:

Soup:
  1. In a heavy soup pot, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add chicken and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Brown on both sides, about 10 minutes total.
  3. Add onion, carrots, celery and bell pepper to the soup pot. Continue to cook about 8 minutes, stirring often, until onions vegetables cooked down.
  4. Add garlic, chipotle and cumin and cook an additional 2 minutes.
  5. Add broth, tomatoes and cilantro and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer about 15 minutes.
  6. Cut 3 tortillas into 2-inch strips and add to the soup. Continue to simmer about 15 minutes.
  7. With a slotted spoon, remove chicken to a cutting board and take the soup off the heat.
  8. With an immersion blender, puree soup until smooth. Return to stovetop and simmer on low.
  9. Shred the chicken and stir into the soup.
Crispy Tortilla Strips:
  1. Slice remaining 3 tortillas into thin 1/4" strips.
  2. In a small skillet, heat 1/2" vegetable oil to about 350 ºF.
  3. Add tortilla strips and fry until crisp, about 1 minute.
  4. Remove strips with a slotted spoon or tongs and transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate. Season with salt .
  5. Serve soup in bowls topped with these tortilla strips and any or all of the other garnishes.

Adapted from a recipe on Oprah.com.

Prep:25 minutes

Cook:1 hour, 15 minutes

Total:1 hour, 40 minutes

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  • This is gorgeous, Addie! I am pinning it to Recipes to Try. Win-win, indeed!

    • Thanks so much Stacy! 🙂 I appreciate you stopping by!

  • Peggy Garbe

    I love chicken tortilla soup! Especially on cold, winter days like today! Love the addition of the chipotle pepper =)

    • Thanks, Peggy. I appreciate the kind words and your visit! 🙂 Happy holidays!

  • BurgerMary

    I make mine with a very similar recipe! Looks great – now Im craving it. hehe.

    • Glad you like it 🙂 It’s one of my favorite soups too!!