There is a reason why chicken tortilla soup has stood the test of culinary time and it involves its heartwarming and healing properties. My chicken tortilla soup recipe is one you'll want to save!
Recipes, Soups

The Best Chicken Tortilla Soup

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There is a reason why chicken tortilla soup has stood the test of culinary time, and it involves its heartwarming and healing properties. My chicken tortilla soup recipe is one you’ll want to save!

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Comfort in a Bowl

I love making soups, but sometimes they’re just not filling enough for a whole meal. Well, that isn’t the case for this chicken tortilla soup! I love chicken tortilla soup because it’s loaded with protein, easy to make, and develops excellent flavor in a short amount of time.

I can guarantee you that my chicken tortilla soup recipe is one you’ll want to save for those weeknights when you’re busy, tired, or don’t know what to make for dinner. It’s easy, quick, and nourishing. This gluten-free soup uses pantry staples to create a delicious, hearty meal in less than an hour. Plus, this dish requires minimal effort, so it’s a win win! Check out the recipe below!

This cozy soup is the perfect filling and warm recipe.
This cozy soup is the perfect filling and warm recipe.

Soup for the Soul

There is a reason why chicken tortilla soup has stood the test of culinary time and it involves its heartwarming and healing properties. Chicken soup started many centuries ago to help aid those who were sick. The nourishing ingredients from this meal served to heal sicknesses back then like asthma and leprosy.

This dish has served many purposes. It is the reason why many people, like myself, feel the sudden urge to eat chicken tortilla soup the second you feel under the weather. Many doctors and grandmothers have prescribed this dish throughout the years. If you didn’t know, when chicken cooks, it releases these amino acids that resemble certain properties in medicine to fight off infections like bronchitis. Crazy right!?

There's a reason soup is the go-to recipe for sick days!
There’s a reason soup is the go-to recipe for sick days!

Foundation of a Good Soup

Although soups are relatively easier to make, it does make them flavorless or boring. The base of a soup is very important in dictating the way your soup is going to taste and make you feel! For this recipe, the basis of the soup include onion, garlic, and diced green chilis. All the ingredients combined in this dish create a real warm and homey type of flavor. The green chilis bring a little kick and the onion and garlic create a boost of flavor. This base will allow the other more filling ingredients to soak up all of the flavor to build off of.

To kick off this recipe, start by adding olive oil to the pot over medium-high heat. Then, add in our diced onion. This way we are able to bring the oil to our desired heat and get the onion cooking right when it hits pan. We now cook the onion down for 5 minutes, while stirring occasionally to prevent the onion from burning. We want the onion to really cook down and release its signature aroma. This creates that flavor boost in preparation for the upcoming steps. Once finished, we reduce the heat to medium and add the green chilis and garlic. For the next two minutes, we’ll sauté these vegetables together to create a nice base for our chicken.

Perfectly Cooked Chicken

There’s two options when it comes to chicken for this soup. First, you can use a rotisserie chicken. I found that using the two chicken breasts and the white meat from the drumsticks is usually enough. However, you never quite know what kind of quality you’re getting with a store-bought rotisserie chicken. Sometimes it is perfectly cooked and moist. Other times, it’s noticeably overcooked and dry. In that case, there’s not enough chicken broth in the world to revive dry meat.

I always opt for home cooked chicken. That way, you know the quality of meat going into the soup. Plus, you can cook your chicken to perfection! Just follow these easy steps:

  1. Start by preheating the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and lining a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Then, allow two pounds of chicken breasts to come to room temperature before patting dry with a paper towel.
  3. Season each piece of chicken with two teaspoons of olive oil, two teaspoons of oregano, one teaspoon of salt, and one teaspoon of pepper. Ensure each side of the two chicken breasts is thoroughly seasoned before placing on the prepared baking sheet.
  4. Once the oven is preheated, place the baking tray on the center rack. Roast the chicken breasts for 20-25 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for ten minutes.
  5. Use a meat shredder to shred each chicken breasts. Or place the chicken in a large bowl and use two forks to shred the meat.

Now that the chicken is properly shredded and prepped to go into the soup, set to the side until the next steps.

Each spoonful of this soup is more flavorful than the next!
Each spoonful of this soup is more flavorful than the next!

Layering the Flavors

As I said before, the base is very important to create a flavor profile for the more filling ingredients to build off of. So, after the base we throw in the chicken and lime juice. We stir to combine these before adding in the tomatoes, black beans and corn. Why? Well, we want those flavors to soak into the chicken before we add the other ingredients. The lime juice is going in with the chicken and is going to balance out all the warmth we’ve got in the pot with some citrus. As we all know, lime is a great ingredient to add a little “zing” to a dish!

Then, it’s time to add the tomatoes, black beans, and corn. For this recipe, we’re utilizing canned tomatoes. However, if you have fresh tomatoes on hand- all the better! Before adding the black beans, remember to rinse and drain them twice. This will prevent the liquid from the can being poured into the soup. Finally, it’s time for the corn! I’ve found it’s best to use frozen corn to avoid overcooked corn.

After the chicken, lime juice, black beans, and other whole foods have been combined with the base, we combine our spices. Add all of the seasonings into a small bowl and sprinkle into the pot. This will allow the seasonings to build a more in depth flavor profile on top of our base, hence “layering the flavors”. We’ve got a good thing going right now at this point in the process. However, there is still one last very important step to bring it all together.

Steady Simmer

Now this is where the magic happens. This is where our ingredients become a delicious dish. Pour in the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Using chicken broth instead of water creates a more flavorful soup. Furthermore, bringing the liquid to a boil first before reducing to a simmer is crucial. Not only is this a much faster method than simply bringing it to a simmer, but it assists in developing a richer taste- in less time. Once we bring it down to a simmer the flavors now get a chance to develop and deepen.

Add the lid to the pot and allow it to simmer on medium-low heat for at least thirty minutes. If you’d like it to simmer for a longer length of time, reduce it to low heat. The soup doesn’t need any more than an hour at a simmer though. After the allotted time, remove the lid and carefully taste test the soup. It may need a little more salt or lime juice, depending on what you’re in the mood for.

What's a good soup without toppings?
What’s a good soup without toppings?

The Importance of Toppings

I love how fast this soup comes together! One of the best things about this soup is that most of the ingredients can be found in your pantry. Chicken tortilla soup doesn’t need fancy ingredients to be delicious; just let the flavors speak for themselves. Everything comes together in such a delicious way! Moreover, the toppings you add can enhance certain flavors of the soup. Check out how these crowd favorite toppings can change the taste of this chicken tortilla soup:

  • Jalapeños: If you’re all about the spicy, then this hot pepper is the perfect addition! Leave the seeds in the sliced jalapeño for an extra punch of flavor.
  • Fresh cilantro: You either love or hate cilantro. If you’re pro cilantro, then this herb is the perfect topping to add a fresh, peppery taste to the soup.
  • Sour cream: Who doesn’t love sour cream? This creamy topping adds a rich flavor with a slightly acidic tang to our recipe. It’ll also thicken the broth and make the soup a little heavier.
  • Cheese: Personally, this topping is a must for me! Whether it’s shredded colby jack or a sharp cheddar, you can’t go wrong with a layer of melted cheese.
  • Tortilla crisps: A good recipe is all about a balance of texture and flavors. I love toasting some sliced corn tortillas in the air fryer with a little olive oil and tajin on them. They add the perfect crunch!
  • Avocado: This slightly nutty, creamy topping is a beautiful addition to the chicken tortilla soup. It can balance out any heat with its earthy undertones.
  • Lime wedges: Looking for a little more zest? An extra hit of lime juice will bring those zesty flavors forward.

There are so many other toppings that you can add, but these are just a few of my favorites. The great thing about this soup is that there’s no such thing as too many toppings!

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Recipe by Arianna Litrenta Course: SoupsDifficulty: Easy
Servings

6

servings
Prep time

20

minutes
Cooking time

45

minutes

Who can resist this flavorful and hearty Chicken Tortilla Soup on a cold night?

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1 yellow onion, diced

  • 1 4oz. can of diced green chili

  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced

  • 2 1/2 cup of cooked chicken breast, shredded

  • 2 tablespoons lime juice

  • 1 28oz. can of dived tomatoes, drained and rinsed

  • 1 15oz. can of black beans, drained and rinsed

  • 1 cup of yellow corn, frozen

  • 1 tablespoon chili powder

  • 2 teaspoons cumin

  • 2 teaspoons paprika

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano

  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

  • 5 cups of chicken broth

  • For the Toppings
  • Crispy corn tortilla strips

  • Shredded Mexican cheese

  • 1 jalapeño, sliced

  • 1 avocado, sliced

  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, minced

  • 3 lime wedges

Directions

  • Add the olive oil to a large Dutch oven and heat over medium-high heat before adding the diced onion. Cook the onion down for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent it from burning.
  • Reduce the heat to medium, and add the green chilis and garlic. Sauce for two minutes.
  • Add the shredded chicken and lime juice. Stir to combine before adding the tomatoes, black beans and corn.
  • Combine all of the seasonings in a small bowl and sprinkle over ingredients.
  • Pour in the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Allow to boil for five minutes, then reduce to a simmer on low heat. Cover and continue to simmer for 30 minutes.
  • Allow to cool, uncovered, before serving and garnishing with your favorite toppings.

Notes

  • Store this soup in an air tight container up to 6 days.

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