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The BEST Chicken Tortilla Soup I Ever Made

75 Reviews

For years I’ve been making every chicken tortilla soup recipe out there and not really getting excited about any. Until now. Here’s the Best Chicken Tortilla Soup I Ever Made.

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An aerial photo of a white bowl of chicken tortilla soup topped with sour cream, a lime wedge, and tortilla strips.

I know, you’re probably thinking that once you’ve had one chicken tortilla soup, you’ve had them all.  There’s not much to them, right?  I guarantee you that train of thought ends here! This soup is phenomenal!

It all starts with a flavorful base of all kinds of veggies that is smooth and oh so tasty. Then we add all your favorite chunky tortilla soup essentials and top it with crunchy tortilla strips, slices of avocado, and more cheese!

All About that Base!

Let’s get into the details of what makes the base of this soup. We start by sautéing the vegetables:

  • onions
  • carrots
  • celery
  • bell pepper

Once the veggies are tender, we add some garlic powder and taco seasoning along with fresh roma tomatoes, canned fire roasted tomatoes, and fire roasted green chiles. As those simmer together, the flavors meld and become glorious. Avocado and cheese are added, and everything is put in the blender and pureed to creamy perfection. That avocado in the base just puts it over the top! Black beans and tortilla chips are added and pulsed with the blender leaving a few chunks.

A photo of the base for chicken tortilla soup including sauteed onions, carrots, bell peppers, and celery as well as roma tomatoes.

Back to the Pot

Everything in the blender is added back to the pot, and the rest of the chunky goodness is added:

  • black beans
  • corn
  • chicken (see section below on how to cook it)

Some water and chicken broth is added and everything simmers for a half hour. The chicken soaks in all the yummy flavor, and you have the best tortilla soup ever!

A photo of a white bowl of chicken tortilla soup topped with sour cream, a lime wedge, and tortilla strips.

Top It Off

I love the creamy soup base, and the chunks of chicken, corn and beans, but if I’m going to be totally honest, it’s the toppings that totally do it for me! They add texture and flavor and can be totally personalized depending on what you like. Here are just a few ideas:

  • fresh chopped cilantro
  • chips (Fritos, tortilla chips, multigrain chips)
  • sour cream
  • tomatoes
  • olives
  • jalapeños (fresh or pickled)
  • avocados
  • roasted red peppers
  • pico de gallo
  • salsa
  • radishes
  • cheese and more cheese

Once you’ve topped it, you are ready to dig in and go to tortilla soup heaven.

A photo of a white bowl of chicken tortilla soup topped with sour cream, a lime wedge, and tortilla strips with a spoon laying next to the bowl.

Side Dishes

I am all about a chunk of bread when I’m eating chicken tortilla soup! You could do something healthier like a fruit salad, but I’m all about the carbs! I need bread to dip! Here are a few of our favorites:

How to Cook the Chicken

Ok, before I get 100 emails about how we cook the chicken for this soup, let me explain now. I just put a little olive oil on the chicken and some salt and paper and bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes at 375 degrees. Then I shred it and add it to the soup. You could also just grab a rotisserie chicken and use that too. Did you know you can buy rotisserie chicken at Costco that has already been cleaned off the bones? Game changer right there!

An aerial photo of a white bowl of chicken tortilla soup topped with sour cream, a lime wedge, and tortilla strips.

Can You Freeze Chicken Tortilla Soup?

This soup freezes wonderfully! Let the soup cool to room temperature or even in the refrigerator. Store in a freezer bag or airtight container. It will be good for 3-4 months. To reheat it, let it thaw in the refrigerator and then warm it up in a pot on the stove.

Can Chicken Tortilla Soup be Made in a Slow Cooker or Instant Pot?

The Best Chicken Tortilla Soup can be made in both the slow cooker or Instant Pot. You can go slow cooker if you want low and slow or Instant Pot if you want dinner in a hurry.

  • Slow Cooker – complete step 1-5 as written and then pour everything into the slow cooker and cook on low for 2-3 hours
  • Instant Pot – cook the chicken for 6 minutes, then sauté the vegetables in the IP and blend in a blender. Pour everything back into the IP and cook on “manual” for 6 minutes with a quick release

A photo of a white bowl of chicken tortilla soup topped with sour cream, a lime wedge, and tortilla strips.

Tweaking for Specific Diets

This recipe is super easy to alter to accommodate all sorts of dietary needs.  Let me run through just a few of the changes you could make:

  • gluten free – make sure you are using  gluten free tortilla chips and you are good to go!
  • dairy free – eliminate the cheese and don’t top with sour cream
  • keto – eliminate the beans and tortilla chips, use chicken thighs
  • vegetarian – eliminate the chicken and use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth

When you make this Best Ever Chicken Tortilla Soup, or make any of the alterations for a specific diet, take a picture and tag us! We would love to hear how it goes!

An aerial photo of a white bowl of chicken tortilla soup topped with sour cream, a lime wedge, and tortilla strips.

The BEST Chicken Tortilla Soup I Ever Made

4.24 from 75 votes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Additional Time: 2 minutes
Total Time: 42 minutes
Servings: 8 -10
A flavorful chicken tortilla soup loaded with shredded chicken, corn, black beans and a few secrets that make it the best chicken tortilla soup I ever made!

Ingredients

  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 Large Carrot peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 Onion chopped
  • 1 Celery Stalk chopped
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper Chopped
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons Garlic Powder
  • 3 Teaspoons Taco Seasoning
  • 2 Roma Tomatoes quartered
  • 1 15 ounce Can Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes Drained
  • 1 Can Fire Roasted Diced Green Chiles drained
  • 2 Ounces Monterey Jack Cheese or 1/3 Cup Mexican Shredded Cheese
  • 1 Can Black Beans drained and divided
  • 1/2 Avocado
  • 10 Tortilla Chips We use Food Should Taste Good Multigrain chips from Costco as they have more flavor
  • 2 Cups Chicken Broth
  • 2 Cups Water
  • 3 Chicken Breasts cooked and shredded
  • 1 1/2-2 Cups Corn
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons Kosher Salt
  • 1/4 Cup Chopped Cilantro

Instructions

  • Heat the olive oil in a dutch oven over medium heat.
  • Add the onion, carrot, celery, and bell pepper, then turn the heat down to medium low. Allow the veggies to cook until tender for about 10 minutes.
  • Add the garlic powder and taco seasoning as well as the tomatoes, canned tomatoes and green chiles, stirring to combine and allowing to cook for up to 10 minutes.
  • Place the veggies in a blender and the avocado and cheese, running the blender for a minute or until completely smooth.
  • Add 1/2 the can of black beans, reserving the rest and the tortilla chips. Pulse a few times leaving chunks in the soup.
  • Pour the mixture back in the pot and turn it to medium heat. Add the chicken, remaining black beans, corn, broth, water and salt. Cook for 30 minutes turning it back to medium low if it starts to boil.
  • Stir in the cilantro and serve with fresh avocado, chips and cheese!
Nutrition Facts
The BEST Chicken Tortilla Soup I Ever Made
Amount Per Serving (1 bowl)
Calories 253 Calories from Fat 81
% Daily Value*
Fat 9g14%
Saturated Fat 3g19%
Polyunsaturated Fat 5g
Cholesterol 40mg13%
Sodium 882mg38%
Carbohydrates 26g9%
Fiber 6g25%
Sugar 5g6%
Protein 19g38%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

An aerial photo of a white bowl of chicken tortilla soup topped with sour cream, a lime wedge, and tortilla strips.

Soup RECIPES

Looking for a few different soup recipes other than this Best Ever Chicken Tortilla Soup? Here are just a few to get you started:  One Pot Cauliflower Chowder, Cheesy Southwestern Chicken Tortilla SoupRoasted Tomato Soup, Lasagna Soup, Chicken Soup, Best Clam Chowder, Creamy Tortellini Butternut Squash Soup, or Instant Pot Taco Soup!

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About the authors

Cheney Family

Cade and Carrian have three children and love to spend time together whether it’s vacationing or snuggled up on the couch for a good movie.

And this family especially loves to eat.

They love everything from the keep you fit and healthy to the get out your sweat pants indulgent and everything in between.

But most of all, they love the memories made, shared and treasured and it’s all thanks to a meal shared together with loved ones.

Leave a comment

22 comments

  • I was a little unsure at first but this recipe turned out delicious! People are not lying. 🙂 even my husband was impressed .
    I made a couple tweaks- no celery no chips, full avocado, orange instead of red pepper. I also used an entire packet of taco seasoning and 3 tsp of garlic salt, and I didn’t drain the tomatoes or Chiles.
    Gourmet! Great recipe! We will definitely make this again and share.

    • Reply
    • Thank you so much for the feedback Mallory and SO happy you enjoyed it!

      • Reply
  • HI! Oh my, I just finished making this soup and you are right- it is superb! I’ve never thought of mixing avocado in as a base, but yes it gives it a great flavor. Instead of pouring it in a blender, I just used an immersion blender since I hate doing extra dishes and this reduces some steps. Kudos to a great recipe! I am a subscriber now for sure and can’t wait to try your other recipes! Love from South Texas!

    • Reply
    • Thank you so much Brenda! We love that avocado in the base! Thank you for you support and taking time to give us feedback!

      • Reply
  • LET ME PREFACE THIS LONG POSITIVE RESPONSE WITH:
    YES, THIS IS THE BEST TORTILLA SOUP YOU WILL EAT AND MAY EVER MAKE (even if its your first time!), THIS INCLUDES MY VISITS TO MANY DIFFERENT RESTAURANTS AND HOMES OF MY HISPANIC FRIENDS AND FAMILY (no offense to my hispanic Friends and Family!! LOL)

    I chose to make this recipe yesterday in my Crock Pot. I use it more frequently for soups and slow cooking dishes. It was very easy to make.

    I did some research online when I first saw this recipe for the Tortilla Soup. I always try to get a sense of what others may or may not add to a similar recipe. I finally decided that this one would be the one to make. Also note that depending on how you like soups, there are versions that have a thicker content and some that have a more broth-like chicken noodle soupish style. I chose thick, FYI,

    The prep time along with the type of food (dicing and cutting veggies) took about 15 minutes or maybe a little longer. I just diced whichever veggie was up next and threw it in the olive oil and large pan. I set it on about low-medium (a 4 on my stove) and let it just heat, In the meantime, I had started my water 15 minutes prior to heat for my chicken, which I chose to boil, and threw in three large boneless, skinless breasts. I set the timer for 35 minutes and let them do their thing.

    In the meantime, as the recipe states, I added almost all of the canned items: 1 can Hunts diced fire-roasted tomatoes (only brand I could find at Walmart), The Great Value Walmart brand of two- 7 ounce cans of diced green chilis (fire roasted and peeled), and two roma tomatoes cut into large chunks. Then I added my taco seasoning and garlic powder. I used more of both in this stage and even some to taste later. Salt will be to taste also. I found the original recipe a little bland.

    (ON A SIDE NOTE: Due to the fact that you are going to put all of this in a blender, the main focus for all of the veggies is that you cut them small enough to soak in the other flavors and offer enough surface area for them to heat. I found in my second batch the same day, that I saved cutting time (and time in general) on the items needed and still retained the same wonderful flavors after blending them.)

    In addition to the cutting and blending, instead of waiting for the chicken to be shredded, I went ahead and blended all veggies and then added the final ingredients of 1 can of black beans, 1 can of whole kernel sweet corn, 1 or 2 blended avocados (depending on size), a half cup of fiesta blend cheese, and half a can of blended black beans (in addition to the full can of beans, not blended), 3/4 of a box of chicken broth (3 cups instead of 2 – I did this because I had a lot of chicken, something to decide when you look at the mixture (thick vs thin), and less water (1.5 cups) to my crock pot. (Note: the water I used was the same water I used to boil the chicken. I used it because a recipe I saw online said that they made their own chicken stock by boiling BONE IN chicken to retain the heavy flavors that comes in chicken stock. I didnt have time to do that and also shred the chicken, maybe next time.)

    I then removed the chicken, still hot, and used two forks to shred and separate the chicken. I added that to the already cooking crock pot mixture as I finished each breast. I would stir it to make sure all of the shredded chicken separated.

    At that time, I switched the crockpot settings to HOT for 20 MINUTES. Mine did NOT boil during this time. You might watch it as the recipe states to turn the heat to warm so it does not boil. I tasted it while stirring it to make sure it had the flavors I wanted. I did add more taco seasoning and a little more garlic and salt.

    After 20-30 minutes on hot, I turned it to WARM and set the timer for 2 hours. Although we were eating it within the next 30, I wondered if I left it warm would it taste better with the additional time. IT DID!!

    During the waiting time for final serving, I prepped all of the garnish. I think you dont need to overdo the garnishes. I first crumbled some tortilla chips small but not like bread crumbs and add the following on top: cilantro diced, avocado (hint: cut avocado around the seed, twist and separate, Then take your knife and cut long ways into four long slices for a more formal approach OR then cut those long slices across into small cubes. Take a spoon the size (or close to it) of the skin and spoon out the meat, the cubes will fall right on top of the soup and look great. You can also cut some additional roma tomato is small cubes and mimic the avocado. Your choice. Then sprinkle with cilantro. (Note: I did NOT use sour cream or jalapeno. The soup is so good by itself I did not want to take away from its natural flavors.)

    Finally, and I think this was a great choice, I qaurtered limes (2 pieces per bowl) and squeezed the juice onto the garnishes paying special attention to the crushed tortilla chips. The chips soaked the lime flavor in more than the other items and with the texture and crunch made the soup fantastic.

    Finally, I did not serve anything additional. A big bowl of soup with a chance for seconds was a filling meal. And along with a great beer (we had Corona Familiar, a rich version of the Corona Extra) with lime, and it made the dish!

    I hope you enjoy as much as I did. I received many praises, requests for the recipe, and as a Whetto/Bolillo earned some respect from my hispanic friends and family!!!

    • Reply
    • Wow thank you so much for the great feedback! I’m so glad you enjoyed this soup! It is one of our favorites, especially this time of year!

      • Reply
  • Made this last week and it was sooo good! 
    I had fresh lime and jalapeño on the side. I forgot the fire roasted tomatoes so I subbed for tomato sauce. It came out great!

    • Reply
    • Thank you for the feedback! So happy you enjoyed it!

      • Reply
  • What size is the can of fire roasted chiles? The recipe looks great and I want to try it.

    • Reply
    • Just the little 4 oz can, but if you want more heat, you could use a larger can. Enjoy!!

      • Reply
    • I just made this and it is divine!!! I forgot the carrots but it still turned out amazing! My family also loves your instant pot chili. Made it so many times I’ve lost count!! Thank you for the great recipes!

      • Reply
      • Thank you so much Linda!! Your support means the world to us!

  • Can I just cook the vegetables and add cheese and avocado as topping later instead of pulsing them together in the blender? I prefer tasting the vegetables rather than a cream-based soup,

    • Reply
    • Absolutely! They just help make the soup thick.

      • Reply
  • Made this recipe today! I used rotisserie chicken to make it easier! This Chicken Tortilla Soup is bar far the best that I have eaten! The only change that I made, is I substituted a yellow pepper instead of a celery stalk ( I didn’t have any celery on hand). This dish will definitely be added to my favorite recipe box!

    • Reply
    • Yay!! We love to hear that! It is definitely a favorite of ours!

      • Reply
  • This looks and sounds amazing! I just want to make sure I understand the directions. Do the veggies get pulsed til like a creamy liquid? In the picture they just looked pulsed so I wanted to make sure I did it right. Thanks!

    • Reply
    • Yes, that is correct! It helps make the creamy base of the soup.

      • Reply
  • We made this tonight for dinner and it was awesome!  The flavor was delicious and I love that is thicker than most tortilla soups that I have tried.  Thank you for the great recipe! 

    • Reply
    • Isn’t that thick base delicious! Now I’m craving this for dinner!!

      • Reply
  • I can’t wait to try this recipe! I just wanted to verify that the 10 tortilla chips called for are in the recipe are for a garnish or are they to be used as an ingredient in the soup? Thank you!🙂

    • Reply
    • They actually go into the soup. Those actually become part of the base. You add them into the blender when you are pureeing all the vegetables. It gives a thickness to the base that is so yummy! Hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do!

      • Reply

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