Easy Chicken Tortilla Soup recipe – bursting with flavor and always sure to satisfy! Made with tender rotisserie chicken, hearty black beans, nutritious vegetables, and a bright and savory, well seasoned broth. A recipe most definitely worthy for a space in the recipe box!
This recipe is sponsored by Swanson however all thoughts and opinions are my own.
Homemade Chicken Tortilla Soup
Chicken tortilla soup will forever and always be one of my favorites. Who can resist those fresh, well spiced Mexican flavors in a cozy bowl of soup?
This quick version includes so much texture and flavor variations but it truly just comes together so perfectly. Layer upon layer of enticing taste.
And a critical part of what really makes this soup so good are those toppings (don’t every skip the tortilla chips/strips). So pile the toppings high and serve it warm and steamy!
Chicken Tortilla Soup Ingredients and Substitutes
- Olive oil – just a little is used for sauteing. Vegetable oil will work great too.
- Yellow onion – a red onion will work too, increase to 1 1/2 cups since it’s a little more mild.
- Jalapeno – this is adds a little spicy kick to the soup. A substitute would be cayenne pepper to taste in a pinch.
- Garlic – fresh garlic is really always my favorite option, it adds so much fresh flavor. If you prefer bottled will work but please don’t substitute dried.
- Chili powder and cumin – this offers the soup those classic Mexican flavors. In a pinch, taco seasoning to taste will work great too, just use low-sodium or omit the salt as needed.
- Chicken broth – I use my go-to brand which is Swanson. It always has a deliciously, consistently, reliable flavor and no strange ingredients. Unsalted, low sodium or standard seasoned will all work great here. Just adjust salt amount added accordingly.
- Tomato sauce – Again, if you are looking to cut sodium there are unsalted tomato sauce options available now. In other countries use tomato passata.
- Canned fire roasted tomatoes – I like to use the fire roasted kind here for an extra boost in flavor, but in a pinch the standard diced will work.
- Frozen corn – this adds nice color and texture to the soup. I’ve always hated canned corn but if you don’t mind it feel free to substitute it.
- Shredded rotisserie chicken – I like to use both breast and thigh meat, no waste and it offers a nice blend of textures and richness. You can also use leftover chicken breasts or thigh meat you may have on hand (preferably bone-in, cooked).
- Black beans – these just make the soup that much heartier, and add another protein. You could swap another type of bean here such as pinto beans.
- Cilantro – to me this is a staple ingredient in this soup. I always keep cilantro on hand because it can really liven up a recipe, but I’ve heard some people say they hate it (which can be genetic believe it or not check out this article). In that case, you could try fresh parsley (and a little oregano), much different flavor but it will add that delicious herb flavor.
- Lime – the tomatoes are already slightly acidic so if you’re are sensitive to acidic foods you can omit this. In a pinch if needed it can be substituted with lemon.
- Salt and pepper – add to taste. Table salt, sea salt, or kosher salt all work great. Preferably stick with fresh ground black pepper.
Toppings Ideas for Chicken Tortilla Soup
- tortilla strips or chips (homemade if you have time are best)
- guacamole or sliced avocados
- shredded cheese (Monterey jack, cheddar, Mexican blend, queso fresco, pepper jack, etc)
- sour cream
- fresh chopped red onion (for bolder onion flavor)
How to Make Easy Chicken Tortilla Soup
Only 5 steps to making this quick soup:
- Saute veggies: Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and jalapeno and saute until nearly soft, about 6 – 7 minutes.
- Bloom aromatics: Add garlic, chili powder and cumin and saute 1 minute.
- Add liquid ingredients and veggies, simmer: Pour in chicken broth, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes and corn. Bring mixture to a simmer, then reduce heat to medium, cover and let simmer 5 – 10 minutes.
- Add pre-cooked ingredients, season: Stir in chicken, black beans, cilantro and lime. Season soup with salt and pepper as needed.
- Finish individual servings with toppings: Ladle into bowls top with tortilla chips, cheese and optional avocado or sour cream.
Can I Freeze Chicken Tortilla Soup?
- Yes, this soup freezes well in an airtight container for up to 3 months.
- Just be sure to leave room in container for liquid to expand up to lid.
- Thaw overnight in the refrigerator (or it may even take 2 days depending on the volume).
How to Reheat Chicken Tortilla Soup
- This soup reheats best on the stovetop. Cook on medium to medium-low heat, just keep covered and stir occasionally, until heated through.
- It is never recommended to reheat soup in a slow cooker for food safety reasons.
- For individual servings you can reheat in the microwave in a microwave safe bowl. I like to reheat on a lower power (usually about 50%) when I heat just about anything that has meat in it, it helps keep the meat from becoming tough and rubbery.
Use a different type of protein:
If you’d like this soup could also be made with cooked shredded beef or pork. Cooked ground beef or turkey will work great too.
Add other vegetables:
Sometimes I like to sneak in a carrot or bell pepper when sautéing the onions (if needed add a little more broth to make up for the extra volume).
Make it extra spicy:
Add more jalapeños to taste. Leave the seeds for extra heat. Or use a spicier pepper like serrano pepper.
Tips for the Best Chicken Tortilla Soup
- Be generous with the spices and cilantro. You can even add more to taste than what I’ve listed.
- Bloom the spices. That sautéing step with the onions really livens up their flavors.
- Use bone-in cooked chicken for best flavor.
- Don’t substitute water or bouillon cubes for broth. You won’t have as much flavor in the soup.
- Load up on the tortilla chips or strips, this is chicken tortilla soup after all. Depending on the texture you prefer you can wait to add them with individual servings. Some people like to cook them right into the soup (add extra broth and spices if doing so since they’ll act as sponges).
More Ways to Make Tortilla Soup
- If you are looking to make it in a crockpot then check out my Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup recipe.
- Another delicious variation to try is my Grilled Chicken Tortilla Soup which includes grilled chicken breast, grilled corn and fire roasted tomatoes for a delicious lightly charred background flavor, so good!
- For a vegetarian option go with my Black Bean Tortilla Soup.
- Love a creamy soup? Try my Creamy Chicken Tortilla Soup.
More Delicious Mexican Soups to Try
- Chicken Enchilada Soup
- Chicken Pozole Soup
- Creamy Mexican Corn Chowder
- Mexican Lentil Soup
- Mexican Vegetable Soup
- Taco Soup
Follow Cooking Classy
16 Quick & Easy 30 Minute Recipes! (plus weekly recipe updates)
Chicken Tortilla Soup
- 1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 1/4 cups finely chopped yellow onion (1 small)
- 1 medium jalapeno*, seeded and minced (1/4 cup)
- 1 1/2 Tbsp minced garlic (4 cloves)
- 1 Tbsp chili powder
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 (32 oz) carton Swanson Chicken Broth
- 1 (15 oz can) tomato sauce
- 1 (14.5 oz) can fire roasted diced tomatoes
- 1 1/2 cups frozen corn
- 3 cups shredded rotisserie chicken (I use breast and thigh meat)
- 1 (14.5 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
- 1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 oz. corn tortilla strips**, or tortilla chips slightly crushed
- 1 cup shredded Mexican cheese or Monterey jack cheese
- diced avocado (optional)
- sour cream (optional)
- Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and jalapeno and saute until nearly soft, about 6 - 7 minutes.
- Add garlic, chili powder and cumin and saute 1 minute.
- Pour in chicken broth, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes and corn. Bring mixture to a simmer, then reduce heat to medium, cover and let simmer 5 - 10 minutes.
- Stir in chicken, black beans, cilantro and lime. Season soup with salt and pepper as needed.
- Ladle into bowls top with tortilla chips, cheese and optional avocado or sour cream.
- *If you don't like heat then 1/2 cup chopped bell pepper can be substituted. If you love heat then keep the seeds and even add an extra jalapeno.
- **To make your own tortilla strips you can cut 6 corn tortillas in half and cut into strips. Then pour 1/2-inch of vegetable oil into a pot or saute pan and heat to 350 degrees. Fry half of the strips at a time until crisp, about 2 minutes, use a spicer to collect and strain then transfer to paper towels to drain and season with salt right away.
- Nutrition estimate based on about 1.5 cups soup per serving. Does not include avocado or sour cream.