A Spicy Perspective

The Best Chicken Tortilla Soup

Today I’m sharing The Best Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe I’ve ever made. Drop your dinner plans and make it tonight!

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Scars and Soup

I have a small scar between my eyes. It’s a pock-mark really.

Only the most attentive surveyor would notice it, but I notice. Every day.

I went to a skin clinic to consider having it removed. The doctor told me that 3 simple laser treatments would render my little indentation obsolete.

That’s right, for less than $250 a scar-free face! I went home to think about it, and had a mini-revelation.

Best Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe #ASpicyPerspective  #instantpot #slowcooker

Scars are a sign of healing and growth. Every scar we have represents a life lesson.

The pock-mark between my eyes was a valuable lesson to a nine-year-old, to not hold a parakeet so close to your face when you’re sick with the chickenpox!

The marks on my forearm represent an education in keeping my elbows up when I reach into the oven.

The crater of my ankle cautions me to wear long pants when walking through thick barbed-wire laden fields.

The tiny slash on my finger prompts me to keep my fingers curled back while chopping carrots for something like The Best Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe.

Making The Best Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe #ASpicyPerspective  #instantpot #slowcooker

These lessons are all branded on my body, and therefore all branded in my mind.

Thinking about this made me realize, internal scars are the same.

We’ve all been wounded by loved ones, harsh realities, and disappointments.

Yet as long as these wounds don’t remain open… As long as we allow them to heal (not fester) we are showing signs of growth.

We are becoming stronger and healthier. We are developing character.

How To Make The Best Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe #ASpicyPerspective  #instantpot #slowcooker

I have scars from people in my past, that act as tokens of how to handle future relationships.

I have scars from being overlooked for promotion, that produced a deeper work ethic.

There are even scars I’ve inflicted on myself that now stand as a memento to hold and protect a healthy self-image. They are all symbols of maturity and therefore utterly priceless.

So I think I’m going to keep it my little pock-mark. I now look at a scar as a thing of beauty.

How To: The Best Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe #ASpicyPerspective  #instantpot #slowcooker

It’s a shallow life that doesn’t give a person a few scars. ~Garrison Keillor

How To: Best Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe #ASpicyPerspective  #instantpot #slowcooker

As For The Best Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe?

It would seem that everyone has their own version of  chicken tortilla soup. Some are thick like gravy. Some thin and watery.

I prefer a thin, but not watery, broth-based chicken tortilla soup with lots of veggies and toppings.

Making Easy Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe #ASpicyPerspective  #instantpot #slowcooker

I developed this easy chicken tortilla soup recipe years ago and would venture to say it is my most requested recipe, both with personal friends and blog readers. I email the link to this recipe constantly!

It’s chunky, perfectly spiced, and so quick to make.

The deep rich essence of the broth comes from sautéing the onions, garlic, and cilantro to release their flavor, before adding the broth and spices.

Then cheese and crushed tortilla chips are added at the end to thicken the soup base and give it a comforting luxurious feel.

You are going to love this chicken tortilla soup!

How To Make Easy Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe #ASpicyPerspective  #instantpot #slowcooker

Easy Chicken Tortilla Soup Ingredients

What will you need to make this zesty tortilla soup? It only requires 15 simple ingredients… 10 of which are pantry staples!

  • Olive oil – To sauté the veggies.
  • Onion – The beginning of every great soup recipe.
  • Cilantro – If you don’t love raw cilantro, you may still enjoy this soup, because the cilantro is well-cooked.
  • Garlic – Fresh is best!
  • Chicken broth –  Use your favorite brand.
  • Diced tomatoes – Look for a brand of canned tomatoes that offers “fired roasted” for extra flavor.
  • Chicken breasts – Cook them whole, right in the broth.
  • Ground cumin – For deep smoky essence.
  • Chili powder – Or pure ground chiles.
  • Cayenne pepper – For a little kick!
  • Bay leaves – For a deep herbaceous note.
  • Carrots – If the skins aren’t rough and fuzzy, there’s no need to peel the carrots.
  • Monterey jack cheese –  To thicken the soup and to add as a garnish
  • Avocados – The perfect creamy topper.
  • Bag of tortilla chips – To thicken the soup and to add as a crunchy topping!

Amazing Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe #ASpicyPerspective  #instantpot #slowcooker

How To Make The Best Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe

  1. In a large stock pot, add the onions, cilantro, and garlic. Sauté to soften.
  2. Stir in chicken broth, tomatoes, whole raw chicken breasts, and spices. Push the chicken breasts to the bottom of the pot and bring to a boil.
  3. Add the carrots, and simmer until the carrots and chicken breasts are cooked through.
  4. Shred the chicken, then return it to the pot.
  5. Stir in cheese and crushed tortilla chips to thicken the broth.
  6. Top each bowl with the more cheese, fresh cilantro, fresh avocado, and tortilla chip pieces!

The Best Ever Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe #ASpicyPerspective  #instantpot #slowcooker

Get the Full (Printable) Easy Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe Below!

Perfect Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe #ASpicyPerspective  #instantpot #slowcooker

Can I Freeze This Chicken Tortilla Soup?

Yes. Just be sure to thaw it at room temperature before reheating, to protect the veggies from turning to mush.

Can I Skip The Cheese?

Yes. The broth will not be as thick and rich, but you will end up with a lighter leaner soup.

Can I Make A Low Carb Chicken Tortilla Soup Variation?

Yes. Just remove the tortilla chips!

Can I Take Out The Cilantro?

Yes and no. Yes, you can take out any ingredient, but NO it will not taste the same. I will say, I have served this easy chicken tortilla soup recipe to several cilantro haters, and they loved it.

They say the illusive “soapy” taste is removed through the cooking process. Just be sure to leave the fresh cilantro off at the end.

Can I Make This Chicken Tortilla Soup In The Instant Pot?

Absolutely! Find the instructions in the recipe notes below.

The Best Easy Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe #ASpicyPerspective  #instantpot #slowcooker

Also try our simple Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup recipe!

Looking for More Mexican-Inspired Soups? We’ve got you covered…

The Best Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe #ASpicyPerspective #instantpot #slowcooker
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The Best Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
The Best Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe ever! This fresh and healthy tortilla soup recipe is easy to make and an absolute crowd-pleaser.
Servings: 6



  • In a large stock pot, heat the oil over medium-high. Add onions, 1/3 cup cilantro, and garlic. Sauté 3 minutes.
  • Stir in chicken broth, tomatoes, whole raw chicken breasts, all the spices, and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Push the chicken breasts to the bottom of the pot. Bring to a boil.
  • Add the carrots. Return to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium and cook another 10-12 minutes. 
  • Remove the cooked chicken breasts with tongs and either shred or chop them. Add the chicken pieces back to the soup.
  • Stir in half the cheese and 1 cup crushed tortilla chips. If too much of the broth has evaporated, stir in an additional cup of broth or water. 
  • Ladle into bowls and top with the remaining cheese, fresh cilantro, fresh avocado, and more tortilla chip pieces.


This is a great recipe to use up leftover chicken or a rotisserie chicken. Just add it in at the very end to warm it up.
Low Carb:
To make this a “low carb” recipe, omit the tortilla chips. It’s still awesome!
Instant Pot Instructions:
  1. Set the IP on Sauté. Add the oil, onions, 1/3 cup cilantro, and garlic. Sauté 3 minutes.
  2. Stir in chicken broth, tomatoes, whole raw chicken breasts, carrots, all spices, and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Push the chicken breasts to the bottom of the pot. Lock the lid into place and set on Pressure Cook High for 5 minutes.
  3. Perform a Quick Release. Once the steam valve button drops it's safe to open the lid.
  4. Remove the cooked chicken breasts with tongs and either shred or chop them. Add the chicken pieces back to the soup. Stir in half the cheese and 1 cup crushed tortilla chips.
  5. Garnish as directed above. 


Serving: 1.5cups, Calories: 399kcal, Carbohydrates: 29g, Protein: 12g, Fat: 24g, Saturated Fat: 7g, Cholesterol: 25mg, Sodium: 945mg, Potassium: 695mg, Fiber: 6g, Sugar: 5g, Vitamin A: 4170IU, Vitamin C: 24.1mg, Calcium: 311mg, Iron: 2.9mg
Course: Main Course, Soup
Cuisine: American, Mexican
Author: Sommer Collier

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78 comments on “The Best Chicken Tortilla Soup”

  1. Worst intro ever.

  2. I am always looking for a good soup to bring for my lunch. My goodness, this is by far the best chicken tortilla soup I have ever tasted. I made the recipe following the recipe and would not change one thing. I am not a cilantro fan but so necessary in this recipe. DELICIOUS!

  3. I really love your approach to the tortilla soup recipe because there is no wrong way to make it taste ‘comfy’.   Like I prefer all my stuff to be fresh but I don’t always  have time to do it all that way.  The back bones are here, no judgement, great advice.  Definitely subscribing.  Awesome job!

  4. Damn. This recipe AND your story got me right in the feels 😍 . Thank you for sharing! I made it for me tonight and I’m making it again this weekend

  5. So good! I had leftover rotisserie chicken that I shredded and threw in there instead of cooking chicken in the broth. Other than that, I followed the recipe directly and it turned out amazing! I might add some jalapeno in there too to add some spice.

  6. The flavors in this soup are absolutely fantastic! I typically end up having to greatly increase the spices in recipes in order to kick ’em up a notch, but I didn’t have to with this. So good. I don’t think I will ever need another chicken tortilla soup recipe.
    Full Disclosure – I added a can of black beans just because I really like beans in this type of soup.

    • Nicole, I thought about that….didn’t do it because I wasn’t sure….but I think it is exactly what I am gonna do next time

  7. Excellent recipe! I added 2 cans of black beans and 2 cans of corn. I also substituted parsley for the cilantro. 

  8. One of my favorite soups! I make this all winter long.

  9. This is such an ultimate comfort food! Everyone at my house loved it!

  10. Looks great! Very similar to my recipe. Try adding a can of whole kernel corn, drained.
    As you mentioned, I use a purchased rotisserie  chicken, with the cooked meat added at the end. 

  11. Have you ever made this in a slow cooker, and if so would it turn out the same? Thanks

  12. This soup is amazing! So full of flavor! I loved it!

  13. I’ve made many tortilla soups over the years, but now this is my new favorite!!!

  14. I’ve made this many times, and wanted to let you know how much we love it! On tonight’s menu, and I’ll be using rotisserie chicken for a very fast and satisfying dinner. Many thanks!

  15. This is excellent! Wanted a little more veggies, so did add extra carrots, celery, corn and black beans. Wonderful!!!!

  16. Thank you for this delicious recipe. I found it over a year ago when I was searching for a thin tortilla soup. I have made it at least 10 times since, and am making it again tonight. It’s one of my favorites!!! Thank you :)

  17. Pingback: Stone Soup. With Chicken, Cheese, Spices, and Tortilla Chips. | Domestiphobia

  18. I love this chicken tortilla soup broth, and it smells amazing! Glad you posted it on you FB page :).

  19. Pingback: Gross and Glorious | this life abundant

  20. Going to make this tonight, have all of the ingredients gathered and its a perfect overcast day for some tortilla soup! Will post about how it turns out. Wish me luck!!!

  21. absolutely delicious soup!!! added some roasted red peppers….wonderful. thanks :)

  22. Pingback: Stone Soup. With Chicken, Cheese, Spices, and Tortilla Chips. | Domestiphobia

  23. I think if you can reflect like that, you can get the scar removed and still remain the great, lesson-learning person that you are. You will just look at where the scar used to be and think of the words you wrote above in addition to your nine-year-old-self. You won’t just have to think of pox and birds, you can think of being emotionally healthy, and a self-reflective person.You will get two lessons from one scar. Not too shabby :)

  24. That soup is fantastic! Will make again.

  25. I prefer my childhood scars to my adult scars, lol..but with a bowl of this goregous soup, my scars would quickly fade..great recipe!


  26. Scars are badges of honour and they don’t give those out to just anyone! I wear mine with pride ;)

    LOVE your gorgeous soup and how I know it will stick to my ribs. It’s been raining continuously for about 28 straight hours now, I’m shivering in my robe and slippers and I tell you, I could really use a bowl of it right NOW!!

  27. I like your pock mark, Sommer! And I like even more that you are going to keep it;-)
    Hey, this soup looks awesome. I love the step by step photos-they are so enticing. Plus, they make me want your Le Creuset looking Cauldron (smile). Ooh, and that bottom photo is killer by the way. Just lovely!

  28. That soup looks so good with the avocado and chips. I love soups that are so hearty (but that make you want a couple of bowls full because they taste so good!)

  29. I love chicken tortilla soup but have never made it myself. Yours looks so delicious that I think its time I tried! Btw, you won my Isaly’s giveaway! Congratulations! Please send me your address at anniesdish@gmail.com so I canget that out to you!

  30. Such a gorgeous bowl of soup… after making this I can see why you get so many requests. And I love your take on scars…so insightful…

  31. Superb dish.
    I like your story. I have tiny scars due to a little illness inside my arm. When they were fresh I was really mad about it, I didn’t wear short sleeves that year, I even had sorts of gloves. I had to wait before I could have them removed. Later when the dermatologist reminded me I planned to do the laser, I said : ” NO ! I keep them.”. They are now part of me and whenever I see them, they remind me of the holidays with friends when I was hiding my arm.

  32. A scrummy soup & great meal idea!



  33. Don’t cut yourself short. This is totally famous:) Great reminder that our scars are our testimony. Our proof that we are living. Great post!

  34. I loved the look of your new website- awesome!The dish looks tasty and delicious..

  35. Perfect dinner for these cold evenings..loved those avocado chunks :)

  36. I can see why it’s a requested recipe — it looks delicious! I’m not a big soup person but I really like tortilla soup. Yours looks fab.

  37. wow, the recipe looks great, and love your reflections on the scars that make us who we are. very thought-provoking. thx!

  38. Sommer, the soup looks so comforting, that I wish I could have a large bowl right now!

  39. Love your photos! The soup looks so vibrant and alive.

  40. wonderful post…sounds awesome…
    Tasty appetite

  41. You are using my green pot, again! I can feel some warm shivers of motivation coming on, here! I will be putting this recipe on my to make list and you just may find yourself headlining my site someday soon… depending on how fast I get my act together. This sounds YUMMY and your photographs as to PERFECT and quietly sophisticated, thoughtful, elegant and definitely celebrate the fresh ingredients used to make this dish.
    Big hug to you today.
    The colour of your site is such a pleasure to open (but there are these two big bare feet – beautifully manicured) on the advertisement right beside your bowl of soup that is a touch off putting)

  42. I think scars rock. Now internal scars…not so much. But they are lessons learned. Great post Sommer. Even better SOUP! This looks fabulous!

  43. Sommer, Thanks for the Chicken Tortilla Soup recipe. It is truly wonderful. I love your story too. I have a small scar on my forehead from a bike accident when I was a kid. I blamed the accident on a neighbor boy – I lied he didn’t have anything to do with it. My mom was so upset she paid his mother a visit. A couple stitches, and hours later, he showed up at our door with flowers for me. YIKES! I’d say that scar of mine is well deserved :)

  44. I had just printed off another Chicken Tortilla Soup to try when you posted yours. So tonight I tried your recipe and it is definitely a winner. We loved every flavor and it tasted so fresh. Thanks Sommer…this soup is definitely a winner and so easy to make.

  45. I loooove tortilla soup! However, I’ve never actually made it at home! Your version looks so delicious, and I love all the toppings, too.

  46. Sommer! Love your new site, but what I’m really here to say is that I made this tonight last minute with rotisserie chicken in less than 1/2 an hour (after sending Brian to the store) and we loved it! The crushed tortilla chips and fresh cilantro were amazing. This is a new simple favorite. ( : xo

    • Oh Laura, I’m so glad you liked it! Last night I tweeted about my “nearly famous” soup and several local friends responded that it was famous in our circle. TWO different families reported they were actually having it for dinner last night!

  47. Hahaha…I was actually thinking to myself that I wanted to make a chicken tortilla soup! This looks delicious!! I can’t wait to give it a try! :)

  48. Scars are memories too! The soup sounds fab. Great photos!

  49. I haven’t made this yet, and I am not sure why! It’s flavors my children all love! Gorgeous soup. I have a scar on my cheek….but I love what you said- “scars are a sign of healing” nice :)

  50. Lovely post!! I have that scar inbetween my eyebrows … and it’s from chickenpox! I picked it and picked it till it bled and got a scar from it. Nobody sees it, but I know it’s there…I know what you mean. :)

    The tortilla soup looks incredible – I love the variety that you’ve used and the result of a colorful, flavorful meal.

  51. Your chicken tortilla soup is super delicious, plus gorgeous presentation too!

  52. this looks so hearty and yummy. it reminds me of the chicken tortilla soup that I had at Yardhouse.

  53. I’m with you! Scars, wrinkles and any other signs are signs of life and experience…the experience I bet you needed for this chicken tortilla soup! It really looks wonderful. I’m in love with the colors of this soup. So heart-warming (and stomach warming!)

  54. What a great reflection…I love how you moved from bodily scars to internal scars. Very poignant! And then of course, this soup looks amazing! I love all the fresh ingredients…the chips…the avocado. Too good!

  55. And the wrinkles starting to appear on my face are laugh lines! Well, that’s what I tell myself! I’m not a soup fan, but I ADORE chicken tortilla soup. I think it’s because of all the fixings.

  56. “God will not look you over for medals degrees or diplomas, but for scars”.
    ~ Elbert Hubbard

  57. Tortilla soup is one of my favorites. Beautiful photos.

  58. Yum!! That looks amazing! One of my favorites!

  59. I know tortilla soup is such a popular recipe, but whenever I see pictures of it, it looks so bland and unappealing! Not the case with yours!! I can’t wait to print this out and try it! We love Mexican Chez Hound!

  60. Excellent presentation, Sommer.

  61. Every wrinkle and and every mark inside and outside of my body represents an experience to me as well, good or bad. I don’t want to erase all these memories from my body because I feel I erase them from my life. I want them to be there and remind me of those moments. I can understand why everyone asks for this soup, it looks delicious.

  62. Your photos just have these aromas leaping out my computer screen!

  63. Ah! Yay! I am so excited! I never win anything!
    On another note- this soup looks delicious! Chicken tortilla soup is one of my favorites. Also, I agrees with you about scars- they are a reminder of the past and all we have been thru… The good the bad and the ugly!

  64. Hi Sommer, First of all, I just want to say that I love the new look of your blog. ” BEAUTIFUL” . Great job! Your Chicken Tortilla Soup looks absolutely delicious .And with the avocados…wow! my mouth is watering now :)

    Cheers from NZ,


  65. love this soup and great and moving post

  66. I have a scar on my face too :) :). Hit by a half a brick on the playground as a kid and needed to get stitches! I hated it growing up, but now I look at it as making me unique :).

  67. Sommer the pictures are beautiful !!! I am making this for next week.Thanks!!!

  68. Scars are stories to tell! Oh, wow, and that’s quite a story. This soup is a thing of beauty!

  69. GORGEOUS photos! I love chicken tortilla soup- and the avocado is a GREAT addition.

  70. I wish the avocados at our local Teeter didn’t taste like cardboard right now! I still love this soup, but better when avs are in season.

  71. Lovely. With the avicado and cheese on top, it is simply perfect. Have a wonderful night!