Today I’m sharing The Best Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe I’ve ever made. Drop your dinner plans and make it tonight!
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.
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.
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.
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.
It’s a shallow life that doesn’t give a person a few scars. ~Garrison Keillor
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.
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!
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!
How To Make The Best Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe
- In a large stock pot, add the onions, cilantro, and garlic. Sauté to soften.
- 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.
- Add the carrots, and simmer until the carrots and chicken breasts are cooked through.
- Shred the chicken, then return it to the pot.
- Stir in cheese and crushed tortilla chips to thicken the broth.
- Top each bowl with the more cheese, fresh cilantro, fresh avocado, and tortilla chip pieces!
Get the Full (Printable) Easy Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe Below!
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.
Also try our simple Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup recipe!
Looking for More Mexican-Inspired Soups? We’ve got you covered…
- Skinny Chicken Fajita Soup
- Slow Cooker Chicken Enchilada Soup
- 5-Ingredient Cheesy Chicken Chili
- Paleo Chicken Chili Verde
- Southwest Detox Soup
The Best Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small onion, peeled and chopped
- 2/3 cup fresh chopped cilantro, divided
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 4+ cups chicken broth
- 14.5 ounce diced "fire roasted" tomatoes (canned)
- 2 whole skinless chicken breasts
- 3/4 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1/2 tablespoon chili powder
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1-2 bay leaves
- 2 carrots, thinly sliced
- 1 1/2 cups shredded Monterey jack cheese
- 1-2 avocados, diced
- 10 ounce Bag of tortilla chips
- 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.
To make this a “low carb” recipe, omit the tortilla chips. It’s still awesome!
Instant Pot Instructions:
- Set the IP on Sauté. Add the oil, onions, 1/3 cup cilantro, and garlic. Sauté 3 minutes.
- 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.
- Perform a Quick Release. Once the steam valve button drops it's safe to open the lid.
- 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.
- Garnish as directed above.