The Best Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe

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
5 from 18 votes

The Best Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe

Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
35 mins
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
Nutrition Facts
The Best Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe
Amount Per Serving (1.5 cups)
Calories 399 Calories from Fat 216
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 24g 37%
Saturated Fat 7g 35%
Cholesterol 25mg 8%
Sodium 945mg 39%
Potassium 695mg 20%
Total Carbohydrates 29g 10%
Dietary Fiber 6g 24%
Sugars 5g
Protein 12g 24%
Vitamin A 83.4%
Vitamin C 29.2%
Calcium 31.1%
Iron 16%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.



  1. In a large stock pot, heat the oil over medium-high. Add onions, 1/3 cup cilantro, and garlic. Sauté 3 minutes.
  2. 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.
  3. Add the carrots. Return to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium and cook another 10-12 minutes. 
  4. Remove the cooked chicken breasts with tongs and either shred or chop them. Add the chicken pieces back to the soup.
  5. 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. 

  6. Ladle into bowls and top with the remaining cheese, fresh cilantro, fresh avocado, and more tortilla chip pieces.

Recipe Notes

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. 

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70 comments on “The Best Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe

  1. Maryposted March 18, 2019 at 4:56 pm Reply

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

  2. Suzyposted March 2, 2019 at 10:57 am Reply

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

  3. Toniposted March 1, 2019 at 11:07 am Reply

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

  4. Steveposted February 28, 2019 at 3:23 pm Reply

    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. 

  5. Kathleen Seitzposted February 28, 2019 at 2:44 pm Reply

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

    • Sommer Collierposted March 7, 2019 at 3:58 pm Reply

      Hi Kathleen,

      Sure! Just saute the veggies on the stovetop first to get them started.

  6. Beth Pierceposted February 28, 2019 at 12:52 pm Reply

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

  7. Lizposted February 28, 2019 at 12:42 pm Reply

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

  8. Micheleposted January 31, 2017 at 3:53 pm Reply

    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!

    • Sommerposted February 9, 2017 at 9:55 pm Reply

      Hi Michele,

      Awe, thanks! I’m so glad you like it!! :)

  9. Susan Stonickposted May 18, 2014 at 6:47 pm Reply

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

  10. Meganposted January 22, 2014 at 7:24 pm Reply

    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 :)

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

  12. Laura (Tutti Dolci)posted October 16, 2012 at 3:12 pm Reply

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

  13. Pingback: Gross and Glorious | this life abundant

  14. Naviposted March 29, 2012 at 6:36 pm Reply

    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!!!

  15. meganposted November 4, 2011 at 7:29 pm Reply

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

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

  17. Saraposted February 7, 2011 at 7:04 am Reply

    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 :)

  18. Launieposted February 3, 2011 at 12:44 pm Reply

    That soup is fantastic! Will make again.

  19. sweetlifeposted January 31, 2011 at 11:28 am Reply

    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!


  20. denise @ bread expectationsposted January 30, 2011 at 9:05 pm Reply

    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!!

  21. Stellaposted January 30, 2011 at 5:12 pm Reply

    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!

  22. Kristenposted January 30, 2011 at 2:37 pm Reply

    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!)

  23. Annieposted January 30, 2011 at 9:29 am Reply

    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 [email protected] so I canget that out to you!

  24. Lizposted January 30, 2011 at 6:58 am Reply

    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…

  25. Gourmandeposted January 29, 2011 at 6:53 am Reply

    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.

  26. Rosaposted January 28, 2011 at 8:00 pm Reply

    A scrummy soup & great meal idea!



  27. Angposted January 28, 2011 at 4:05 pm Reply

    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!

  28. Suchitraposted January 28, 2011 at 3:25 pm Reply

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

  29. Aipiposted January 28, 2011 at 1:47 pm Reply

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

  30. Nourhan @ Miss Anthropist's Kitchenposted January 28, 2011 at 12:36 pm Reply

    Great job, this looks SO good!

  31. Fresh and Foodieposted January 28, 2011 at 11:24 am Reply

    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.

  32. Dmarieposted January 28, 2011 at 9:15 am Reply

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

  33. Angie's Recipesposted January 28, 2011 at 3:41 am Reply

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

  34. Felice - All That's Left Are The Crumbsposted January 28, 2011 at 1:21 am Reply

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

  35. Jayposted January 27, 2011 at 11:42 pm Reply

    wonderful post…sounds awesome…
    Tasty appetite

  36. A Canadian Foodieposted January 27, 2011 at 9:38 pm Reply

    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)

  37. Lora @cakeduchessposted January 27, 2011 at 9:37 pm Reply

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

  38. Eileenposted January 27, 2011 at 10:06 pm Reply

    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 :)

  39. Nanaposted January 27, 2011 at 8:30 pm Reply

    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.

  40. Kocineraposted January 27, 2011 at 8:07 pm Reply

    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.

  41. Lauraposted January 27, 2011 at 7:13 pm Reply

    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

    • Sommerposted January 27, 2011 at 7:53 pm Reply

      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!

  42. Christina @ Sweet Pea's Kitchenposted January 27, 2011 at 5:12 pm Reply

    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! :)

  43. pigpigscornerposted January 27, 2011 at 4:02 pm Reply

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

  44. Sommer Jposted January 27, 2011 at 2:22 pm Reply

    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 :)

  45. Kate @ Diethood.composted January 27, 2011 at 12:05 pm Reply

    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.

  46. 5 Star Foodieposted January 27, 2011 at 11:53 am Reply

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

  47. [email protected]posted January 27, 2011 at 10:36 am Reply

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

  48. Saraposted January 27, 2011 at 10:33 am Reply

    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!)

  49. Monetposted January 27, 2011 at 10:30 am Reply

    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!

  50. Laura @ Family Spiceposted January 27, 2011 at 9:33 am Reply

    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.

  51. Steve @ HPDposted January 27, 2011 at 9:22 am Reply

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

    • Sommerposted January 30, 2011 at 9:05 pm Reply

      That’s a good one!

  52. Lea Annposted January 27, 2011 at 8:10 am Reply

    Tortilla soup is one of my favorites. Beautiful photos.

  53. Lindsay @Eat, Knit, Growposted January 27, 2011 at 8:47 am Reply

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

  54. The Food Houndposted January 27, 2011 at 7:36 am Reply

    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!

  55. Michael Stephen Willsposted January 27, 2011 at 5:12 am Reply

    Excellent presentation, Sommer.

  56. Katerinaposted January 27, 2011 at 2:41 am Reply

    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.

  57. Jill Colonnaposted January 27, 2011 at 2:06 am Reply

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

  58. claireposted January 26, 2011 at 10:31 pm Reply

    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!

  59. Aldyposted January 26, 2011 at 9:39 pm Reply

    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,


  60. rebeccaposted January 26, 2011 at 10:07 pm Reply

    love this soup and great and moving post

  61. Debbie B.posted January 26, 2011 at 8:59 pm Reply

    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 :).

  62. Michelleposted January 26, 2011 at 8:46 pm Reply

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

  63. Belinda @zomppaposted January 26, 2011 at 8:42 pm Reply

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

  64. Blog is the New Blackposted January 26, 2011 at 8:29 pm Reply

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

  65. Apicius' Apprenticeposted January 26, 2011 at 8:43 pm Reply

    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.

  66. Nisrine|Dinners & Dreamsposted January 26, 2011 at 8:20 pm Reply

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