This chicken tortilla soup features juicy shredded chicken and sautéed veggies in a perfectly seasoned broth. Top with homemade crispy tortilla strips for the ultimate fiesta!

Chicken Tortilla Soup in a bowl.

What Is Chicken Tortilla Soup?

Chicken tortilla soup is a Mexican dish comprised of cooked chicken and veggies in a tomato-based broth, topped with fried tortilla strips. Originating in Mexico City, this soup is absolutely mouthwatering and full of spicy, smoky, earthy flavor. Crunchy tortilla strips are the traditional topping, but a variety of other toppings can also be added to take this soup to the next level.

Chicken Tortilla Soup Video

How To Make Chicken Tortilla Soup

Do you have 45 minutes to spare? That’s all it takes to create this masterpiece of Mexican flavors — prep all your ingredients, then let’s get cooking!

  • Make the tortilla strips: Preheat a deep frying pan with oil over medium-high heat. Cut the tortillas into thin strips and fry them in batches until crispy, about 1-2 minutes. Remove the strips from the pot and drain on a paper towel-lined plate, then sprinkle with salt.
  • Sauté the veggies: Preheat a separate pot or Dutch oven with more oil. Once hot, add the chopped onion, garlic, and jalapeño. Sauté until the veggies are softened, about five minutes.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients: Add the remaining ingredients to the pot, except the lime juice and tortilla strips.
  • Cook the soup: Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the cooked chicken and shred it with two forks, meat shredding claws, or in the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment. Return the chicken to the pot and stir in the lime juice. Simmer for an additional five minutes.
  • Serve the soup: Serve the soup with the homemade tortilla strips and your favorite toppings. Enjoy!

Hot tip: Save time by using pre-cooked, shredded chicken (you’ll need about three cups). Follow the recipe as directed, and add the chicken along with the lime juice in the last five minutes of cooking.

Tips From the Kitchen

This recipe is incredibly simple and straightforward. Nonetheless, we have a few suggestions to guarantee an addictively delicious chicken tortilla soup.

  • Fry (or bake) the tortilla strips yourself. Sure, you can buy tortilla strips from the store — but it’s healthier and more delicious to make them yourself with homemade corn tortillas. If you’re not a fan of frying, bake the tortilla strips instead. Simply toss them with two tablespoons of oil, place on a baking sheet in a single layer, and bake at 350˚F for 15 minutes.
  • Season to taste. Our #1 tip for culinary success is to taste for the correct amount of seasoning. Chicken tortilla soup relies on the seasoning to carry all the flavors through, so don’t hold back. If the soup is falling flat, add more salt and lime juice until your taste buds are dancing. Or, throw in an extra jalapeño to satisfy your craving for heat.
  • Use whatever veggies you have on hand. We love this tortilla soup because it allows for flexibility and creativity. If you don’t have canned corn, use frozen corn. If you don’t like black beans, swap them for pinto or navy beans.
Chicken Tortilla Soup with topping in a bowl.

Topping Ideas

Crispy tortilla strips are a must when it comes to topping chicken tortilla soup… but why not get a bit more creative? Here are our favorite extra toppings to dress up a bowl of this amazing soup.

  • Cheese: Cheddar, Monterey jack, pepper jack, or a Mexican cheese blend add the perfect savoriness to chicken tortilla soup. Sprinkle a handful of shredded cheese over your steaming bowl and watch it melt in… mmm.
  • Avocado: Creamy avocado helps to balance the spiciness of this soup and adds a slightly sweet, nutty flavor. Plus, it’s packed full of healthy fat!
  • Jalapeño: Are you a spice lover? Turn up the heat with extra sliced jalapeños on top.
  • Cilantro: Fresh cilantro provides a peppery, herby flavor that’s essential to Mexican cuisine. The pop of green is striking, as well.
  • Sour cream: You can’t go wrong with a dollop of sour cream in soup — it adds creaminess, richness, and spice balance.
  • Lime wedges: Squeeze fresh lime juice over your bowl for a tangy burst!

Ways To Serve

Now that you have a steaming pot of chicken tortilla soup, it’s time to set the table and serve. Remember to add the fried tortilla strips and any other toppings your heart desires! Whether you’re enjoying this soup as a main course or an appetizer, homemade tortilla chips are the perfect complement. Stick with the Mexican theme and savor carne asada street tacos, Mexican stuffed bell peppers, and Mexican street corn salad along with your soup.

Storage & Reheating

We’ll let you in on a little secret… this chicken tortilla soup tastes even better the next day! Follow these tips to see for yourself how the flavor develops over time.

  • Refrigerator: To store for up to four days, allow the soup to cool completely, then refrigerate. Wait until you’re ready to eat before adding any toppings.
  • Freezer: To store for up to two months, place the cooled soup in an airtight container and freeze. Thaw the soup overnight in the fridge before reheating.
  • Reheating: When you’re craving hot soup, reheat the leftovers on the stove or in the microwave until steaming.

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About Author

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Natalya Drozhzhin

Natalya founded Momsdish to demonstrate that placing a homemade meal on the table is not hard at all. Natalya makes cooking easier and approachable, by simplifying the ingredients, while still producing the same great taste.