Tortilla soup is such a classic Mexican dinner, that it’s become a favorite in many households. It’s easy to prepare and it’s perfect for a lazy weeknight dinner. So much so that kids and grown-ups alike can never get enough of it!
My tortilla soup has some of the tastiest ingredients. It is full of juicy shredded chicken, some corn, beans, and much-loved homemade tortilla strips. I usually pack this recipe for lunch. It is a meal that’s incredibly comforting, filling, and traditional. It’s perfect for chilly winter evenings or whenever someone in the family needs a little pick-me-up.
For the tortillas, I believe it’s best to go homemade. Homemade corn or flour tortillas are incredibly easy to master, whether you have the tools for it or not. But once you’ve attempted to make them once, you’ll never want to buy tortillas from the store again! That said, I promise I won’t judge you if you just want to grab a pack of pre-made tortillas for this recipe. The soup will still be delicious, even if you even if it is not 100% homemade.
Tortilla Soup: Quick Tips
If you’re ready to make the best chicken tortilla soup of your life, here are some of my top tips to make it extra special.
1. Use leftover chicken to limit food waste
I absolutely love low-food-waste dinners and aim to make my kitchen a little more eco-friendly wherever possible. This dish is perfect for leftover rotisserie chickens or unused chicken breasts that are on their way out. Simply chuck your leftovers or “I-need-to-use-this-soon” chicken into your dish and whip up some glorious chicken tortilla soup.
2. Bone broth tastes best
A common question people ask about this dish is what broth to use. If you’re buying from the store, go for low-sodium bone broth for the best results and tastiest flavors. Or, to really impress, try making your own chicken broth with leftovers. Not only is this another great tip for reducing food waste in your home, but homemade broth always seems to taste that bit better.
3. Adjust the amount of spice to use
There’s no shame in not enjoying spicy dishes! If you don’t like it hot, just use fewer jalapenos and taste throughout cooking to get the perfect ratios for you and your family. If you prefer a bit more heat, add some more!
4. Prepare the food at the right time
I tend to use canned corn and beans as these dramatically speed up prep and cooking time… So I can get tucked into this tasty soup that bit quicker! For the avocado, don’t cut it up until the last minute to ensure it stays firm and green (not brown) for as long as possible.
Easy Homemade Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Ingredients For the soup:
- 1 tablespoon olive (extra virgin) oil
- 1 chopped medium onion
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 jalapeno pepper (preferably seeded and diced)
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 lb chicken breasts
- 20oz crushed tomatoes
- 32oz chicken broth
- 14oz drained and rinsed black beans
- 14oz corn, drained and rinsed
- ½ cup chopped and divided cilantro (leave 1/4 for garnishing)
- 1 lime – juiced
- 1 teaspoon salt (to taste)
Ingredients for the Tortilla strips:
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 8 6” corn tortillas
Ingredients for the Tortilla strips:
- 1 diced large avocado
- 1 wedge-cut lime
- Preheat ¼ cup of oil, preferably extra virgin olive oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat.
- Cut the tortillas into strips that are thin enough to enjoy but still easy to manage.
- Fry the strips in batches until they become crisp (1-2 minutes each side).
- Remove the now crispy tortillas from the pan.
- Leave the tortillas to drain on a paper towel.
Chicken tortilla soup:
- Preheat a large saucepot with 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat.
- Once the oil heats up, add the vegetables: onion, garlic, and jalapenos.
- Sauté until the vegetables have softened—this usually takes around 5 mins.
- Add the meat, corn, beans, chili powder, cumin, and other ingredients to the pan and include the chopped cilantro and chicken broth to the mixture.
- Stir everything together to combine them well and bring the pan to a boil.
- Lower the heat and leave the mixture to simmer for at least 25 minutes while occasionally stirring.
- Carefully remove the chicken out of the pan and use 2 forks to shred the meat.
- Place the shredded chicken in the pan and allow it to simmer for another 5 minutes. When simmered, add the lime juice.
- Once everything is cooked, pour the soup into serving bowls and top with the tortilla strips, and garnish with pieces of avocado, the remaining cilantro, and your lime wedges.
Notes on Leftovers
If you have any leftover soup pour the it (without the toppings) into an airtight container. You can also do this if you are preparing some soup in advance. As a storage tip, the soup will be well-preserved in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. You can also choose to freeze it up to 2 months.
To reheat, bring the soup to a boil in a large saucepan, and top it off with some homemade tortilla strips and other toppings.
My family absolutely loves this easy tortilla soup, and it’s one of my favorite dishes to bring to a Mexican potluck. I’m confident you’ll enjoy it as much as we do!