Homemade Chicken Tortilla Soup
Tender chicken in a spicy tomato broth-based soup topped with homemade tortilla strips, fresh avocado, and cilantro. This soup is always a hit!
How to make the BEST EVER Chicken Tortilla Soup with homemade tortilla strips. This is perfect for those chilly Fall and Winter nights. It is hearty, filling, and healthy. This recipe will become a mainstay in your home!
Chicken Tortilla Soup is serious business.
My kids have been eating it for weeks as I have tested out dozens of variations in search of the PERFECT Chicken Tortilla Soup.
I am happy to report we have a winner!
As a Mom, who knows that my kids are going to inhale more candy in one Halloween night than they have eaten all year, I make them eat the biggest bowl of soup before they go out Trick or Treating. In our home, we always serve a big pot of homemade chicken soup (classic chicken soup recipe HERE: Mama's Best Chicken Soup), a big bowl of hearty chili (our favorite recipe HERE: BEST Chili Recipe), or this Chicken Tortilla Soup. I try to fit their bellies with protein so quite possibly they won't devour as much candy.
Here's the thing. Before my little blog here, I rarely wrote down my recipes. I would just throw in a bunch of ingredients and spices and call it good. Since Modern Honey, I am a changed woman. For the past few weeks, I have been playing around trying to create the perfect chicken tortilla soup recipe.
I am a ridiculous perfectionist in the kitchen! I keep going until I feel I nailed the recipe. Then I get a lot of taste testers to give me their HONEST feedback. They all gave this a solid 10. Success!
How to make perfect Chicken Tortilla Soup:
A. Tender Chicken. Instead of poaching chicken in water, which can be hit and miss as to whether or not it will come out tough, we saute it with the onions and garlic. It comes out tender every single time. Plus it alleviates a step in the process which is always a win-win!
B. Flavorful Broth. This isn't some one-note broth. It's seasoned with onions, garlic, jalapeno, chili powder, cumin, green chilies, tomatoes, and cilantro. I think you get the point. It has a serious depth of flavor.
C. Homemade Tortilla Strips. Fry those babies up! Man alive, they are the difference makers in this soup because who doesn't love crispy fried goodness in your tortilla soup? Click HERE for a perfect strainer for fried foods. I have an option for those who steer away from fried foods. You can bake the corn tortillas instead of frying them. Yes! Place the strips on a sheet pan and drizzle with a small amount of canola oil and salt. Bake at 375 degrees for 5-10 minutes or until crispy.
D. Toppings. Get that avocado in the bowl. Throw in that cheese! Sour cream? Heck yes! Don't underestimate the power of garnish.
One more week until Halloween, so let the festivities begin! It always starts with soup in our fam. What is your favorite Halloween tradition? Have a fabulous Monday, my friends!
Happy Cooking! xo
Loved this recipe. The soup was delicious. Will make again soon for my family.
Added corn and black beans. Loved it!
Made this today. It was delicious. My Mom, husband and myself really enjoyed your soup. Had never before added
cheese and sour cream on top. I used a chicken already cooked and just chopped it up. Delicious, will make again. Thank you.
I made this for my family last night...they all loved it. I did cheat and deboned 2 rotisserie chicken's and shredded them up and added 1 can of corn. I did double recipe so I could have leftovers . This is a keeper!
Thank you Melissa for your recipe of Tortilla Soup. I can't wait to try it out. It looks like the one my mom used to make. Do you have a recipe for an awesome "Lemon Meringue Pie"? It's my favorite and have not been able to fine a delicious pie in San Antonio. Let alone someone who makes a great lemon meringue pie. Can you help?
Do you de-seed the jalepeno and when measuring the cilantro, is it 1/4 cup packed full-leaf or is it 1/4 cup minced cilantro?
Great recipe! We added black beans and roasted corn and it was delicious!!
This was definitely what we needed on a cold, snowy day. I shredded a rotisserie chicken, and it was perfect!
I just wanted some clarity on how you cook the chicken breasts? The instructions are very confusing and I cook all the time. You say to just put the chicken breast in with the onions and then cook until no loner pink, then add the rest of ingredients and cook? That will totally dry out the chicken. Once the chicken is no longer pink, any additional cooking will just dry it out, regardless of it being in a broth. You also never explain what to do with it once it's cooked? Obviously the step to take the chicken out and chop or shred it is missing. It just drives me nuts when recipes are so vague.
Agree with you so much! The instructions on this recipe are terrible and give no direction. Literally read it 5x and still am confused. Dumb.
If you read the page in fully, the author provides multiple suggestions for preparing the chicken. Her preference is to sauté in oil with onion and garlic. Many prefer to poach / boil chicken breasts for soup, but she indicates that results are mixed in her opinion. Another option provided is to use a cooked rotisserie chicken. By whichever method you choose to prepare your chicken, the ingredients list calls for your chicken to be fully cooked, then cubed or shredded before assembling your soup, again your choice. The directions provide her preferred cooking method of saluting breasts, but it is clear the other chicken preparation methods can be substituted.
This is a recipe that assumes you have some very basic cooking knowledge. If you do not, or if you need instructions on things such as how to cube/shred chicken, how to poach/boil chicken, how to carve a rotisserie chicken, etc; then it may not be for you. Or perhaps an additional google search could help you find instructions. If too advanced, you may want to start with children’s cookbooks until you have built your basic knowledge. It took me all of two minutes to read the page and understand this recipe. I’m not sure how an adult with basic cooking knowledge could be confused. However, leaving comments saying “dumb” are uncalled for. Someone has taken the time to post a free recipe you can choose to use or not use. Get a life and stop hating.
Amazing! I also added a can of drained and rinsed black beans and a can of corn. And of coarse extra jalapeño. Perfect for a cold day, warms you right up. Thanks for sharing!
I love chicken tortilla soup. I’ve tried a lot of different recipes. This one by far was the easiest and the best I’ve made! So so good! Thank you!
Omgoodness this is sooo good added corn and black beans just my family’s preference but didn’t change a thing I’ve been looking for a new cts recipe, was thinking of making it in the slow cooker next time do you think it would taste the same ??
Hi, looking forward to trying this tonight! Clarifying question: is the chicken supposed to be raw? You mention I can use either rotisserie chicken or 1 lb of chicken breast. Rotisserie chicken is already cooked, but the steps say to sauté the chicken until it is no longer pink.
Can this be made in a slow cooker?
Loved this!! Did add a drained can of black beans and Mexican style frozen corn. That made it even more beautiful!
Delicious!! My family loved it and my husband raved about it through the whole meal. Thank you!
This was the best homemade CTS I've found. Its so good and flavorful. Thanks
You said blender the tomatoes and the other stuff , but your recipe has no tomatoes on it just the rotel is that what you meant ? You do not have canned tomatoes on the recipe. Making it now just wondering. Thanks girl . I do have the sour cream, cilantro and Mexican cheese and avocado and crispy tortilla strips ready for toppings lol .
Hi Jeannie! Great question! The tomatoes listed are the canned ROTEL tomatoes so you are right. You can substitute finely diced or crushed tomatoes if you don't have Rotel but I do like the green chilies in the Rotel canned tomatoes. I hope that helps and I hope you LOVE the soup! -- Melissa
I stumbled across your recipe last winter and ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT; my entire family licked bowls! I could NOT for the life of me find your recipe to make it again but after numerous google search attempts finally found it again TODAY! Despite the heat in California, I will be making another pot tonight 😀
I just wanted to take time to thank you for sharing your amazing recipe.
I am excited to try this! I love to make and compare recipes and taste and Chicken Tortilla Soup is one of my very favorite! Thank you!
Hi Debbie! You are my kind of girl -- making, testing out, and comparing recipes. It is way too much fun, right? I hope that you love the chicken tortilla soup. Have a great day!