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24 February 2020

This easy, hearty chicken tortilla soup recipe is made with black beans, peppers, and homemade crispy tortilla strips, the perfect weeknight meal.

It’s soup time in the Chili Pepper Madness kitchen, my friends. It’s pretty cold at the moment where I live, and there’s nothing like a hearty, chunky soup to warm the bones. To be honest, though, this soup is great for any time of year.

We’re talking Chicken Tortilla Soup, and it is basically the perfect soup. It’s filled with loads of chunky chicken, black beans, lots of cooked down peppers and onion, tomatoes, corn, and lots of my favorite seasonings.

And topped with crispy tortilla strips! I’ll show you how you can make them at home very easily from fresh corn tortillas, though you can easily skip that step and just use your favorite bag of tortilla chips.

Either way, this is one of those very quick and easy soup recipes that you can have on the table pretty quickly. There isn’t a ton of cooking, and most of the time is letting everything simmer on the stove or in the crock pot until you are ready to serve.

Like any one pot meal, it’s really just tossing ingredients into the pot and letting them do their thing.

It will certainly fill your belly.

Let’s talk about how we make chicken tortilla soup, shall we?

Chunky Chicken Tortilla Soup, ready to serve

Chicken Tortilla Soup Ingredients

  • 1.5 pounds boneless chicken – use a 2 medium-sized chicken breasts or 4 chicken thighs, or a combination of them.
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil + 1/2 cup for frying tortilla strips
  • 3-4 jalapeno peppers, chopped (if you want some REAL heat, add in something super spicy, like ghost or scorpion pepper – use bell pepper for a no heat version)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 3 teaspoons chili powder (I used a combination of ancho and Spanish paprika, though you can use your favorite blend.)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 large tomatoes, chopped (1 can of diced tomatoes, chopped tomatoes or fire roasted tomatoes is good, too)
  • ½ cup corn  (frozen is OK)
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 can black beans, drained
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro + more for serving
  • 6 corn tortillas cut into strips
  • FOR SERVING: Use your favorite toppings, like diced avocado, jalapeno slices, hot red pepper flakes, fresh chopped parsley or cilantro, crumbly white cheese, hot sauce, or more.

Chunky Chicken Tortilla Soup in a bowl with a spoon

How to Make Chicken Tortilla Soup – the Recipe Method

FOR THE CHICKEN TORTILLA SOUP

First, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large pot to medium-high heat and add the onion and peppers. Cook them down for 5 minutes to soften. They will release their juices and start to brown.

Next, chop the chicken and season it with a bit of salt and pepper. Add the chicken to the pan and cook for 5 minutes, stirring, to get a nice sear on all of the sides. I have made this with chicken breast, chicken thigh, and a combination of both and love them all.

Cooking down the chicken, peppers and onion in a pot

Add the garlic, chili powder and cumin and cook another minute, until you can smell that gorgeous garlic. This also lets the seasonings bloom a bit.

Next, add in the corn, chicken broth, black beans and 3 of the chopped corn tortillas. Stir to incorporate.

Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat ans simmer the pot for at least 20 minutes to let the flavors develop. 30 minutes is ideal, though you can simmer longer if you’d like to develop even more flavor.

Adding fresh corn tortillas to thicken the chicken tortilla soup

The tortilla strips will thicken the soup up a bit, making it even heartier. Be sure to save the other half of the tortilla strips for your crispy tortilla strips topping.

Simmering our Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe in the pot

FOR THE CRISPY TORTILLA STRIPS

Add 1/2 cup olive oil to a separate wide pot or pan to medium heat. Do not let the oil boil.

Add the tortilla strips and lightly fry them a few minutes per side, until they become a golden brown. Flip to fry both sides.

Remove the fried tortilla strips and set them onto paper towels to drain. Lightly salt them. They will crisp up nicely.

Crispy homemade fried tortilla strips draining on a plate

Serve the soup into bowls and top with your crispy homemade tortilla strips and other favorite toppings.

You’ll enjoy the crunch, but it also looks extra delicious.

Boom! Pretty easy, right? Chicken tortilla soup is ready to serve. Looks wonderful, doesn’t it? Nice and chunky and hearty and filling, and tasty! And just the right amount of spice for me.

A big spoonful of chunky Chicken Tortilla Soup

Recipe Tips & Notes

  • Spice It Up! My recipe calls for jalapeno peppers for a nice level of every day heat, but you can easily add in other hotter peppers if you’re looking for a spicier version. Try it out with serrano peppers for a nice level, habanero peppers for an even hotter version, or go with ghost peppers to really put it over the top. Want even hotter, my wild chilihead friends? Scorpion peppers or Carolina reapers will nail it for you!
  • Time Savers. Save time by using chopped rotisserie chicken or cooked shredded chicken for this recipe. You can also chop the onion, peppers and garlic ahead of time to save time when you’re ready to cook.
  • Toppings. You have so many topping options. Use whatever you like. Try adding onion, green onion, pico de gallo, crema/sour cream or shredded cheese like monterey jack or cheddar if you’d like. I always love fresh cilantro or other chopped herbs, pepper slices, spicy chili flakes and a bit of fresh lime juice. The crispy tortilla strips are a must!
  • Baked Tortilla Strips. You can bake the tortilla strips instead of frying them if you prefer. For baked tortilla strips, toss the strips with 2 tablespoons olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt. Bake at 375 degrees F (185 C) for 15 minutes, or until they turn a golden brown and crisp up. Set them aside until you are ready to use. Learn how to make crispy tortilla chips (baked or fried).

Crock Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup

If you’d prefer to make this recipe in your slow cooker or crock pot, just cook down the chicken, onion, peppers and garlic first in a hot pan, then add them to your crock pot along with the remainder of the ingredients. Cook the soup on low for 4 hours, or on high for 2-3 hours.

Serve it into bowls and top with your favorite toppings!

Chicken Tortilla Soup, garnished with crispy tortilla strips

Freezer Friendly

Homemade chicken tortilla soup is very freezer friendly. To freeze it, transfer the soup to freezer safe containers, seal them up, and freeze them for up to 6 months. Let them thaw in the refrigerator when you’re ready to enjoy them again. Heat it up in a pot and you’re good to go.

That’s it, my friends. I hope you enjoy my favorite chicken tortilla soup recipe. Just how I like it! I hope you enjoy it as well.

Patty’s Perspective

This is more of a rustic style of the chicken tortilla soup you might find in restaurants, which is more creamy. This is a healthier version that you can just gobble up. It’s always fun when we try different variations of certain types of dishes. There are so many ways you can go with all of these ingredients. I love this recipe way more than any restaurant version I’ve ever tried. Mike, make this more for me, please!

Try Some of My Other Popular Soup Recipes

Chicken Tortilla Soup, ready to serve

If you enjoy this recipe, I hope you’ll leave a comment with some STARS. Also, please share it on social media. Don’t forget to tag us at #ChiliPepperMadness. I’ll be sure to share! Thanks! — Mike H.

5 from 2 votes
Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe
Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
45 mins
 

This easy, hearty chicken tortilla soup recipe is made with black beans, peppers, and homemade crispy tortilla strips, the perfect weeknight meal.

Course: Soup
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chicken, Mexican, soup
Servings: 4
Calories: 280 kcal
Ingredients
  • 1.5 pounds boneless chicken Use a 2 medium-sized chicken breasts or 4 chicken thighs, or a combination of them
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Olive oil
  • 3-4 jalapeno peppers chopped (if you want some REAL heat, add in a chopped scorpion pepper)
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves chopped
  • 2 large tomatoes chopped (canned tomatoes are good as well - use 14.5 ounce can)
  • ½ cup corn frozen is OK
  • 3 teaspoons chili powder I used a combination of ancho and Spanish paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 can black beans drained
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro + more for serving
  • 6 corn tortillas cut into strips
FOR SERVING: Use your favorite toppings, like diced avocado, jalapeno slices, hot red pepper flakes, fresh chopped parsley or cilantro, crumbly white cheese, hot sauce, or more.
    Instructions
    FOR THE CHICKEN TORTILLA SOUP
    1. First, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large pot and add the onion and
      peppers. Cook them down for 5 minutes to soften.

    2. Next, chop the chicken and season it with a bit of salt and pepper. Add it
      to the pan and cook for 5 minutes, stirring, to get a nice sear on all of the
      sides.

    3. Add the garlic, chili powder and cumin and cook another minute, until you
      can smell that gorgeous garlic.

    4. Next, add in the corn, chicken broth, black beans and 3 of the chopped corn
      tortillas. Stir to incorporate. Bring to a quick boil, then reduce the heat and simmer the pot for at least 20 minutes to let the flavors develop.

    FOR THE CRISPY TORTILLA STRIPS
    1. Add 1/2 cup olive oil to a separate wide pot or pan to medium heat. Do not
      let the oil boil.

    2. Add the tortilla strips and lightly fry them a few minutes per side, until
      they become a golden brown. Flip to fry both sides.

    3. Remove the fried tortilla strips and set them onto paper towels to drain.
      Lightly salt them. They will crisp up nicely.

    4. Serve the soup into bowls and top with your crispy homemade tortilla strips
      and other favorite toppings.

    Recipe Notes
    • Heat Factor. Mild-Medium, though you can easily spice things up by incorporating hotter peppers, spicier chili powder and seasonings during the seasoning phase, or by adding spicy chili flakes or hot sauce toward the end of the recipe.
    • Time Savers. Save time by using chopped rotisserie chicken or cooked shredded chicken for this recipe. You can also chop the onion, peppers and garlic ahead of time to save time when you're ready to cook.
    • Toppings. Use your favorites! Try adding onion, green onion, pico de gallo, crema/sour cream or shredded cheese like monterey jack or cheddar if you’d like. I always love fresh cilantro or other chopped herbs, pepper slices, spicy chili flakes and a bit of fresh lime juice. The crispy tortilla strips are a must!
    • Baked Tortilla Strips. For baked tortilla strips, toss the strips with 2 tablespoons olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt. Bake at 375 degrees F (185 C) for 15 minutes, or until they turn a golden brown and crisp up. 
    Nutrition Facts
    Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe
    Amount Per Serving
    Calories 280 Calories from Fat 54
    % Daily Value*
    Fat 6g9%
    Saturated Fat 1g5%
    Cholesterol 109mg36%
    Sodium 292mg12%
    Potassium 1083mg31%
    Carbohydrates 14g5%
    Fiber 3g12%
    Sugar 4g4%
    Protein 42g84%
    Vitamin A 1185IU24%
    Vitamin C 27mg33%
    Calcium 42mg4%
    Iron 2mg11%
    * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

    NOTE: This recipe was updated on 2/12/20 to include new information and photos. It was originally published on 12/4/15.

    Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe - This easy, hearty chicken tortilla soup recipe is made with black beans, peppers, and homemade crispy tortilla strips, the perfect weeknight meal. #souprecipe #tortillasoup #chickensoup

    7 comments

    1. 5 stars
      OMG! This is amazing! Only issue I have is if it’s only four servings it’s four giant servings! Great stuff!!

      1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

        Thanks, Stacey! I appreciate it. Yes, it would serve 4 good sized bowls, but you can serve smaller portions for sure!

    2. GrammaSue

      5 stars
      Hi Mike! Love your website and emails and of course, recipes. You’re doing a great job!!! I made this soup as stated (I did add 2 finger size of velveeta to make it a little thicker) and it was absolutely amazing. I grew the jalapenos and another med-hot pepper in pots on my deck (we live in a condo) and it was the perfect heat. We love the tortilla strips seasoned, so I make extra! Thanks so much for a great recipe.

      1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

        Thanks so much, GrammaSue! I love to hear this! I also love that you grow peppers on your deck. Perfect for some home cooking! Glad you enjoyed it.

    3. jim nashwinter

      we have lots of chile petin peppers growing;will add some to this;we are in so.ga.and they grow great here?we lived in so.west texas and got a taste for them;great taste

      1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

        I think they would be a great addition to this recipe, Jim. I love it! Let me know how it turns out for you.

    4. I made the soup and tried it. Very good!Yummo! It’s very easy to make. And it’s very feeling.

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