4.65 from 14 votes

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken Tortilla Soup is the slow cooker soup you need in winter! This soup is super flavorful with diced tomatoes, chiles, chicken broth, onion, garlic, and cumin to warm the body and soul after hours of simmering in your crock pot.

A ladle with chicken tortilla soup.

This Mexican-inspired soup will instantly become one of your favorite go-to meals. It is a tasty and easy one-pot meal that can be prepared with simple ingredients.

I love a good slow cooker soup. There’s nothing better than having dinner ready and waiting after a long day of running errands or working. This easy chicken tortilla soup recipe is as good as the restaurants and requires minimal effort!

It has all the flavors of fajitas or a chicken taco. I keep my pantry stocked with canned diced tomatoes, green chiles, and chicken broth, so I can throw this together any day for the whole family to enjoy.

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    Whether you’re a fan of spice or prefer a milder flavor, you can easily customize this filling soup to please your palate. It’s a fantastic way to repurpose leftover chicken, making it a cost-effective yet satisfying, easy dinner.

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    Why You’ll Love Chicken Tortilla Soup

    • Easy Preparation: The soup comes together quickly and easily, making it perfect for a busy weeknight dinner. With a slow cooker, you can set it and forget it.
    • Customizable: One of the best things about Chicken Tortilla Soup is its versatility. Feel free to add your favorite toppings, like avocado, shredded cheese, cilantro, or sour cream, to make it your own. Adjust the heat level by adding jalapeños to suit your taste.
    • Family Favorite: Nothing beats a bowl of soup on a cold day. My family loves this soup any time of year.


    The full printable recipe card with measurements and instructions is found at the bottom of the post.

    • Boneless skinless chicken breasts: Provide a lean protein source, making the soup hearty and satisfying.
    • Diced tomatoes: Adding a rich tomato flavor and some natural sweetness to the soup.
    • Mild green chilies: Give a hint of spice without being overpowering.
    • Chicken broth Forms the base of the soup, creating a delicious and well-rounded flavor.
    • Yellow onion: Providing a mild, sweet taste that complements the other ingredients.
    • Garlic: Adding a subtle, aromatic depth to the overall flavors in the soup.
    • Cumin: Enhancing the soup’s spices with an earthy, slightly bitter taste.
    • Strips of corn tortillas: These crispy, tasty strips add a fantastic texture contrast to the soup.
    • Monterey Jack cheese: Melting into the soup, giving it a creamy, savory element.
    • Avocado: Not only does this add a creamy richness to the soup, but it also delivers healthy fats and nutrients.
    • Lime juice: A touch of brightness and zesty flavor brings the soup together and balances all the other ingredients.
    Chicken tortilla soup ingredients.

    How to Make the Best Chicken Tortilla Soup

    This soup is so simple! I like to throw it together before a busy workday and have a fresh and healthy dinner waiting for me.

    • Step One: Place chicken breasts in the slow cooker. Combine tomatoes with juice, chilies, ½ cup broth, onion, garlic, and cumin in a bowl. Pour mixture over chicken.
    Steps to make chicken tortilla soup.
    • Step Two: Cover; cook on low heat for 6 hours. Remove chicken from the slow cooker and shred with two forks. Return shredded chicken to slow cooker and add another ½ cup of broth.
    • Step Three: Cook on low for another hour.
    • Step Four: Just before serving, add tortillas to slow cooker. Stir to blend. Serve in soup bowls, topping each serving with cheese, avocado, and a squeeze of lime juice.
    Steps to make chicken tortilla soup.

    Equipment Needed

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    What to Serve with Chicken Tortilla Soup

    Chicken tortilla soup in a white slow cooker with a white ladle.


    • Tortilla Strips: Whether homemade or store-bought, tortilla strips provide a delightful crunch and make the dish true to its name. To make your own, cut tortillas into thin strips and bake or fry them until crispy. 
    • Cheese: Sprinkle a generous helping of shredded cheese, such as cheddar or Monterey Jack, over your soup. As the cheese melts, it adds a delightful creaminess to the dish.
    • Avocado: Cube or slice up an avocado and place it on your soup. Avocado is a great way to add a smooth texture and subtle flavor to your chicken tortilla soup. Just a few slices can elevate the dish to the next level.
    • Fresh Cilantro: Chopped fresh cilantro adds a burst of bright, green flavor that complements the spices in the soup.
    • Lime Wedges: A squeeze of lime juice imparts a tangy freshness that balances out the hearty ingredients in the soup. Serve your soup with lime wedges on the side so that each person can customize their dish.
    • Tortilla Chips: Use store-bought or make your homemade tortilla chips. I have a recipe for air fryer tortilla chips.
    • Sliced Jalapenos: Add some sliced jalapenos to kick up the heat!
    • Sour Cream: A dollop of sour cream can provide a creamy, tangy contrast to the soup’s spices. If you’re looking for a lighter option, use Greek yogurt instead.
    • Spices: For those who like a kick, add a bit of heat with chopped jalapeños or a pinch of red pepper flakes.
    A bowl of chicken tortilla soup.

    Common Variations

    • Vegetarian Version: If you want to make a vegetarian version of chicken tortilla soup, you can easily substitute the shredded chicken with a hearty vegetable like zucchini or even use chickpeas for added protein. You can also use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth to keep it vegetarian.
    • Spicy Version: The spicy version has got you covered for those who love a bit of heat in their soup. Start by adding more jalapeños or a hotter pepper like serrano or habanero to the base of your soup. Be cautious with the amount; a little can go a long way. Additionally, you can add chili powder, increase the amount of cumin, and even throw in some chipotle chiles in adobo sauce for a smoky, spicy twist.


    • Protein: Instead of shredded chicken, you can try shredded turkey, pork, or even tofu if you’re looking for a vegetarian option. Choose another cut of chicken, like skinless chicken thighs.
    • Beans: Black beans are a common addition to chicken tortilla soup, but you can easily substitute them with other types of beans, such as pinto beans or red kidney beans. It won’t alter the flavor profile drastically; just be sure to adjust the cooking time accordingly.
    • Broth: If you don’t have chicken broth available, vegetable or beef broth can also be used. A low-sodium broth is a good option if you’re watching your salt intake.
    • Tomatoes: I used cans of diced tomatoes, but you could swap these out for cans of fire-roasted tomatoes or tomatoes with green chilies. Add tomato paste for an extra boost.
    • Corn: Both fresh and frozen corn are suitable options for this soup. It’s yummy with sweet corn! If you don’t have corn, you can opt for other vegetables such as zucchini, carrots, or bell peppers.
    • Spices: Add extra spices, like taco seasoning, garlic powder, or even a bay leaf. Don’t forget to remove the bay leaf before serving!

    Storage Instructions

    Let the soup cool down to room temperature after cooking. It’s best to avoid placing hot soup directly into your refrigerator as this might cause bacterial growth and spoil the soup. Transfer the soup into an airtight container once it’s cooled to room temperature. This will help retain the soup’s flavors and prevent it from absorbing unwanted odors from your refrigerator.

    You can store the chicken tortilla soup in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Remember that soup containing fresh vegetables, such as tomatoes and avocados, should be consumed within 2 to 3 days to retain their texture and flavor.

    Can I Freeze?

    If you’ve prepared a large batch of soup and would like to preserve it even longer, consider freezing it. Before freezing, let the soup cool completely and use a freezer-safe, airtight container. Label the container with the date and type of soup, and your chicken tortilla soup can be frozen for up to 2 to 3 months.

    How to Reheat

    When it comes to reheating, you have a couple of options. For a quick and easy method, use the microwave. Transfer the desired portion of soup into a microwave-safe bowl and heat on high for 1 to 2 minutes. Stir the soup and continue heating in 30-second intervals until it reaches the desired temperature.

    If you prefer heating it on the stove, pour the soup into a saucepan and gently reheat over medium-low heat until warmed, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.

    Chicken tortilla soup in a bowl.

    Stovetop Instructions

    • Step One: Heat some extra virgin olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions, cooking until they turn translucent. Then, add garlic and cook for a couple more minutes, releasing the aroma. 
    • Step Two: If you’re using uncooked chicken, now is the time to add it to the pot, cooking until it’s no longer pink on the outside.
    • Step Three: Next, pour the chicken broth, diced tomatoes, green chilies, and all the spices. Give the soup a good stir, allowing the flavors to blend. If your chicken was already cooked or canned, add it now. 
    • Step Four: Bring the soup to a simmer and let it cook for about 20 minutes, letting all the ingredients meld together and the chicken cook completely through. 
    • Step Five: Once the soup has finished simmering, taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Stir in some lime juice for a fresh, zesty kick, and add the tortilla strips and avocado. 

    Tips and Tricks for the Perfect Soup

    • Build flavor with spices: Toast your spices, particularly chili powder and cumin, in a pan over medium heat before adding the rest of the ingredients. This simple step enhances the flavor profile of your soup.
    • Choose a good stock or bone broth: High-quality chicken stock or bone broth can make all the difference in this soup. Homemade chicken stock is ideal, but if you have none, opt for store-bought bone broth.
    • Embrace the toppings: One of the best parts of chicken tortilla soup is the variety of toppings you can add. Crispy tortilla chips, avocado, cilantro, and even a dollop of sour cream can take your soup to the next level.

    History of Chicken Tortilla Soup

    Chicken tortilla soup is a delicious Mexican classic with a somewhat uncertain history. The first tortilla soup can be traced back to Mexico City, Mexico, where variations of this famed recipe have been around for generations. Some people believe it originated in the nearby state of Tlaxcala, which in Nahuatl means “land of the corn” or “place where tortillas abound.”

    This hearty soup is known for its combination of shredded chicken, flavorful broth, a touch of spice, and crunchy tortilla strips. While the exact origin may be uncertain, you can be sure of one thing: the soup’s delicious flavors and textures are loved by many.

    Chicken tortilla soup is not just a favorite dish in Mexico; it has also gained popularity in other regions, such as the Southwestern United States.

    The soup’s appeal doesn’t end with just the core ingredients; the toppings make it uniquely customizable to your taste preferences. Crispy tortilla chips, avocado, and cilantro are just a few of the favorite additions that elevate this soup to the next level.


    Is Chicken Tortilla Soup typically spicy?

    The level of spiciness in Chicken Tortilla Soup can vary based on the recipe and your taste preferences. Some recipes call for jalapeño, chili powder, or other spicy ingredients to add a kick. If you prefer a milder version, it is easy to adjust the heat in your soup by reducing or omitting these ingredients. You can always add more spice later if desired. My version is not spicy.

    How many servings is this soup?

    This soup makes about six servings.

    Soup Recipes

    You’ll also like Pico de GalloTaco Casserole, and this Taco Grilled Cheese Sandwich.

    Follow me on Instagram @simplystacieblog, Facebook at Simply Stacie, TikTok @simplystacierecipes or Pinterest at @simplystacie and let me know how you liked this recipe and my other recipes.

    4.65 from 14 votes

    Chicken Tortilla Soup

    Created by Stacie Vaughan
    Servings 6
    Prep Time 15 minutes
    Cook Time 7 hours
    Total Time 7 hours 15 minutes
    A favorite slow cooker soup! Let it simmer all day for the best Mexican flavors in the diced tomatoes, shredded chicken, and green chiles.


    • 2-3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
    • 2 cans diced tomatoes 15 oz cans, undrained
    • 1 can chopped mild green chilies 4 oz can
    • 1 cup chicken broth
    • 1 yellow onion chopped
    • 2 cloves garlic minced
    • 1 tsp cumin
    • 4 corn tortillas sliced into 1/4 inch strips
    • ½ cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
    • 1 avocado peeled, diced
    • lime juice to taste


    • Place chicken breasts in the slow cooker. Combine tomatoes with juice, chilies, ½ cup broth, onion, garlic and cumin in a bowl. Pour mixture over chicken.
    • Cover; cook on low heat for 6 hours. Remove chicken from slow cooker and shred with 2 forks. Return shredded chicken to slow cooker and add another ½ cup of broth.
    • Cook on low for another hour.
    • Just before serving, add tortillas to slow cooker. Stir to blend. Serve in soup bowls, topping each serving with cheese , avocado and a squeeze of lime juice.



    Serving: 1bowl | Calories: 421kcal | Carbohydrates: 38.9g | Protein: 39.1g | Fat: 12.6g | Saturated Fat: 3.7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6.6g | Cholesterol: 108.5mg | Sodium: 914.3mg | Fiber: 6.4g | Sugar: 8.7g

    The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

    Course Soups
    Cuisine Mexican
    Keyword chicken tortilla soup, slow cooker chicken tortilla soup

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