Chicken Tortilla Soup is in my top three favorite soups! It’s filled with fresh, healthy ingredients that are simmered together for delicious goodness. The bonus is the homemade crispy tortilla strips that are served along with it. To round it out…Chicken Tortilla Soup has a lovely little punch of spice that just warms your soul.
What kind of chicken should I use?
I like to use boneless skinless chicken thighs. I trim them up to remove all the fat. Chicken thighs have a richer flavor than any other part of the chicken so it’s my favorite to use in this recipe. However, chicken breast are super delicious in Chicken Tortilla Soup as well. It’s really just a matter for preference. In a pinch, feel free to use store bought rotisserie chicken! Just remove the skin and shred it up. It packs a lot of flavor and will save you time. This is also a great time to use up leftover chicken you have in the fridge!
What makes this a healthy option?
Chicken Tortilla Soup is packed with fabulous fresh ingredients like tomatoes, cilantro, garlic, and bell peppers. I pack mines with tons of protein with chicken and black beans. There is very little oil used, especially if you’re using a nonstick pot.
What kind of tortillas work best?
I like to use whole wheat tortillas, but that’s just a flavor preference for my family. You can absolutely use a corn or flour tortilla.
Chicken Tortilla Soup
Chicken Tortilla Soup:
- 1 large white onion, roughly chopped
- 4 roma (plum) tomatoes, roughly chopped
- 6 cloves garlic
- 1 cup fresh cilantro, loosely packed
- 2 whole dried chili peppers (you can substitute 1 fresh chili pepper, seeded and roughly chopped OR 1 jalapeno, seeded and roughly chopped)
- 1 – 2 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce (start with one and taste to see if it’s spicy enough)
- ¼ cup fresh lime juice
- 1 ½ lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp chilli powder
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 8 cups low sodium chicken bone broth
- 15 oz can black beans, drained
- 15 oz package of frozen corn
- 2 bell peppers (I like to use 1 red and 1 yellow for color), chopped
- 4 tortillas, 8 in. size (wheat, flour, or corn tortillas will work)
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- Kosher salt to taste
- Chili powder to taste
- Red onion, finely chopped
- Avocado, thinly sliced
- Fresh cilantro, chopped
- Cotija cheese, grated or crumbled
- Lime wedge
- Homemade tortilla strips (recipe follows)
Directions for Tortilla Strips:
- Preheat oven to 375F and top a baking sheet with a rack
- Stack tortillas and cut into ½ or 1 inch strips then place in a bowl
- Drizzle to tortilla strips with the olive oil and season with salt and chili powder
- Arrange on the prepared baking sheet in a single layer
- Bake for 10 minutes until lightly golden brown
- Remove from oven and set aside until soup is ready
Directions for Tortilla Soup:
- Add the onion, tomatoes, garlic, chili pepper, chipotle peppers, cilantro, and lime juice to a food processor. Puree there are no large pieces and puree is smooth, about 30 seconds. Set aside.
- Season the chicken thighs on both sides with salt, black pepper, cumin, chili powder, and dried oregano. Reserve ½ of the spice mixture.
- In a large pot or dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Sear the chicken thighs for 4-5 minutes on each side, until golden brown. Transfer to a cutting board. Shred the chicken using 2 forks or cut into bite sized pieces. Set aside.
- If the pot is dry, add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Pour the reserved puree into the pot and scrape the delicious brown bits from the bottom of the pot. Cook over medium-high heat for 10 minutes, until the liquid has started to evaporate. Reduce the heat to medium and continue cooking, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, until almost all the moisture has been cooked out and the puree has reduced to a dark paste, about 10 minutes.
- Pour in the chicken broth and stir, increase the heat to medium-high. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.
- Once the stock is simmering, Stir in the shredded chicken, corn, black beans, bell peppers, and remaining spice mixture. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 8-10 minutes to allow the flavors to marry together. Serve the soup hot, with onion, cilantro, avocado, cotija cheese, tortilla strips, and lime wedges for topping.
Prepared soup will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 6 months. Extra tortilla strips will keep in an airtight container at room temp for up to 5 days.