Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken tortilla soup is filling, flavorful, and quick enough for weeknight dinners.

While I could happily sit down with a bowl of this warm, slightly spicy soup any time of year, I really love it on a cold winter night. The weather has been downright frigid this week; bring on all the warm, cozy meals!

I have been wanting to try chicken tortilla soup for years, and it did not disappoint. We love Mexican-inspired meals like enchiladas and fajitas. This is basically all of those wonderful flavors in soup form!

The fun comes at the end with the toppings. You can add more of anything or omit anything and make the soup your own.


Olive Oil: My favorite oil to sauté veggies.

Onion: I use red onions a lot, but yellow or white onions would definitely work.

Red Bell Pepper: Any bell pepper would be fine.

Zucchini: I like all my soups to be full of veggies. The combination of onions, peppers, and zucchini is perfect for this soup.

Poblano Pepper: These are flavorful peppers with rather mild spice levels, at least in my opinion. But some may find poblano peppers spicy.

Garlic: Garlic adds great flavor to any savory dish.

Chipotle Peppers in Adobo: Smoky flavor and they definitely bring the heat! You could reduce the amount of one pepper or omit it if you are sensitive to spice.

Paprika, Cumin, Chili Powder: Paprika adds a nice hint of color. Cumin and chili powder are the classic spices for Mexican-inspired meals.

Salt & Black Pepper: Enhance the flavor.

Chicken Breast: Flavorful, shredded chicken makes the dish hardy and a complete meal.

Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes: Use a can of tomatoes or make your own. The fire-roasted tomatoes make the base of the soup rich and delicious.

Chicken Stock: Combines with the tomatoes for the base of the soup.

Lime Juice: Adds a great hint of brightness to the soup.

Toppings: Cilantro, Avocado Slices, Sour Cream, and Tortilla Chips: Cilantro for freshness. Avocado for the perfect rich, creamy flavor and texture. Sour cream to add richness and slightly temper the spice. Lastly, a little crunch from a handful of tortilla chips. This is a great use of those broken chips on the bottom of the bag.


Start by chopping all the veggies. Heat up a large saucepan and add olive oil, then the veggies. Sauté the onion, peppers, and zucchini until starting to get tender. They will cook a bit more as you finish the soup, so no need to get them completely tender. We like just a bit of crunch in the veggies.

Add the garlic and spices and sauté for one minute. Then add the chicken breast, tomatoes, and chicken broth. Simmer for 15-20 minutes. The chicken will not only cook, but absorb all the great flavors.

While the chicken cooks, you can prep your toppings.

Once the chicken is done, pull from the soup and shred it into small, bite-sized pieces with two forks.

Add the shredded chicken back to the soup, along with the juice from one lime.

Serve with toppings of your choice. I love cilantro, avocado, sour cream, and a few tortilla chips. Some shredded cheese would also be a great choice

This recipe makes enough for about three servings. Leftovers reheat beautifully with a minute or so in the microwave for a scrumptious lunch the next day.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Soup
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 3


  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • ½ medium onion chopped
  • ½ cup red bell pepper chopped
  • ½ cup zucchini chopped finely
  • 1 poblano pepper seeded and chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 chipotle peppers in adobo finely chopped
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp chili powder
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 1 can fire-roasted diced tomatoes (14 ounce)
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken stock or broth
  • 1 lime juice
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro chopped, plus more for serving
  • sliced avocado
  • sour cream
  • tortilla chips


  • Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, red bell pepper, zucchini, and poblano pepper. Cook 5-10 minutes, until the vegetables are starting to get tender.
  • Add the garlic, paprika, cumin, chili powder, salt, and pepper and stir for one minute.
  • Add the chicken, then stir in the tomatoes and broth. Partially cover and simmer over medium-low heat for 15-20 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through.
  • Pull the chicken from the soup and shred using two forks. Add the shredded chicken back to the soup. Stir in the lime juice.
  • Ladle the soup into bowls. Top with fresh cilantro, sliced avocado, sour cream, and tortilla chips.
Keyword Hot, Salty, Savory, Spicy

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