Chicken Tortilla Soup

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This Chicken Tortilla Soup is loaded with fire-roasted tomatoes, slightly spicy broth with tender chicken, garnished with creamy avocado, shredded cheese, cabbage, and crispy fried tortilla strips. It’s hearty, comforting, and better than restaurant versions.

Chicken tortilla soup served in a black bowl topped with tortilla strips

Tips for making Chicken Tortilla Soup

The essence of the spice in this soup comes from roasted tomatoes and fried dried Mexican chiles. The combination of these two adds a special kick. 

ancho dried chile pod pepper to make chicken tortilla soup 

ANCHO CHILE

“Ancho” is Spanish for “wide.” The ancho chile is the sweetest and mildest of all dried Mexican chiles. Large and triangular in shape this is the dried version of the poblano chile and the most common dried pepper in Mexico. They are typically low in heat, with a sweet and smoky, raisin-like flavor. 

pasilla dried chile pod pepper to make chicken tortilla soup

PASILLA CHILE

The word “pasilla” comes from the word “pasa” which means “little black raisin.” This thin-fleshed chile has a berry flavor with aromatic overtones. Pasilla chiles are the dried version of the chilaca chile. Pasilla chile peppers are longer and thinner than anchos. Their flavor is similar to that of an ancho, but spicier.

roasted tomatoes to make chicken tortilla soup

How to serve Chicken Tortilla Soup

Tortilla soup goes great with a tall mountain of homemade tortilla strips and an ice cold chelada.

Fried tortilla chips for tortilla soup

Vegetarian Tortilla Soup

For a meat-free option use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth and omit the chicken.

Homemade chicken tortilla soup in a caldero with a ladle on burlap linen

HOW TO STORE SOUP

This soup tastes better with time. This soup lasts in the fridge for up to five days in a resealable container. Just heat and serve.

It freezes well in these plastic containers, which comes in very handy when you are not feeling well, and need comforting.

Ingredients to make Chicken Tortilla Soup

(scroll down for detailed recipe)

  • water
  • chicken breasts
  • chicken thighs
  • salt
  • tomatoes
  • onion
  • garlic
  • olive oil
  • corn tortillas 
  • canola oil
  • pasilla or ancho chiles
  • pepper 
  • avocados
  • limes
  • cheese (optional)
  • cabbage (optional)

How to make Chicken Tortilla Soup

  1. In a caldero (stockpot), bring water to a boil. Add salt, chicken breasts, and chicken thighs and reduce the heat to simmer until chicken is tender, about 30 minutes. Remove chicken, shred after it cools and set aside. Set aside the pot of chicken broth.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over high heat and fry the torn chile pieces quickly for about 1-2 minutes on each side. Careful not to burn the chile or it will have a bitter taste. Set aside.
  3. Preheat the broiler and roast the tomatoes on a cookie sheet for about 20 minutes, turn over after 10 minutes to get all sides. Tomatoes should be mushy and slightly charred when ready. Remove only the charred pieces of skin before blending the tomatoes.
  4. Puree the tomatoes, chiles, onion, and garlic in a blender.
  5. In a deep pot, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil over high heat add the blended ingredients and fry for about 5 minutes. Add the chicken broth and simmer for 30 minutes. Add the shredded chicken and simmer for another 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. In a large skillet, heat the canola oil over medium-high heat and fry the tortilla strips until lightly browned around the edges, about 45 seconds. Transfer the strips to paper towels to drain.
  7. In separate serving bowls set out the cubed avocadoes, cabbage, and lime wedges.
  8. Ladle the soup into bowls with a handful of tortilla strips, cubed avocados, and a squeeze of lime juice.
  9. If desired, add grated cheese and cabbage.

LIKE THIS MEXICAN SOUP RECIPE? YOU MAY ALSO LIKE THESE!

Chicken Tortilla Soup (Sopa Azteca)

This Chicken Tortilla Soup is loaded with fire-roasted tomatoes, slightly spicy broth with tender chicken, garnished with creamy avocado, shredded cheese, cabbage, and crispy fried tortilla strips. It’s hearty, comforting, and better than restaurant versions.
Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote
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Ingredients

  • 10 cups water
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 2 chicken thighs
  • 3 tablespoons salt
  • 4 medium tomatoes, roasted
  • ½ medium yellow onion, rough chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 14 white or yellow corn tortillas sliced into ¼-inch-thick strips
  • 1/3 cup canola oil, for frying tortilla strips
  • 2 pasilla or ancho chiles, stemmed, seeded, and torn into large pieces
  • Pepper to taste
  • 2 avocados, peeled, pitted, and diced
  • 2 limes cut into wedges
  • 2 cups quesadilla or asadero cheese, shredded (optional)
  • Cabbage, shredded (optional)

Instructions

  • In a caldero (stockpot), bring water to a boil. Add salt, chicken breasts, and chicken thighs and reduce the heat to simmer until chicken is tender, about 30 minutes. Remove chicken, shred after it cools and set aside. Set aside the pot of chicken broth.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over high heat and fry the torn chile pieces quickly for about 1-2 minutes on each side. Careful not to burn the chile or it will have a bitter taste. Set aside.
  • Preheat the broiler and roast the tomatoes on a cookie sheet for about 20 minutes, turn over after 10 minutes to get all sides. Tomatoes should be mushy and slightly charred when ready. Remove only the charred pieces of skin before blending the tomatoes.
  • Puree the tomatoes, chiles, onion, and garlic in a blender.
  • In a deep pot, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil over high heat add the blended ingredients and fry for about 5 minutes. Add the chicken broth and simmer for 30 minutes. Add the shredded chicken and simmer for another 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • In a large skillet, heat the canola oil over medium-high heat and fry the tortilla strips until lightly browned around the edges, about 45 seconds. Transfer the strips to paper towels to drain.
  • In separate serving bowls set out the cubed avocadoes, cabbage, and lime wedges.
  • Ladle the soup into bowls with a handful of tortilla strips, cubed avocados, and a squeeze of lime juice.
  • If desired, add grated cheese and cabbage.

Notes

  • Tortilla soup goes great with a tall mountain of homemade tortilla strips and an ice cold cerveza.
  • For a meat-free option use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth and omit the chicken.

Nutrition

Calories: 862kcal, Carbohydrates: 39g, Protein: 48g, Fat: 59g, Saturated Fat: 18g, Cholesterol: 170mg, Sodium: 4059mg, Potassium: 1059mg, Fiber: 10g, Sugar: 4g, Vitamin A: 1667IU, Vitamin C: 22mg, Calcium: 656mg, Iron: 2mg

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Photography by Jeanine Thurston

This recipe is also published in the Muy Bueno cookbook.