Instant Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup

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This flavorful Chicken Tortilla Soup is made in under 30 minutes, with or without an Instant Pot.

This chicken tortilla soup, includes chicken thighs and chicken breasts that slow simmers in a spicy tomato broth full of smoky and spicy flavors. The chicken is cooked to tender perfection and then shredded.

Classic chicken tortilla soup

Classic tortilla soup, the way I ate it in Mexico City, is simply good chicken broth combined with roasted tomatoes, onion, garlic, chiles, and topped with fried corn tortilla strips and an assortment of garnishes to make your own special bowl. It’s food for the soul.

In my effort to bring Mexico to my home I recreated this soup to transport me to Mexico City whenever the mood strikes.

The soup base is made from dried New Mexico chiles, fire roasted tomatoes, organic chicken broth, and slightly thickened with a charred corn tortilla for additional smoky flavor.

chicken broth and roasted tomatoes for Classic chicken tortilla soup

The mixture is combined in a high-powered blender until very smooth and then added to sautéed onion and garlic.

corn tortilla Chile pods onion and garlic for Classic chicken tortilla soup

The broth can be as mild or as spicy as you’d like. I added four chile pods to this recipe, and my son who is 11 added extra crema to tame the heat in his bowl. If you want a mild soup I would recommend only using two to three chile pods.

I have seen quite a bit of  Tex-Mex chicken tortilla soup recipes online that include corn kernels and black beans – this recipe does not include either. This Mexican soup is traditional and very modest and simple.

Chile pods Classic chicken tortilla soup

What type of chile is used in tortilla soup?

I used New Mexico chiles, but feel free to experiment and make using ancho chile or pasilla chile, similar to this Chicken Tortilla Soup.

bowl of Classic chicken tortilla soup with diced avocado an d tortilla strips

No Instant Pot? No problem!

My family loved this chicken tortilla soup. It was one of those throw-it-all-in-and-press-a-button recipes that is totally hands off. My favorite kind of cooking for a busy weeknight.

As you all might have guessed – I’m slightly obsessed with my Instant Pot. Frijoles de la Olla, Frijoles Charros, and even Tamales can all be made in an Instant Pot. I am a tad tardy to the Instant Pot game, so I have a lot of catching up to do.

But don’t worry, my goal is to always share instructions on how to make recipes with and without an Instant Pot.

If you want to make this same recipe on the stove top, you can scroll down for the recipe instructions.

How to Serve Chicken Tortilla Soup? 

In Mexico City they place a variety of garnishes to make your bowl to your liking. Regardless of whether you pick one or all, prep them while the soup is cooking. That way, as soon as the soup is ready, you can dig in.

  • fried corn tortilla strips
  • pork skins (chicharrones)
  • diced avocado
  • crumbled queso fresco
  • crema Mexicana
  • lime wedges
  • crunchy roasted chiles
  • chopped fresh cilantro
  • diced onion

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.

how to make Instant Pot chicken tortilla soup

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

Chicken Tortilla Soup

This flavorful chicken tortilla soup is made in under 30 minutes, with or without an Instant Pot. Classic tortilla soup, the way I ate it in Mexico City, is simply good chicken broth combined with roasted tomatoes, onion, garlic, chiles, and topped with fried corn tortilla strips and an assortment of garnishes to make your own special bowl. It’s food for the soul.
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5 from 4 votes
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Ingredients

Tortilla Strips:

  • 12 yellow corn tortillas, sliced into ¼-inch-thick strips
  • 1/3 cup canola oil, for frying tortilla strips

Toppings:

  • fried corn tortilla strips

  • pork skins (chicharrones) 

  • diced avocado

  • crumbled queso fresco

  • crema Mexicana

  • lime wedges

  • crunchy roasted chiles

  • chopped fresh cilantro

  • diced onion

Instructions

Stove Top:

  • In a large bowl filled with hot water add dried chiles until the chiles have softened about 10 to 15 minutes. 
  • Blend the softened chiles with torn tortilla pieces, fire roasted tomatoes, and 1 cup chicken broth in a blender. Blend until smooth. 
  • Heat the olive oil in a large (at least 6-quart) pot over medium-low heat. Add the chopped onion and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring frequently, or until the onions are soft and translucent. Add the chopped garlic and sauté for an additional 30 seconds to 1 minute, stirring continuously, until fragrant. Remove from the heat.
  • Lightly sprinkle salt over chicken breasts, and chicken thighs.
  • Add the chicken, tomato mixture from blender, and remaining chicken broth to pot, and give everything a good stir. Let come to a boil; reduce heat. Let simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 30 minutes. 
  • Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken to a bowl. Using 2 forks, shred the chicken. 
  • Add shredded chicken back to pot and season with salt if needed.
  • Ladle soup into bowls and serve with tortillas strips, avocados, a squeeze of lime juice, and your choice of toppings. 

Instant Pot:

  • In a large bowl filled with hot water add dried chiles until the chiles have softened about 10 to 15 minutes. 
  • Blend the softened chiles with torn tortilla pieces, fire roasted tomatoes, and 1 cup chicken broth in a blender. Blend until smooth. 
  • Select Sauté on the Instant Pot and warm the oil. Add the onions to the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and translucent, about 3 minutes. Stir in garlic for 1 minute.
  • Lightly sprinkle salt over chicken breasts, and chicken thighs.
  • Add the chicken, tomato mixture from blender, and remaining chicken broth, and give everything a good stir. 
  • Lock the lid in place and turn the valve to Sealing. 
  • Press the Manual/Pressure Cook button and set the cook time for 20 minutes at high pressure.  
  • Let the steam release naturally for about 10 minutes, then turn the valve to Venting to release any residual steam. 
  • Carefully remove the lid and, using a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken to a bowl. Using 2 forks, shred the chicken. 
  • Add shredded chicken back to pot and season with salt if needed.
  • Ladle soup into bowls and serve with tortillas strips, avocados, a squeeze of lime juice, and your choice of toppings. 

Tortilla Strips:

  • In a large skillet, heat the canola oil over medium-high heat and fry the tortilla strips until lightly browned around the edges, about 1 minute. Transfer the strips to paper towels to drain.

Notes

  • Tortilla soup goes great with a tall mountain of homemade tortilla strips.
  • 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.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving without toppings, Calories: 487kcal, Carbohydrates: 34g, Protein: 28g, Fat: 28g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Cholesterol: 85mg, Sodium: 791mg, Potassium: 875mg, Fiber: 5g, Sugar: 5g, Vitamin A: 419IU, Vitamin C: 51mg, Calcium: 93mg, Iron: 3mg

I’d love to see what you cook!

Tag #MUYBUENOCOOKING if you make this recipe.

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Photography by Jenna Sparks