Chicken Tortilla Soup

Just so you know, this is one of my all-time favorite soups.  It can be modified to be completely vegan (although I prefer it with cheese on top) or loaded with lots of chicken.  I will start with a recipe for how I made mine last night, detailing other substitutions I’ve made below.


Chicken Tortilla Soup


1 tbsp olive oil

1 small onion, diced

1 jalapeno, finely diced (seeds = heat, so remove seeds if you don’t like it hot)

3 cloves of garlic, minced

2 tsp chili powder

2 quarts vegetable broth

2 cups crushed tomatoes

3 cups black beans, cooked

1 cup chicken, cooked and shredded

2 cups corn, frozen (use fresh when in season)

¼ cup fresh cilantro


Suggested toppings:


Tortilla chips

Grated cheese (I like pepper jack – adds even more spice!) or crème fraîche

Sliced avocado

Chopped scallions


1.  In a dutch oven/stock pot/whatever you make soup in, heat the olive oil on medium.  When hot, add onion and jalapeno, sautéing until onion changes color.  Add garlic and sauté a little longer, being sure not to burn garlic.  Then add broth and crushed tomatoes and bring to a boil.


2.  Once it comes to a boil, add beans, chicken, corn and cilantro and heat through.  Since I used precooked ingredients (all leftovers!), this was all quick and easy.


3.  Top with your choice of toppings and serve!




This batch is on the brothier side because I don’t measure.


Now here are my copious notes – I have been making this for a long time, so I kind of have a lot to say. J


         I make at least one large batch of beans every week for various meals.  Often I have a little more than I need, so I freeze the cooked beans in three cup portions so I can just thaw them in the refrigerator as needed.  You could also use canned beans or turn this into a slow cooker meal to cook it from dried beans and uncooked chicken.  Just don’t add the corn until close to the end or it will get mushy.


         I’ve made this using boneless, skinless breasts before, but it’s more expensive that way – which is why I just cook a whole chicken now and portion out the meat.  Just sauté the chicken with the onion and jalapeno if using uncooked chicken.


         Fire-roasted corn is great in here, too.  Many months from now, when fresh corn is easy to come by locally, just roast some on your grill and cut it off the cob to add in.


         For a milder flavor, use a milder pepper than the jalapeno.  Or use a 4 ounce can of chopped green chiles.


         For a beanier soup, omit the chicken and substitute the chicken for some pinto beans.  I would switch to bone broth for more nutrition, too.


         In the summer, roasted red bell peppers are a great addition, too.


I’m sure there’s more, but I’ll have to add to it later.  Let me know if you make any fun substitutions!


This recipe was submitted to the Grocery Cart Challenge Recipe Swap.


9 responses to “Chicken Tortilla Soup

  1. I love this soup too! I add oregano and cumin to mine and use red lentils instead of the chicken. I also like chipolte peppers…

  2. I love Tortilla soup..and I’m craving some right now after seeing your delicious pictures!

  3. I really wish I had a better picture, but I VERY haphazardly poured the broth in this time and added way too much. It’s usually chunkier. I’ll have to update that pic next time I make this. 🙂

  4. My friend the Fat Dietitian is always talking about Tortilla soup. Maybe I really need to move it up higher on my “to make” list.


  5. Oh, and no I don’t think it was raw milk Gouda. I still haven’t tried many raw products. I’m open to them, but when I was in all my food science courses one of my teachers was so against them I never went out of my way. Of course since he was up there with a pasteurization plate in hand he obviously had some bias. But yea…I didn’t eat much of the Gouda. Not my cheese much either…

  6. I made this soup yesterday and my family loved it! Although it did cause many hurt feelings……. my husband came home today and heated up the leftovers for himself. When my son saw that there was no more left he cried huge elephant tears and informed us he is going to find a new and better dad who doesn’t eat all the food.

  7. Kenya,

    I’m glad you guys liked this one, too! Yeah, maybe I should’ve mentioned to make a double batch…this soup is ADDICTIVE. If you have leftovers, you can freeze them in individual portions, too.

  8. Pingback: Menu Plan: Week of April 20, 2009 « Mom Must Write

  9. Pingback: Bean Prep: Sorting and Rinsing « Mom Must Write

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