Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken Tortilla Soup

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What I’m listening to: the sound of keys on a keyboard typing these words

If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you are probably asking yourself by now if I’m capable of cooking without cilantro. Approximately… no. I have a serious problem, actually. Send help. I can’t be in the produce section of the store without buying a single bunch of cilantro. We all have our little lists of things we buy out of habit every time we visit the grocery store. You know the ones. Admit it. Yours may not include cilantro, but you have your secret little list.

I’ve been making this handy dandy Chicken Tortilla Soup for about a decade now. It’s a keeper. The corn tortillas act as both a flavoring and a thickener in this amazing onion-garlic-tomato-cumin-cilantro-lime broth. It comes together in under an hour total, but it takes like it’s been on the stove for hours.

Chicken Tortilla Soup


Adapted from Allrecipes

Yields: 6-8 servings

  • 3-4T canola oil
  • 8 corn tortillas, chopped (I used white corn)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/2c cilantro, chopped (reserve some for garnish)
  • 2T cumin
  • 1T chili powder
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 (15oz) cans of diced tomatoes
  • 3 (15oz) cans of chicken broth
  • 1/2t salt
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
  • Juice of half a lime (reserve other half for serving)
  • 1/4t cayenne or chipotle chili powder to taste for heat (optional)
  • For Serving:
  • Tortilla Chips
  • Grated Cheddar Jack Cheese
  • Sour Cream
  • Avocado Slices
  • Hot Sauce (I use Tapatio)
  • Cilantro
  • Lime Wedges

In a large pot or dutch oven heat oil over medium. Add chopped tortillas and stir to coat in oil. Cook 1-2 minutes. Add onions, garlic, cilantro, cumin, and chili powder. Cook, stirring, until onions are translucent, about 3 minutes. Add bay leaves, tomatoes, chicken broth, and salt. Bring to a simmer over medium-low and add chicken. Simmer covered 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until chicken is cooked through.

Remove chicken from pot to cutting board. Remove bay leaves. Shred or chop chicken into bite size pieces. Return chicken to pot. Add lime juice and stir.

Check seasoning and add cayenne or chipotle for heat, if using, and more salt if needed. Serve topped with tortilla chips, cheese, sour cream, avocado, hot sauce, lime and cilantro.


Karen from SC
Karen from SC

I made this soup as written and it was excellent!  The chipotle and the cumin definitely added wonderful flavor.  I occasionally make a pot of soup when I am not sure how many of my kids and their friends will show up hungry.  I put a stack of bowls and spoons next to the pot and everyone just helps themselves.  Thank you so much for this great recipe!

Ms Dee
Ms Dee

I added some black beans, whole kernel corn, 1/2 t. of sugar and 6 t. of chickenbase.  I also used boneless, skinless thighs instead of breast meat.  It's delicious! 

Rhonda D
Rhonda D

Hi Maya- Ok, we all love soup in this house and this is another keeper.  Gotta love the chipotle and cumin. I'm looking forward to making this many times this winter.


i made this the other night...oh, oh, oh sooo delicious! have you ever tried freezing it? i like to have individual meals in the freezer for my husband to take to work when i'm gone or we haven't made dinner the night before. oh and p.s. i just ran across your blog about a week ago while searching for a recipe and i'm now i've bookmarked it! :)

alaskafromscratch moderator

@Karen from SC I'm so pleased that you and your crew enjoy this soup! Thank you for letting me know! :)

Alaska from Scratch
Alaska from Scratch

Happy to hear you enjoyed the Chicken Tortilla Soup! I haven't tried freezing it that I recall, but I suspect it would do rather well in the freezer. If you try it, please do come back and let me know how it goes! So glad you found me! Come back soon!

Alaska from Scratch
Alaska from Scratch

Maria, I honestly don't know for sure. But, I can tell you that the Allrecipes version of this recipe says it's about 400 calories per serving (just the soup, before the toppings). Hope this helps. 


  1. […] 10.) Alaska From Scratch: Chicken Tortilla Soup […]


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