This easy Chicken Tortilla Soup recipe will become a new staple in your weeknight dinner rotation. There are many versions of chicken tortilla soup out there, but I've pared it down to its simplest ingredients to save you time and let the flavors shine.
I also give lots of tasty add-in and topping ideas so you can customize this soup to your tastes. Enjoy this Tex-Mex chicken soup as much as we do!
30-minute chicken tortilla soup
My newest recipe is one of my simplest, but it is still big on flavor. This chicken tortilla soup is super easy to make (especially when you use a rotisserie chicken), and it makes for a light yet extremely satisfying dinner.
When using pre-cooked chicken, it is ready in under 30 minutes. But if you have some time, you can let the soup simmer on the stove until you're ready to eat.
This Mexican-inspired chicken soup is loaded with flavorful ingredients, such as tomatoes with chilies, fresh jalapeño, cumin for flavor, and of course.... crunchy tortilla chips for serving.
Easy Mexican flavors
We never seem to grow tired of Mexican flavors in my house. From Texas-style nachos and tacos with slow cooker pulled pork, to soups and stews (helloooo Chicken Chili Verde Stew), we love it all!
If it's got some spice, some zest, and some jalapeño in there somewhere, we're all over it! I'm a huge cilantro lover, so I use it every chance I get, but I keep it optional for those cilantro haters in the world.
Related recipe: Recipes for Cilantro Lovers
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 1 stalks celery, diced
- 1 fresh jalapeño, diced (optional, omit for less spicy soup)
- 4 cloves garlic, diced
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 3 cups cooked chicken breast, shredded (from 1 rotisserie chicken)
- 2 10-oz cans diced tomatoes with green chilies (with the juices)
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 ½ teaspoon kosher salt (optional, depending on how salty your chicken broth is)
- ½ lime (this citrus squeezer is the best when you need to squeeze just ½ lemon or lime!)
- ½ cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped, for serving (optional)
- Crushed tortilla chips, for serving
Step 1: Add olive oil to a large soup pot, along with diced onion, celery, jalapeño, and garlic. Cook over medium low heat for about 5 minutes, or until onions are translucent.
Step 2: Add broth, chicken, diced tomatoes and chilies, and cumin to the pot. Bring to a boil.
Lower heat to a simmer and allow to cook for 15-20 minutes to allow flavors to blend.
Step 3: Squeeze in lime juice from ½ lime (or to taste), and stir in cilantro leaves (if using) until wilted. Ladle into bowls and serve with crushed tortilla chips sprinkled over the top.
Shortcuts, add-ins, and substitutions
- I often use a rotisserie chicken for this recipe. One rotisserie chicken = the right amount of chicken breast meat for the soup.
- Another option is to use leftover homemade chicken. See my dry brine chicken recipe.
- Another trick is to cook the chicken on low in some broth in a slow cooker during the day - this makes it easy to shred.
- If you don't like spice, you can omit the jalapeño or swap it with milder canned chilies.
- Feel free to add canned corn (drained), black beans or pinto beans (drained), or leftover cooked veggies if you've got some on hand.
- You can add some fideo pasta (they're like thin, 1-inch long spaghetti) in step 2 and let it cook in the soup broth for an extra tasty Mexican-inspired chicken noodle soup and a heartier, more filling soup.
Toppings for chicken tortilla soup
Crushed tortilla chips are our go-to, but you can add so many toppings to chicken tortilla soup! Here are some ideas:
- Shredded cheese
- Sliced avocado
- Sliced radishes
- Chopped scallions
- Chopped red onion
- Fresh or canned jalapeño
- Dollop of sour cream
- Toasted corn nuts (these are the BEST! Definitely give them a try if you love corn and crispy snacks)
- Crumbled cooked bacon
- Sprinkling of chili powder
What to serve with chicken tortilla soup:
This soup can stand alone as a meal, but if you want something a little heartier, I often make homemade guacamole to serve alongside the tortilla soup, with more chips for dipping.
A simple cheese quesadilla would also be fantastic with this soup, and perfect for dipping.
Easy Chicken Tortilla Soup
- 2 tablespooons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 yellow onion diced
- 2 stalks celery diced
- 1 fresh jalapeño diced (omit or substitute a little canned chilies for less spice)
- 4 cloves garlic diced
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 3 cups cooked chicken breast shredded (from 1 small chicken)
- 2 10-oz cans diced tomatoes with green chilies with the liquid
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- ½ lime
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt optional
- ½ cup chopped cilantro leaves plus extra for garnish
- crushed tortilla chips for serving
- Add olive oil to a large soup pot, along with diced onion, celery, jalapeño, and garlic. Cook over medium low heat for about 5 minutes, or until onions are translucent.
- Add broth, chicken, diced tomatoes and chilies, cumin, and cilantro. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer and allow to cook for 15-20 minutes to allow flavors to blend.
- Squeeze in lime juice from ½ lime (or to taste). Season with salt, if needed.
- Ladle into bowls and serve with crushed tortilla chips sprinkled over the top and extra cilantro for garnish.
- Canned corn, black beans, or pinto beans (drained, add in step 2)
- Splash of heavy cream for a creamy chicken tortilla soup (stir in after cooking)
- Fideo pasta (thin, 1-inch long spaghetti-like noodles - add in step 2 and let it cook in the soup broth for a delicious Tex-Mex chicken noodle soup.