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This chicken tortilla soup recipe is incredibly flavorful with corn, beans, and tender chicken simmered in a beautifully seasoned tomato broth. It’s quick and super easy to make!

If you’re craving something creamier but with similar flavors, try my Creamy Chicken Tortilla Soup instead.

a bowl of chicken tortilla soup with a lime wedge and spoon

Why you’ll love it

I based this simple chicken tortilla soup on my popular Instant Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup. It was about time I made a stovetop version of this fabulous Mexican-inspired chicken soup that makes amazing leftovers. The flavors just keep intensifying over time!

While I enjoy piling on the toppings in this soup, it’s actually pretty healthy for comfort food on its own. We’ve got pantry staples like fire-roasted tomatoes, canned beans and corn, and a simple seasoning blend from scratch. This shredded chicken tortilla soup is really easy to make in just 40 minutes.

What you’ll need

  • Olive oil – for sautéing
  • Onion and garlic – I like sweet (Vidalia) onions, and using a garlic press to mince the garlic is a game changer
  • Chicken thighs – boneless/skinless chicken thighs are juicy and don’t dry out easily
  • Seasoning – ground cumin, smoked paprika, chili powder make up the tasty spice mix
  • Canned goods – corn, black beans, green chilies, and fire-roasted are staples in Tex-Mex cuisine. They’re inexpensive, a time saver, and always in my kitchen!
  • Chicken broth – to add another layer of savory flavor

Chicken tortilla soup toppings

  • Crispy tortilla strips are a must! Store-bought ones are convenient, but you can make homemade tortilla strips by cutting corn tortillas into narrow strips and frying them in a half-inch of hot oil until they’re lightly browned.
  • I love fresh toppings like diced avocado, a squeeze of fresh lime juice, jalapeno peppers, and chopped cilantro or scallions.
  • Top it all off with a dollop of plain Greek yogurt or sour cream and some cotija or Mexican blend cheese.
ingredients for chicken tortilla soup in prep bowls

How to make chicken tortilla soup

This is an overview with step-by-step photos. Full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below.

sauteing onion in a soup pot and adding broth, corn, and tomatoes

In a large pot, sauté the onion in the oil until browned. Stir in the garlic, followed by adding the remaining soup ingredients. Bring the soup to a boil, and then simmer gently until the chicken is cooked through.

adding in chicken to a soup pot of tortilla soup

Take the chicken thighs out, and shred them on a plate with two forks. Use an immersion blender to purée the broth if desired. Return the chicken to the pot, give it a squeeze of lime juice, and enjoy with your favorite toppings.

Tools for this recipe

Check out Natasha’s favorite kitchen essentials, gadgets, and cookware!

Substitutions and variations

  • This soup is not particularly spicy as written. If you want to add some heat, I suggest adding some cayenne pepper (start with 1/4-1/2 teaspoon) and/or use spicy green chilies. 
  • You can use boneless/skinless chicken breasts if you prefer. I recommend keeping an eye on them so they don’t overcook, however. They’re safe to eat with an internal temperature of 165F. Chicken thighs are much more forgiving.

What to serve with chicken tortilla soup

Leftovers and storage

  • Chicken tortilla soup will keep in the fridge for around 3-5 days in an airtight container.
  • For best results, warm it up over a low heat in a saucepan and add fresh toppings when serving.
  • It also freezes well for up to 3 months.
a pot of chicken tortilla soup with a ladle

If the blog post didn’t answer your questions about this chicken tortilla soup, talk to me in the comments below. I’d appreciate it if you left me a review! You can also find me on Instagram.

a bowl of chicken tortilla soup with a lime wedge and spoon
5 from 11 votes

Easy Chicken Tortilla Soup

This chicken tortilla soup recipe is incredibly flavorful with corn, beans, and tender chicken simmered in a beautifully seasoned tomato broth. It's quick and super easy to make!
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 40 minutes
Servings: 6


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 (13.5 ounce) cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes with juices
  • 1 pound uncooked chicken thighs (boneless, skinless)
  • 1 (14 ounce) can black beans drained & rinsed
  • 1 (12 ounce) can corn drained
  • 1 (4 ounce) can diced green chilies 
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Lime juice optional, to taste
  • Toppings (optional, to taste): tortilla strips/chips, shredded cheese, cilantro, sour cream, avocado


  • Add the oil to a large soup pot and sauté the onion over medium heat until lightly browned (about 5-7 minutes).
  • Stir in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
  • Add in the remaining ingredients except for salt & pepper and lime juice, and increase the heat to high. Once the soup is boiling, reduce the heat and simmer, with the lid slightly open, for 20-25 minutes.
  • Take the chicken out and shred it with two forks. If you prefer a smoother soup with a thicker broth, use an immersion blender to purée the soup (I leave some of it a little chunky) before adding the chicken back in. I recommend adding a good squeeze of fresh lime juice to the soup prior to serving, but that step is optional. Season with salt & pepper as needed, then serve and top each bowl as desired.


  • This soup will work great with up to 1.5 pounds of chicken. You can use chicken breasts if you prefer, but chicken thighs have more flavor and tend not to dry out as fast. Be careful not to overcook chicken breasts.
  • Store-bought tortilla strips are convenient, but you could do homemade by cutting corn tortillas into strips and then frying them in half an inch of hot oil (350F) until they’re lightly browned. 
  • This soup freezes well.


Calories: 229kcal, Carbohydrates: 28g, Protein: 16g, Fat: 6g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 43mg, Sodium: 1164mg, Potassium: 594mg, Fiber: 7g, Sugar: 4g, Vitamin A: 988IU, Vitamin C: 40mg, Calcium: 86mg, Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

© Salt & Lavender Inc. Content and photographs are copyrighted. Sharing this blog post is much appreciated, but copying and pasting full recipes without authorization to social media is strictly prohibited.

Leave a star rating and comment below!

This recipe was originally published on December 26, 2019. It’s been updated with new photos and better instructions but is the same great recipe!

Hi! I’m Natasha.

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  1. Julia Trent says:

    5 stars
    Your chicken tortilla soup us my favorite soup in the world!! Every one of your recipes are so lovely and yummy! My family requests your recipes above all others. I’m so very thankful for your blog! You’re wonderful!!

    1. Natasha says:

      That makes me so happy!! 😀 Thank you so much, and you’re very welcome, Julia!!

  2. Sky says:

    Hi! Am I supposed to cook the chicken prior to adding it in the soup?

    1. Natasha says:

      Hi Sky! Nope. I recommend reading thru the blog post and taking a look at the step-by-step photos to help clarify the process. The chicken cooks right in the soup. Hope you love it! Let me know how it goes. 🙂

  3. Rachel says:

    5 stars
    This is officially my favorite recipe blog. 😄 Made this soup today, absolutely delicious and easy to make! I used Hungarian paprika that someone brought as a gift and it was a total game changer. The toppings really make the soup, too. This is another one I’ll definitely be making again! 5/5 stars!

    1. Natasha says:

      I’m thrilled to hear that, Rachel!! 😀 Thanks for your review, and let me know if you try anything else.

  4. Linda says:

    Can you make this in a slow cooker?

    1. Natasha says:

      Yes – I think it would be a fairly easy adaptation. You may want to still do the searing steps on the stove for more flavor. I think 3-4 hours on high or 6-8 on low would be the timing. Let me know how it goes! 🙂

  5. Marcia McCabe says:

    So delicious! This is my fourth time making this recipe and is now my “go to” for sharing with friends. It is so easy!!!

    1. Natasha says:

      I’m thrilled to hear that, Marcia!

  6. Jo says:

    5 stars
    Delicious soup. Added stewed tomatoes from garden. Definitely making it again.

    1. Natasha says:

      Wonderful!! Thanks for your review!