Chicken tortilla soup is a little spicy, a lot of flavor and great to freeze for busy nights. Just leave off the toppings and add them to individual bowls when they hit the table.
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Spice up your next meal with this super simple soup that begs for your favorite Mexican flavors. It’s one of those meals you can adjust with staple ingredients (I’ll show you how!) and freeze without the toppings for a really fast dinner on the fly.
How to adjust the spiciness of your soup
Fresh jalapeños deliver the heat here and I used them without the ribs and seeds so you get the flavor and a touch of heat but if you want to take those out for little children, add some canned diced green chiles instead (they’re mild) or use a hotter pepper if you want to crank things up.
What broth is best?
I cook a lot with my own homemade stock, but I realize that’s not reality for everyone. When you’re shopping for the best one, choose one that uses ingredients you can pronounce and that are as clean as possible. Avoid MSG, mushroom or carrot broth as first ingredients.
*Remember if you are going to use a bouillon, avoid the powdered tubs of it and the cubes. The sodium level is out of this world and you can easily ruin the entire soup with just a little bit.
How to make this soup with pantry-stable swaps
Sometimes you may not have all the fresh ingredients on hand for a soup like this. If that’s the case, here’s what I would recommend you swap in if needed:
- Jalapeno=red pepper flakes
- Onion and garlic=powdered or granulated onion and garlic (use 1/2 as much)
- Chicken stock=chicken bouillon or chicken base (this is my favorite)
- Chicken breasts=canned chicken
- Lime juice=bottled lime or lemon juice
- Cilantro=dried coriander
- Tortilla chips=toasted pita chips or homemade tortillas you’ve fried
How to freeze this soup
After adding the lime juice and chicken back to the soup, cool to room temperature and transfer to an air tight container. Thaw overnight in the fridge or re-heat in a pot from frozen and serve with the toppings of your choice.
Other spicy chicken recipes to love
Chicken Tortilla Soup
- 1 tablespoon avocado oil any flavorless high hea oil will work
- 1/2 jalapeno ribs and seeds removed, then finely minced
- 1 small yellow onion diced into 1/4" pieces
- 2 cloves fresh garlic minced (about 1 teaspoon)
- 1/2 tablespoon chili powder
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 pound chicken breasts boneless and skinless
- 1 teaspoon salt see note 1
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 cup lime juice
- 1/4 cup cilantro chopped
- 2 cups tortilla chips broken in to large pieces
- 1 avocado sliced optional
- 1/4 cup sour cream divided, optional
- In a large pot, heat the oil over medium high heat just until shimmering–about 2 minutes.
- Add the jalapeno, onion, garlic and chili powder. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until the onions start to soften. About 5 minutes.
- Add the chicken stock and tomato paste and stir to combine. Taste before adding the salt in case your chicken stock is extra salty. Add half the salt, and all of the pepper, then allow to simmer 3 to 4 minutes, then taste the soup again. Add the rest of the salt if needed.
- Add the chicken breasts to the simmering broth mixture, cover and cook until cooked through–about 15 minutes. Remove the chicken and allow to cool about 5 minutes, then cut the breasts in to 1-inch cubes, set aside.
- Allow the broth to simmer uncovered 5 more minutes, then add the lime juice, cilantro, and chicken back to the pot. Ladle in to bowls and top with crushed tortilla chips, avocado slices, more fresh cilantro, diced tomatoes and a tablespoon of sour cream if desired.