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Make this easy chicken tortilla soup in the Crock Pot, on the stovetop, or in the Instant Pot for a simple and flavorful meal that suits your busy life! Customize the healthy soup with all of your favorite toppings and enjoy a homemade Mexican-inspired feast. It’s delicious alongside chips and salsa, guacamole, corn and black bean salad, and quesadillas.

Close overhead image of easy chicken tortilla soup on a wooden table

How to Make Easy Chicken Tortilla Soup | 1-Minute Video

Chicken Tortilla Soup Crock Pot Recipe

Nothing beats the convenience of stirring ingredients together in the slow cooker and walking away for a few hours. Coming home to a simmering pot of Mexican chicken tortilla soup is a great way to end the day! Best of all, this recipe is very flexible. Adjust the seasoning, tweak the ingredients, or omit the chicken altogether (and add extra beans instead). It’s satisfying, it’s hearty, and it’s incredibly easy!

What is Chicken Tortilla Soup?

An authentic chicken tortilla soup is a traditional Mexican dish made with a tomato or chicken base, which often includes ingredients such as corn, beans, and shredded cheese. It gets its name from the crispy tortilla chips or tortilla strips that are either stirred into the soup or used as a garnish on top. There are creamy versions, spicy versions, and cheesy versions, and most include zesty taco seasoning, cumin, chili powder, jalapeño, or other classic Mexican spices.

Side shot of a bowl of healthy chicken tortilla soup in a bowl on a wooden table

Which Chicken to Use for Soup?

You will need a total of about 3-4 cups of cooked, shredded chicken for this recipe. That’s about the amount of meat from one large store-bought rotisserie chicken, which is a nice shortcut for quick meal prep.

If you’d prefer to start with raw boneless, skinless chicken breasts or boneless, skinless chicken thighs, you will need about 1 ½-2 lbs. of raw meat. Add the raw chicken directly to the slow cooker, or if you’re using the stovetop or Instant Pot method, you’ll need to dice and brown the chicken before making the soup. Those instructions are included below.

Is Chicken Tortilla Soup good for you?

Yes! This healthy soup is low in fat, full of protein, and a good source of vegetables. Use low-sodium broth if you’re watching your salt intake. You can also control the amount of tortilla chips that you add to each bowl.

Pouring broth into a crock pot

Ingredients

This is a quick overview of the ingredients that you’ll need for a healthy chicken tortilla soup. As always, specific measurements and step-by-step cooking instructions are included in the printable recipe box at the bottom of the post.

  • Chicken broth: the liquid base of the soup.
  • Chicken: use cooked, shredded leftovers from a previous meal or from a store-bought rotisserie chicken for a shortcut, or start with raw boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs.
  • Frozen corn: no need to thaw it before it goes into the pot.
  • Diced tomatoes: add the entire can, including the juices.
  • Black beans: drain and rinse the canned beans. You can substitute with other beans, such as pinto beans or kidney beans, if you like.
  • Diced green chilies: for extra flavor.
  • Salsa: adds zesty flavor and some chunky tomatoes to the soup. You can substitute with enchilada sauce, if you like. The enchilada sauce will have a thinner consistency and will probably be a bit spicier than the salsa, but either works.
  • Onion, garlic powder, and cumin: for extra savory, smoky flavor.
  • Taco seasoning: use a packet of store-bought taco seasoning for a shortcut, or use a homemade seasoning blend if you’ve got it.
  • Tortilla chips: give the soup its name! Use these in the bottom of each bowl, and add them as a garnish on top.
Crushing tortilla chips in a bowl

How to Make Chicken Tortilla Soup in a Crock Pot

This recipe works well in the slow cooker, in a pressure cooker (like the Instant Pot) or on the stove top. I’ve shown the Crock Pot method here, but you can pick the method that’s most convenient for you! All of the different directions are included in the printable recipe box below.

  1. Combine Ingredients. Place chicken and other ingredients (except the tortilla chips) in a crockpot. Cover and cook on LOW for 3-4 hours or on HIGH for 1 ½-2 hours. If you’re starting with raw chicken breasts rather than cooked chicken, you’ll need to increase the cooking time to 4-6 hours on LOW or 2-3 hours on HIGH. At the end of the cooking time, use two forks to shred the meat if necessary. Taste and season with salt and pepper, if necessary.
  2. Serve. Place a handful of coarsely crushed tortilla chips in the bottom of each serving bowl, then ladle the soup over top. Garnish with toppings and enjoy!
Overhead shot of hands holding a bowl of crock pot chicken tortilla soup

Toppings

Set up a toppings bar and let your family garnish their individual bowls of soup. Here are some good options:

Horizontal side shot of two bowls of easy chicken tortilla soup

Serving Suggestions

To round out the meal, pair each bowl of slow-cooker chicken tortilla soup with any of these easy sides:

Square overhead image of a bowl of slow cooker chicken tortilla soup

Storage

Make the soup in advance, allow it to cool completely, and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

To Freeze

Allow the soup to cool completely, package in airtight containers or Ziploc freezer bags, and freeze for up to 3 months.

To Reheat

Thaw frozen soup in the refrigerator overnight. Place the soup in a saucepan or pot and reheat on low, just until warmed through.

Recipe Variations

  • Add diced sweet bell peppers to the soup for even more veggies.
  • For a more zesty taste, use rotel diced tomatoes and green chilies instead of the plain diced tomatoes.
  • Turn it into slow cooker chicken enchilada soup by replacing the salsa with an equal amount of enchilada sauce.
Square side shot of two bowls of crock pot chicken tortilla soup on a dinner table

Tips for the Best Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe

  • Make it Spicy: This particular recipe is pretty mild, since I’m serving my soup to young kids. If you want it spicier, add an extra tablespoon of taco seasoning, use spicy salsa, add diced jalapeño, or season with hot sauce at the end.
  • Use the meat from a store-bought rotisserie chicken for quicker prep.
  • Add a squeeze of fresh lime juice at the very end for a bright, acidic touch.
  • Use crushed tortilla chips or strips of flour tortillas to thicken the soup when you ladle it into the individual bowls.
Hands eating a bowl of crock pot chicken tortilla soup

More Crock Pot Soup Recipes

Close overhead shot of crock pot chicken tortilla soup

Crock Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup

5 from 34 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 35 minutes
Total: 45 minutes
Servings 12 cups
Calories 121 kcal
An easy and healthy chicken tortilla soup that can be made in the Instant Pot (pressure cooker), in a slow cooker, or on the stovetop!

Ingredients
  

  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 3-4 cups cooked, shredded chicken (the meat from about 1 large rotisserie chicken) (or sub with 1 ½ – 2 lbs. uncooked boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs)
  • 2 cups frozen corn
  • 1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (4.5 oz) can diced green chilies
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 tablespoons taco seasoning
  • Bag of tortilla chips
  • Optional garnish for serving: shredded cheddar cheese, sliced green onions, lime, cilantro, sliced avocado, sour cream

Instructions

SLOW COOKER INSTRUCTIONS:

  • Combine chicken broth, chicken, corn, diced tomatoes, black beans, green chilies, salsa, onion, garlic powder, cumin, and taco seasoning in slow cooker.
  • Cook on low for 3-4 hours or on high for 1 ½ – 2 hours.
  • Crumble a handful of tortilla chips and place in bottom of individual bowls. Ladle soup over chips and garnish with desired toppings.

Note: If using raw chicken breasts, you will need to increase the cooking time to 4-6 hours on LOW or 2-3 hours on HIGH. At the end of cooking, shred or chop the chicken breasts, return to the pot, and serve.

    INSTANT POT INSTRUCTIONS:

    • If using uncooked chicken breasts, start by cutting the chicken into bite-sized pieces.
    • Turn instant pot on sauté setting and add 2 tablespoons olive oil. Once heated, add the chicken and cook, stirring often, for 3 minutes.
    • Note: If you’re starting with cooked chicken, you can skip the first step and just add the chicken to the Instant Pot with the rest of the ingredients.
    • Turn off instant pot.
    • Add the chicken broth, corn, diced tomatoes, black beans, green chilies, salsa, onion, garlic powder, cumin, and taco seasoning to the pot with the chicken. Stir well.
    • Seal the Instant Pot lid and turn the valve to sealing. Pressure cook on high pressure for 6 minutes.
    • Allow the Instant Pot to naturally release for 2 minutes (by leaving it off after it finishes cooking). Then, carefully do a quick pressure release by using a towel or potholder to carefully turn the valve to venting to release the steam and pressure.
    • Crumble a handful of tortilla chips and place in bottom of individual bowls. Ladle soup over chips and garnish with desired toppings.

    STOVETOP INSTRUCTIONS:

    • If using uncooked chicken, start by heating 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add diced chicken and cook, stirring regularly, just until chicken is browned (it doesn’t need to be cooked through).
    • Note: If you’re starting with diced, cooked chicken, you can skip the first step and just add the chicken to the pot with the rest of the ingredients.
    • Add the chicken broth, corn, diced tomatoes, black beans, green chilies, salsa, onion, garlic powder, cumin, and taco seasoning to the pot with the chicken. Stir well.
    • Bring to a boil. Once boiling, cover the pot and reduce heat to a low simmer.
    • Let soup simmer for about 20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.
    • Crumble a handful of tortilla chips and place in bottom of individual bowls. Ladle soup over chips and garnish with desired toppings.

    Video

    Notes

    • Make it Spicy: This particular recipe is pretty mild, since I’m serving my soup to young kids. If you want it spicier, add an extra tablespoon of taco seasoning, use spicy salsa, add diced jalapeño, or season with hot sauce at the end.
    • Use the meat from a store-bought rotisserie chicken for quicker prep.
    • Add a squeeze of fresh lime juice at the very end for a bright, acidic touch.
    • Use crushed tortilla chips or strips of flour tortillas to thicken the soup when you ladle it into the individual bowls.
    • Add diced sweet bell peppers to the soup for even more veggies.
    • For a more zesty taste, use rotel diced tomatoes and green chilies instead of the plain diced tomatoes.
    • Turn it into slow cooker chicken enchilada soup by replacing the salsa with an equal amount of enchilada sauce.

    Nutrition

    Serving: 1cupCalories: 121kcalCarbohydrates: 17gProtein: 12.8gFat: 0.9gSaturated Fat: 0.2gCholesterol: 22.8mgSodium: 500.8mgFiber: 3.2gSugar: 3.6g
    Keyword: chicken tortilla soup, crock pot chicken tortilla soup, tortilla soup
    Course: Dinner
    Cuisine: American, Mexican
    Author: Blair Lonergan

    This recipe was originally published in 2013. The photos were updated in September, 2022.

    blair

    Hey, I’m Blair!

    Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

    Read More

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    1. 5 stars
      I’ve made this several times on the stove top using rotisserie chicken and Rotel rather than diced tomatoes. It’s delicious, easy, and the whole family loves it!

      1. Hi Patty,
        We have lots of options to fit a variety of needs! We would be honored to have you try any of our recipes and hope you enjoy them if you do!