Chicken tortilla soup, with its spicy tomato broth, crunchy tortilla chips, and gooey cheese, has long been one of my favorite dishes to order at Mexican restaurants. I never even thought to make it at home because, frankly, I thought it was fussy.
But boy was I wrong. Once you know the basics, it’s all too easy to make chicken tortilla soup at home — even on a busy Monday night. Here’s my favorite way to do it.
Why Make This Chicken Tortilla Soup?
1. It’s fast. Thanks to a little help from the grocery store, this soup is ready in under an hour. Instead of cooking the chicken yourself, start with a rotisserie chicken. The juicy meat can be easily shredded to form the base of this soup.
2. It makes use of smart shortcuts. A can of fire-roasted diced tomatoes lends a smoky flavor, which really beefs this soup up while keeping the ingredient list short (no need to pull out every spice in the cabinet).
3. It can be as mild or as spicy as you like. We’re providing a range for the chili powder, because everyone likes their own level of spice. Use the lesser amount if you’ve got kids or prefer a mildly spicy soup. Opt for the full 3 tablespoons if you’d like a soup that packs a nice (but not unbearable) punch.
Can I Adjust the Recipe Based on What I Have on Hand?
Yes! While this soup is perfect as is, it’s also very well-suited to be fiddled with. Swap in pinto or kidney beans for the black beans, or use leftover cooked chicken if you have some in the fridge. If you’d like to bulk it up further, add a few big handfuls of frozen corn (it will defrost in the simmering pot). Toss in a can of fire-roasted diced green chiles to bump up the smoky flavor.
How Do I Serve Chicken Tortilla Soup?
You have options: Crushed tortilla chips, diced avocado, shredded sharp cheddar cheese, and chopped fresh cilantro are all great toppings. Regardless of whether you pick one or all, prepare them while the soup simmers. That way, as soon as it’s ready, you can dig in.