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This Chicken Tortilla Soup is loaded with all your favorite southwestern flavors. It is incredibly good for you and super comforting and it packs just the right amount of heat.
Hearty and Healthy Tortilla Soup Recipe
There’s nothing better than cozying up with a warm bowl of soup on a cold winter day. But this chicken tortilla soup isn’t just for chilly nights … it’s perfect any time of the year. This soup is hearty and comforting enough for the winter but fresh and vibrant enough for the summer. It’s packed with fantastic southwestern flavors, like tomatoes, jalapeños, black beans, tortilla chips, and avocado. And the chicken is juicy, tender, and well-seasoned.
This is also a healthy recipe. This soup has no unhealthy ingredients, and it’s full of vegetables, beans, and healthy chicken. Whether you need soup to keep you warmed up when it’s cold out or to give you energy on a sunny day, you have got to give this tortilla soup recipe a try. It doesn’t hurt that it’s really easy to make!
What You’ll Need
Here are the ingredients that you’ll need in order to make this healthy soup. Scroll to the recipe card at the bottom of the page to see the exact amounts for each of the ingredients.
For the Chicken:
- Chicken breasts: Make sure to use boneless, skinless breasts.
- Garlic powder
- Chili powder
- Pepper: Always use freshly-ground black pepper.
- Olive oil
For the Soup:
- Olive oil
- Onion: I use a yellow onion for this recipe, but a white or red onion will work in a pinch.
- Parsley: You can also use cilantro if you prefer.
- Red bell pepper
- Diced tomatoes: Make sure you don’t drain the canned tomatoes.
- Black beans: You should drain and rinse the beans.
- Chili powder
- Smoked paprika
- Ground cumin
- Chicken broth
How to Make Chicken Tortilla Soup
Here’s how to make this hearty southwestern soup. It’s a pretty easy recipe!
- Prep. Preheat your oven to 375˚F.
- Season the chicken. Add the chicken to a mixing bowl with the olive oil, parsley, garlic powder, chili powder, salt, and pepper. Toss to combine.
- Bake. Place the chicken breasts in a single layer on a baking dish and put it in the oven. Bake until the chicken is cooked through, which should take 35 to 40 minutes.
- Sauté the veggies. While the chicken cooks, heat a soup pot over medium-low heat and add the olive oil and butter. Then add the onions, carrots, and parsley, and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the onion and carrots are tender, which should take 6-8 minutes.
- Add the rest of the veggies. Add the garlic, jalapeño, and bell peppers, and cook until the peppers are tender. This should take 5 minutes.
- Cut the chicken. When the meat is done cooking, cut it into cubes.
- Add the meat. Put the chicken in the soup pot with the vegetables.
- Stir in everything else. Add the tomatoes and black beans, as well as the cumin, chili powder, and paprika. Stir together, then add the chicken stock and bring the soup to a boil.
- Simmer. Lower the heat and simmer the soup for 10 minutes.
- Season. Taste the soup and add more salt and pepper if needed.
- Serve. Garnish the soup with avocado slices and crushed tortilla chips, then serve.
Tips for Success
Here are some tricks and tips to try out when making this soup.
- Use homemade stock. One of my secrets when making soup is to use homemade broth. There’s no better way to improve the quality of the soup you’re making. If you use homemade chicken broth (or veggie broth), this chicken tortilla soup will be that much better.
- Check the temp. Even though you’re adding the chicken to the soup, it can still dry out. So it’s very important that you don’t overcook the meat. I like to use an instant read meat thermometer to check for doneness. Chicken is cooked when the internal temperature reaches 165˚F. In this instance, it’s okay to take the chicken out when it’s a little bit undercooked because it will keep cooking in the soup.
- Use a rotisserie chicken. The most delicious way to make this soup is to bake the chicken exactly as in the recipe. But the easiest way to make this soup is to use a rotisserie chicken or any leftover chicken that you have in your fridge. Using chicken that’s already cooked is a great way to make this recipe a lot easier and faster. Don’t worry; it will still be delicious!
- Let the meat rest. After the chicken is done cooking, let it rest for 5 minutes before cutting it into cubes. Letting the chicken rest allows the meat to reabsorb its juices. If you cut into it straight out of the oven, a lot of the juices will run out, and the meat will be dry and tough, even when it’s in a soup.
Here are some commonly asked questions about this cozy tortilla soup.
It’s best with boneless, skinless chicken breasts. You can use thighs if you prefer, but make sure they’re boneless and skinless. You can also use pre-cooked meat, like leftovers or rotisserie chicken.
Absolutely! I like a kick of spice in my soup, so I added jalapeños and chili powder to this recipe. If you want the soup milder, just dial back on those ingredients. You can also add more of them if you want extra heat!
This soup is fantastic reheated, so you can absolutely make it well before dinner time and just reheat it when you’re ready to eat.
How to Serve Soup
My favorite way to eat this spicy soup is with some southwestern and Mexican side dishes. Here are a few of my favorites.
How to Store Leftovers
- You can keep leftover chicken tortilla soup in the fridge for up to 5 days. Just make sure to store it in an airtight container. You can reheat the soup on the stove over medium heat or in the microwave on 80% power in 20-second increments until heated through.
Can You Freeze This Recipe?
- You can definitely freeze this soup. Let the soup cool entirely, then store it in an airtight container and keep it in the freezer for 6 months.
- Thaw the soup completely before reheating.
More Healthy Soups to Make
As I said, I love to eat soup. And I especially love a soup recipe that’s as healthy as it is delicious. Here are a few more of my favorites.
For the Soup:
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 yellow onion, finely diced
- 1 large carrot, sliced into thin rounds
- ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley or cilantro
- salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 jalapeño, seeded, ribs removed, and sliced into thin rounds
- 1 small red bell pepper, cut into thin slices
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 can (15 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
- 1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 6 cups chicken broth
Preheat oven to 375˚F.
Place chicken breasts in a large mixing bowl and season with garlic powder, chili powder, salt, pepper, parsley, and olive oil. Mix until well combined.
Transfer the chicken breasts to a baking dish in a single layer.
Bake for 35 minutes or until thoroughly cooked. Cooking time will depend on the size of the chicken breasts.
In the meantime, work on the soup; heat the olive oil and butter in a large pot set over medium-low heat.
Add the onions, carrots, and parsley, and season with salt and pepper.
Cook for 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring frequently.
Stir in the bell peppers, jalapeño, and garlic, and continue to cook for another 4 to 5 minutes or until the peppers are tender.
Remove the cooked chicken from the oven; let it rest for a few minutes then cut it into cubes or shred it.
Transfer the chicken to the soup pot.
Stir in the tomatoes and black beans and season with chili powder, paprika, and cumin.
Add the chicken stock and bring the soup to a boil over medium-high heat.
Turn down to a simmer and continue to cook for an additional 10 minutes.
Taste for salt and pepper; adjust accordingly.
Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish it with tortilla chips and avocado slices.
- Chicken: This recipe involves cooking raw chicken breasts, but you can skip that step and use cooked rotisserie chicken or leftover cooked and diced chicken breasts.
- Chicken Broth: One of my delicious secrets when making soup is to use homemade broth. However, you can use whatever broth you have on hand, including vegetable broth. Also, if you like a brothier soup, add more than the suggested amount of liquid.
- Spice: I like a kick of spice in my soup, so I added jalapeños and chili powder, but if you want a milder soup, dial back on those ingredients. You can also add more of them if you want extra heat.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 5 days or in the freezer for 6 months.
- Reheat on the stove over medium heat or in the microwave on 80% power in 20-second increments.
Serving: 1.5 cups | Calories: 256 kcal | Carbohydrates: 17 g | Protein: 20 g | Fat: 13 g | Saturated Fat: 3 g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1 g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7 g | Trans Fat: 0.1 g | Cholesterol: 44 mg | Sodium: 438 mg | Potassium: 742 mg | Fiber: 5 g | Sugar: 3 g | Vitamin A: 2503 IU | Vitamin C: 27 mg | Calcium: 64 mg | Iron: 3 mg | Net Carbs: 12 g
Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.