This Hearty Chicken Tortilla Soup Is A Comfort Food Essential

published Mar 27, 2022
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Credit: Christine Gallary

I’m usually too lazy and practical to make meals at home that only I would eat, but there are a few exceptions. This chicken tortilla soup recipe from the website What’s Gaby Cooking is one of those, and I almost always have some frozen and ready to go when I’m craving a spicy, comforting bowl of soup. Loaded with chicken, corn, and black beans in a deeply flavored, slightly spicy tomato and onion broth that’s just the right thickness, I turn to this recipe again and again and can almost make it by heart now.

One of the main reasons why I love this soup is because it’s hearty without the need for cream or dairy, and loaded with protein from the chicken and beans. But to be honest, I think it’s also because of the toppings! I almost always sprinkle a bowl with shredded cheese or a handful of crumbled tortilla chips, but lime wedges, cilantro, scallions, shredded cabbage, or even avocados make for fun toppers. This soup is also super-adaptable to what you have on hand and not a super-strict formula to follow. I’ve even used turkey broth and shredded turkey to use up Thanksgiving leftovers.

How to Make Chicken Tortilla Soup

The soup starts with sautéeing onion, garlic, and jalapeño until softened, then simmering it with a can of diced tomatoes with green chilies and chicken broth for 30 minutes. Purée the soup until smooth directly in the pot with an immersion blender, or blend in a stand blender and pour it back into the pot. Add in some cooked, shredded chicken, canned black beans, and frozen corn kernels and you’re done! The soup freezes very well and a batch makes about four servings.

If You’re Making Chicken Tortilla Soup, a Few Tips

I don’t think I’ve ever made this soup the same way twice, but it’s always turned out well. Here are a few substitutions and tips.

  • Cook the chicken in the broth. If you don’t have cooked chicken lying around, just sear a whole chicken leg or breast in the pan first before you cook the onions. Simmer the chicken in the broth for about 20 minutes until cooked through, then take it out of the pan and shred the meat. This gives the broth an extra chicken-y flavor, too!
  • Skip the jalapeño. I usually don’t have fresh jalapeños in the fridge, so I omit it from the soup. I find that there’s great flavor from the green chilies in the canned tomatoes. But if you do add it in, take the seeds out first so the soup doesn’t get too spicy (unless that’s your preference).
  • Use chili powder instead of chipotle powder. While chipotle powder is smoky and delicious, I don’t usually have that spice in my cabinet. I use regular chili powder in its place.
  • Make it extra-hearty. You can definitely up the amount of beans, corn, or chicken if you want to make the soup more filling.
  • Just use tortilla chips. Instead of frying corn tortillas into strips, store-bought tortilla chips are just as tasty and way, way easier for that welcome crunch.