Authentic Chicken Tortilla Soup

An easy Authentic Chicken Tortilla Soup recipe made simply with fresh ingredients, shredded chicken, and topped with crispy tortilla strips. This recipe has become one of my household favorites.

Looking for more tasty soup recipes? Try out my Instant Pot Broccoli and Cheese Soup, Zucchini and Sweet Potato Soup, Black Truffle Asparagus Soup, Instant Pot Truffled Lasagna Soup. or Creamy Tortellini Soup.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

It’s that time of year when many of us are trying to stay out of the cold weather — and for those of us in Texas — trying to escape the one day it actually drops below 40 degrees. Haha. Regardless if you enjoy the winter weather or want to escape it, a bowl of hot soup is one of those dishes that is always right on time.

As I have been creating different types of soups, I’m starting to realize that sometimes going the simple route is a lot better. This chicken tortilla soup is easy to make and it takes a very traditional approach. Similar to the preparation you would find if you visited Mexico City; with a few small adjustments.

This is the absolute best Mexican chicken tortilla soup recipe!

Ingredients you’ll need for Chicken Tortilla Soup:

  • Fresh corn tortillas will be needed to make crispy tortilla strips. Topping the soup off with fried corn tortilla strips adds amazing texture. And this step only takes two minutes to cook to the perfect crispiness.
  • The chicken stock is the most important ingredient and I use a small amount of tomato paste. You can also use fresh roasted tomatoes, but tomato paste is intensely flavored. A small dab of tomato paste adds a hit of tomato flavor to the soup without the excess liquid that comes when fresh tomatoes are used.
  • The flavor profile begins to build with fresh cilantro, onions, jalapeños, and minced garlic. It’s amazing what these ingredients can do for a dish and fresh cilantro brightens any recipe. And as you know, jalapeños can be hit or miss, but if you get a spicy one the dish will have quite the kick. If not, you’ll end up with a more mild heat.
  • I save time by buying the pre-cooked rotisserie chicken from the grocery store and pulling the meat into two cups of shredded chicken. You can also use chicken breast, but I find the shredded chicken soaks up all the flavors of the soup better. However, if you have more time, check out my Instant Pot Whole Roasted Chicken recipe.
  • The seasoning include chili powder, paprika, black pepper, red cayenne pepper, garlic powder, and adobo all-purpose seasoning.

How to make Authentic Chicken Tortilla Soup:

Fry the tortillas. Stack your soft tortilla shells and cut them into strips. Heat a cooking pan to medium-high heat and add cooking oil. Fry soft tortilla strips for 2 minutes or until they begin to brown and remove from heat. Place on a paper towel and allow to drain. 

Authentic Chicken Tortilla Soup

Prepare the soup. Heat a cooking pan to medium heat and add butter and chopped onions. Cook until the onions are translucent. Add chopped cilantro, jalapeno, minced garlic, chili powder, paprika, black pepper, red cayenne pepper, garlic powder, and adobo all-purpose seasoning. Stir.

Authentic Chicken Tortilla Soup

Add remaining ingredients. Add the tomato paste, chicken stock, and shredded chicken to the cooking pan. Stir until combined.

Authentic Chicken Tortilla Soup

Cook. Cover and cook for 15 minutes on medium-low heat.

Authentic Chicken Tortilla Soup

Serve. Serve soup in a bowl topped with crispy tortilla strips and optional toppings.

Authentic Chicken Tortilla Soup

What can I serve with chicken tortilla soup?

  • I serve my soup with a handful of shredded cheddar cheese (crumbled cotija cheese is great too), chunks of avocado, fried tortilla strips, and a dollop of sour cream.
  • Add on some green chiles, chopped cilantro, or chopped green onions.
  • You could also make a cold small side salad; think fresh corn salad or a traditional green salad.
  • If you love Tex-Mex as I do, this soup will go well with quesadillas or enchiladas.
  • Mexican rice is also a great accompaniment.
  • Black, refried, or pinto beans also make the perfect companion for chicken tortilla soup.

How long does the chicken tortilla soup last in the fridge or freezer?

This soup recipe can last in the refrigerator for approximately 3 days stored in an airtight container. You could also freeze the soup and it will last in the freezer for at least 2 months.

Authentic Chicken Tortilla Soup

This healthy chicken tortilla soup is a great way to bring everyone together no matter what the weather says. Enjoy!

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Authentic Chicken Tortilla Soup

Authentic Chicken Tortilla Soup

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 57 reviews

  • Author: Eric Jones
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x


The best authentic Chicken Tortilla Soup recipe made with fresh ingredients, like cilantro, and topped with crispy fried tortilla strips.


Units Scale
  • 6 soft corn tortillas
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 cup jalapeno peppers, chopped
  • 3 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp red cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp adobo all-purpose seasoning
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 4 cup chicken stock
  • 2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
  • sour cream, optional
  • Mexican shredded cheese, optional
  • sliced avocado, optional


  1. Stack your soft tortilla shells and cut them into strips. 
  2. Heat a cooking pan to medium-high heat and add cooking oil. Fry soft tortilla strips for 2 minutes or until they begin to brown and remove from heat. Place on a paper towel and allow to drain. 
  3. Heat a cooking pan to medium heat and add butter and chopped onions. Cook until the onions are translucent. Add chopped cilantro, jalapeno, minced garlic, chili powder, paprika, black pepper, red cayenne pepper, garlic powder, and adobo all-purpose seasoning. Stir.
  4. Add the tomato paste, chicken stock, and shredded chicken to the cooking pan. Stir until combined.
  5. Cover and cook for 15 minutes on medium-low heat.
  6. Serve soup in a bowl topped with crispy tortilla strips and optional toppings.



You can use chilies in place of jalapenos.

The cooking oil coats the bottom of your pan so you can fry the tortilla strips. The amount needed will depend on the size of your pan. You’ll want enough oil so that your soft tortilla strips are mostly submerged so they can fry evenly.

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Category: Soup
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: Mexican


  • Calories: 140
  • Sugar: 2g
  • Sodium: 812mg
  • Fat: 4g
  • Carbohydrates: 3.8g
  • Fiber: 0.7g
  • Protein: 21.5g
  • Cholesterol: 57mg

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  1. Delicious soup with an amazing flavor! I have never made a tomato based chicken tortilla soup before and now I’m hooked! I used one chipotle in adobo sauce and it was a little spicy for my family, but the flavor was still great. I added some cream to tone it down and everyone enjoyed it. I also added some corn and black beans and served the soup with corn tortilla quesadillas. Great soup that I will be turning to again and again.

    1. Eric Jones says:

      Thank you so much!! I really do appreciate the feedback and glad you are enjoying it.

  2. Ginette P says:

    Love this soup! I add refried beans to the soup and a small can of chopped tomatoes. Fresh cilantro is a must, both in the soup and as an accompaniment.

    1. Eric Jones says:

      Thanks so much Ginette! Really glad you enjoyed it.

  3. Hello Eric,
    I cannot find Goya adobo seasonings at the 2 stores I went to, so just wondering if there is something I can replace it with rn until I find it … (Amazon)

    1. Eric Jones says:

      Hi, Jane! Here is a copycat for adobo seasoning: 3 tbsp garlic powder, 3 tbsp salt, 1 tsp oregano, and 1/2 tsp tumeric.

  4. I’ve made this recipe so many times since I first discovered it. Delicious recipe! I don’t put in as much chilli in (because my chilli powder is strong), add a bit more tomato paste and like to make a bone broth with the rotisserie chicken carcass. I don’t have adobo pepper, so I’ve left it out. I recognize that would be a game changer but I’m happy without it. After Christmas I made it with turkey – twice! Yum!

    1. Eric Jones says:

      Hi, Michelle! Thanks for stopping by and sharing your feedback!

  5. Catherine says:

    Thank you so very much for sharing your special recipes with us. This Authentic Tortilla Soup is our favorite! I’ve shared your website with many people, so they too may enjoy these delicious dishes 🙂

    1. Eric Jones says:

      Hi, Catherine! Thank you, and we really appreciate it!

  6. This was the perfect blend of spices for a tortilla soup! Made a few substitutions: Tajin instead of cayenne, added 1 can of corn, and added a dash of lime juice at the end. Delicious!

    1. Eric Jones says:

      Hey, Caroline! Love the use of Tajin! I’ll have to try that myself 🙂

  7. Suzanne T. DeVore says:

    Excellent soup with great flavors. Curious how many grams/oz. were used to calculate the nutritional value…

    1. Eric Jones says:

      Hi, Suzanne! The nutritional value is based on my serving (the recipe makes 4 servings) and does not include the optional ingredients.

  8. My favorite chicken tortilla soup recipe…it’s better than in most Mexican restaurants! I usually substitute some or all jalapeños for chipotle peppers in adobo sauce because we love the flavor and the heat, plus I always add a little cumin because we love it. My only complaint about this recipe is that it just doesn’t make enough! It’s SO good, you’ll want more…be sure to double if you have more than 2 hearty appetites or want leftovers. I’ve made this several times, so quick and easy, and it’s ALWAYS delicious!

    1. Eric Jones says:

      Thanks, Jeanne! It’s an amazing soup! Thank you so much!

  9. Eric, have made this soup numerous times. Sometimes as written and other times with a little twist of something different. For example some black beans and corn. That being said, love it as written with lots of fried tortilla strips using both corn and flour tortillas and grated cheese. Just had it tonight using what was left of a rotisserie chicken. This soup is sooooooo good and satisfying. Appreciate you posting this.

    1. Eric Jones says:

      Thank you, Barbie! I appreciate this wonderful feedback!

    1. Eric Jones says:

      Whoo hoo! Thanks, Jessica!

  10. This soup is absolutely delicious! I have made it several times! A huge hit with my family.

    1. Eric Jones says:

      Thanks, Sharine! And thanks for taking the time to leave feedback. 🙂

  11. This recipe was soo good! Thanks for sharing

    1. Eric Jones says:

      You are very welcome, Crystal!

  12. Love this recipe! I add black beans and corn to it as well and the whole family loves it every time I cook it. Thank you for posting it!

    1. Eric Jones says:

      Thanks, Tiffany! It’s always a great choice and so versatile! Love the additions!

  13. This couldn’t be better. SO GOOD!! I used Anaheim peppers instead of Jalapeno (bf can’t handle them). The only other thing I altered was that I used some juice leftover from homemade salsa in place of some of the broth. I could eat this weekly.

    1. Eric Jones says:

      Thanks for checking out the recipe, Carrie!

  14. Thank you so much for putting up this recipe. I lost my recipe book when I moved and this is almost the same. I looked around for chicken tortilla soup recipes and none of them actually have tortilla in them LOL. How can they call it tortilla soup? Anyway, thank you again. BTW it’s a fantastic recipe!

  15. I’ve made this recipe countless times. My family absolutely loves it! It’s so easy and flavorful. Thank you!

  16. Maserati Dalmia says:

    Absolutely banging recipe. My wife is extra particular about tortilla soup as she has a favorite from a restaurant we frequent in Huatulco. This seems to be a very close recipe and she craves it all the time. Thank you!

    1. Eric Jones says:

      Thanks so much Maserati! I really do appreciate you sharing your experience with. Thanks a lot!

  17. Really great soup for a rainy day.

    1. Eric Jones says:

      Thanks Teresa! Yes this is great for rainy days for sure!

  18. Christine N says:

    So good!! I cooked chicken thighs with Rotel and added cumin. Didn’t have Adobe All-Purpose so subbed in Ms.Dash and Nature’s Seasons. The flavors were jumping. So enjoyed this recipe 🙂

    1. Eric Jones says:

      This is awesome Christine! Cooking is all about making it your own and so glad you enjoyed it!

  19. This soup turned out amazing!

    1. Eric Jones says:

      Thanks so much, Kim!

  20. This is the best tortilla soup recipe!!!
    So simple yet so flavorful! My husband loved it, I’ll definitely frequent this on our menu when it’s cold!

    1. Eric Jones says:

      Thanks, Chelsey! Love to hear that!

  21. THIS is the tortilla soup recipe I’ve been looking for. I’m so tired of people ruining it with beans and corn and thickeners etc. This is simple, classic, and perfect for a rainy fall day. It also comes together REALLY quickly so it’s a no brainer to make a batch whenever the mood strikes!

    1. Eric Jones says:

      Thank you, Melanie! I prefer it simple too! So glad you enjoyed the recipe.

  22. I’m definitely late to the party! How am I now just trying this recipe? So simple, I thought it was too good to be true. This CTS was the best ever and I plan to make this often during the winter months. The only thing I added that strayed from the recipe was cumin. If it has cilantro, how could I not add cumin? 😉 Added sliced avocado and queso fresco on top. PS: I’m from South Texas and I know chicken tortilla soup!

  23. Loved making this! My whole family loves it! I so my chicken in a crockpot with Rotel, taco seasoning, cumin and chili powder. Then I add to the soup and it’s delicious!

  24. Thanks for sharing a really wonderful recipe! I have a weak tongue but other family members like a lot of heat so decided to use 3/4 cup pickled jalapeños from a jar and chopped some extras as an added topping for heat lovers to add with the other toppings if the’d like more spice. This soup has wonderful flavor and feels healthy. I doubled the recipe and added black beans, corn and a squeeze of fresh lime juice to the left overs just to add color and to make it different the second meal. Was equally as delicious.
    DEFINITELY RECOMMEND and will be making again. If you have mexican food likers, it’s a delicious option if you’d like to bring a meal to someone. I added a salad and nachos with homemade quac and ranch/lime fresco dip. Yum!

  25. It’s a beautiful thing!!!! I too am a native of Louisiana. New Orleans to be exact. Flavorful AND Spicy is what it needs to be. Not more or less of one or another. That is what it is!!! I used the Adobo chipotle peppers AND fresh Jalapeño. I simmered all of my seasoning then added all of the rest of the ingredients. AWESOME🤤

  26. Just “threw” this together to have a little something extra for family coming over today. Pretty much all tortilla soups have disappointed, or had to be majorly doctored up with many notes written in. Ugh. So, I had no expectations going into this, other than what you wrote about it. I just taste tested it…..IT IS FANTASTIC! The simplicity and full flavor is great! I used smoked paprika for us, and rotisserie chicken for convenience. Soooo good. Good bye all you other tortilla soup recipes! I’ll serve sour cream, green onions and some cheese for topping choices. Thank you!!!!!

    1. Eric Jones says:

      Cindy I am so happy you enjoyed this recipe! Thank you so much for sharing!!

  27. Made this recipe so many times, always a hit! I’m curious if you have a suggestion on how to make it creamy but keeping it on the healthy side? I want to switch it up a bit without possibly ruining the deliciousness. I was thinking maybe a can of cream of chicken soup?

    1. Eric Jones says:

      Hello Katie I am really glad you enjoy this recipe! I’m thinking if you want to try to turn it into a more creamy version you can try to implement low fat sour cream or half & half once its done cooking. I would add small amounts until you get the creamy texture you’re looking for. Hope that helps!

  28. Hi there, I’m looking forward to trying this delicious looking recipe but I despise coriander. Could I replace it with shallots or parsley or something else?

    1. Eric Jones says:

      Hi, Elyse. Parsley or Thai basil is a good substitute for cilantro. I have not personally tried these subs, so I wouldn’t be able to comment on the flavor change. I hope you enjoy it!

  29. Super tasty! I may have added just a pinch more seasoning but thank you for the base of what is now my favorite soup! Couldn’t have done it with out you!
    I’ll be making this often. (:
    **Hack; I airfried the tortilla strips

    1. Eric Jones says:

      Awesome! Glad you know have a new favorite!

  30. Brie Kidd says:

    Thank you for this recipe! I made it tonight and it was so simple and delicious! I used one whole fresh jalapeño, chopped, and it was nice and spicy. The flavors were spot on, thanks again!

    1. Eric Jones says:

      Thanks for sharing Brie! Glad you enjoyed!

  31. Suzanne Bermudez says:

    I tried this recipe once and that was all it took! I am hooked ! I love that this recipe packs so much flavor and was something that didn’t take a really long time to make but was delicious.

    I have shared this recipe with my co-workers and to make it easy for them, I combined the dry spices in the recipe and made a baggie with them in it and printed out a copy of the recipe for them. What a great treat.

    1. Eric Jones says:

      Suzanne this is great! So glad you enjoyed it and enjoyed it enough to share! Thank you for the positive feedback.

  32. Leslie Stephens says:

    Loved this recipe! I have never commented before, but this was soooo good. I love chicken tortilla soup and this is one of the best I have ever had and definitely the best I have ever made. Thank you! I would not change a thing!

    1. Eric Jones says:

      We love to hear this! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  33. I have made this twice now and served with homemade bread, lime crema, queso fresco and baked tortilla strips. My family loves this soup and can’t get enough. Tonight I substituted pulled pork instead of chicken, still delicious! Thank you for the great recipe. (This is the 1st time I have EVER left comments lol!)

    1. Eric Jones says:

      Hi Heather! Thanks for taking the time to leave feedback on this recipe. It means a lot to us!

  34. Looks delicious! Two questions: One – could you use fresh chicken? I’m assuming you could but just simmer longer for it to cook and then shred and add back to soup. Second – have you tried it in the crockpot, and if so, what modifications, if any, did you make? Thanks!

    1. Eric Jones says:

      Hi JP. I have never tried this recipe with fresh/uncooked chicken. Boiling chicken breasts take around 15-20 to cook, so I guess you could. Again, I have not prepared the dish this way, so I can’t comment on the results. I have only made this on the stovetop.

    2. So I made this yesterday. It was so delicious!! I “roasted” a chicken in my air fryer. I shredded the chicken and made broth out of the chicken bones. I doubled everything but the chicken as I wanted leftovers. This will definitely be a “go to” soup in my house. May also try another time in the crockpot by adding chicken breasts or thighs and cooking on low for 4 hours and adding cilantro at the end.

      1. Eric Jones says:

        Great! Yes, I typically buy a whole chicken and roast it in my Instant Pot for this recipe as well. Glad you enjoyed it!

  35. I have made this twice now using homemade Turkey carcass broth! I also cook frozen chicken breast or thighs in the instant pot. Season them with Chili Powder, cumin, salt and pepper. Cook for 12 minutes. Natural release for 10. Then drain most broth and shred with hand mixer. Best Chicken tortilla soup ever. I add corn and black beans too.

    1. Eric Jones says:

      That’s awesome, Grace! Love the subs you’ve made.

  36. This soup tastes like it came straight from my favorite Mexican restaurant and costed a fraction of the price to make at home. The flavors are spot on! I added half a can of corn and black beans and it totally hit the spot. MAKE THIS NOW you won’t regret it

    1. Eric Jones says:

      Awesome, thanks Allison! Glad to hear you enjoyed the flavors too!

  37. I’m am deleting all other Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipes… We live in So. California where we literally have hundreds of wonderful Mexican Food Restaurants & we have tried quite a few. This is not only easy it’s delicious and it tops them all , Thank you ❤️

    1. Eric Jones says:

      Such a wonderful compliment, Dee! Thanks for much!

  38. Such an easy, yet amazing recipe!!! I am a tortilla soup snob, and this is one of my favorite recipes so far. My kids loved it but if you don’t like super spicy, half the jalapeños. I’d also recommend adding extra chicken stock (liquid) if you are going to add stuff like beans, corn, etc. I’m so excited to try some of your other recipes!

    1. Eric Jones says:

      Thanks, Abby! Great tip on the chicken stock. I would double the recipe if you are planning to add additional ingredients.

    2. Ahhh! I wish I would’ve read this comment BEFORE adding the spices and jalapeños hahaha SO SPICY!!! Delicious but super spicy I added beans and corn now that I saw your suggestion. Hopefully that makes it less spicy.

      1. Eric Jones says:

        Hi Johanna! Yes, jalapeños can be very mild to very hot and it is completely random for the most part. Glad you still enjoyed it!

  39. My bf said this recipe is better than the restaurants. It is super cold here in South Texas today and this is an amazing soup for the weather!! Thanks for sharing!!!

    1. Eric Jones says:

      Hahaha! I’ll take that! Glad you guys enjoyed it!

  40. Maddie M. says:

    I’m not usually one to leave reviews, but this soup is amazing! The only thing I did was bake the tortilla strips (light olive oil and salt to season), I have made this multiple times and its always a crowd pleaser.

    1. Eric Jones says:

      Thanks for taking the time, Maddie! It means a lot.

  41. This soup is amazing! I didn’t change a thing! We haven’t hit cold temperatures yet here in Texas but who needs an excuse to have Great food?

    1. Eric Jones says:

      Right! We are team soup anytime at my house! We enjoy this year-round.

  42. Excellent flavor and we cut back spicy spices by half for the kids . Look forward to trying other recipes.

    1. Eric Jones says:

      Thank you Kim for sharing. This is awesome and yes it can be a little bit on the spicy side for the kids if they aren’t used to it. Glad it came out good.

  43. OH MY GOSH!!! I can’t believe I just made the BEST tortilla soup I’ve ever had!! I added half a can of black beans. Will definitely be making this recipe again & doubling it!

    1. Eric Jones says:

      Thanks for the awesome feedback, Brittany!

  44. Melissa Siebels says:

    It says to add cooking oil. Anyone know how much? Thank you!

    1. Eric Jones says:

      Hello Melissa. The cooking oil is used to coat the bottom of your pan so you can fry the tortilla strips. The amount needed will depend on the size of your pan. You’ll want enough oil so that your soft tortilla strips are mostly submerged so they can fry evenly.

      1. Reading your responses to the comments left by fans of your blog/recipes made me smile as your kindness shines through. Very rarely do bloggers reply to all (or almost all?) of their reader comments and never are the responses as genuine & heartwarming as yours are (especially when answering questions already discussed in your post- my frustration/lack of patience would definitely come through, lol). I am now a big fan Of ‘Dude That Cookz’ & looking forward to trying this Chicken Tortilla Soup recipe tonight. Have a great afternoon!

        1. Eric Jones says:

          Jamie — you made our day! We do believe that every comment deserves a response as our readers have taken time out of their busy day to engage with us. We are happy to have you and hope you enjoy the recipes! This soup is amazing! 🙂

      2. Melissa Quinn says:

        4 cups stock doesn’t seem like it would make a large quantity. Is that correct?

        1. Eric Jones says:

          Hi Melissa. It is meant to yield 4 servings. You can use the scale in the recipe card to scale this quantity up to 3 times this amount if you wish.

  45. Super tasty! I added rotel instead of jalapeños and added corn. Love the heat this soup has. Definitely would make again. 😁

    1. Eric Jones says:

      Thanks, Alissa! Love rotel and that is a great addition! Thanks for taking the time to share your feedback. It is appreciated.

  46. Ran out of tomato pasted substituted a couple tablespoons of tomato sauce. I haven’t had tortilla soup in so long! This was by far an amazing recipe! I love the spicy-ness. I also added a half of canned corn for some more texture.

    1. Eric Jones says:

      Hey, Tatiana! Sometimes we have to use what we have! I’m so glad it still worked out for you.

  47. Everyone in my family loves this Chicken Tortilla Soup. I made big crumbs of the tortilla strips but the soup was delicious with all of the seasonings and fresh cilantro from the garden. Thanks for the great recipe.

    1. Eric Jones says:

      Awesome, Deborah! So glad it was a hit!