Chicken Tortilla Soup

When someone asked me if I had a recipe for Chicken Tortilla soup a couple of weeks ago, I was surprised that my answer was no. Chicken tortilla is one of my favorite soups. The flavors are warm and the chicken and corn make it hearty. It is perfect for those days in late November when Mother Nature decides to blast you with a blizzard.  Of course a blizzard in Seattle terms means about 2 inches of snow, but that is besides the point.

The week of Thanksgiving, Mother Nature slapped Seattle upside the head. The snow. Would. Not. Stop. It turned our freeway into a parking lot. Hills into a bus driver’s nightmare and sidewalks to ice rinks. It took people hours upon hours to get home. Buses were stranded. By the time that I got home, 2 hours after I had left work,  I was frozen, my nose was cold, my feet were cold. It took Ryan another 1 1/2 hours to get home and he had to walk an extra 10 blocks because his bus couldn’t make it to the stop. Needless to say when it came time for dinner I just wanted to make something quick and something to warm us up.

Soup was the first thing that came to mind. And because someone asked me about chicken tortilla soup I decided to make that. All of the ingredients are staples in my home so it was pretty easy to throw it together. If you have access and aren’t trapped in your house due to 2 inches of snow, make this soup really easy by using one of those roasted chickens you can buy at the grocery store.

Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe

Serves 4 Prep Time: Cook Time:


  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1 (15 ounce can) fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can tri-bean blend, drained and rinsed (or a can of kidney, black or pinto beans)
  • 1 1/2 - 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 3 cups shredded chicken
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest
  • 4 small corn tortillas
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro



Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onions, garlic and jalapenos. Cook 3 - 4 minutes or until slightly softened. Stir in cumin, chili powder and cayenne pepper. Cook 1 more minute.


Pour in roasted tomatoes and chicken broth. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium low to simmer. Stir in beans, kosher salt, chicken, corn, lime juice and lime zest. Allow to simmer 10 - 15 more minutes. While the soup is simmering prepare your tortilla strips.


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Drizzle remaining olive oil over the corn tortillas, cut into strips and bake for 5 - 7 minutes or until crispy.


Ladle soup into bowls, top with corn tortilla strips and cilantro.



Leave a Comment

  • Reply
    December 5, 2012 at 2:56 pm

    My favorite soup.. I have 3 different recipes for this soup none call for beans..I think this recipe will be my only recipe for this soup. Can’t wait to make it!! Thank you for sharing!!!

  • Reply
    November 12, 2011 at 8:51 am

    Very good! I added some garlic powder, coriander and black pepper to the mix for more flavor. I also used a poblano pepper instead of a jalapeño. Thanks for the recipe!

  • Reply
    December 9, 2010 at 10:26 am

    I also live in Seattle and have been making what I call, “Mexican Soup” lately to combat the cold and snow! I LOVE it when it snows in Seattle! You have a couple different variations in your soup that I might try on mine so thanks for sharing! Merry Christmas!

  • Reply
    Diana Drexler
    December 7, 2010 at 9:12 am

    Made this last night and my husband said, “This is really good, did you change your recipe?” hahaha, oh well, we try don’t we?
    making this for a soup swap party in two weeks, thanks so much.

  • Reply
    December 7, 2010 at 2:09 am

    Thanks for this! It was perfect for todays chilly weather. My kids loved it & we’ll be adding it to our meal rotation! The tortilla chips are great too! Better than store bought.

  • Reply
    Denise Michaels @ Adventurous Foodie
    December 5, 2010 at 10:55 pm

    I’m not much of a Chili’s person (baaaaby back ribsss!!) but they have a Chicken Tortilla soup that’s been pureed. It’s silky smooth, spicy, creamy and really good – with a few chunks of chicken and a garnish of crispy tortilla strips on top.

  • Reply
    December 5, 2010 at 9:34 am

    i love tortilla soup–it might be my favorite soup of all. yours looks particularly lovely–i heaved a sigh of contentment upon just seeing the photo. :)

  • Reply
    December 4, 2010 at 6:52 pm

    thanks so much, I will for certain be trying this recipe this week. YEA!

  • Reply
    Jenn's Food Journey
    December 3, 2010 at 5:18 pm

    I love tortilla soup too and don’t have a recipe for it either! I’ll definitely be trying this one!
    Sorry to hear about the snow…gotta say that it might suck to have 115 degree summer, but at least I don’t have to deal with that white stuff!! :) Be safe out there!

  • Reply
    December 3, 2010 at 8:54 am

    Good for you. Drop back 10 yards and punt I always say. Sounds like you had a tough day, but as the old saying (sort of) goes, “When the going gets tough, the tough go to the kitchen.”