Table of Contents
  1. Why this recipe works.
  2. Everything you’ll need to make this recipe.
  3. Here’s how to make this recipe.
  4. These pro tips will make this recipe a success.
  5. Frequently asked questions about this recipe.
  6. You'll love these other soup recipes.
  7. Watch how to make this recipe.
  8. Have I convinced you to make this recipe?
  9. Healthy Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe

Packed with flavors, this chicken tortilla soup is a creamy dish perfect for any wintertime meal. Sautéed vegetables combined with spices, beans, and crushed tomatoes create a hearty meal. Chicken breasts cooked in the soup boost the flavors in the dish. Oven-baked tortilla strips create a final crunch for this classic soup.

Why this recipe works.

A soup should be three things to be worth making. The first is it needs to be delicious, obviously, so it will satisfy everyone. The second is it needs to be fairly easy; that is the point of soup being a one-pot meal. Third and last, it works best if the ingredients are pantry staples that can be ready at a moment’s notice.

Enter my healthy chicken tortilla soup. It happens to be healthy, so why not claim it?

This is a soup I make when I don’t have dinner and want something warm, hearty, and healthy. Chicken breasts are often in the refrigerator or freezer with sweet corn. Canned beans and tomatoes are always in the pantry, and in no time, a perfect soup is simmering on the stove.

Red tile surface with bowl of chicken tortilla soup with spoon in bowl along with lots of toppings all around.

Everything you’ll need to make this recipe.

  • Chicken breasts are cooked in the soup base to keep all of the flavor within the soup. Use boneless and skinless breasts.
  • Corn can be thawed, frozen, or canned. I find frozen to have the best flavor. The corn is used in two ways for flavor and texture.
  • White beans are used to thicken the soup by blending and stirring into the soup—no need for flour or other thickeners.
  • Crushed or diced tomatoes are a pantry staple and quickly create a hearty base.
  • Chipotle powder adds a bit of smoked spice flavor to the soup. A small amount goes a long way.
White marble surface filled with all ingredients needed to make chicken tortilla soup including raw chicken, corn, spices, and more.

Here’s how to make this recipe.

  1. Prepare the base. Place neutral oil in a large pot over medium heat. Finely dice the onion. Remove the pith and seeds from the jalapeños, then dice them. Mince the garlic. Add all the vegetables to the oil. Add salt and let sauté for 4 to 6 minutes, until the onion turns transparent. Then, add the chili powder, cumin, and chipotle powder to the oil and stir.
  1. Build the soup. Add in the black beans, sweet corn, crushed tomatoes, and chicken stock. Using an immersion blender or food processor, blend the white beans until smooth and add to the pot.
  1. Cook the chicken. Add the chicken breasts to the pot and bring to a simmer. Cover and let cook for 18 to 24 minutes or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 160°F. Once the chicken has cooked, remove it from the pot, let it rest to come up to 165°F, then shred. Add the shredded chicken back to the pot and stir everything together.
  1. Prepare the tortilla strips. While the chicken cooks, slice the tortillas into long strips. Place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet and drizzle with neutral oil. Toss in the oil and evenly spread across the pan. Sprinkle salt and chili powder over top. Place into the preheated 375°F oven and bake for 12 to 15 minutes. Break tortilla strips overtop individual bowls of soup. If desired, garnish with cilantro, lime, avocado, sour cream, and cheddar cheese.

These pro tips will make this recipe a success.

  • Remove the seeds and pith from the jalapeños. This helps reduce the spice from the peppers, but also makes the soup smoother. Seeds create unwanted texture in a soup.
  • Adding the spices while the oil is hot allows them to bloom. They are oil soluble, so cooking in hot oil can open them up. This brings out their flavors and creates a larger impact on the dish.
  • Cooking the chicken directly in the soup pulls out more flavor than cooking it separately. The soup adds flavor to the meat, and the meat adds flavor to the soup.
  • Blending the white beans creates a thicker soup. This creates a nice consistency without needing to use flour or milk/cream in the dish.
Ladle resting in the middle of a large pot filled with chicken tortilla soup before being spooned out.

Frequently asked questions about this recipe.

What type of sweet corn should be used in this dish?

Frozen or canned sweet corn will work in this recipe. Fresh sweet corn can work when it is seasonally available. Add the cut-off raw corn directly to the soup.

What are ways to add additional flavor?

The chipotle powder can be increased for more smokey spice. To add more roasted flavor without more spice, use fire-roasted canned tomatoes.

Can this be made in a slow cooker?

Yes, add all the ingredients directly to a slow cooker and cook on low for 4-6 hours. Shred the chicken and serve. The flavor will not be as forward without sautéing the vegetables first, but it will be delicious.

How long does this keep after preparing?

The leftovers should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator and will last for 7-10 days.

White platter filled with baked crispy tortilla strips on red tile surface with pot filled with chicken tortilla soup to the side.

Watch how to make this recipe.

More soup recipes

Have I convinced you to make this recipe?

I hope you make this recipe and put some food on your table. Leave a comment and share a star rating so you can let others know how much you love this recipe. This helps show others that this is a recipe they, too, can make, enjoy, and love!

Bowl of chicken tortilla soup sitting on red tile surface filled topped with crispy tortilla strips.

Healthy Chicken Tortilla Soup

5 from 8 votes
Packed with flavors, this chicken tortilla soup is a creamy dish perfect for any wintertime meal. Sautéed vegetables combined with spices, beans, and crushed tomatoes create a hearty meal. Chicken breasts cooked in the soup boost the flavors in the dish. Oven-baked tortilla strips create a final crunch for this classic soup.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 8 servings

Ingredients

For the soup

  • 1 tbsp neutral oil
  • 1 onion
  • 2 jalapeños seeded and diced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp chipotle powder
  • 1 15-oz can black beans rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups sweet corn
  • 1 14-oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1 15-oz can white beans (cannellini or navy)
  • 1 lb chicken breasts

For the tortilla strips

  • 4 large tortillas (flour or corn)
  • 2 tsp neutral oil
  • ¼ tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp chili powder

Instructions
 

  • Heat the oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Once hot, add the onion, jalapeños, garlic, and salt. Stir and sauté until the onion is soft and translucent, 4-6 minutes.
    1 tbsp neutral oil, 1 onion, 2 jalapeños, 3 cloves garlic, 1 tsp kosher salt
  • Blend the white beans until smooth and set them aside.
    1 15-oz can white beans (cannellini or navy)
  • To the onion mixture, add the chili powder, cumin, and chipotle powder. Stir to warm and add the black beans, sweet corn, crushed tomatoes, chicken stock, blended white beans, and chicken breasts. Bring the mixture to a boil and reduce it to a simmer. Cover and simmer until the chicken is cooked and reaches 160°F, 18-24 minutes.
    2 tsp chili powder, 1 tsp cumin, ½ tsp chipotle powder, 1 15-oz can black beans, 2 cups sweet corn, 1 14-oz can crushed tomatoes, 3 cups chicken stock, 1 lb chicken breasts
  • Remove the chicken and allow it to rest for 10 minutes. It will reach 165°F. Shred the chicken and add it back to the soup to warm.
  • Serve the soup with the tortilla strips, fresh lime wedges, shredded cheese, sour cream, and avocado.

For the tortilla strips

  • Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  • Slice the tortillas into ½-inch pieces and place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Drizzle with the oil and toss the strips to coat them. Sprinkle with the salt and chili powder and lay them in an even layer. Toast in the oven until the strips are lightly browned and crisp, 12-15 minutes. Remove the strips and cool for 10 minutes before serving.
    4 large tortillas (flour or corn), 2 tsp neutral oil, ¼ tsp kosher salt, ½ tsp chili powder

Notes

Remove the seeds and pith from the jalapeños. This helps reduce the spice from the peppers, but also makes the soup smoother. Seeds create unwanted texture in a soup.
Adding the spices while the oil is hot allows them to bloom. They are oil soluble, so cooking in hot oil can open them up. This brings out their flavors and creates a larger impact on the dish.
Cooking the chicken directly in the soup pulls out more flavor than cooking it separately. The soup adds flavor to the meat, and the meat adds flavor to the soup.
Blending the white beans creates a thicker soup. This creates a nice consistency without needing to use flour or milk/cream in the dish.
 

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving (including tortilla strips)Calories: 356kcal
Course Soup
Cuisine Southwestern
Difficulty Easy
Method Cooking

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Kaleb

I’m Kaleb! I'm not a chef, professional baker, landscaper, or designer, but I like to play each on Knollgate Farm. Come join me on my journey and let's learn together!

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10 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I have always said I make the BEST tortilla soup but I am going to add the blended beans BUT what kind of White bean? Navy, garbanzo, etc???

  2. Where can I find the scooping tool and wooden stirring tool you used in this video? I think I must add these to my kitchen!

  3. Delicious! Only change I made was mashing the beans after sautéing the veggies instead of blending to save on dishes, and it turned out great. Quick, simple, and a great week night soup – topped with cholula smokey chipotle hot sauce and was perfect. Will be making again!

  4. 5 stars
    This was delicious! My chicken breasts were on the thicker side and took closer to 40 minutes to cook through, so looking back I would have cut them in half before poaching to speed up dinner. I have never blended beans to thicken a soup, but it worked well. I was worried that 2 jalapenos would be too spicy, but after removing seeds and membranes and cooking them down, they just added nice flavor without too much heat. Don’t skip on the tortilla strips! They were my favorite part. Thanks for a great dinner!

  5. 5 stars
    My husband doesn’t do spicy so I made this with only one Jalapeño pepper. We both loved the soup and the tortilla strips on top were great. Thanks for the recipe!

  6. 5 stars
    This was the best chicken tortilla soup I have ever eaten! Wonderful flavors! Can I freeze soup that is leftover?