Chicken Tortilla Soup

Sopa de Tortilla con Pollo

I throw the word classic around a lot but tortilla soup really is a classic. Every Mexican cook has a variation. This is mine. I defy you to find anyone who doesn’t love tortilla soup.

If you are not familiar with it, it’s shredded chicken in a rich and spicy tomato broth balanced with avocado, sour cream, and tortilla strips added for crunch. Sounds good, doesn’t it? Looks good too!

Bowl of Authentic Chicken Tortilla Soup

Step-by-Step Instructions

We have broken down the preparation process into easy to follow steps so that you get perfect results the first time. To make, you will do the following:

  • Prepare the Chicken Breast – Cook and Shred
  • Prepare the Tomato Broth
  • Make the Tortilla Strips
  • Assemble the Soup and Serve
  • And of course, eat and enjoy :)

Print the recipe or work through it with the step-by-step photos below. Leave a comment below to let us know how the recipe worked for you.

First, Gather Your Ingredients

Tortilla soup doesn’t require any exotic ingredients. You probably have most everything you need in your pantry. The recipe calls for a morita chile but a perfect substitute is canned chipotle chiles in adobo, available in almost every supermarket, which gives the soup a similar and equally delicious flavor.

Ingredients to Make Chicken Tortilla Soup

Ingredient List

  • 12 ozs. uncooked chicken breast
  • 3 cups chicken broth saved from when you cooked the chicken
  • 2 lbs. Roma tomatoes (plum)
  • 1 medium white onion (sliced in half)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • morita chile (or 1 canned chipotle in adobo)
  • 2 small avocados or one large ripe but not mushy
  • 4 ozs. sour cream or crema
  • 8 corn tortillas to make tortilla strips or 3 cups of pre-made tortilla strips
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 tsp. salt + to taste

How to Make

Prepare the Chicken and Chicken Broth

Place your chicken breast in a pot with 4 cups cold water, the white onion and 2 cloves of garlic.

Chicken Breast and Onion in Pot on Stove

Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer and simmer for 20 minutes until the chicken is just cooked through. Save the cooking liquid. You will use it to make the tomato broth.

Cooked Chicken Breast in Pot on Stove

Remove the chicken from the pot and allow it to cool to the touch.

Cooked Chicken Breast on Rustic Mexican Plate

Once the chicken is cool use your fingers to pull it into thin strips.

Shredded Chicken Breast on Rustic Mexican Plate

Set the chicken aside until you are ready to serve the soup.

Prepare the Tomato Broth

The broth is the most important part of tortilla soup. Don’t rush it. Take your time to do it right and you will be rewarded with a deeply satisfying soup.

If you are using a dried chile morita remove the stem and seeds and discard.

Dried Morita Chile on Cutting Board

Blend the ingredients for the tomato broth: Roma tomatoes, clove of garlic, morita chile, chicken broth, and salt. You don’t have to slice the tomatoes or anything, just chuck them into the blender whole. You will probably have to blend in two batches. Blend for at least 1 minute until the base for the broth is very smooth.

Tomatoes in Blender Jar

Once you have blended the ingredients, heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a pot. Pour the soup base into the hot oil then reduce the heat to low. Notice in the picture below how the hot oil forms a circle around the outer edge of the pot. This step develops a deeper flavor in the broth and helps to keep the broth from separating.

Cooking Tortilla Soup Base in a Wide Pan

Simmer the broth for 30 minutes until it takes on a deep red color and has reduced approximately 1 inch. You want the broth to have some body but not be as thick as a salsa. Add 1 teaspoon of salt and adjust as needed. If your broth is too thick just add water or chicken broth a 1/4 cup at a time until it reaches the consistency you want.

Pot of Tomato Broth to Make Tortilla Soup

The finished broth will look amazing. If possible, allow the broth to rest for at least 2 hours so that the flavors meld. Resting overnight is even better. If you can’t wait and want to serve right away the soup will still taste great. Don’t worry.

Make the Tortilla Strips

While the soup base is simmering make the tortilla strips. Homemade tortilla strips are the best and they are not difficult to make. Store-bought work fine too if you are short on time.

Start by cutting the tortillas into 1/4” to 1/2” strips. Separate the strips if they are sticking together.

Tortilla Strips on Cutting Board

Preheat 4 tablespoons of cooking oil to medium-hot in a wide frying pan. Place the tortilla strips in the hot oil. Let them fry for a few seconds and then turn to coat the remaining tortilla strips in oil.

Frying Tortilla Strips in Cast Iron Pan

Keep turning the tortilla strips until they are golden brown. A pair of kitchen tongs makes the job of turning much easier.

Fried Tortilla Strips in Cast Iron Pan

Drain the tortilla strips on napkins or paper towels to remove any excess cooking oil. Look good, don’t they?

Plate of Tortilla Strips

Here are some more instructions on making tortilla strips and tortilla chips. They are so easy to make from scratch.

Assemble and Serve

Now the fun part, serving your soup. Pour approximately 1 cup of the tomato broth into a wide shallow bowl then add some shredded chicken. Top with a generous dollop of sour cream and some chunks of avocado. Garnish with a few tortilla strips. Serve immediately.

Bowl of Authentic Chicken Tortilla Soup

A perfect bowl of authentic Mexican tortilla soup! Dig in!

Bowl of Authentic Mexican Tortilla Soup

Provecho!

Print Pin
3.5 from 6 votes

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Authentic chicken tortilla soup (sopa de tortilla con pollo) – shredded chicken in a rich and spicy tomato broth balanced with avocado, crema, or sour cream with tortilla strips added for crunch.
Course Soup
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword chicken, soup, tomato, tortilla soup
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 6 bowls
Calories 918kcal
Author Douglas Cullen

Ingredients

  • 12 ozs. uncooked chicken breast
  • 3 cups chicken broth saved from when you cooked the chicken
  • 2 lbs. roma tomatoes
  • 1 medium white onion sliced in half
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 morita chile
  • 2 small avocados or one large ripe but not mushy
  • 4 ozs sour cream or crema
  • 8 corn tortillas to make tortilla strips or 3 cups of pre-made tortilla strips
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 tsp. salt + to taste
  • 6 tbsp cooking oil

Instructions

Preparing the Chicken Breast

  • Place your chicken breast in a pot with 4 cups cold water the white onion and 2 cloves of garlic.
  • Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer and simmer for 20 minutes until the chicken is just cooked through.
  • Remove the chicken from the cooking liquid and allow to cool.
  • Shred the chicken into thin strips about 1 to 1 1/2 inches long.
  • Reserve the cooking liquid.

Preparing the Tomato Broth

  • First, remove the stem and the seeds from the morita chile.
  • Blend the Roma tomatoes, clove of garlic, morita chile, and 3 cups chicken broth. Blend in 2 batches.
  • After you have blended the ingredients, heat 2 tablespoons of cooking oil to medium-hot in a pot. Pour the soup base into the hot oil. Reduce the heat to low.
  • Simmer the broth for 30 minutes until it takes on a deep red color and has reduced approximately 1 inch.
  • Add the salt and adjust as needed. The broth should seem slightly salty. When you add all of the other soup ingredients it will reduce the saltiness a bit.

Making the Tortilla Strips

  • Cut the tortillas into 1/4” to 1/2” strips.
  • Preheat 4 tablespoons of cooking oil to medium-hot in a wide frying pan.
  • Place the tortilla strips in the hot oil. Let them fry for a few seconds and then turn to coat the remaining tortilla strips in oil.
  • Keep turning the tortilla strips until they are golden brown. Keep a close eye on them so that they don't burn.
  • Remove from the pan and drain the tortilla strips on napkins or paper towels to remove any excess cooking oil.

Serving the Soup

  • Pour approximately 1 cup of the tomato broth into a wide shallow bowl.
  • Add shredded chicken.
  • Top with a generous dollop of sour cream or crema.
  • Add a few chunks of avocado to the bowl.
  • Top with a tortilla strips and serve immediately.

Notes

Substitutions
  • If you are unable to find morita chiles you can substitute 1 canned chipotle chile in adobo. Canned chipotles are available in the Hispanic section of most grocery stores.
Optional
  • Many people like their tortilla soup with a squirt of lime. Give it a try if a little lime sounds good.

Nutrition

Calories: 918kcal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 104g | Fat: 41g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 299mg | Sodium: 923mg | Potassium: 2581mg | Fiber: 9g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 1610IU | Vitamin C: 34.8mg | Calcium: 106mg | Iron: 3.2mg

More Mexican Soup Recipes

4 comments… add one
  • Cara

    This sounds amazing but it is not tomato season yet. May canned be used and if so, how much? Thanks!

  • Jason Thomas

    The tomatoes in the picture looks roasted and deskinned. But you don’t have it listed on the recipe.

  • Marta

    Amazing! I have been looking for a chicken tortilla soup that resembles the one served at La Esquina in NYC and this is it! Really delicious. I am very grateful :)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Next post:

Previous post: