Chicken Tortilla Soup

12 servings


10 minutes

active time

40 minutes

total time


1-2 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, diced

5 garlic cloves, rough chopped (or sub 1-2 tablespoons granulated garlic)

1-2 cups carrots, diced

1 cup celery, diced

14 ½ ounce can diced tomatoes and juices (or fire-roasted) or 1 ½ cups diced tomatoes w/juices

4-ounce can, mild green chilies (or sub a poblano chili, diced)

2 lbs chicken (boneless, skinless, thighs or breasts) left whole -see cooking notes

1 cup dry black beans ,or sub 1 to 2 14-ounce cans black beans (or sub corn) see notes

4 cups chicken stock or broth (or water with 4 chicken bouillon cubes)

2 cups water

2 teaspoons salt, more to taste

2 teaspoons cumin

2 teaspoons chili powder

2 teaspoons dried oregano

lime juice from 1-2 limes

optional: for a smoky heat, add a little chipotle (either the adobo sauce from canned chipotles, or a little ground chipotle powder to taste.)


In a Dutch oven over medium heat (or an Instant Pot) saute onions, garlic, carrots and celery in olive oil, 4 minutes. (If using granulated garlic, add with the spices, and if using fresh poblano chili, add it now).

Add the diced tomatoes and their juices, green chilies, whole chicken, and black beans. Pour in the chicken stock, water, salt and all the spices and give a good stir.

Bring to a simmer, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes, until chicken is tender and pulls apart easily. Alternatively, set the Instant Pot to pressure cook on high, for 25 minutes, if using dry beans, or 14 minutes if using canned beans, and manually release. See notes for modifications.

Shred the chicken with two forks, either right in the pot, or in a bowl. (At this point, you could add frozen corn to the soup heating it up.) Return the shredded chicken to the pot and simmer on low for a few minutes.

Squeeze with a generous amount of lime juice and taste for salt, adding more if necessary- especially if you used dry beans, you will need to add more. You want a good balance between lime and salt. (If the soup tastes bland, it probably needs more of each.)

Divide among bowls and top with tortilla strips, grated cheese, sour cream, scallions or avocado and cilantro. Add hot sauce for added heat.


Serving Size

1 ½ cups



Total Fat

22.2 g

Saturated Fat

5.6 g

Unsaturated Fat


Trans Fat

0.1 g


111.3 mg


729.2 mg

Total Carbohydrate

23.6 g

Dietary Fiber

6.5 g

Total Sugars

3.9 g


25.3 g

12 servings


10 minutes

active time

40 minutes

total time
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