This Creamy Chicken Tortilla Soup is cozy, comforting and crunchy with an abundance of Mexican peppers and spices. It’s an incredibly delicious make-ahead meal perfect for cooler days and crisp evenings.
When I think of fall, I think of soup. All I really want to eat is soup.
In fact, I eat a bowl of soup almost every day for lunch. I love the warming and comforting qualities a bowl of soup has on me.
This weekend I saw Trisha Yearwood make a Creamy Tortilla Soup to serve after trick-or-treating.
My mom always made a big pot of chili for my brother and sister and our friends after we finished gathering our loot. Now I understand why she made chili.
Why is it Called Chicken Tortilla Soup?
Chicken Tortilla Soup is also known as sopa azteca (“soup of the aztecs”).
But the star ingredients are in the name – chicken and tortillas!
How Do You Thicken Chicken Tortilla Soup?
Some authentic recipes call for masa harina (corn flour) to thicken the soup.
Our recipe today relies on all-purpose flour and full-bodied chicken stock. Unlike regular tortilla soup, it gets its creamy factor by stirring in heavy cream at the very end.
The crushed tortillas added in the bottom of every soup bowl is the extra special touch.
The ingredient list might look daunting, but it is mostly spices and a few cans.
Gather together olive oil, chicken breasts, taco seasoning, butter, onions, peppers, garlic, Mexican spices, flour, chicken stock, half-and-half, rotel, red kidney beans and black beans, corn and cilantro.
For the fun, fiesta toppings, you will need tortilla chips, cheddar and pepper jack cheese, sour cream and avocado.
Chicken. Boneless, skinless chicken breasts work best. Dice them into 1-inch pieces or ask the butcher to do it for you.
Habanero Peppers. I used red and yellow habanero. Depending on the store where I buy them, I have found them in various colors. They all taste the same to me. Just be sure to handle them carefully, I always wear gloves when I work with them, and chop them finely. You don’t want a big bite of pepper, especially when you are serving this to children.
Butter + Flour. This creates the roux that thickens the chicken soup to velvety, luscious goodness. Make sure to cook the flour for about 1 minute to rid of the raw flour flavor.
Rotel. The can of diced tomatoes and green chiles is authentic and traditional. You just can’t beat it.
How to Make // The Steps
This soup comes together in one-pot and makes a complete chicken, vegetable, bean and cheese meal. Simply:
- Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Toss chicken with taco seasoning and add to the pan in batches. When the chicken is browned, remove and transfer to a plate.
- Cook the rest of the chicken and set aside.
- Add butter to the empty pot and melt. Add onion, all peppers and garlic.
- Cook until soft, about 10 minutes.
- Add the spices and cook for an additional minute.
- Add the flour and cook for one minute longer.
- Next, add the broth and half-and-half. Bring to a bubble.
- Reduce heat to low, and add the chicken back to the pot. Add Rotel, beans and corn.
- Simmer for 20 minutes, being careful to not bring to a boil.
- Right before serving, stir in chopped cilantro.
- Crumble tortilla chips in the bottom of a bowl.
- Ladle soup on top and add a generous amount of cheese. Garnish with sour cream and avocado.
What Makes This Creamy Chicken Tortilla Soup So Good?
Just as the fall season starts to creep in, I make this chicken tortilla soup every chance I get because it’s:
- A complete, one-pot meal filled with chicken, veggies and cheese.
- Super kid-friendly, but hearty enough for adults, too.
- Completely customizable as you can pick-and-choose your own toppings.
I remember feeling very grown-up topping my chili. My friends all loved it too.
It can be made ahead of time and kept on the stove over a gentle heat until everyone is ready to serve themselves a bowl.
Make ahead, can stay on the stove, lots of toppings, super fun.
I changed up Trisha’s recipe a little to make it suit my taste more, and I have to say, I love how it turned out. This soup is in heavy rotation at my house. You could also try:
- Leftover or rotisserie chicken – the soup will be on the table in no time.
- No beans or three beans including white beans or pinto beans.
- Slow cooker style – LOW for 6-8 hours or HIGH for 3-4 hours.
How to Store Leftover Tortilla Soup
This Mexican tortilla soup actually tastes better over the next few days.
Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. Simply reheat over medium, stirring occasionally, until hot and bubbly.
To freeze, transfer to an airtight container, label, date and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge and reheat as instructed above.
More Soup Recipes //
- Instant Pot Carrot Curry Soup
- Minestrone Soup
- Carrot and Ginger Soup
- Lasagna Soup
- Butternut Squash Soup
- Baked Potato Soup
Originally published in October 2013, updated November 2020 with updated images and updated recipe card.
Creamy Chicken Tortilla Soup
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 2 chicken breasts cut into small pieces
- 1 Tablespoon taco seasoning
- 3 Tablespoons butter
- 1 onion chopped
- 1 red pepper chopped
- 1 yellow pepper chopped
- 1 habanero pepper finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- Salt and pepper
- 3 Tablespoons flour
- 1 32-ounce box chicken stock
- 2 cups half-and-half
- 1 can Rotel
- 1 can red kidney beans drained
- 1 can black beans drained
- 2 ears fresh corn or 1 cup frozen corn kernels
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
- Tortilla chips
- Sargento® Traditional Cut Shredded Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese
- Sargento® Traditional Cut Shredded Pepper Jack Cheese
- Sour cream
- Avocado slices
- Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium high heat. Toss chicken with taco seasoning and add to the pan in batches. When the chicken is browned, remove and transfer to a plate. Cook the rest of the chicken and set aside.
- Add butter to the empty pot and melt. Add onion, all peppers, and garlic. Cook until soft, about 10 minutes.
- Add the spices and cook for an additional minute. Add the flour and cook for one minute longer.
- Add the broth and half-and-half. Bring to a bubble. Reduce heat to low, and add the chicken back to the pot. Add Rotel, beans and corn. Simmer for 20 minutes, being careful to not bring to a boil.
- Right before serving, stir in chopped cilantro.
- Crumble tortilla chips in the bottom of a bowl. Ladle soup on top and add a generous amount of cheese. Garnish with sour cream and avocado.