Creamy Chicken Tortilla Soup

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.

chicken tortilla soup in white bowl with spoon topped with sour cream, cheese, avocado and tortillas on side

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.

two bowls of creamy chicken tortilla soup with spoons with chips and sour cream on side

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.

Ingredients //

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.

corn, chicken stock, rotel can, spices, taco seasoning, diced chicken breasts, cheese, peppers, onions

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.
sauteeing chicken and Mexican spices in pot with yellow spatula
  • Cook the rest of the chicken and set aside.
sauteeing chicken and Mexican spices in pot with yellow spatula
  • Add butter to the empty pot and melt. Add onion, all peppers and garlic.
stirring onions and peppers in pot with yellow spatula
  • Cook until soft, about 10 minutes.
stirring onions and peppers and spices in pot with yellow spatula
  • Add the spices and cook for an additional minute.
sauteed vegetables and Mexican spices in pot
  • Add the flour and cook for one minute longer.
flour in center of pot with sauteed veggies and Mexican spices
  • Next, add the broth and half-and-half. Bring to a bubble.
pouring chicken stock into chicken and veggies with Mexican spices
  • Reduce heat to low, and add the chicken back to the pot. Add Rotel, beans and corn.
finishing chicken tortilla soup in pot with yellow spoon
  • 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.
chicken tortilla soup in white bowl with spoon topped with sour cream, cheese, avocado and tortillas on side

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.

Serving Suggestions

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.

two bowls of creamy chicken tortilla soup with spoons with chips and sour cream on side

Variations //

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 //

Originally published in October 2013, updated November 2020 with updated images and updated recipe card.

If you make this recipe, I’d love to know how it goes! Be sure to follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest, too!

chicken tortilla soup in white bowl with spoon topped with sour cream, cheese, avocado and tortillas on side

Creamy Chicken Tortilla Soup

Yield: 6
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

This Creamy Chicken Tortilla Soup is cozy, comforting and crunchy with an abundance of Mexican peppers and spices that's a make-ahead meal.

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  1. 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.
  2. Add butter to the empty pot and melt. Add onion, all peppers, and garlic. Cook until soft, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add the spices and cook for an additional minute. Add the flour and cook for one minute longer.
  4. 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.
  5. Right before serving, stir in chopped cilantro.
  6. 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.

Notes

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.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 574Total Fat: 29gSaturated Fat: 13gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 89mgSodium: 1051mgCarbohydrates: 54gFiber: 12gSugar: 11gProtein: 31g

All information and tools presented and written within this site are intended for informational purposes only.

Oh hey there!

Well, hello there! I’m Bree Hester, the Boston-based blogger and food photographer here at Baked Bree. Here you can get lots of weeknight meal inspiration, eat more plant-based meals, and still indulge in a decadent sweet treat. Baked Bree is a place where you will find great recipes and inspiration for your next family adventure.

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This Post Has 88 Comments

  1. Lindsay @ Life, Love and Sugar

    This sounds and looks delicious! Beautiful pictures – pinned!

    1. bakedbree

      thanks for the pin!

    2. Pam

      I made this tonight and it was a hit! My family loved it. Thanks so much for sharing. I also bought the ingredients for lasagna soup. Can’t wait!

      1. bakedbree

        You are so welcome! Lasagna soup is one of my all-time favorites.

  2. June G.

    I saw Trisha’s recipe, but wasn’t thrilled about the canned soup. I’ll give your recipe a go:) I love soup!

    1. bakedbree

      I am not a fan of creamed soup either.

  3. Tieghan Gerard

    We always have pizza or chili on Halloween! It is the perfect food for after tricker treating!

    This soup looks so creamy, cozy and perfect! I have only made tortilla soup once, but it was not creamy. This looks and sounds so much better! I have to give it a try!

    1. bakedbree

      I like it both ways, creamy and brothy. Pizza would be good too.

  4. Courtney

    Even though it is still in the 80s down here in Louisiana, I cannot wait to try this. Thanks for sharing!

    1. bakedbree

      You are very welcome!

  5. Loretta

    Gorgeous! I could literally eat soup like this everyday when it’s cold out!

    1. bakedbree

      Me. Too.

  6. Kathy

    This looks fabulous! I like that it is creamy. Pinning!

    1. bakedbree

      Thanks for the pin!

  7. Lori Pare

    I made this today and served it for lunch with a friend. She loved it. My husband had it for dinner…he HATES soup, but had two huge bowls and told me it was a keeper. I love the creaminess and all the flavor!

    1. bakedbree

      I am so glad! I love this soup too. Maybe now he will be a soup lover?

  8. kelly

    hi! i just had to drop a note saying how amazing this soup is! recently, i have started on the long journey of teaching myself how to cook and this recipe was easy and actually delivered on all it promised! thank you! cooking for others still makes me pretty nervous, but now i have a go-to soup that i can confidently serve to friends + family!

    1. bakedbree

      I am so glad! Cooking is so much fun.

  9. Martha

    Hi! Love your site! Love the step by step with pictures. Made this soup tonight my husband said it was the best thing I ever made!!! Can you freeze this soup?

  10. Martha

    This soup was delicious! Can you freeze it??

  11. Martha Lincoln

    This soup was delicious. Can you freeze it?

    1. bakedbree

      I don’t think so. I don’t think that cream freezes well.

  12. Phil @ what soup maker

    That’s one of the reasons i love the fall…soup season and reading all the soup recipes like yours giving me ideas to keep me going.

    1. bakedbree

      Me. Too. Please do, I cannot get enough soup either.

  13. Jeanne

    Made your soup tonight and I had to tell you it is absolutely fantastic !
    I changed things up a bit but it still turned out and I will definitely make this again!
    Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful recipe.

    1. bakedbree

      I am so glad!

  14. Michelle

    Can I throw all this in the crockpot you think?

    1. bakedbree

      I honestly don’t know. I am not sure how it would work with the roux.

  15. Kelly

    Made this tonight. We used shredded chicken breast instead but changed nothing else. It was delish!

  16. Megan

    This is the best soup EVER! I did have one question- do I use chicken broth or stock? I used broth the last time and it turned out great so maybe it doesn’t matter? Just checking…

    1. bakedbree

      I use whatever I have in the house.

  17. Beth

    I have made this over and over again since finding it on Pinterest… we LOVE it!

    1. bakedbree

      I am so glad!

  18. susan

    Wanted to make a comment about freezing it and the slow cooker.
    usually with creamed soups freezing you can but only for 2 weeks, you could omit the cream and add later to beable to freeze longer, with the slow cooker they always have you add the cream after like 30 mins before you serve it. with a roux you have to do that on the stove then add to the slow cooker 30mins or more before serving.
    Hopes this helps.

  19. Tonya

    Made this tonight with a few changes. I boiled my chicken then shredded it. I used the stock from this instead of can stock. I used 2 heaping spoons of coconut oil instead of butter and used gluten free flour. I only used 1 can of black beans that I had drained and rinsed. Added the juice of 1 lime, 1 can of Rotel, and 8 oz of sharp cheddar cheese. Turned out AWESOME!! Perfect for this very cold night!!

    1. bakedbree

      Sounds good!

  20. Shayne

    How many people will this feed? I would like to make this for a big pot luck dinner (for 14 adults).

    1. bakedbree

      I’d double it. I’d say 6?

  21. Kristi Van Vuren

    I made this tonight for supper. My son, husband and I just loved it! I used a small can of green chiles since I didn’t have jalapenos and used white beans instead of black beans.I used olive oil instead of butter and I brushed 2 flour tortillas with canola oil and baked them in the oven at 350 degrees for 5-6 minutes, cut them into strips and they were so good with the soup! This was the perfect soup for this snowy, cold day! Thanks for the recipe!

    1. bakedbree

      Sounds good! Glad that you liked it!

  22. Tara

    Thank you for the delicious recipe!! I made this Gluten Free and it was delicious. To do that, instead of adding in the flour, I mixed 6 Tbsp Corn Starch with 6 Tbsp COLD water. Add in the broth, half and half and bring to a bubble. Pour in your corn starch and water mixture and let it bubble for a minute or so. Reduce to low and add in the rest of the ingredients!! Super yummy and will for sure be added to my rotation! 🙂

    1. bakedbree

      Thanks for sharing!

  23. Lorrie

    Hi Bree! This soup is simmering away as I type. Smells yummy! Just thought I’d let you know the can of Rotel is missing from your 2nd ingredient list. Will tell you how the soup turned out!

    1. bakedbree

      Thank you!

  24. Lorrie

    The soup turned out delicious! I couldn’t find a habanero so I substituted a Scotch Bonnet — was worried it would be too hot, but the heat mellowed after simmering. Thanks, Bree!

    1. bakedbree

      They are actually the same. I am glad that you liked it!

  25. Traci

    Made this soup for dinner tonight and it was delicious! Subbed chicken breasts with Costco rotisserie chicken then followed the rest of the recipe exactly as written and it came out perfect. Will definitely make this again. Thanks for the great recipe!!!

    1. bakedbree

      I’m so glad! I love this soup too. I haven’t made it in awhile, I need to.

  26. Christine Rice

    Yummy! Made this soup last night for the family and it was a huge hit! Thanks for a wonderful soup!

    1. bakedbree

      You are so welcome, I am so glad that it was a hit.

  27. Deb

    i made this last night, it was fantastic!! Followed the recipe to a T, judged added the juice of one lime. Great soup!! Thanks so much.

    1. bakedbree

      You’re welcome!

  28. kp

    Very tasty soup! Has anyone tried to freeze some and was it successful?

    1. bakedbree

      I don’t think that the creamy soups freeze well.

      1. Tonya

        I freeze it all the time and it works great. Just add a little cream to it when you reheat it. I use half and half when I make it and that’s what I add to it when I reheat it.

  29. Amy

    Thank you for sharing! Looked delicious, so I tried it out and followed the instructions to the letter. In the end, it never thickened and stayed extremely watery and thin. I tasted it and it wasn’t bad, necessarily, but it wasn’t anything like a soup. The spices felt lost. Anyway, I just scooped out the mixture and used it as filling in a tortilla, instead. Any suggestions on what I could have done wrong? It looked delicious in your photographs and it seems that other people had no such issues.

    1. bakedbree

      It’s hard to say, but this isn’t a super thick soup, not like a chowder. My guess is that your soup never got to a bubble and didn’t thicken properly.

  30. CThomas

    My favorite soup! When my husband comes home from work and sees I’m making it, his whole face lights up! I like that you can use a variety of beans and it’s still yummy. I like to sub pinto beans for the kidney beans.

  31. Candace

    How much would you say your recipe makes? I have a family of 7 and 2 men who love seconds and 3rds. Would your steps make enough or would you suggest doubling up?

    1. bakedbree

      I would definitely double. I always prefer to have too much versus too little.

  32. Irish Chef

    I cook for a homeless shelfter and I am always on the lookout for QUICK, HEALTHY, INEXPENSIVE recipes and this one is perfect! Thank you very much. Keep the great recipes coming. The Irish Chef

    1. bakedbree

      You are welcome!

  33. Chris

    Hi Bree,
    I live in a wee and remote Town in the Canadian Arctic. I REALY want to try this soup, but I have no clue as to what ‘Rotel’ is. Could you please describe it to me so I can improvise to make this recipe? This looks far too delish to just pass it by! Thanks!

    1. bakedbree

      Sure! It is canned diced tomatoes with chiles.

  34. Wendy

    What can I use instead of half and half so it will be lower in fat? Low fat milk?

    1. bakedbree

      I have no idea, you will have to play with the recipe. My concern is that the soup will be very thin if you use low fat milk, make sure to thicken it.

  35. Amanda

    Have you ever made this in the crockpot? If so did you just put everything in the crockpot and let it cook all day?

    1. bakedbree

      No I haven’t.

  36. Stacie

    Do you mean red and yellow bell peppers? Just checking!!

    1. bakedbree

      Yes.

  37. Victoria

    Looks delicious but I can’t get half and half where I live. What could I use instead??

    1. bakedbree

      Half and half is a mixture of whole milk and heavy cream. Whole milk will probably work just fine, it just might not be as thick.

  38. Kathleen Lambert

    I made this last night for my boyfriend and i and even though i cook a lot he said its one of the best things ive ever made. I have to agree with him. So yummy and so easy. I made a few modifications to my own. instead of habeneros i used bell peppers for the red and yellow. And then used a small can of mild diced chilis in place of the habenero.
    Also when the soup was pretty much done i added a sprinkle of cayenne pepper and a little more taco seasoning.
    Such a great soup. Everyone should try it. YUMM!

    1. bakedbree

      WOW! I’m glad that he liked it to much.

  39. Laura

    I made this tonight for my family for a new (to us) twist on tortilla soup. Everyone raved about it and lined up for seconds. Just copied it down for my recipe box. Thanks so much!

    1. bakedbree

      I’m so glad!

  40. Melissa

    Do you think I could use fat free half and half in this? Looking for ways to cut some calories. Thank you.

    1. bakedbree

      You can always try. I have not, so I can’t say for sure what the end result would be. I prefer to eat less of something than to use a fat-free product.

  41. Kanna

    Hi Bree,

    I must have come across this recipe years ago – and since then, I’ve made it countless times. I’ve made it for my incredibly picky 3 year old who recently requested I make it again. I’ve made it for my friends who just had a baby. I’ve made it for my in-laws, who were quite impressed.

    Anyway, I thought I’d just say thanks for a wonderful, delicious recipe that continues to impress everyone I make it for!

    1. bakedbree

      I am so happy to hear this, thank you for letting me know!

  42. Pingback: Winter Soup Recipes to Cozy Up To | Girlfriend is Better

  43. jazzy lin

    the flavor is amazing! however as someone who loves soup is was brothy with a creamy mouth feel rather than the creaminess I wanted. if you want creamy use more flour and heavy cream instead of half and half was much better.

    1. bakedbree

      Glad that you liked it.

  44. Nicole S.

    I made this tonight for the first time and it was a HUGE hit. I only used one habanero and cut the cumin in half (only because it’s not my favorite) and it came out PERFECT! My husband is asking for it to be in the weekly rotation. 🙂

    1. bakedbree

      This is great to hear! I’m so glad that you both liked it so much.

  45. Mary P

    Ah, yes! Mi Niña tortilla chips was all I needed to see (Jalapeño Agave are my favorite). I’ll be making this on the weekend!

    1. Bree Hester

      I hope you do! They are the best chips ever!!!

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