Don’t you just love a hot bowl of hearty soup on a cold Winter night? One of my favorites is this Easy Chicken Tortilla Soup recipe. It’s not only delicious, but so simple to prepare. In fact, you probably have most of the ingredients in your pantry!
This winter has been extremely warm here in New Orleans. Not to mention, nasty – lots and lots of rain. When it does get cold here (between 40 and 50 degrees F is cold for us), it usually only lasts a day or two.
When we are fortunate enough to get a “cold snap”, I always crave this Chicken Tortilla Soup recipe. It’s one of our favorites. And, I’m excited to share my secrets to this easy, delicious soup with you today!
6 Secrets to the Best Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe
1. Save Time – Use a Rotisserie Chicken
For this easy recipe, I use a store-bought rotisserie chicken.
The last time I made this soup, I had picked up the chicken the night before, so it had been in the frig. It’s a breeze to pull the meat from a warm rotisserie chicken, but not as easy if the meat is cold.
If your rotisserie chicken has been refrigerated, let it sit out on the counter for a few minutes to take the chill off. Then, it will be easier to remove the meat.
2. Add Some Pantry Favorites
This recipe calls for a can of Cream of Chicken Soup in addition to chicken broth. You can also make it with broth only, keeping the same quantity of liquid.
I always keep chicken bouillon cubes on hand, too. These can be used in place of prepared chicken broth, if you don’t have enough on hand.
When making soups, it’s usually easy to make substitutions. In this case, just add some combination of the prepared bouillon and water to achieve the required volume of liquid for the recipe.
This is an adaptation of a recipe I found several years ago. The original recipe called for black beans, which are delicious and a great source of protein.
One addition I made to the original recipe was the hominy. I love the flavor of hominy, and it makes this soup really hearty!
3. Add Smoky Heat
My favorite addition to this recipe is the Adobo chili (seeds removed). I use these a lot. They contribute awesome smokiness to the dish, and mild heat. (But be sure to remove the seeds – otherwise, the heat won’t be so mild!)
To store leftover Chipotles, just put them in the freezer! This way, you won’t waste the unused peppers. Then, when a recipe calls for these, just let the container sit on the counter for a few minutes.
Next, when the peppers have softened a little, break off as many as you need. Finally, return the container to the freezer for next time!
4. Use My Favorite Kitchen Gadget
When I make this recipe, I use an immersion blender to puree a little of the soup. This makes it a little thicker and creamier.
I am obsessed with my immersion blender! I use this gadget all the time. It’s so much easier than having to transfer hot soup to a blender or food processor!
The immersion blender is especially great to use in healthy soup recipes. It will give almost any soup a creamy, richer consistency.
Seriously girlfriend, if you don’t have one of these, order one today. I promise you, it’s worth every penny and will make your life so much easier!
5. Add Fresh Ingredients for Home-cooked Flavor
I enjoy recipes like this when I don’t have much time to cook. The rotisserie chicken, canned beans and soup make this a super-quick recipe to prepare. However, the addition of the lime juice, cilantro, and avocado add wonderful, fresh flavors to this dish!
Lime Juice & Cilantro
The lime juice and cilantro finish the dish, and add a ton of fresh flavor.
I love cilantro – this recipe calls for lots of it, but you can always use less if you prefer. (I also use 3 cloves of garlic…in New Orleans, we loooove garlic! Again, adjust to your taste.)
This soup would not be complete without ripe Haas avocados!
H and I adore avocados, so we always have some in the frig. They are a delicious source of healthy fat. Whenever I have a turkey sandwich for lunch, I’ll skip the mayo and add ¼ of an avocado instead. Then, I’ll save the rest for dinner, or for the next day.
Do you know this trick? To store leftover avocado, keep the seed intact in the leftover half, and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Place in a Ziploc or storage container, and refrigerate the unused portion. It’s amazing how that seed helps keep the leftovers fresh!
6. Add More Tasty Garnishes
Well, that goes without saying, now doesn’t it!
To keep it really simple, we usually grab a bag of tortilla chips from the pantry to serve with this soup. You could also grill fresh corn tortillas, which would be yummy.
If you go the tortilla chips route like we do, be careful not to over-salt the soup, since those chips are pretty salty! (And we all know what happens when we eat too much salt!)
Who doesn’t love cheese? You could add a Southwestern cheese blend, which would be delicious.
I love the flavor of sharp cheddar, so that’s what we usually have in the frig.
Add a little sour cream, or even Greek Yogurt to balance the mild heat from the Chipotles.
Try This Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe Tonight
When it’s cold outside, it’s really hard to beat a hot, hearty soup like this Chicken Tortilla Soup recipe. And, it’s so easy to prepare. In fact, I’ll bet you have most of the ingredients on hand!
I’ll be making this favorite again very soon. How about you?
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Printable Recipe for Easy Chicken Tortilla Soup
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 onion diced
- 3 cloves garlic chopped
- 1 Adobo chili seeds removed, chopped fine
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 1 can Cream of Chicken soup plus 1 can water
- 1 14.5-ounce can fire roasted diced tomatoes
- 1 14.5-ounce can black beans rinsed and drained
- 1 14.5-ounce can golden hominy rinsed and drained
- 2 limes juiced
- 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Meat removed from 1 rotisserie chicken
- Cheddar cheese shredded, for garnish
- 1 avocado diced
- Sour cream for garnish
- Tortilla chips
In a large stock pot, heat the vegetable oil. Add onions and cook until transparent. Add garlic and chopped Adobo chili pepper, and continue to cook for another minute or so, then add cumin and chili powder.
Next, add chicken broth, soup, can of water, tomatoes, beans, and hominy. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Use an immersion blender to puree a bit of the soup, then add lime juice and cilantro, salt, and pepper.
To serve, place chicken in serving bowl and top with soup. Garnish with shredded cheese, diced avocado, and sour cream. Serve with tortilla chips.