Chicken tortilla soup is my go-to easy meal – we have it for dinner nearly every week. It’s an easy recipe to prepare and a great way to use up leftover chicken and veggies in your fridge. My kids love this soup, too. They get a kick out of eating the cheese off the plate faster than I can shred it. And who doesn’t love a topping bar? For the ultimate in creamy deliciousness, you’ll want to be sure to have cilantro, avocado, and pepper-jack cheese for toppings. The extra spice in this hearty soup is also great for clearing up the sinuses and soothing a scratchy throat!
As I mentioned, I like to use leftover chicken to speed along dinner preparations – roasted chicken or grilled works great – simply cut it into bite-size pieces and toss it into the soup during the last 10-minutes of cooking to heat it through. I also use homemade chicken stock to cut down on extra sodium. And if I’m lucky enough to have jars of home-canned tomatoes in the pantry, those go in the pot, too!
What makes this chicken tortilla soup recipe so darn easy is that you’re simply throwing everything together. Aside from chopping veggies and grating cheese, there isn’t much cooking to do! If you do not already have prepared chicken to add to the soup, simply cut up a couple fresh chicken breasts, sautee them in the pot with a little olive oil until they start to brown and then go ahead and add your onions, then a bit later your garlic, and then the rest of the ingredients.
I love crushed red pepper in the soup to give it some spice – if the kids are eating the soup, I tone it down some – the longer you simmer, the more heat the soup picks up from the spice. Top the soup with pepper-jack cheese for the ultimate kick in flavor and heat! You can use any kind of cheese though if extra spice isn’t your thing – jack cheese is great, mozarella, even cheddar if that’s what you have available! As the cheese melts into the soup, it turns this dish into a creamy bowl of perfection.
For a heartier soup, I like to throw in a potato and top with tortilla chips. If you are sticking to a grain-free or low carb diet, skip those additions and load in extra avocado and cheese! Fresh cilantro is another essential ingredient to round out the flavors in this delicious bowl of chicken tortilla soup.
I hope you love this recipe as much as our family does! For a similar crockpot version, try our creamy chicken tortilla soup – a tad different with corn and black beans, but man, it’s good, too.
Chicken Tortilla Soup
- 1 Tbs. olive oil
- 1/2 medium yellow onion diced
- 2-3 cloves garlic minced
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 1 can 14.5 oz diced tomatoes, juice included
- 1 large potato peeled and cubed
- 1 zucchini peeled, and sliced
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 cups cooked chicken cut into bite-size pieces (2 chicken breasts)
- 1 avocado
- tortilla chips
- 4 oz. shredded pepper-jack cheese or cheese of choice
- 1 bunch of fresh cilantro washed and chopped
- Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over med-high heat.
- Add onions and saute, about 5 minutes.
- When onions are translucent, add garlic and saute 1 min. longer.
- Add broth, tomatoes, potato, zucchini, oregano, red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper.
- Simmer over med-low heat for 20 minutes. Add chicken and heat 5-10 minutes longer.
- Ladle soup into bowls. Top with shredded cheese, sliced avocado, tortilla chips, and fresh cilantro.
- Serve immediately.
- Chips can alternately be served on the side to avoid becoming soggy in the broth.