Prep Time  30minutes
Cook Time  90minutes
Total Time  120minutes

Chicken Tortilla Soup

I never get tired of making soups, because frankly, there is a different, easy and very tasty soup recipe you can make very day.  Even  even the most tried and true soup recipes, are generally flexible enough for you to add seasonal ingredients or other twists to keep them interesting.  Here, I’ve got a great, simple, Chicken Tortilla Soup recipe, that’s for some reason seems common enough in deli’s and markets, but I rarely see made at home.  Well, trust me, it is an easy soup to make, and there’s no reason, the most amature of cooks can’t make a great one.  There are not many ingredients, nor super hard techniques you need to know…just a bit of cooking common sense.  Hope you enjoy this recipe for chicken tortilla soup as much as I do.

Recipe Overview and Keys to Success

To make the best Chicken Tortilla Soup just follow these few simple steps:

  1. You can certainly cook up some chicken breast specifically for the soup (that’s what I do in the video), but frankly I love using left over chicken for this recipe – especially from an oven roasted chicken.
  2. Really let the onions and the garlic caramelize in the pan.  Onions browned like that, bring a great sweetness and depth of flavor, that you won’t get if you simply sauté them.
  3. Make sure to toast the pasilla pepper (or any other chili you use), and if possible use fire roasted (canned) tomatoes.  You’ll be surprised the difference the bit of charring and smoky flavor can add to the finished soup
  4. Balance is key in all soups, and to get balance you have to constantly taste and adjust. Don’t live hard and fast by my measurements below, trust in your own pallet.
  5. Finally, put the garnish on at the last second, so they don’t soften or wilt in the hot soup.  Serving a slice of lime on the side is also nice as it gives each eater a bit more control of the balance (see above) of their portion


Ingredients (for 4)

  • 1 cup diced cooked chicken
  • 1 large onion sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves crushed
  • 1 large fresh pasilla pepper
  • 2 quarts chicken stock
  • 1 16 oz can fire roasted tomatoes
  • Grated cheese (jack, cheddar, Mexican) for garnish
  • Tortilla chips
  • Cilantro
  • 1 lime slice into wedges

Making the Tortilla Soup

  • Bring a soup pot up to medium temperature, add olive oil to coat, the onions, garlic and season with salt and pepper
  • While the onions cook, de-seed the pasilla pepper, and then lay it directly over a gas burner, turning every 30 – 45 seconds, until it blisters and is slightly charred in some places (note you can do this under a hot broiler or on a grill too)
  • Once the onions are well browned, add them to a blender, along with the can of fire roasted tomatoes, and the pasilla pepper that you can coarsely chop up
  • Blend those ingredients together until smooth (if needed you can add some water to help the blending process)
  • Transfer the blended ingredients back to the soup pot, season with salt and pepper, and simmer until reduced by about 1/3 and slightly thick
  • Add in the chicken stock and stir to combine
  • Bring to a simmer and allow it to cook for about 20 minutes.  If the soup seems to thin, continue to simmer until it reaches the desired consistency.  If it's too thick, add more stock to thin it out.
  • Taste the soup.  Note in the video, I found my soup was not smooth enough for my tastes, so I re-blended but that is totally optional.  Re-season if needed
  • Add the chicken, and allow it to come up to temperature and you’re ready to serve
  • Ladle the soup into your bowls, and garnish with some crushed tortilla chips, cheese, cilantro and a wedge of lime

Wine recommendation: Tortilla soup is not the easiest food to pair with wine – many spicy foods are not.  You want to stay away from heavy oak wines or those with a lot of tannin as they’ll tend to clash.  Give a Rijoa Rivserva a try if you’re looking for a red.  You may also want to go in a completely different direction and try a Riesling; a white wine that is very fruity and sometimes a bit sweet.  Fruitier wines generally do very well with spicier foods.

Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe

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