chicken tortilla soup

by amy on 21 February 2012

one of my favorite soups to order at restaurants is chicken tortilla soup – i love the combination of savory, rich flavors paired with wonderfully fresh ingredients. however, until last week, i had never made it at home. i had a major hankering for it the other day, but wasn’t in the mood to go out to a restaurant, so it was time to give a homemade version a try. conveniently, a local restaurant, Mas Tacos Por Favor, was recently written up in Bon Appetit, + had provided the recipe for their super-popular chicken tortilla soup – i gathered up all the ingredients, + set about making it.

the soup turned out absolutely delicious – it is the tastiest chicken tortilla soup i’ve ever had. it’s a bit more time-consuming than some other versions, but completely worth it. it was so good that i had it for dinner on the day i made it, then for both breakfast + lunch the following day. no joke. the scratch-made broth is the star of the dish – amazingly savory, with a wonderful bite from the dried chiles. the tender chicken, the sweet charred corn + the tangy cheese work beautifully against the rich avocado, the bite of the tomatoes, + the crunch of the tortilla strips. another plus? the recipe makes quite a bit of soup, + like most soups/stews, the leftovers get even tastier after a day in the fridge. i will absolutely be making this amazing soup again soon!

chicken tortilla soup

makes 6-8 servings, adapted from mas tacos por favor, as seen in bon appetit.


1 4-pound chicken, rinsed
1 onion, quartered
1 carrot, peeled, chopped
5 garlic cloves, smashed
2 dried chipotle chiles
1 jalapeño (with seeds), halved lengthwise
7 cilantro sprigs
3 tablespoons (or more, to taste) fresh lime juice
1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
kosher salt + freshly ground black pepper
vegetable oil (for frying)
5 corn tortillas, cut in 1/2″-thick strips
2 cups frozen corn kernels, thawed
to garnish: chopped fresh cilantro, diced avocado, + queso fresco, cotija cheese, or mild feta

special equipment: a deep-fry thermometer (for frying the tortilla strips)


bring chicken, onion, carrot, garlic, chipotles, jalapeño, + 16 cups water to a boil in a large pot; skim foam from surface. reduce heat to medium + simmer, skimming the surface frequently, until chicken is cooked through, about 1 hour.

transfer the chicken to a plate. strain broth into another large pot. return chiles to broth, if a spicier broth is desired; discard remaining solids. when chicken has cooled enough to handle it, shred chicken meat; discard skin + bones. transfer chicken meat to a medium bowl + set aside.

cook corn kernels in a large skillet over high heat until charred in spots. remove from heat + set aside.

meanwhile, set pot with strained broth over medium heat + add the 7 cilantro sprigs. bring broth to a simmer; cook until reduced to 8 cups, about 1 hour. discard sprigs + chiles, if using. stir in 3 tablespoons lime juice + diced tomatoes, then let simmer for 15 minutes. season with salt, pepper, + more lime juice, if desired. add shredded chicken + charred corn to broth. (can be made 2 days ahead. chill until cold, then cover + keep chilled.)

attach deep-fry thermometer to the side of a large cast-iron skillet or other heavy skillet. pour oil into skillet to a depth of 1″. heat over medium heat until thermometer registers 350°–360°. working in batches, fry tortilla strips, turning occasionally, until crisp + golden brown, 2–3 minutes per batch. using a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain. season with salt.

rewarm broth with chicken, tomatoes + corn. once heated through, divide soup among bowls. top generously with tortilla strips, cilantro, avocado, + crumbled queso fresco/cotija cheese/feta.

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{ 61 comments… read them below or add one }

51 amy February 23, 2012 at 8:28 am

yes, homemade stock makes all the difference! thank you so much on your compliments on the platter – i got it at a local craft fair + need to hunt down a few more in different colors/shapes – i’m really starting to overuse this one! =)

52 Blond Duck February 23, 2012 at 9:02 pm

A total favorite here!

53 Words Of Deliciousness February 23, 2012 at 10:10 pm

I love tortilla soup, it is one of my favorites. Homemade soups are always the best, yours look perfect.

54 amy February 24, 2012 at 11:17 am

thank you so much, dawn – i so appreciate your kind words!

55 Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking February 24, 2012 at 11:58 am

Amy, this soup looks perfect for a chilly day! I’d love to try it for myself. What an easy recipe, too! Thanks for sharing. You have a great blog and I’m happy to have found you!

56 amy February 24, 2012 at 4:31 pm

so glad you found your way here, georgia + thanks for your kind words! look forward to connecting with you more in the future. =)

57 Young Wifey February 26, 2012 at 8:07 am

I have a similar chicken tortilla soup recipe, but with black beans in it!

58 amy February 26, 2012 at 8:34 am

i thought about adding black beans into it, but didn’t at the last minute. i’ll have to give that twist a try next time!

59 Rachel @ The Avid Appetite February 27, 2012 at 10:25 am

this looks delicious! perfect for the fleeting winter :) I have a cheesy chicken tortilla soup recipe, but I love that this one is a bit lighter! Yum!

60 amy February 27, 2012 at 10:26 am

thanks, rachel! i find that some of the cheesier recipes can be a bit heavy for me, so i loved the lightness of this recipe, too. hope you love it if you try it!

61 val March 1, 2012 at 11:06 am

One of my all time favorite comfort foods. Love your pics.

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