Chicken Tortilla Soup

by Amy on 21 February 2012

Chicken Tortilla Soup | www.FearlessHomemaker.comOne of my favorite things to order at Mexican or Southwestern restaurants is chicken tortilla soup – I love the combination of savory, rich flavors paired with wonderfully fresh ingredients. However, until recently, 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, so I gathered up all the ingredients, + set about making it.

This soup turned out absolutely AMAZING – it truly is the tastiest chicken tortilla soup I’ve ever had. It does take a couple hours’-worth of cooking, but it’s completely worth the time. The scratch-made broth is the star of the dish – amazingly savory + full of flavor, with a wonderful spicy bite from the dried chiles. The tender shredded chicken, the sweet charred corn + the tangy queso fresco work beautifully against the rich avocado, the bite of the tomatoes, + the crunch of tortilla strips. Plus, this 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 magazine


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
kosher salt + freshly ground black pepper
vegetable oil (for frying)
5 corn tortillas, cut in 1/2′-thick strips
2 ears of husked corn, or 2 cups frozen, thawed corn kernels
For serving: chopped fresh cilantro, halved cherry tomatoes, avocado wedges, queso fresco or mild feta

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


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

Transfer chicken to a plate. Strain broth into another large pot. Return chiles to broth, if a spicier broth is desired; discard remaining solids. Shred chicken meat; discard skin and bones. Transfer chicken meat to a medium bowl and set aside.

Meanwhile, set pot with strained broth over medium heat and add cilantro sprigs. Bring broth to a simmer; cook until reduced to 8 cups, about 1 hour. Discard sprigs and chiles, if using. Stir in 3 Tbsp. lime juice. Season with salt, pepper, and more lime juice, if desired. Add chicken to broth. DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 days ahead. Chill until cold, then cover and 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 and golden brown, 2–3 minutes per batch. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain. Season with salt.

Cook corn over a gas flame or under a broiler, turning occasionally, until charred in spots. Let stand until cool enough to handle. Cut kernels from cobs in strips. Discard cobs. (Alternatively, cook kernels in a large skillet over high heat until charred in spots.)

Rewarm broth with chicken. Divide soup among bowls. Top generously with corn, tortilla strips, cilantro, tomatoes, avocado, and crumbled queso fresco.

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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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