January 17, 2022

Spicy Chicken Tortilla Soup

Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins
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Spicy Chicken Tortilla Soup is a hearty recipe full of shredded chicken, corn, beans, and spices then topped with crunchy tortilla strips. This spicy soup is super simple to make by simply adding everything to a pot and letting it simmer. In 30 minutes you'll have a delicious meal for the entire family!

If you're looking for more one-pot meals, then check out Cheesy Bacon Cauliflower Soup and Creamy Heirloom Tomato Soup with Garlic Croutons.

spicy chicken tortilla soup with lime on a cutting board

Now that winter season is in full effect, we could all use a warm bowl of something comforting and delicious. This Spicy Chicken Tortilla Soup is a must-try during the colder months. Make a pot of this and you'll have enough to enjoy tonight as well as yummy leftovers.

The rich tomato base and chicken broth complement the shredded chicken and corn. I like for my soup to have a little kick so I upped the heat on this recipe by adding chipotle peppers in adobe sauce and extra cayenne. And who doesn't love that added crunch from freshly fried tortilla strips?

Of note, if you want to lessen the spice, you can reduce or omit the amount of cayenne pepper.

two bowls of soup with fried tortilla chips

Is tortilla soup a Mexican dish?

Tortilla soup is a traditional Mexican soup. It contains fried corn tortilla in a broth of tomato, garlic, onion, chile de árbol (Spanish for tree chili), and epazote (an herb).

Although there are many variations from the traditional soup recipe, all tortilla soups have a mix of chicken broth, tomatoes, and those crispy tortilla strips! (my favorite part)

fried tortilla strips in a bowl

spicy chicken tortilla soup ingredients

Chicken Thighs: I used thighs over breasts because it's a juicier, more succulent meat.

Garlic and Onions: Freshly sliced and diced!

Seasonings: Paprika, Chili Powder, Cumin, Cayenne Pepper, and Ground Coriander.

Chicken Stock: Use your favorite brand because this is the base of your flavor.

Fire Roasted Tomatoes and Tomato Paste: I highly recommend "fire-roasted" for a burst of smoky flavor.

Sweet Corn: This balances out the spiciness.

Black Beans: For added protein and texture.

Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce: Smoked and dried jalapeños rehydrated in a slightly sweet red sauce.

Heavy Cream: If you want a thicker, creamier soup, this is a must! It also smooths out the spiciness of the soup to give it that cozy feel!

Tortilla Strips: Store-bought is fine but homemade is even better and super easy! Simply slice tortillas into thin strips and fry them. Add salt and chili powder to taste.

spicy chicken tortilla soup

tips to prepare spicy chicken tortilla soup

  • Save time and use rotisserie chicken or leftover chicken. Just roughly chop up the chicken and stir it in at the end!
  • Concerned about your salt intake? Use a low-sodium chicken broth or make your own.
  • If your soup needs to be thickened add cornstarch, masa, or different types of flour.
  • Ensure the tortilla strips are still perfectly crunchy when it is time to serve the soup. You can quickly fry them while the soup is simmering!
  • Garnish each individual bowl instead of the pot to avoid toppings being mixed into the soup.
  • If you're worried about this soup being too spicy, simply reduce the amount of cayenne (or omit entirely) and add an additional tablespoon of heavy cream.
chicken tortilla soup in a bowl with sliced limes, sour cream, cilantro, and green onions on top

toppings for spicy chicken tortilla soup

Now we're getting to the fun part. Get creative with toppings for this Spicy Chicken Tortilla Soup! In addition to tortilla strips, here are some ideas:

  • Sour Cream
  • Cheddar
  • Green Onions
  • Cilantro
  • Sliced Jalapeños
  • Limes
spicy chicken tortilla soup in a bowl

how to store leftovers

Leftover tortilla soup can be refrigerated for up to 4 days in an airtight container. You can freeze your leftovers too! Just allow the soup to cool before placing it in a Ziploc freezer-safe bag. It will last for up to 6 months!

When it's time to reheat, you can let it sit at room temperature until defrosted and then warm in a pot.

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soup in a bowl on top of a cutting board

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Let's stay connected on social media and continue to cook together! Also, if you decide to make this recipe, please leave a star rating on the recipe card and leave a comment below! Tag @BritneyBreaksBread on Instagram and hashtag #britneybreaksbread so I can see your creations! I hope that you love this recipe as much as we do!

spicy chicken tortilla soup with lime on a cutting board

spicy Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe

Spicy Chicken Tortilla Soup is a hearty broth filled with shredded chicken, corn, beans, and spices then topped with crunchy tortilla strips.
Serving: 8 servings
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins
Calories: 376kcal

Ingredients

  • 6  Boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 Onions, sliced
  • 3 Garlic cloves, diced
  • 1 tbsp Smoked paprika 
  • 1 tbsp Chili powder
  • 2 tsp Cumin
  • 1 tsp Cayenne pepper 
  • 1 tsp Ground Coriander 
  • 6 oz Can tomato paste
  • 15 oz Canned sweet corn
  • two 15 oz Cans of black beans, drained
  • two 14.5 oz Cans of fire-roasted tomatoes 
  • one 7 oz Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce 
  • 4 cups Chicken stock
  • 3 Limes, juiced
  • 2 tbsps Heavy cream 
  • Cilantro, for garnish 
  • Tortilla strips, for garnish
  • Sour cream, for garnish
  • Cheddar cheese, for garnish
  • Green onions, for garnish 

Directions

  • Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper. Drizzle olive oil in a large pot over medium heat and sear chicken on both sides (only cook until slightly browned). 
  • Remove chicken and set aside (do not eat, the chicken should still be raw on the inside). Add onions and cook until softened. Add garlic, smoked paprika, chili powder, cumin, cayenne* pepper, ground coriander, and tomato paste. Cook until the mixture becomes thick, about 3 minutes.
  • Add sweet corn, black beans, fire-roasted tomatoes, chipotle peppers in adobo sauce and mix together. Then add chicken stock and put chicken thighs back into the pot. Simmer on low for 15 minutes. Remove chicken and shred chicken with a fork and add back into the pot. Add lime juice and heavy cream and stir together.
  • Garnish with tortilla strips** of your choice, sour cream, cheddar cheese, cilantro, green onions, and limes!

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Notes

  • *Alter the amount of cayenne pepper as per your liking i.e. more if you like a spicier soup, less or omit completely if you are sensitive to spicy foods.
  • ** If you would like to make your own tortilla strips, simply slice tortillas into thin strips and fry them. Add salt and chili powder for added taste.
  • Nutrition

    Calories: 376kcal
    Course: Dinner, Lunch
    Cuisine: Mexican, Mexican Inspired

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    Recipe Rating




    1. 5 stars
      This recipe was incredible! So flavorful and just enough spice to make it enjoyable but not too hot. I will definitely be making this again!

    2. 5 stars
      I'm always a bit scared when it comes to making tortilla soup but your recipe made things so simple. The soup came out delicious and I served it with all of the extra additions too.

    3. 5 stars
      This dish was a hit with the family! The seasonings brought in so much flavor and the sweet aroma is still lingering in the kitchen. My husband raved about the tenderness of the chicken and of course, the crunchy tortilla strips. Will be making this again.

    4. 5 stars
      I made my own tortilla strips thanks to your note. Never thought to do it before but you were right, it made such a difference in the soup. Delicious recipe thank you!

    5. 5 stars
      Wow! I can’t even say enough about how delicious this soup was! It was super hearty and filling, with the almost amazing flavors! My kids ate the whole pot in one sitting- so I’ll definitely be making it again soon!

    6. 5 stars
      Made this over the weekend because it's freezing and we needed soup. SO GOOD! I was surprised at how easy it was to make and the seasoning and heat level is just perfect. Don't skip the tortilla strips! The crunch just really takes it to the next level. Will definitely be making this again.

    7. 5 stars
      Just what I have been looking for in a soup! I found this chicken tortilla soup amazing! All the flavors complimented each other so well, this is going to be on rotation in my family.