a super flavorful & super easy chicken tortilla soup recipe. this tortilla soup is made extra flavorful thanks to juicy chicken thighs, tender sweet potatoes, & your favorite light beer. made in 35 minutes or less on the stovetop, this tortilla soup is the perfect comforting weeknight dinner for any chilly night this fall or winter!
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- Kosher salt & ground black pepper
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 1 medium sweet potato, diced into ½ inch cubes
- 2 jalapenos, deseeded & diced (see Recipe Notes)
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 12-ounce light beer (see Recipe Notes)
- 1 14-ounce can crushed, fire-roasted tomatoes
- 32 ounces low-sodium chicken stock
- 1 head garlic, halved crosswise & excess paper discarded (see Recipe Notes)
- 2 14-ounce cans black beans, drained & rinsed
- 1 lime, juiced
- for serving, as desired: tortilla strips, diced avocado, shredded cheese, sour cream or Greek yogurt, lime wedges, cilantro – whatever you love!
- Brown the chicken: Add the olive oil to a large Dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat. Use paper towel to pat the chicken thighs as dry as possible, then season generously with 1 teaspoon each Kosher salt & ground black pepper. Add the chicken to the Dutch oven. Cook on both sides for 2-3 minutes, until browned – the chicken will not be fully cooked at this point, and that is fine! Transfer to a plate. Set aside.
- Cook the aromatics: Add the yellow onion, sweet potato, and jalapenos to the same Dutch oven or pot over medium heat. Season with ½ teaspoon each Kosher salt and ground black pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the veggies soften slightly, about 5 minutes. Add the chili powder, paprika, & cumin. Stir to combine, then cook for 1-2 minutes to toast the spices.
- Assemble the chicken tortilla soup: Deglaze the pot with the beer, using a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits at the bottom of the pot. Increase the heat to medium-high. Let the beer bubble and reduce slightly, then add the tomatoes, chicken stock, garlic and reserved browned chicken to the pot. Stir to combine. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes.
- Shred the chicken: Remove the chicken from the soup. Use a pair of tongs or two forks to shred the chicken into bite-sized pieces.
- Finish the chicken tortilla soup: Add the shredded chicken back into the soup, along with the black beans and lime juice. Stir to combine. Let the soup simmer for 5 more minutes, until heated through.
- Serve the chicken tortilla soup in bowls, topped with your favorite tortilla soup toppings! Tortilla strips, diced avocado, shredded cheese, sour cream, extra lime juice, chopped cilantro – whatever you love. Enjoy!
- Dutch oven: I like making this chicken tortilla soup, and all the soups & chilis I make, in a nice Dutch oven. The heaviness of the pot retains heat well & evenly. This is the Dutch oven pictured in this post. I love it. I also own this Dutch oven, which is a little more budget-friendly & works great!
- Spiciness: I’m fairly tolerant to spiciness, & I LOVE a good tortilla soup with a kick of heat. I find 2 jalapenos, 1 seeded & 1 left whole, to add the perfect amount of spice to this chicken tortilla soup. If you LOVE heat, leave the seeds in both jalapenos. If you don’t love heat, seed both jalapenos. To make a mild chicken tortilla soup, just swap out the jalapeno with a bell pepper.
- Beer adds so much depth of flavor to this chicken tortilla soup, without making it taste like beer. I like to use whatever light beer we have on hand in our fridge (usually our trusty PBR). If you want more pronounced beer flavor, use a richer/darker beer (like IPA). If you want to skip the beer, replace it with an equal amount of chicken stock/broth.
- Garlic: A whole head?! Heck yes! It’s my favorite hack to adding TONS of flavor to store-bought stock with hardly any effort. Halve the head of garlic crosswise, exposing the cloves. Use your fingers to rub off & remove any excess paper, then just toss it on into the pot! Remove the garlic when you serve the soup – or squeeze those cloves right into the soup for an occasional bite of garlicky heaven.
- Slow cooker instructions: While I absolutely love being able to build flavor for this easy chicken tortilla soup by cooking it on the stovetop, I get it – sometimes a slow cooker is a gal’s weeknight bff. To slow cook: Add listed ingredients, chicken thighs through garlic, to a slow cooker. Season with 1 ½ teaspoons each Kosher salt and ground black pepper. Stir to combine. Slow cook on low for 6-8 hours, or on high for 3-4 hours. Finish the soup according to Steps 4-6 of Recipe Directions.
- Instant pot instructions: I don’t think you’ll save too much time making this chicken tortilla soup recipe in the Instant Pot, so I don’t necessarily recommend using an Instant Pot to make this recipe. If your heart is set on giving it a try, I’d use the pot’s sauté feature to brown & cook according to Steps 1-2 of Recipe Directions, then assemble the soup according to Step 3 & cook on manual high pressure for 7-8 minutes. Quick release the pressure in the pot, then finish the soup according to Steps 4-6 of Recipe Directions.
- Category: soup
- Method: stovetop
- Cuisine: Mexican
Keywords: chicken tortilla soup, tortilla soup