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Enjoy the classic restaurant flavors you love with this One Pan Easy Chicken Tortilla Soup! Loaded with fresh ingredients, easy to make, delicious, and tastes just like traditional chicken noodle soup with a twist!
Why We Love This Recipe
Living in Texas most of my life and some variation of tortilla soup is pretty much a staple on any Mexican restaurant menu. I have a friend that orders it every time she goes out for Mexican food-she just loves it so much! It doesn’t matter how hot it is outside, tortilla soup can enjoyed year round.
What I like about this Easy Chicken Tortilla Soup recipe is that it is not only easy (like it says!) but that it is also a healthy recipe that is also filled with vegetables, something I feel we can always have more of! Cleanup is also easy as it made in just one pot!
Traditional chicken tortilla soup recipes call for you to slice corn tortillas into strips and then fry, but I take the easy route and just use purchased tortilla chips. We like to top our soup with crumbled chips, kind of like you would with saltine style oyster crackers to top a variety of other soups.
Preparation for this recipe only takes a few minutes and then it’s hands off cooking as the soup simmers on the stove. We like to serve ours topped with fresh avocado slices and sprigs of cilantro.
It’s an easy weeknight lunch or dinner and even great for company. Comfort food with a spicy kick, tortilla soup is a staple in our menu rotation!
Different Types of Tortilla Soup
Just like chicken noodle soup, there seem to be a lot of variations of tortilla soup. I even have this recipe for Chicken Black Bean Rice Tortilla Soup that I’ve been making for over 20 years!
While some may come with beans, without chicken, with veggies, creamy versions and more, the common base seems to be chicken broth. I consider myself more of a Tex-Mex recipe maker, I won’t claim how authentic this particular recipe is in Mexico. But I imagine there are many regional variations found there, too.
Ingredient Tips to Make This Soup
All of the ingredients for this chicken tortilla soup can easily be found at the grocery store but I have a few tips about them to share with you here.
Fresh Salsa – My sister has a great homemade salsa recipe that would be great in this recipe. But since I don’t usually have that on hand, I purchase mine instead. I usually find it in the produce section of the store near other prepared produce (like containers of chopped vegetables to use as shortcuts in recipes).
Make sure you choose salsa and not it’s chunkier cousin, pico de gallo. Pico de gallo would actually still work in this recipe but it will be a different consistency. I like mild salsa but if you want a spicier version, go for it! If you can’t find fresh salsa, use salsa in a jar usually in the condiments aisle of the store.
Chicken, thinly sliced– I’ll admit, I don’t normally cook chicken IN the broth of most soups. Rather, I usually add it already cooked to the broth. But this way totally works AND saves time! I sliced my boneless chicken breasts into strips that were about the size of a pencil in diameter. They don’t need to be uniform in size, just bite size pieces.
Zucchini, Carrots & Avocado – In my area, these ingredients can be found year round. Avocados seem to be a staple here in Texas. But if you can’t find them, they’re optional so leaving them out is ok.
Zucchini can be seasonal so if you’re not growing some of your own, look for it in the store when it is in season.
Shredded Cheddar Jack Cheese – We like the blend of cheddar and monterey jack cheese so that’s what this recipe calls for. But feel free to substitute cheddar or just Monterey jack cheese if you prefer.
Cilantro – Look for it near the parsley in the produce section. In my part of Texas, it is plentiful year round. Be sure you are choosing cilantro and not flat leaf parsley as they can look similar but taste different!
Some people don’t like cilantro, so it is easy to omit it as it is just used as a garnish.
How to Make This Recipe
Have I mentioned how easy this soup recipe is? After just a little bit of slicing, the rest of the assembly is so quick! Basically, just dump, stir and cook!
Start by adding the chicken broth, fresh salsa and sliced chicken to a large pan (1). This will cook for about 15 minutes.
Then add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine (2). Simmer for another 30 minutes and that’s it!
Serve it with sliced avocados and cilantro sprigs then top with shredded cheese and tortilla chips and enjoy!
Make Ahead Preparation Tips
This chicken tortilla soup recipe is so simple but there are still a few things you can do to prep the ingredients up to a day in advance. Slice the chicken, zucchini and carrots and store in an airtight container (affiliate link) in the refrigerator, either separately or in the same container.
Can this Soup Be Frozen?
This soup freezes well! Just leave out the “garnishes” which includes the avocado, shredded cheese and tortilla chips. To reheat, thaw in the refrigerator overnight then heat on the stove until heated through or in the microwave for a few minutes until heated.
More Soup Ideas
If you love soup as much as we do, be sure to check out these simple recipes:
Easy Chicken Tortilla Soup
- 16 ounces fresh salsa
- 64 ounces chicken broth
- 1 ½ pound boneless skinless chicken breast thinly sliced
- 2 cups zucchini cut into ½-inch rounds
- 2 carrots peeled and thin sliced
- 1 cup cheddar jack cheese shredded
- 1 large avocado peeled and cut into 16 thin slices
- 4 tablespoons cilantro leaves
- In large saucepan, add salsa, chicken broth, and chicken breast.
- Bring mixture to a boil then reduce heat to medium low and cook for 20 minutes.
- Add sliced zucchini and carrots and continue to cook on medium low for an additional 15 minutes.
To Serve Soup
- Ladle soup into bowls and top with shredded cheese, two avocado slices and a few cilantro leaves.
This post was originally posted in December 2012 and was updated in March 2021 with new photos, content and video.
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