Healthy Chicken Tortilla Soup
Learn how to make the BEST healthy chicken tortilla soup ever! This tortilla soup recipe is not only packed with nutritious ingredients, but it’s also super easy to make and so flavorful. Everyone, can enjoy this one – it’s gluten-free, paleo and as clean as they come! My vegan friends, can use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth and replace the chicken with beans. An easy one pot dinner that the whole family will love!
This cozy recipe for chicken tortilla soup is one of my favorites to make for a warm, healthy lunch or dinner. It comes together super quick with the use of rotisserie chicken and my whole family enjoys it. It seriously tastes like it’s been simmering on the stove all day, but only takes about 45 minutes to make.
I also love that it’s packed with protein (over 15 grams per serving) and it’s filled with nutrient-rich ingredients that you can feel good about serving to your family. Once you try this wholesome chicken tortilla soup, you’ll find yourself making it on repeat. It’s so simple, yet it comes together with plenty of bold flavors and textures. Your family is sure to love this one!
This soup is hearty enough to serve as a complete meal, but I often serve it with a side of my Mexican Cornbread for an extra special dinner. It’s seriously the BEST cornbread you’ll ever taste and a must try!
ingredients needed for healthy chicken tortilla soup
One of the best things about this version of chicken tortilla soup is that it’s completely versatile. I’ve listed my favorite ingredients below, but feel free to substitute or completely leave out any ingredient to suite your family’s taste preference.
- Vegetables. We’re using onion, celery, garlic, tomatoes, and carrots to make this chicken tortilla soup tasty and super satisfying.
- Chicken broth. I recommend using a low-sodium chicken broth because then you can control the amount of salt in the soup.
- Cooked chicken. Use rotisserie chicken, leftovers, chicken from the deli counter, whatever works best for you. The chicken can be diced or shredded. Personally, I love the convenience and flavor of shredded rotisserie chicken.
- Spices. To give this soup lots of flavor in a short amount of time we use plenty of bold spices. You can certainly experiment with your favorite seasonings, but my favorites for tortilla soup are garlic powder, chili powder, cumin, oregano and a bit of cayenne pepper.
- Toppings. As much as I love this healthy chicken tortilla soup as-is, it’s even better with lots of toppings. We love to add a bit of freshly squeezed lime juice, sliced avocado, fresh cilantro and you can’t forget the crispy tortilla strips!
how to make healthy chicken tortilla soup
This tortilla soup recipe is as easy as 1, 2, 3! It takes just about 30 minutes to cook, but most of that time is hands off while the soup simmers away! Here’s a quick rundown for how to make chicken tortilla soup:
- Sauté vegetables. Begin this recipe by sautéing onion, celery and garlic. Once those veggies get nice and soft, add in the tomatoes.
- Blend veggie mixture. Once your onion/celery/tomato mixture has cooked for about 5 minutes, add it to a blender (or food processor or use an immersion blender) and blend the veggies until smooth.
- Simmer soup. Transfer blended vegetable mixture with chicken broth, chicken, carrots, and seasonings back in the large pot; bring to a boil and then lower heat to simmer for about 20-30 minutes and until carrots are soft. That’s it! Super simple!
- Taste and add toppings. Taste and adjust spices, as desired. Serve warm with a squeeze of lime juice, a sprinkling of fresh cilantro, crispy tortilla strips and any other favorite toppings.
tips for making the best chicken tortilla soup
This healthy chicken tortilla soup recipe really is so simple, but here are some tips to make sure your tortilla soup is absolutely perfect!
- This recipe is very versatile. Feel free to add the amount of spices and other ingredients that you prefer. Try adding in black beans and/or corn for even more staying power!
- Adjusting the spiciness. This bowl of soup has the perfect amount of heat, as well as a healthy serving of vegetables, all in a warm, comforting broth. The combination of chili powder, cumin and cayenne pepper give the chicken tortilla soup a slightly spicy kick. If you’re sensitive to spice, simply leave out the cayenne pepper.
- Fresh ingredients. Using fresh ingredients makes such a difference. I love using fresh garden tomatoes when they’re in season, but canned diced tomatoes will work fine, if you’re in a pinch. If using canned tomatoes, I recommend fire-roasted tomatoes because they have way more flavor than regular canned tomatoes.
- Thicker tortilla soup. I love the consistency of this soup, but if you prefer a thicker soup, you can mix 3 tablespoons of soup broth with 2 tablespoons of flour, then add the paste to the soup while it’s simmering.
- Creamy tortilla soup. If you’re craving creamy tortilla soup, you can add some sour cream or cream cheese to the broth which will thicken it, as well as make the soup creamy. You also may want to check out a reader favorite recipe – Creamy Chicken Tortilla Soup!
best toppings for chicken tortilla soup
I typically like to keep this soup on the lighter side, so I usually don’t add cheese or sour cream, but feel free to add any favorite toppings you like. You really can’t go wrong! Just don’t forget the tortilla strips! Some favorite topping ideas:
- Shredded cheese. Add a sprinkle of some shredded Mexican cheese on top. The cheese gets all melty and delicious! Yes, please!
- Sour cream or Greek yogurt. A dollop of sour cream or Greek yogurt gives this soup a wonderful creaminess!
- Avocado or guacamole. A must for me when I eat Mexican-flavored dishes. By the way, my guacamole recipe is bomb!
- Tortilla chips or strips. One of my favorite toppings to add is crushed tortilla chips or strips. Adds the perfect crunch!
- Cilantro. I’m a huge fan of cilantro and add extra to almost all Mexican recipes that I make. So flavorful and yummy!
- Green or red onions. About a tablespoon of green or red onions would make a great option for an extra boost of flavor.
- Lime juice. A squeeze of a lime is the perfect finish to this soup recipe!
tortilla strips for chicken tortilla soup
You can find pre-made tortilla strips at most grocery stores. They will most likely be located near salad dressings, with the salad toppings. They have different flavor varieties and I usually keep a bag on hand to go with any soup I’m eating. However, if you’re looking for a super authentic version, then making your own tortilla strips is the way to go.
To make homemade tortilla strips, simply cut 4 or 5 store-bought corn tortillas into thin strips and fry them in some oil. Once they get crispy, place them on a paper towel to drain off any excess oil and season with salt. That’s it!
watch how to make healthy chicken tortilla soup!
storage & freezing recommendations
Meal prep is a breeze with this soup recipe and it will keep well in the refrigerator for up to 4 or 5 days. Tortilla soup even freezes well. For freezing, once completely cooled place it in freezer-safe containers or resealable gallon-sized freezer bags. It can be frozen for up to 3 months. To thaw, transfer the soup to the fridge and store overnight. When ready to serve, reheat it on medium heat on the stovetop. Serve with your favorite toppings.
Not only does this soup make my house smell amazing, but it’s hearty, flavorful, and so, so comforting – just what I love about chicken tortilla soup!
more cozy soup and chili recipes to try
If you try this healthy chicken tortilla soup recipe, let me know! Leave a comment and if your family loves this recipe as much as mine does, be sure to give it a five star ⭐️ rating! Also, tag @kimscravings on Instagram with a picture of your creation. It’s so fun to see what you’re cooking! Be sure to subscribe to our mailing list to receive more healthy delicious recipes straight to your inbox.
Learn how to make the BEST healthy chicken tortilla soup ever! This tortilla soup recipe is not only packed with nutritious ingredients, but it's also super easy to make and so flavorful. Everyone, can enjoy this one - it's gluten-free, paleo and as clean as they come! My vegan friends, can use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth and replace the chicken with beans. An easy one pot dinner that the whole family will love!
- 2 teaspoons olive oil or a generous amount of cooking spray
- 1 cup onion, chopped (about 1 small)
- 2 cups celery, sliced (about 4 medium stalks)
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 4 medium tomatoes, chopped (or 2 cans diced tomatoes)
- 2 cups water
- 4 cups low-sodium organic chicken broth
- 3 cups chopped and/or shredded rotisserie chicken, skinless
- 2 cups thinly sliced carrots (about 3 medium)
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, add less or omit, if you don't want a spicy soup
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt + more to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper + more to taste
- optional garnish: chopped avocado, chopped fresh cilantro, crumbled Cotija cheese, Greek yogurt, crumbled tortilla chips
Heat oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add chopped onion and celery; cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes and until veggies are soft. Add garlic; cook, stirring frequently, for about 1 minute. Add tomatoes; cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes and until tomatoes are soft. Set aside.
Add onion/tomato mixture with 2 cups water (only if not using canned tomatoes) to high-speed blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
Transfer blended mixture back to saucepan and add broth, chicken, carrots and seasonings. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 to 30 minutes, or until carrots are tender.
Top each serving with preferred toppings; such as lime juice, avocado, cilantro, cheese, Greek yogurt and/or tortilla chips
*If using canned diced tomatoes and juices, omit the additional 2 cups water.
**For a vegan version replace chicken broth with low-sodium organic vegetable broth, omit chicken and consider adding 2 cans black, red kidney or pinto beans.
***Recipe adapted from Autumn Calabrese's FIXATE cookbook.
Photos by Sasha at Eat Love Eats.
This recipe was originally published August 2015. It was republished with new photos and content February 2021.