Adding creamed corn and a healthy dollop of sour cream elevates a typical tortilla soup to a creamy chicken tortilla soup. Predictable with Hatch chiles and all of your favorite Southwestern spices, this is a recipe perfect for cool weather and busy weeknights.
We love making soups here On The Ranch, and especially those with a South of Border flair. Some of our favorites are, Mexican Rotisserie Chicken Soup, Cheddar Cheese Soup with Chicken and Poblano Peppers, and Instant Pot Mexican Chicken Soup.
If you’re chile pepper crazed like us, don’t miss my post on Hatch Green Chile Recipes.
And, a classic favorite, this Creamy Chicken Tortilla Soup recipe. There are about as many recipe versions of Mexican Tortilla Soup as there are for pizza.
But common denominator ingredients are chicken, and a good ratio mix of spices. And making sure you are purchasing quality spices. This insures you’re serving a show stopping bowl of soup … one that’s easier than you think.
And being in full swing of soup season, it only makes sense to put this classic and very popular classic tortilla soup recipe into your meal rotation plans. After all, it’s time to celebrate the season.
Table of contents
Why You’ll Love this Easy Tortilla Soup
My secret to a great Mexican tortilla soup is to give it a creamy spin. And I accomplish that with the use a can of creamed corn. Undrained. But the real creamy factor comes once the soup has been served.
- Adding creamed corn and a heaping dollop of sour cream once it’s in the bowl, makes this a luscious treat.
- It’s an easy recipe, worthy of a weeknight fix. Its on the table in about 45 minutes.
- The flavor is intoxicating.
- And, it’s easy to customize to your liking.
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Creamed Corn: 1 small can
- Chicken Broth: 2 small cans, around 30 ounces
- Canned Chopped Tomatoes: Fire roasted tomatoes are always a good choice.
- Rotel Tomatoes: 1 can. The can marked “original” is what I buy. It packs some heat, so start with 1/4 can then add more to the level of your heat tolerance.
- Sweet Onion: Chopped
- Roasted Green Chile Peppers: Preferably Hatch Chiles.
- Sour Cream
- Neutral Oil: Such as canola.
- Garlic: Chopped
- Spices: Ground cumin, chile powder, chili seasoning and Mexican Oregano
- Chicken: 1 1/4 pounds
- Toppings: Avocado, purchased or homemade tortilla strips, crushed tortilla chips, sliced jalapeno peppers, cilantro, limes for squeezing.
Ingredient Subs and Swaps
- You’ll find Chimayo Chile Powder listed in this recipe, which can be difficult to find. But please don’t let that stop you from making this tortilla soup. You can simply substitute Ancho Chile Powder, which is a milder version of red chile powder and if you’re after the heat of Chimayo, try a pinch of cayenne. Chipotle Chile powder will give it a smoky flavor.
- I also include regular Chili Powder in this recipe. Chili powder with an “i” is a blend of spices and a mixture we commonly use to season Beef Chili Soup.
- Please look for Mexican Oregano next time you’re in the store. And keep a supply on hand whenever you cooking up any Mexican themed recipe. Mexican oregano is different than traditional “regular” oregano as it has a grassy and citrus note, rather than the sweater and anise flavors of Mediterranean oregano. Its flavor profile is suited for Mexican food. Taste them side by side sometime. If you don’t have Mexican oregano, substitute Marjoram rather than Mediterranean oregano. Marjoram follows suite with the citrus flavor notes.
- Use Chicken breasts, chicken thighs or both. And even meat from a Rotisserie chicken works great to makes this an even quicker fix.
- Sour Cream: Ever try Mexican crema? You’ll find it in the Mexican produce section, its lighter in texture and carries a tangier flavor.
Step by Step Instructions, It’s Easy.
- Step 1: Heat a Dutch oven or your favorite soup pot over medium high heat. Once the pot is hot, add the oil. Once the oil is shimmering add the chopped onions. Cook the onions, stirring often until they start to soften. About 3 minutes. Add the pieces of chicken. Don’t stir for 2 minutes, allowing the chicken to obtain a sear on one side. Stir the chicken and let cook 3 more minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant. About 1 minute.
Step 2: Turn down heat a bit, pour in chicken broth and add spices. Let this simmer for about 5 minutes to blend flavors.
- Step 3: Add canned tomatoes, part of the can of Rotel tomatoes, creamed corn and chopped chile peppers. Give it a good stir and simmer, uncovered for 15 minutes. It’s ready to serve.
Riffs For Mexican Chicken Tortilla Soup
This recipe lends itself to improvisation, here are some ideas.
- Add a can of black beans. rinsed and drained.
- A sprinkle of sliced black olives would be a nice addition.
- A little grated cheese never hurt anything, try cheddar or muenster. Muenster is a great creamy white melting cheese. A sprinkle of Cotija cheese is good here as is Monterey Jack Cheese.
The Chile Peppers
We’re lucky out here in the West, we have easy access to roasted Hatch Chile Peppers. I always have a supply of them in the freezer. If you can’t find them, or other varieties of roasted chile peppers in the freezer section of your grocery store, check the Mexican Food aisle for canned roasted chiles.
To add an additional layer of chicken flavor, use bone-in, skin-on breasts or thighs or both. The bones and skin are full of flavor. Just sautee the onions, add the garlic until fragrant, then add the chicken broth and spices. Place the chicken into the pan and cook for about 20 minutes or until cooked through. Remove the chicken and once cool enough to handle, remove the skin and shred the chicken from the bones. Return the chicken pieces to the soup and let simmer for a few minutes to reheat.
FAQ’s, Creamy Chicken Tortilla Soup
Refrigerator: For any leftovers, simply place in an air tight container (minus toppings) and store in the refrigerator. It should stay fresh for 4 – 5 days.
Freezer: Place any leftovers in an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in refrigerator overnight and reheat stovetop in a saucepan.
This is a brothy Mexican Chicken Tortilla soup. If you’d like it a little thicker, add a tablespoon of masa harina. Masa harina is a traditional Mexican flour used to make tortillas. Just whisk in a tablespoon until blended.
If you love soups as much as we do, check out my Soup Category. You’ll find lots of delicious cozy comfort food recipes, including the most popular on my site of Hatch Green Chili. And if you’re looking for more Hatch Green Chile recipes, don’t miss my Green Chile Recipe Page.
Creamy Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe
- 3 Tablespoons Neutral oil Such as canola
- 1 1/4 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1 large sweet onion chopped
- 4 cloves garlic diced
- 30 ounces chicken stock homemade or canned broth. Use either two cans of chicken stock, or a 32 ounce box container.
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon Mexican Oregano or marjoram
- 1/2 teaspoon Chimayo Chile powder A single belnd red chile powder
- 1 teaspoon chili seasoning A blend of spices used to season chili soup
- 15 ounce can chopped tomatoes undrained
- 1/2 can Rotel tomatoes undrained. Use only a portion of the can, or enough to satisfy your heat tolerance.If I use the whole can, it simply makes the soup too spicy for us.
- 14.74 ounce can creamed style corn undrained
- 4 Hatch chile roasted, peeled and chopped
- Corn chips sour cream, chopped cilantro, diced avocado for topping
- salt/pepper to taste
- Heat a Dutch oven over medium high heat. Once the pan is hot, add the oil. Once the oil is shimmering, add chopped onions and cook until starting to turn tender, about 5 minutes.
- Add the pieces of chicken. Don't crowd the meat and don't stir for 2 minutes, allowing the chicken to obtain a sear on one side. Stir the chicken and let cook 3 more minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant. About 1 minute.
- Turn down heat a bit, pour in chicken broth and add spices. Let this simmer for about 5 minutes to blend flavors. Add kosher salt to taste.
- Add canned tomatoes, Rotel tomatoes, creamed corn and chopped chile peppers. Give it a good stir and simmer, uncovered for 15 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings if need, it's ready to serve.
- Ladle soup into soup bowls, top with hand crushed corn chips or multi-colored tortilla strips. Stir in a dollop of sour cream, top with diced avocado and sprinkle with cilantro. A squeeze of lime will bring a pleasant bright flavor.
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Creamy Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe … It’s What’s For Dinner
This recipe was first published June of 2010 and republished December, 2021 with new photos and step by step instructions.
What a wonderful tortilla soup. Love the idea of the creamed corn to make it a little creamier, along with the necessary sour cream, of course. 🙂 A perfect soup for this chilly weather. Hope you and your family have a wonderful holiday season!