Instant Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup

SoupInstant PotTexMexChicken

This Instant Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup is loaded with shredded chicken, tomatoes, corn, and beans. It's ready so fast in the pressure cooker! Don’t forget to garnish this weeknight soup with avocado, lime, and, of course, tortillas.

Photography Credit: Coco Morante

Chicken tortilla soup is studded with tender shredded chicken, diced onions, garlic, and chiles, topped with a pile of crispy tortilla strips. The tomato-y broth is lighter than chili, yet hearty enough to enjoy as a meal on its own. This version is amped up with corn and beans, too.

This soup is so hearty, it’s filling enough to enjoy as a standalone meal.

EASY TORTILLA SOUP IN THE INSTANT POT

This soup is easy to make any time of day and have ready by dinnertime. Sauté onions and garlic, and then everything else goes into the pot, including raw chicken – no searing required! When you’re ready to eat, the boneless chicken tenders or thighs are easy to shred up and stir back in just before serving.

While the soup is cooking under pressure, you can get your toppings ready – slice up avocado, chop cilantro, and get your tortilla strips nice and crispy. Traditionally, they’re fried, but I find it easier (and less greasy) to bake them in the oven, toaster oven, or air fryer.

A white bowl with Instant Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup inside. A red broth with fried tortila strips, shredded chicken, chopped cilantro, shredded cheese and slices of avocado are visible in the bowl. A slice of lime is next to the avocado on the edge of the bowl. A partial view of a second bowl with the same soup inside is in the upper right corner. A white container has fried tortilla strips inside in the top left. A linen with a grey pattern is in partial view to the left of the bowl. A stem of cilantro is to the right of the bowl.

TIME-SAVING TIPS FOR CHICKEN TORTILLA SOUP

When you’re making chicken tortilla soup, you can choose to go the convenient route on a couple of key steps:

  1. Make your own tortilla strips as shown in this recipe
  2. Or use store-bought tortilla chips or tostadas instead

Some recipes call for chopping up all fresh vegetables, but I find that this is a great opportunity to save a little time and open cans of peppers and tomatoes instead. (They’re always in season that way, after all!)

Oh, and fire-roasted crushed tomatoes will give you the most flavor—if you can’t find those, add 1/4 teaspoon of smoked paprika to give your soup a little more depth, or else use a can of diced, fire-roasted tomatoes, pureed in the blender along with their liquid.

WHAT TO SERVE WITH TORTILLA SOUP

You don’t really need to serve anything with chicken tortilla soup—it makes a great meal on its own! If you want to make it a real Mexican feast, serve the soup with sides of refried beans and rice, or with wedges of cheese quesadillas for dipping.

A white bowl of pressure cooker tortilla soup with a spoon and grey patterned linen napkin to the left. The top right corner has a partial view of a second bowl of the same soup.

HOW TO STORE LEFTOVER CHICKEN TORTILLA SOUP

If you have leftovers, you’ll want to store the soup separately from the tortilla strips so that they don’t get soggy. I put my tortilla strips in a zip-top bag and leave them on the counter, ready to use the next time I want to heat up a bowl of soup.

The soup can be stored in the fridge for up to three days, or in the freezer for up to three months. If I’m freezing the soup, I like to ladle it into silicone molds to freeze in single-serving blocks, then pop them out and store them in bags. They thaw much faster than a big, frozen block of soup, and can be reheated easily in the microwave or on the stovetop.

MORE GREAT SOUP RECIPES

Instant Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 (4-ounce) can fire-roasted diced green chilies
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 1/2 cups corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can fire-roasted crushed tomatoes
  • 1 pound chicken tenders or thighs, boneless and skinless

For the corn tortilla strips:

  • 6 street taco-sized corn tortillas
  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil or olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

To garnish:

  • 3/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack or Mexican blend cheese
  • 1 large avocado, sliced
  • 1/2 cup fresh chopped cilantro
  • 1 lime, cut into 6 wedges

Special equipment:

Method

1 Sauté the onions and garlic: Select the “Sauté” setting on your pressure cooker and heat the olive oil. Add the garlic, onion, and salt and sauté for about 3 minutes until the onion begins to soften.

An instant pot is sitting on a kitchen counter and the lid is off. The screen says "On". Chopped onions are being sauteed in the bottom of an instant pot along with green chilies. A wooden spoon is resting against the pot.

2 Add the remaining soup ingredients: Add the chicken broth, using a wooden spoon or spatula to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Stir in the green chilies, black beans, corn, tomatoes, and chicken.

Inside of an instant pot with a green broth for the best instant pot chicken tortilla soup. A wooden spoon is also inside the pot. An open instant pot with pressure cooker tortilla soup inside. A golden broth with corn kernals is visible and a wooden stirring spoon is resting on the left side.

3 Cook the soup: Cancel the “Sauté” program to reset your pressure cooker. Place the lid on the pressure cooker. Make sure the pressure regulator is set to the “Sealing” position. Select the “Pressure Cook” or “Manual” setting and set the cooking time for 10 minutes at high pressure. (The pot will take about 15 minutes to come up to pressure before the cooking program begins.)

An instant sitting on a kitchen island. The pot is on and 10 minutes are displayed on the screen.

4 While the soup cooks, make the tortilla strips: Preheat a toaster oven, air fryer, or oven to 350°F. Pour the oil into a bowl large enough to toss the tortilla strips. Cut the tortillas into 1/4-inch strips, then toss them in the bowl with the oil.

Bake or air fry the tortillas until they are golden and slightly browned around the edges, about 7-9 minutes. Right when you take the strips out of the toaster oven or air fryer, sprinkle them with the salt. Set aside to cool.

Yellow corn tortillas are stacked and sliced vertically into small strips. Strips of yellow corn tortillas or in a metal bowl and coated with oil to make easy instant pot chicken tortilla soup.

5 Release and serve or keep warm: When the cooking program ends on the Instant Pot, let the pressure release naturally for at least 15 minutes. The pot will default to its “Keep Warm” setting. You can serve the soup right away or leave it for up to 10 hours.

Close up view of the instant pot venting knob for easy instant pot chicken tortilla soup.

6 Shred the chicken: Once the pressure has released, open the pot. Use tongs to transfer the cooked chicken to a cutting board. Use a pair of forks to shred the chicken, then add it back to the soup and stir to combine. Taste for seasoning, adding more salt if you like.

Horizontal photo of the inside of an open instant pot with the best instant pot chicken tortilla soup inside. A side view of a shallow bowl with shredded chicken, corn kernals and black beans for easy instant pot chicken tortilla soup.

7 Serve the soup: Ladle the soup into bowls. Top each bowl with shredded cheese, sliced avocado, and cilantro. Serve with wedges of lime and tortillas alongside.

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Coco Morante

Author of The Essential Instant Pot Cookbook and The Ultimate Instant Pot Cookbook. A self-taught cook and classically-trained soprano, Coco Morante writes and sings in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she lives with her husband and their beagle. For more recipes, visit her blog, Lefty Spoon.

More from Coco

5 Comments / Reviews

No ImageInstant Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup

Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Cheryl

    Yum! I love chicken tortilla soup! There’s something so healing about chicken broth and green chilies. It knocks out any cold. This Instant Pot recipe makes it so quick and easy. I doubled the recipe to freeze some for lunches later. The only thing I’d change next time would be to double the green chilies.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  2. Steve

    Got a substitute for tomatoes ?

    Show Replies (1)
  3. S

    My families new favourite. I did it the slow method of cooking, smoked paprika worked out great.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  4. Judy

    We had this for dinner last night and really enjoyed it! It was very simple and quick to make. We made the tortilla strips out of corn tortillas as suggested. They are better and easier to eat when they are small.

    xxxxxyyyyy

A white bowl of pressure cooker tortilla soup with a spoon and grey patterned linen napkin to the left. The top right corner has a partial view of a second bowl of the same soup.Instant Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup