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.
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:
- Make your own tortilla strips as shown in this recipe
- 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.
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
- Chicken Tortilla Soup
- Turkey Tortilla Soup
- Instant Pot Chicken Soup
- Healthy Creamy Chicken Soup
- Easy Mexican Chicken and Rice Soup
- Chicken Udon Soup with Bok Choy
Instant Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup
- 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
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.