Chicken Tortilla Soup...chile today and hot tamale :-)

Chicken Tortilla Soup

It was kind of chilly and overcast here yesterday, so I was definitely feeling the fall soup vibe. And with Hatch chile season upon us, I'm always looking for dishes to sneak them into.

Although I live in Southern California now, I was born and raised mostly in Texas. Along with "southern-fried everything", Tex-Mex food is a staple where I'm from, so I'd like to share a Chicken Tortilla Soup recipe that I hope you'll enjoy. 

There are so many ways to make this soup, but I've found making the chicken in the slow cooker yields the most tender and juicy results.

cooking away in the slow cooker aka "crock pot"
Serves 4

4 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts (see Cook's note)
3 cups chicken stock
2 cups water
2 medium vine-ripened tomatoes, chopped in large chunks
1 medium to large red onion, diced
4-6 large cloves of garlic, minced
2-3 Tablespoons diced roasted hot Hatch chiles (or use one to two 4-ounce cans of diced mild green chiles)
3 limes, divided
3 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
2 cobs of fresh corn
1 avocado, cubed (wait till right before serving to cut avocado to avoid browning)
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
creme fraiche or sour cream for garnish
tortilla chips, crushed for garnish

Place chicken, chicken stock, water, tomatoes, onion, garlic, chiles, juice of 2 limes, cumin, paprika, salt, and pepper to slow cooker set to low.  Close lid and allow to cook for 6-8 hours until chicken is cooked through and no longer pink.

When fully cooked, take chicken from slow cooker and remove bone and skin from chicken breast meat. Cut breast meat into bite-size pieces and return to slow cooker.

Cut raw corn from cobs and add to slow cooker. No need to cook any longer, the corn will be juicy and crunchy and warmed from the soup. Mix and taste for seasoning. Add additional salt or pepper if desired.

Cut 1 lime into wedges. Spoon soup into bowls and top with avocado, fresh cilantro, dollop of cream, and tortilla chips. Serve with wedge of lime.

To easily cut corn from cob: stand corn on flat end in large shallow dish,
hold top end of corn with corn on the cob holder, cut from cob
fresh corn cut from the cob
I got this loaf of cheddar jalapeno bread at the bakery and
couldn't resist eating some with my soup...yum

Cook's note: You could use boneless, skinless chicken breasts but for this dish I really prefer the bone-in, skin-on breasts as it imparts so much more flavor.


  1. Agreed that the bone imparts so much flavor. Lovely soup. Some of my favorite flavor combos at work. Beautifully presented as well.

    I'd take this any day of the week.


  2. High praise - thank you Lazaro! I'm wishing I had some left over for today as it's another overcast day :-)

  3. Let's try again! Where in Texas did you grow up? I grew up in the Houston area, but live in San Antonio now. I love tortilla soup, just waiting for the weather to turn cool b/c I make lots of soup when that eventually happens!

  4. Hi Wendy - born in Central Texas (Army brat), lived most of my adult life in the North Dallas area until moving to Southern CA. Love the San Antonio area. I know what you mean about the cool weather - soup's on!

  5. This looks so fresh and good. I've been looking for a good chicken tortilla soup recipe. Thanks!

  6. Very Refreshing... Nice shots. What camera do you use Veronica?

  7. Thanks Carolyn! I know you have some dietary preferences/restrictions so wanted you to know you could leave the skin off the chicken if that helps. I've done it both ways. I just prefer the extra bit of fat/flavor it provides, but definitely not a necessity.

    Hi there Gordon - thank you - I use a Nikon D80 with natural light whenever possible.

  8. I should have known a Texan would know how to make Tortilla soup! I love tortilla soup, yours looks delicious! I am from San Antonio, and have been living in New Jersey way too long!

  9. Ha! Chef Dennis I knew there was something I liked about you ;-)

  10. "Southern fried-everything"...isn't that the truth! This tortilla soup looks super yummy and perfect for the cooler temps. that is if it ever gets cooler!

  11. Thanks Kristie! You know how that weather in Texas is...just wait an hour and it'll change!

  12. this soup looks delicious:) you have such a beautiful blog...thanks for sharing this recipe.

  13. Thank you so much blackbook! I just went to your site and saw your Thai pineapple rice, OMG, I'm so hungry now!