This rich and easy chicken tortilla soup tastes like it’s been slow simmering all day, but instead it’s made in less than 30 minutes in the Instant Pot!
This ultra easy Chicken Tortilla Soup recipe is a winner when it comes to weeknight dinners! Recipes like my Copycat Zuppa Toscana and Creamy Broccoli Cheddar Soup are great for when you want an ultra-comforting family meal that’s ready fast. We love cooking soups and stews during the Winter, and this is one of my Soup Recipes you’ll definitely want in your recipe rotation!
CHICKEN TORTILLA SOUP
Spring may be just around the corner, but I’m in denial and not giving up my winter comfort foods.
I may be in the minority here, but I love Fall and Winter. Bring on the cold… bundling up in layers and warm blankets!
There’s no more iconic cold-weather food than soup. And this creamy chicken tortilla soup is soul-warming, from the inside, out!
Mildly spicy, with hearty vegetables and tender chicken, all enveloped in a spiced tomato-y broth that’s kissed with a touch of cream. Prepare to fall in LOVE!
HOW TO MAKE CHICKEN TORTILLA SOUP
- Cook the onion, poblano and garlic on “saute”. This helps soften the onion and pepper, as well as bringing additional flavor.
- Add spices and stir. Adding the spices at this point, instead of later, helps them “bloom” and deepens their flavor.
- Add in cans (tomatoes, beans and corn). Stir well to combine everything.
- Add chicken breasts and pressure cook for 12 minutes.
- Quick release. I do a quick-release because I’m impatient – but if you’d prefer to, you can let the pressure naturally release for 5-7 minutes, then release any remaining pressure.
- Stir in cream and lime juice. Adding the cream after pressure cooking, keeps it from curdling, and adding the lime juice at this point keeps the flavor bright and fresh.
COOKING TIPS FOR THIS SOUP
- OTHER TYPES OF CHICKEN – this chicken tortilla soup can be made using boneless skinless chicken thighs as well.
- PRE-COOKED CHICKEN – if you have some shredded rotisserie chicken on hand, this soup is a great use for it! Just reduce the pressure cook time down to about 5 minutes.
VARIATIONS OF THIS RECIPE
As with most soups, you can switch quite a few things up to create new and exciting recipes!
- PROTEIN – this soup is great with chicken thighs, as well as breasts. If you have some shredded, cooked chicken or turkey, you can use that in this recipe to make it even quicker (just cut the pressure cook time down to about 5 minutes).
- DAIRY – another great option to give this soup some creaminess is to add 2-4 oz of softened cream cheese in place of the cream. To keep it from curdling, add it at the end of the recipe (where it says to add the cream). Furthermore, you can add the softened cream cheese to a bowl, then whisk in about 1/3 cup of the hot liquid, then stir that mixture into the soup. This is called tempering, and it’ll really keep the cream cheese from curdling, plus it will mix into the soup really well.
- NON-DAIRY – not feeling the “creamy” part of this soup? You can omit it completely and have a classic chicken tortilla soup recipe.
- SPICY – as written, this soup is about a “mild plus one” on the hot-meter. If you like it a bit hotter, feel free to add additional poblanos, swap them for jalapeno or serrano peppers, add in a can of diced green chiles, and add in some cayenne to the spice mixture.
- MORE MILD – prefer things milder? You can use just half of the poblano, omit it and use a can of mild diced green chiles, or use a green bell pepper.
- COOKING METHOD – no pressure cooker? No sweat! Down in the recipe notes section of the recipe card, I’ve detailed how to make this soup in a slow cooker or on the stovetop!
MAKING THIS RECIPE AHEAD OF TIME
This soup is great for making ahead of time, and if it’s even possible… I think it tastes even better the next day!
Make the soup as directed, then cool completely. Transfer to containers and refrigerate for 1-2 days.
Reheat, adding additional broth if you think you need it.
I don’t recommend freezing the leftovers of this soup, as the dairy can have a tendency to not freeze particularly well.
However, if you plan to make this soup with the intention of freezing it, don’t add the heavy cream. Let cool completely, then transfer to containers and freeze for up to 3 months.
Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, and when reheating, add the cream as you reheat the soup.
Leftovers should be refrigerated and consumed within 5-7 days.
SPECIAL EQUIPMENT FOR THIS RECIPE
- Instant Pot – I recently upgraded to this model and I love it!
- Slow Cooker – I’ve had this slow cooker for years and it still works perfectly.
- Dutch Oven – LeCreuset is my favorite brand, but they’re really pricey, so this Lodge version is a great alternative!
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- 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 medium yellow onion diced
- 1 poblano pepper diced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 3 tsp chili powder
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp better than bouillon chicken base (optional)
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp oregano
- 15 oz can fire-roasted diced tomatoes UNdrained
- 15 oz can black beans drained and rinsed
- 15 oz can corn kernels drained
- 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 4 cups chicken broth (reduced sodium)
- 2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
- Juice of 1/2 lime
- minced fresh cilantro
- tortilla strips
- lime slices
- sour cream
- Press the saute button on Instant pot. Add vegetable oil and heat until hot. Add the onion and poblano and cook 4-5 minutes, until soft. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Add chili powder, cumin, chicken base (if using), salt, pepper, paprika, and oregano and stir.
- Add can of undrained tomatoes and stir using a wooden spoon to scrape the bottom of the pot to ensure no browned bits are stuck on there.
- Add in can of drained black beans and can of drained corn, then pour in chicken broth.
- Place chicken breasts into the liquid, then cancel the saute function, and secure Instant Pot lid, making sure the valve is set to "sealing". Press the Pressure Cook or Manual button and use the +/- buttons to set the timer for 12 minutes.
- Once the timer beeps, let out the pressure by carefully moving the valve to “venting" to perform a quick release.
- When the pin drops, remove lid and set aside. Remove chicken breasts to a mixing bowl or cutting board and shred.
- Press the saute button once again, and add heavy cream and lime juice. Stir and heat for just a minute or two, until cream is warmed through.
- Press Cancel and unplug the Instant Pot. Serve soup hot, topped with desired toppings.
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slow cooker directions
Cook onion and poblano in vegetable oil for 4-5 minutes until soft. Add garlic and cook 30 seconds. Add to the bottom of a slow cooker.
Add remaining ingredients (except heavy cream, lime juice, and toppings) to the slow cooker, cover and cook on LOW for 6-8 hours, or HIGH for 3-4 hours.
Shred chicken and return to the slow cooker. Add cream and lime juice and cook another 5-10 minutes to heat through.
- Serve hot with desired toppings.
- To a large and deep pot add vegetable oil and heat over medium-high heat. Add onion and poblano and cook for 4-5 minutes, until soft. Add garlic and cook 30 seconds.
- Stir in spices, then add all remaining ingredients (except heavy cream, lime juice and toppings). Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15-18 minutes, until chicken is cooked through.
- Remove chicken and shred. Add back to the pot, along with the heavy cream and lime juice.
- Stir and simmer another few minutes to heat through.
- Serve hot with desired toppings.
The Chunky Chef is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.