This creamy chicken tortilla soup is a flavorful everyone loves because of its combination of savory, spicy flavors and creamy texture. Simmer the chicken broth with diced vegetables, spices, and shredded chicken, then finished with cream. This is a rich, creamy, and flavorful soup packed with protein and nutrients.
Soup season is one of my favorite seasons. I love to cozy up on the couch with a bowl of tasty soup like creamy sausage and gnocchi soup or make Instant Pot chicken noodle soup to cure a cold.
Warm soups warm your soul, it's a fact. And that's exactly what this creamy chicken tortilla soup recipe is going to do too. A little spice, a little cream, little veggies, and a whole lot of flavor.
We're obsessed with our slow cooker chicken tortilla soup, and because we love it so much, we wanted to make a creamy version on the stovetop (done in under 30 minutes!).
Whether you're looking for a hearty meal on a cold winter day or a light and refreshing soup for a summer lunch, chicken tortilla soup is one the whole family will love. Even our toddler looks forward to this meal. I have no doubt this delicious soup will become a family favorite like this one pot taco pasta!
Our secret to the most delicious broth is to sear the chicken first and use the brown bits to season the rest of the soup, just like in our Gluten-Free Chicken and Dumplings. It's so good!
Reasons to Love Creamy Chicken Tortilla Soup
- It's a versatile dish. It can be served as a main course or as a side dish, and it can be garnished with a variety of toppings including crumbled tortilla chips, shredded cheese, diced avocado, and a dollop of sour cream.
- Full of flavor because of the bold spices.
- Uses up leftover chicken and vegetables. I love to simmer chicken thighs in the soup until they're tender and falling apart, but if you already have leftover chicken in the fridge that makes this recipe even easier.
- Quick weeknight meal. It takes 30 minutes from start to finish!
- Perfect for meal prep. Soups are often better the next day! Make a big batch and warm it up throughout the week.
Key Ingredients & Why You Need Them
Here are the simple, affordable ingredients to make creamy chicken tortilla soup. Skip down to the recipe card for the full ingredient list and exact measurements.
- Chicken: Chicken thighs give this recipe more chicken flavor. I love slowly simmering them in the broth to add so much flavor to the chicken and vice versa. You can use leftover shredded chicken or rotisserie chicken to keep it simple.
- Vegetables: Diced onions, garlic, and bell peppers add flavor and nutrients to the soup.
- Spices: Open up the spice cabinet because this soup recipe features a bold mix of spices including cumin, chili powder, smoked paprika, garlic, oregano and salt. These spices give the soup its signature flavor.
- Broth: Use chicken broth or stock as the base for the soup to give it flavor and moisture.
- Cream: We're using heavy cream to give it a rich, creamy texture. Coconut cream is a great dairy-free option, or you can stir in a block of cream cheese for a really rich and thick soup.
- Tomatoes: A can of fire-roasted diced tomatoes gives the soup for flavor and texture.
- Corn and beans: corn kernels add a bit of crunch and structure to the soup while the beans provide thickness and fiber. We used black beans, but pinto beans are another great option.
- Cilantro and lime juice: Add fresh cilantro and lime juice to the end to brighten it up and balance it out with acid.
- Toppings: the toppings are what make this recipe extra fun! Crispy corn tortillas, shredded cheddar cheese, diced avocado, and sour cream are some of our favorites.
How to Make Creamy Chicken Tortilla Soup
This is an overview with step-by-step photos, to make this easy recipe. Full printable instructions are in the recipe card below. You can also view the video tutorial below to watch instead of reading.
Heat a little bit of olive oil in a large pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Once it’s hot and simmering, add the yellow onion and bell pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3-4 minutes, until soft and fragrant.
Add the black beans, fire-roasted tomatoes, corn, green chiles, spices, and chicken stock, and stir well.
Place the raw chicken thighs into the soup, making sure they're completely submerged in the cooking liquid. Turn the heat up to high and bring the soup to a boil, then turn the heat down to medium-low and simmer for 20 minutes, until the chicken is cooked and starts to fall apart. It should reach an internal temperature of 165°F.
Carefully remove the cooked chicken from the soup and a cutting board or plate and use two forks to shred it. Place the chicken back in the soup with the cilantro and lime juice and stir well. Finish by stirring in the heavy cream (or coconut cream) until it’s combined and the soup becomes lighter and creamy. If you want it even thicker and more creamy, add 4 ounces of cream cheese or dairy-free cream cheese.
Serve the soup hot with your favorite toppings like crunchy tortilla chips, avocado, sour cream, more cilantro, and a squeeze of lime juice.
What to Serve with Creamy Chicken Tortilla Soup
There are many tasty side dishes that pair well with creamy tortilla soup. Some options might include:
- Salad: A simple green salad with our chipotle honey vinaigrette would be a refreshing and light side.
- Guacamole: A bowl of easy healthy guacamole is a tasty and healthy option that pairs well with the spicy flavors of tortilla soup.
- Rice: A simple side of white or brown rice is a filling and flavorful option that pairs well with the rich, creamy flavors of tortilla soup.
- Cornbread: A warm slice of cornbread, or cornbread muffin, is a delicious and satisfying option that pairs well with the spicy flavors of tortilla soup.
- Another Mexican favorite: serve this as a side along with carne asada tacos, Mexican street corn pasta salad or ground turkey enchiladas.
- Chips and salsa: A bowl of tortilla chips and a jar of salsa is a simple and tasty option that pairs well with creamy tortilla soup.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you want a really rich and creamy soup, start it with a roux, like in our creamy sausage and gnocchi soup. You can also mix water with cornstarch or tapioca flour, then pour it in at the end to thicken it slightly. Another option includes using a block of cream cheese rather than heavy cream or adding extra beans and veggies.
This recipe is perfect for throwing in the slow cooker! Saute the onion and veggies then transfer it to the crock pot with the rest of the ingredients, except for the cream, cilantro, and lime juice. Cook on low for 4-6 hours, shred the chicken, then add it back in with the cream, cilantro, and lime juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste and enjoy!
This soup will work if you only have a packet of taco seasoning on hand. I think the mix of your own spices gives this recipe a more bold and more authentic flavor, however, taco seasoning works too. You may need to add a bit more broth because taco seasoning usually includes some sort of thickening agent.
Storage & Freezer Instructions
Allow the soup to cool completely. Transfer the soup to an airtight container and place it in the fridge. The soup will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days.
Freeze the soup for longer storage: If you won't be able to eat the soup within 3-4 days, you can freeze it for longer storage. Transfer it to a freezer-safe container, leaving about 1 inch of headspace at the top to allow for expansion. Label and date the container, then place it in the freezer. The soup will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months.
When you're ready to eat the soup, thaw it in the fridge overnight. Reheat the soup on the stove or in the microwave until it is hot and bubbly.
If you make this recipe, I’d love for you to give it a star rating ★ below. You can also tag me on Instagram so I can see it!
More Creamy Soups
- Creamy sausage gnocchi soup
- Chicken and gnocchi soup
- Healthy chicken pot pie soup
- Whole30 zuppa toscana
- Creamy chicken florentine soup
Creamy Chicken Tortilla Soup
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion diced
- 1 green bell pepper diced
- 1 15-ounce can black beans drained and rinsed
- 1 can fire-roasted tomatoes with the juice
- 1 15-ounce can corn drained (or 2 cups of fresh corn)
- 1 4-ounce can green chiles
- 2 teaspoons EACH: smoked paprika and cumin
- 1 ½ teaspoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon EACH: garlic powder, oregano, and salt
- 6 cups chicken stock
- 2 lbs boneless chicken thighs can sub chicken breast*
- ¼ cup finely chopped cilantro
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (about ½ a lime)
- 1 ½ cups heavy cream or full-fat canned coconut cream
- 4 ounces cream cheese (dairy-free if needed) optional to make it more creamy
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- Toppings: crispy tortilla strips, sour cream, cilantro, lime juice, green onions
- Large Pot or Dutch Oven
- Heat the olive oil in a large stock pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Once it’s hot and simmering, add the yellow onion and bell pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2-3 minutes, until soft and fragrant.
- Add the black beans, fire roasted tomatoes, corn, green chiles, spices, and chicken stock. Stir well to combine then place the raw chicken thighs into the soup. Turn the heat up to high and bring to a boil, then turn the heat down to medium and simmer for 10-12 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked and starts to fall apart. It should reach an internal temperature of 165°F.
- Carefully remove the cooked chicken to a cutting board or plate and use two forks to shred it. Place the chicken back in the soup with the cilantro and lime juice and stir well.
- Finish by stirring in the heavy cream (or coconut cream) until it’s combined and the soup becomes lighter and creamy. Add 4 ounces of cream cheese or dairy free cream cheese for a thicker soup.
- Serve the soup hot with your favorite toppings.