This slow cooker chicken tortilla soup is an easy, hearty weeknight meal packed with flavor and topped with crispy homemade tortilla strips!
Chicken tortilla soup was the soup that changed my mind about all soups.
Just a few short years ago, I wasn’t into them. I just didn’t like them. But then, I met chicken tortilla soup. At first, I was skeptical because it was soup, but I’ve never met Mexican food, other than flan, I didn’t like. And I didn’t end up just like this soup. I LOVED it. And it became my gateway soup to so many others, including Kielbasa soup, slow cooker creamy chicken and wild rice soup, healthy hamburger soup, and more. I still don’t love blended soups, but at least soup is a category I enjoy now.
And what’s not to love about this delicious chicken tortilla soup with chicken, tomatoes, beans, green chiles, onions, and garlic in a flavor enchilada broth base. Then, you top it with crispy tortilla strips for crunch along with your favorite taco toppings like sour cream, avocado, cheese, green onion, and cilantro. So, just like your favorite taco night, each person can customize it to their liking.
And like any good weeknight slow cooker meal, this one is a set it and forget it type of meal. You just dump everything and let it cook!
While it’s cooking, you can whip up a batch of homemade tortilla strips.
I have two ways I make my homemade tortilla strips. For large batches, I make them in the oven. For smaller batches, I use my air fryer.
Since this slow cooker tortilla soup makes a decent amount of soup, I included directions on making them in the oven. But click the link above if you want to see how to make them in the air fryer. The oven takes about 20 minutes but produces around eight corn tortillas worth, and the air fryer takes a max of 8 minutes but produces 2-4 tortillas worth. Either way, tortilla strips are a MUST for tortilla soup!
Other musts for topping this soup include cilantro, green onion, sour cream (I used Forager Project for dairy-free), diced avocado, and shredded cheese!
Also, keep in mind that if you are short on time, forget to start the slow cooker in the morning, or only have frozen chicken breast, you can make this soup in the instant pot!
How to Store & Freeze Chicken Tortilla Soup
Store soup separately from toppings in an air-tight container. Soup can be refrigerated for up to five days, reheat on the stove or in the microwave.
To freeze this soup: once it cools you can freeze this soup in individual containers to have any time! Again, freeze it without any of the toppings. You could freeze it flat in a gallon freezer bag or in a glass container. Make sure to only fill your container 60-70% full as liquid expands when freezing. You can freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost under refrigeration for 24 hours and consume within 1-2 days after reheating to 165F. You can also reheat from frozen if you froze your soup in a microwave-safe container, make sure it reaches an internal temperature of 165F when reheating.
Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup
- 2 lbs chicken breast
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 16 ounces red enchilada sauce
- 28 ounces canned fire-roasted diced tomato
- 4 ounces canned fire-roasted green chiles
- 2 cans pinto beans rinsed
- 1 white onion chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 jalapeno chopped, de-seeded, deveined
- 2 avocados, chopped optional topping
- 1 cup cilantro, chopped optional topping
- 1 cup sour cream optional topping, omit for dairy-free
- 1 cup Mexican cheese optional topping, omit for dairy-free
- 3 green onion sliced for garnish
- Place chicken breast in the slow cooker. Add onions, garlic, jalapeno, chicken broth, enchilada sauce, fire-roasted diced tomatoes, green chiles, and beans. Give it a quick stir and place the lid on the slow cooker.2 lbs chicken breast, 4 cups chicken broth, 16 ounces red enchilada sauce, 28 ounces canned fire-roasted diced tomato, 4 ounces canned fire-roasted green chiles, 2 cans pinto beans, 1 white onion, 2 cloves garlic, 1 jalapeno
- Cook on high for 4-6 hours or low 6-8 hours. The soup is done cooking when chicken breast easily shreds apart with two forks. Shred all the chicken and then serve!
- Serve garnished with green onions, cilantro, tortaill strips, sour cream, avocado, and cheese etc.2 avocados, chopped, 1 cup cilantro, chopped, 1 cup sour cream, 1 cup Mexican cheese, 3 green onion
Baked Tortilla Strips
- Preheat oven to 400F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spray the paper with cooking spray.
- Cut the corn tortillas into 1/4 inch strips, spread out evenly over the baking sheet, then spray with cooking spray and sprinkle with sea salt. I used avocado oil spray.8 corn tortillas, cooking spray, sea salt
- Bake for 10 minutes, shake to mix them up, and bake an additional 5 minutes. Check on the tortilla strips often. Depending on the climate, oven, etc., they may cook faster or slower, and you don't want to burn them! Bake until your desired crispy level is achieved! If you go over 15 minutes total cook time, I would check on them every minute and keep a close eye, so they don't burn.
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