Crock-pot Chicken Tortilla Soup

As promised, the recipe that launched a thousand requests: my chicken tortilla soup.

I could write up a fancy intro, or I can get this recipe into your hands as fast as humanly possible so that you can write up your grocery list and get dinner on the table.  Let’s go with option b; my friends are running out of patience and getting antsy in their pantsies over this one.

Crock-pot Chicken Tortilla Soup
Of course you can belt this one out on your stove top if you’re so inclined.  I; however, am a serial slow cooker-er [pretend that works] and crazy for my crock-pot!  If you don’t own one, I highly suggest at some point in your life, maybe when things start to get crazy with a capital “k,” you pick one up.

 

Ferris Bueller Quote: It is SO choice.
Paul bet me that this reference would be lost on 99.999% of you. Prove him wrong.  He’s such an elitist when it comes to movie quotes.
 
 
Long live melty cheese! // Crock-pot Chicken Tortilla Soup

Crock-pot Chicken Tortilla Soup

[yields one 5 quart slow cooker full of YUM!]
5.0 from 5 reviews
Crock-pot Chicken Tortilla Soup
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Mexican
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 6 cups of low-sodium vegetable broth [or chicken broth!]
  • 1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
  • ¼-1/2 cup tomatillo salsa verde
  • 3 TBSP tomato paste
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • 3 cups black beans [cooked or canned]
  • 1-2 cups pinto beans [cooked or canned]
  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 4 small corn tortillas, torn into small pieces
  • 2 small onions [approx 2 cups]
  • 2 jalapenos [seeds and veins removed]
  • 1 large bell pepper
  • juice of ½ a fresh lime
  • 2-4 TBSP fresh cilantro
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • salt, to taste [amount added will vary on sodium content of broth + tomatoes/beans]
  • shredded mexican cheese blend
  • crunchy tortilla chips

  • ...plus add your favorites from the list below:

  • tons-o-toppings:
  • greek yogurt or sour cream [I add lime zest to mine for extra oomph!]
  • tortilla strips
  • chopped red onion
  • chopped green onion
  • fresh cilantro
  • sliced jalapenos [for fire and flair]
  • fresh pico de gallo [recipe]
  • fresh guacamole [recipe]
  • sliced avocado

  • For a brothier soup, keep a bit of extra vegetable or chicken broth on hand to add towards the end. I like my soup hearty and skipped the "soupy" soup this time around!
Instructions
  1. Essentially you're going to toss everything in and walk away, but because I like to explain the methods to my madness I'll go into a bit more detail for ya:
  2. Turn your slow cooker to high and add broth, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomatillo salsa, beans and chicken breasts, whole.
  3. Next dice your bell pepper, jalapeno, and onion and tear your corn tortilla into small pieces before tossing them into the pot as well. The corn tortillas help the soup to thicken a bit and also act as noodles!
  4. Add your seasonings, fresh cilantro, and lime juice and cover.
  5. Within a few hours the chicken breasts should be juicy and perfectly cooked, if you happen to be around, feel free to scoop them out with tongs or a fork, place them on a cutting board, and chop each breast into six large pieces. Now it'll shred oh-so-easily! Use two forks to create pulled/shredded chicken and add it back to your slow cooker. If you aren't home yet you can complete this step once you return. No worries!
  6. The soup will simmer away on high for four-six hours [total time] and make your kitchen smell absolutely divine.
  7. Steal a taste towards the end and add any extra spices or add-ins that float your boat. I typically add a little extra chili and garlic powder and a little fiery cayenne depending on my mood. You may want to add salt or might find that there was enough in your beans/tomatoes/broth to start and leave it as is! Since I add crushed tortilla chips to my final product I only add a pinch of salt to the entire pot. The chips add it in at the end and create the perfect ratio for me! As noted above you can add more broth or keep the soup nice and chunky. I love mine super-hearty so I can attack it with the tortilla chips and a small mountain of grated cheese and scoop up the soup nacho-style. Hot soup, melty cheese, and crunchy tortilla chips... I'm swooning again just thinking about it. Clearly it's time to make another pot!

t-rex chefs did you just faint? I can’t believe I cooked chicken either!

brontosaurus chefs skip the poultry and load up on lots of extra beans and veggies; just remember to amp up the seasonings so you don’t sacrifice flavor!

Crock-pot Chicken Tortilla Soup

notes: Depending on the chaos-factor of your lifestyle, you can prep the chopped ingredients and measure everything out ahead of time and store it in the fridge until you’re ready to fire up the slow cooker, or simply whip the entire thing up on the fly.  I cook a huge batch of beans in the slow cooker early on in the week [like this] so I can make this soup [along with a few other favorite recipes] all week long.  It’s a lifesaver!  The great thing about slow cooker soups, especially tortilla soup, is how flexible it is.  I use it to empty out my crisper drawer on a regular basis and love how it can rescue veggies that are about to wind up a forgotten mess in the back of my fridge.  The recipe above is the all-time favorite combination of ingredients and the one my friends and family go ape over!

no crock pot? no problem!

Boil the chicken breasts in the broth, chop and shred once tender, and then return to the pot to add the remainder of your ingredients.  You’ll want to simmer it for a while to cook the onions and peppers to tender perfection or you can saute them on the side and then add them to your pot of yum.  If you have any stove-top conversion questions feel free to ask a question in the comment section below or shoot me an email! xoxo

Long live melty cheese! // Crock-pot Chicken Tortilla Soup

Top with your choice of toppings and dig in!  It tastes great right away and even better the following day!  You can keep the soup in an airtight container in your fridge for up to four days or stash it away in the freezer for a cold, rainy day.  Enjoy!

Crock-pot Chicken Tortilla Soup

so… how was it? I think a need a bigger crock-pot…. there never seems to be enough leftover to freeze because it’s always attacked and obliterated within two days of me making it.  I may have even had a bowl for breakfast the next morning.  Eggs are so last week.

Looking for a few more reasons to break your [or break down and buy a] slow cooker?

Vegetarian Loaded Baked Potato SoupCauliflower Soup with PestoCrockpot Potato Apple Brie Soup

Slow Cooker Crockpot Cranberry SauceCrockpot Vegetarian Madras LentilsSlow Cooker Black Bean Soup

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Comments

  1. Sprint2theTable says

    Ugh. Why don’t I have more space for a crockpot?! I need a bigger condo and a giant batch of this soup.

  2. Persistence Over Perfection says

    Mr PoP isn’t keen on the idea of soup (for a man, he is pretty fussy!), but even he likes the sound of this one! Can’t wait to make it :)

  3. says

    Hey Kat! I’m not 100% sure! Whenever I’ve tried to bake veggie burgers in the past I find them a wee bit dry for my taste so if I’ll pan fry them really lightly on each side in a skillet and then transfer to a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes or so to finish them off. Straight baking I’d guess maybe twenty minutes or a teeny bit longer? I can try to test them out next time I make a batch but with the baby glued to my side that might not be as quickly as I would like. So sorry I’m not more helpful with an answer!

  4. says

    Oooohhhh-eeeee! I’d like to brontosaurus a batch of this using some mushrooms for the meat. I love me a good soup filled with garnishes:)

  5. Kat says

    Not to worry, I was making Iots of veg burgers yesterday and wanted a faster way to cook them. The recipe made 8 huge patties (6in diameter and 1/2-3/4in thick) that I cooked at 350F for 20min on one side, flip, 15 more minutes. They were still very moist. I used 1 sweet potato, and a bunch of chickpeas and kidney beans in some sort of heaping guestimates amounts. Oh I also used 2 eggs, not sure if that would impact moistness.

    I made a cilantro and red onion salsa to scoop on top. Yum!!

  6. Jan @ Sprouts n Squats says

    Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, who doesn’t know that movie and that quote ;)

    I’m late to the party as I’ve taken some time off blog reading/writing but this recipe looks delicious! I’ve been thinking for ages about getting a slow cooker / crock pot and I really need to just take the plunge.

    Happy New Year by the way, I hope you had a nice holidays :D

  7. Meghan@CleanEatsFastFeets says

    I can see why your friends were dying for this recipe. That melty cheese shot; it’s pure food porn and yes you need a bigger crock pot. I always, unless I don’t have enough ingredients, make a double batch of all my soups now. Some for me, some for the freezer.
    P.S. Paul is wrong; Ferris Bueller is a classic.

  8. Tiff says

    I just made chicken tortilla soup last week (which was quite tasty), but I wish I’d made it in the slow cooker. Love that thang!

  9. Kate Norris says

    Having a crock pot is so not choice….it is a must! LOL I freaking <3 Ferris Bueller’s day off! Once in high school I skipped hoping it would be just like that…sadly I am not Ferris :( I have now shared the fun with my 14 year old…I told her skipping school wasn’t nearly that fun lol I suppose I shall see if she will believe me as time goes on hehehe

  10. CookingTherapy says

    This is cooking away in the crockpot as we speak and I’m so excited for dinner! One question – the ingredients include 2 Tbsp of olive oil, but I don’t see the olive oil mentioned in the directions anywhere. Am I totally missing it? I skipped the olive oil because I’ve never had to add it to a crock pot soup. Thanks for the recipe!

  11. says

    So excited that you’re making the soup! It’s one of my favorites and I literally cannot stop making it! The olive oil goes in along with the test of the ingredients and you could add it in at any point in the cooking process of you’d like! I found a little fat helps the veggies and legumes digest better so I’m accustomed to always adding a bit of olive oil to my veggie based soups! It should still taste marvelous without it so don’t stress it if you’d rather not add it! Essentially the cheese you top the soup with later will accomplish the same thing! ;) Hope dinner is a hit! Let me know how it turns out! Xoxo

  12. Katie says

    I just made these and ate them in lettuce cups, they’re GREAT. These patties are definitely receptive to many different dressings, so I’m looking forward to making it the protein in my salads this week. Highly recommend!

  13. Diana Longwell says

    Thanks for the baking info! Making these as we speak. Just flipped them and they are looking great!

  14. Shira says

    Hi! Not sure I’ve ever commented but love your site and recipes! I’d like to make this next week but I hate beans and they hate me back.. do you think subbing in some extra veggies like corn and mushrooms would fill the void? I also cannot get corn tortillas where I live, can I leave them out and crumble chips in to serve? I know I CAN do whatever lol just wondering if these changes will effect the soup as a whole too much?? Thanks girl!

  15. says

    I am whole heartedly in love with this recipe. I was able to find all the ingredients, at my local Publix, borrowed my friends extra large crock pot, and got cooking, or rather turned that crock pot on with some umph! I added some extra cilantro on mine, my parents went with some avocados, and extra CHEESE! My teenage brother devoured the soup without a single word, just a look of contentment placed across his face! Needless to say the soup was delicious; this recipe was a HIT! :D THANKS!

    • says

      I’m not a huge fan of flour tortillas in soup [it can get a little gritty sometimes] so I would skip it to avoid the grit! The tortilla chips on the top add a fun crunch and really great flavor so if you’re out of those, I would snag a bag for when you reheat the leftovers so you can taste it both ways! <3 You should be good to go! Hope that helps!

  16. Adam says

    Ok, I’m a work-from-home dad who is trying to get better acquainted with cooking to help out my lovely wife. As an uber-beginner, I have a stupid question that I hope I haven’t just overlooked somewhere in the recipe:

    Do you cook the chicken breasts prior to adding them in? I know you do a lot of pre-cooking your ingredients but I didn’t see any mention of how these were (or weren’t) prepared beforehand. I’ve cooked whole chickens in the crock pot before. Just didn’t know if that was the plan with this recipe. Thanks for all of the awesome resources for us newbies! :)

    • says

      That’s absolutely the plan here! The glory of this recipe is that the slow cooker cooks the chicken for you! =) It’s my favorite to make when I’m busier than life and need food for the family despite the chaos. At some point before serving you’ll want to fish out the chicken breast with a pair of tongs or a fork and shred the uber-tender meat before adding it back to the pot. Hope that helps, Adam! You’re a rockstar husband helping in the kitchen! I basically swoon every time my other half makes us dinner, it’s the best!

  17. Amber says

    I’m wondering if the # of servings is correct? 5quart crockpot for 6 servings seems like a massive serving per person. I was hoping to get 20 servings from my crockpot Tortilla soup….do you think thats possible?

    • says

      Hey Amber! You’re beyond right on the large serving size! My husband and I have ridiculous appetites so we usually consider a serving a fairly big bowl [vs a measured cup] and when I wrote this one up, that’s what my starving self deemed a serving at the time. Usually I measure out the total cups/quarts of the dish when I post it and I cannot believe I didn’t this time around. So sorry for the confusion! Every time I make it it’s dangerously close to the fill line on my slow cooker so it should yield a good 15-20 cups of soup if you’ve got a full pot. So in theory, if everyone is just having an 8 oz cup of soup you’ll be a-okay! Especially if it’s a side dish to other dishes or a potluck of sorts.

  18. Cammie says

    Thank you for this wonderful recipe. I made this chicken tortilla soup and it’s the best one my husband and I have tasted. So much flavor and easy to make. Yum.

  19. Denice L says

    I used all ingrediants except for the tomato paste because I didnt have any and this soup was amazing!!! It tastes excellent with some gluten free corn chils sprinkled on top for a crunchy element. The whole family loved it!! Thanks!!

  20. says

    Cammie – If you came back over to read this, so sorry about the comments going MIA! When I finalized my server switch it deleted every post and comment from yesterday. I don’t have your email so I’ll just write this here! <3 If you’re planning on cooking for low for a few hours crock-pot style on the stove then you can try cooking the chicken and the veggies in the broth/tomato sauce instead but I haven’t tested times or temps so I can’t really give you an exact measurement. From experience I know that the method I use in my Chicken Parm soup works fantastically for stove top and never has come out overcooked. http://peasandcrayons.com/2014/10/chicken-parmesan-soup.html <– you can use that method as a guide if you’d like. I seared the chicken first before cooking and really loved the result!! As another option, you can simply cook the chicken via your go-to technique til it’s super tender, shred it with a fork, then add it to the soup at the end. I think there are a pretty endless array of methods to convert the recipe to stove top so just work with what is best for you and I’m sure it will turn out perfect! Hope you guys looooove it!

    • Cammie Krist says

      THANKS – I will cook the chicken the way you did with the Chicken Parmesan soup! I will also try this recipe in the next couple of weeks, Looks tasty. My husband thanks you for the yummy recipes :)

      • says

        Thrilled to help! Sorry about my blog glitch-a-palooza these past 24 hours, enjoy the soup and hope you adore everything you make! I’m so glad you’ve been loving the recipes so far!

      • cammie kristy says

        The Chicken poached and added at the end once the soup was done worked great. Everyone loved the soup and it tasted just like it did when cooked in a crock pot. Again thanks so much. Cammie

  21. Pam says

    I am making this ‘again’ tomorrow. First time I made it my husband says ‘can’t you make a normal soup’ (he is a Mainer, I am a Texan). I put a thermos of it in his lunch the next day and I get a text message ‘OMG this is the best soup ever!!!’

  22. Amanda says

    I found this recipe almost a year ago now (maybe shortly after you first posted it?) and have made it regularly for a while now. I haven’t commented yet, but I was prepping it to put in my crock pot tomorrow and thought I’d make a rave :) This is one of the best tortilla soups have ever had. And I have had a lot of tortilla soup. It is so flavorful and so easy! I even omit the bell peppers and jalapenos since hubby isn’t a fan and it’s still absolutely amazing. I put in frozen chicken breasts in the morning and when I get home (sometimes almost 12 hours later), the breasts shred so easily in the crock pot and I let them simmer for a while longer just to get the breasts nice and moist all over. Add in some tortilla chips and it really hits the spot, even on a hot day. Thanks for the recipe – I will be sharing, for sure!

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