How to Make Homemade Chicken Tortilla Soup

Homemade Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe

Last Friday I met my friend for drinks after work…and didn’t get back to my apartment until SIX A.M. I watched the sun rise over the Brooklyn bridge as the cab driver whisked me to my place (no traffic!)– that is after turning back to where I had come from because I left my phone there…”Oh wait! It was in my pocket all along!” Back to Brooklyn.

I made it home (phone in tow), stumbling out of the car as the cabby said, “Have a good DAY.”

And then I slept. For, like, the entire weekend. And discovered that those two-day hangovers that the old people talk about actually do exist.

So when THIS weekend rolled around, I succumbed to the truth: My body is creeping towards 30 faster than I want it to be, and I need to treat it that way sometimes. No clubs, no bars, no twerking. I spent a night in with bf and the pup on Friday, attended a board game get-together with friends on Saturday (although it was Balderdash so things did get a little cray cray) and finished it with an afternoon cooking spicy Chicken Tortilla Soup on Sunday.

Perhaps it was the juxtaposition to last weekend or the fact that I’m no longer 19, but this weekend was the best I’ve had in a long, long time. Maybe it’s due to both or maybe neither. But I do owe a big part of it to the soup.

Cut Tortillas for Chicken Tortilla Soup

Baked Tortilla Chips

Frying Tortillas for Chicken Tortilla Soup

Early Stages of Chicken Tortilla Soup

Sautee Vegetables in Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken Stock Added to Soup

Pulled Chicken

How to Make Chicken Tortilla Soup

How to Make Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken Tortilla Soup


  • 12 corn tortillas
  • vegetable oil cooking spray
  • salt
  • 4 tablespoons corn oil
  • 1  1/2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • palmful fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
  • black pepper
  • 1 quart chicken stock
  • 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 2 limes
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped
  • queso fresco


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Slice 6 tortillas into 1-inch strips, arrange them on a baking sheet and spray with cooking spray. Bake until lightly golden & crisp, then season with salt and set aside for serving.

Heat the corn oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Chop the remaining 6 tortillas into 1 to 1 1/2-inch squares, and stir into the pot for about a minute. Add the chili powder, cumin, garlic, bay leaves, onions and cilantro. Sprinkle in salt and pepper, and stir to toast the spices. Be sure to stir almost constantly because spices will want to stick to the bottom of the pan. Cook until the onions are translucent or up to 15 minutes.

Pour in the chicken stock, tomatoes and chiles and bring to a boil. (Be sure to scrape the bottom of the pan with your spoon to release the bits of toasted spices.) Add the chicken, reduce the heat a little and simmer to cook through, about 15 minutes. Remove the chicken, slice the breasts, then return them to the soup. Remove the bay leaves before serving.

When serving, dice the avocados and cut the limes into wedges. Ladle the soup into bowls and top with baked tortilla strips, avocados, a squeeze of fresh lime juice, jalapeños and queso fresco. Serve immediately.