This quick and easy best ever chicken tortilla soup recipe is healthy, absolutely bursting with bold Mexican flavors, and 100 percent crave-able. This soup will become a must-make in your house!
These days, I want nothing but soup for every meal. Okay maybe not breakfast. (Okay maybe I’ve had reheated soup once or twice for breakfast.) Just looking at these photos of this chicken tortilla soup makes me want to make more soup. Not only is it delicious, but it’s also nutritious. There is not an unhealthy ingredient in the whole batch.
Although this requires a little (teeny) extra bit of time, it’s totally worth it. Putting grilled chicken and corn in the soup gives it a nice, smoky flavor and adds a bit of texture, making this dish one of the heartier soup recipes I have in my rotation.
Why This Recipe Works
So quick – If you’re a multitasker like myself, then you’ll love that you can be working on one component of this chicken tortilla soup recipe while cooking the other and vice-versa. If you’re not that into multi-tasking, you could very easily grill the chicken and corn the day before and add it to the soup until its warmed back up.
Great for meal planning – While you’re at it, why not go ahead and double (or even triple) the chicken and the rest of the ingredients and go ahead and eat it for several days or pack it for a healthy lunch or dinner on the go. Or make extra, allow it to cool to room temperature and freeze for up to six months. You’ll thank me later.
So easy – This Mexican chicken tortilla soup is quick to put together and also very easy for a novice cook. The hardest part is mixing together the spices for seasoning the chicken. After that you simply oil up the chicken, rub it down with the spice mixture, and grill it adding the corn to cook on the grill for the last 8 minutes that you’re grilling the chicken. You can take it all off the grill at the same time and set it aside to cool as you put the other ingredients in a stock pot. While all the yummy components in the pot are coming together, you can dice up the cooled chicken and cut the corn off the kernel. Before you know it, it’s all ready to be combined and gobbled up.
Healthy – Chicken is a very good protein source. It’s already low fat and low calorie and grilling it is a healthy way to cook it as you don’t need to add a lot of oils or fats to the chicken beforehand. Corn is a good source of vitamin C, magnesium, and potassium. Spices area a great way to add flavor without any additional calories or unhealthy fats. Olive oil is a heart-healthy fat, and onions and garlic are great for your heart and your immune system.
Here’s How You Make It
- Pound the chicken breasts to 1/2 inch thickness each. Then, stir together 1/2 teaspoon chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, and the brown sugar, drizzling 1 tablespoon of the oil over the chicken. Rub the oil onto both sides of the chicken, then season it with the spice mixture and salt and pepper to taste on both sides.
- Grill the chicken over medium-high heat for 5-8 minutes on each side or until it’s cooked through, then dice the chicken and set aside.
- While the chicken is cooking, rub the corn all over with oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Add the corn to the grill for about 8 minutes, turning often, until the kernels begin to char a bit. Then, cut the kernels off of the cob with a sharp knife.
- Now, in a large stock pot, combine the chicken broth, the diced tomatoes, green chiles, fire roasted tomatoes, black beans (or pinto beans), lime juice, diced onions, jalapenos, garlic, grilled corn, and the remaining spices.
- Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce it to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes longer. Stir in the chicken, cilantro, and salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve with desired toppings.
Ideas for Customizing This Recipe
- Want to pile on the toppings? Some of my favorite toppings to add to this healthy Mexican chicken tortilla soup include adding black beans, jalapeños, and tomatoes right to the broth. Or, you could also add white or garbanzo beans, poblanos or sweet bell peppers, onions, green onions, zucchini, or yellow squash. (Keep in mind if you add different peppers, you might want to eliminate the jalapeños, or you might not want to add two kinds of onions, etc.)
- Garnish with cilantro, green onions, diced jicama, baked tortilla chips, plain Greek yogurt (instead of sour cream), salsa, hot sauce, or black olives.
Is Grilled Chicken Healthy?
Yes! Chicken is a very good protein source. It’s already low fat and low calorie and grilling it is a healthy way to cook it as you don’t need to add a lot of oils or fats to the chicken beforehand. And, if you grill up chicken without the skin, it’s even more healthy. (For those of you keeping track at home, that’s healthy on healthy on healthy.) However, if you leave the skin on, don’t fret — most of the fat on the skin is of the unsaturated variety (aka good fat). If you want the best of both worlds, grill the chicken with skin on for flavor, then remove it when you’re actually ready to eat it.
While I like the soup itself to be simpler, allowing room for piling on the toppings for additional nutrition and textures, you could also just as easily add more ingredients right to the soup. While I like to add corn, beans, jalapenos, and tomatoes, you could also add white or garbanzo beans, poblanos or sweet bell peppers, onions, green onions, zucchini, or yellow squash. Keep in mind if you add different peppers, you might want to eliminate the jalapenos, or you might not want to add two kinds of onions, etc. But really, this is your soup, so make it to suit your tastes.
Just like you can add any veggies or other ingredients to the soup, you can also mix it up in terms of toppings. Consider saving the jalapenos for after the soup is cooked if someone in your family doesn’t like spicy. You can also garnish with cilantro, green onions, diced jicama, baked tortilla chips, plain Greek yogurt (instead of sour cream), salsa, hot sauce, or black olives.
- Control the heat by adjusting the number of jalapeños in this recipe.
- This healthy chicken tortilla soup will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
More Soup Recipes
- Easy Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana Soup
- Carrot and Coriander Soup
- Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup
- Loaded Baked Potato Soup
- Baja Chicken Soup
Mexican Chicken Tortilla Soup
- 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 2 teaspoons chili powder - divided
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder - divided
- 2 teaspoons cumin - divided
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- salt and pepper - to taste
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 ears of corn on the cob
- 8 cups chicken broth
- 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes and green chiles
- 2 15-ounce cans fire roasted tomateos
- 1 15-ounce can black beans or pinto beans - drained
- juice of 2 limes - about 2 tablespoons
- 1 medium onion - diced
- 1-2 jalapenos - seeded and diced
- 3 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 bunch cilantro - roughly chopped
- tortilla strips, sour cream, avocado - for topping
- Pound chicken to 1/2 inch thickness. Stir together 1/2 teaspoon chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, and brown sugar. Drizzle 1 tablespoon oil over chicken, rub onto both sides, then season with spice mixture and salt and pepper to taste on both sides. Grill chicken over medium-high heat for 5-8 minutes on each side until cooked through, then dice chicken and set aside.
- While chicken is cooking, rub corn all over with oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Grill for about 8 minutes, turning often, until kernels begin to char a bit. Use a sharp knife to cut kernels off of the cob.
- In a large stock pot combine chicken broth, diced tomatoes and green chiles, fire roasted tomatoes, black beans (or pinto beans), lime juice, diced onions, jalapenos, garlic, grilled corn and remaining spices.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Stir in chicken, cilantro, and salt and pepper to taste. Serve with desired toppings.