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Best Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe {Secret Ingredient}

The BEST Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe you’ll ever try! A classic Mexican soup with an exceptional corn taste in a mild taco flavored broth with all the classic taco fixings and fried corn tortilla chips. Better than any authentic Mexican restaurant, my Tortilla Soup will steal the show on Taco Tuesdays! Featuring a secret ingredient that makes this the most outrageously delicious Mexican soup recipe ever!

Mexican Chicken Tortilla Soup - Overhead view of a white soup bowl served on a blue and white striped napkin and wooden board with a cilantro leaves near top of images and a lime slice and spoon on board. Soup bowl is loaded with diced tomatoes, chopped cilantro sprinkled on top, pieces of corn, diced onion, shredded cheddar cheese, jalapeno slice and a dollop of sour cream. A small wooden spoon sits in broth near top of bowl with tortilla chips and sour cream.

Delicious Mexican Tortilla Soup made from scratch in a hearty south of the border chicken broth thickened naturally with masa harina. A classic Mexican winter soup dish featuring ingredients like tomatoes, pinto beans, corn, onions, garlic, cilantro, tortilla chips, cheddar cheese, jalapenos, sour cream, lime, and green onions. Seasoned to perfection, the soups flavor becomes more concentrated with corn flour; the same ingredient that corn tortillas and chips are made from!

One of the BEST additions to my Chicken Tortilla Soup is the use of mesa harina (corn flour for tortillas!) and I promise, the savory flavor cannot be beaten! Corn mesa is a type of corn flour that is used to make corn tortillas, a staple served with many meals in Mexico. Mixing corn mesa and water together to make a slurry and stirring it into the stockpot of soup naturally thickens the broth while ingraining an incredible corn flavor.

Chicken Tortilla Soup - Overhead view of a white soup bowl served on a blue and white striped napkin and wooden board with a lime slice and spoon. Soup bowl is loaded with diced tomatoes, chopped cilantro sprinkled on top, pieces of corn, diced onion, shredded cheddar cheese, jalapeno slice and a dollop of sour cream. text in center in blue box reads chicken (with easy secret ingredient) tortilla soup. Second image is same as first image but the camera is tilted giving the bowl of soup only have in focus.

For nearly 15 years I’ve been making homemade tortilla soup! I have perfected this recipe and no Mexican restaurant can even come close to well rounded flavors presented in my soup bowl! My mom found the recipe from a church cookbook and its been in our family ever since. Of course, as my taste buds continue to develop with age, so does this recipe. Today, family and friends request this soup because of its robust corn flavor and mild taco flavor.

HOW TO MAKE CHICKEN TORTILLA SOUP RECIPE

  1. Saute onions and garlic.
  2. Cut chicken breasts into bite size pieces.
  3. Boil in chicken broth.
  4. Stir in taco seasoning, and tomato in chili cans.
  5. Squeeze in lime juice.
  6. Add cilantro, pinto beans, corn, and zucchini.
  7. Stir in corn mesa slurry to thicken broth.
  8. Pour into bowl. Top with cheddar cheese, green onions, jalapenos, and crushed corn tortilla chips.
Chicken Tortilla Soup - A white soup bowl on a white plate on a white and royal blue striped napkin. Served on wooden board with a small spoon and lime slice near napkin. Soup bowl filled with a yellow red broth and topped with shredded cheddar cheese, cilantro leaves, diced tomatoes, a lime slice in corner, pinto beans, corn, green onions, and white onions sprinkled around dish. Top of dish features a wooden spoon submerged in the broth with a few tortilla chips in the soup. A dollop of sour cream with 3 cilantro leaves next to it. Text in blue border at top of images reads, Chicken Tortilla Soup.

CHICKEN TORTILLA SOUP INGREDIENTS

■ CHICKEN: Cut chicken breasts into small pieces and simmer them in the chicken broth. Adding chicken adds a great source of protein, however, the soup recipe can be made without chicken as I have had it both ways dozens of times.

■ VEGETABLES: Canned vegetables include diced tomatoes with green chilies and pinto beans. Fresh vegetable ingredients like corn, zucchini, and cilantro.

■ BROTH: Using a good flavor chicken broth makes all the difference. To make it vegetarian, vegetable stock may be used in place of chicken.

■ SEASONING: Use a taco seasoning you like. A homemade version can also be used in this recipe. Carne asada seasoning may also be used.

■ CORN MESA: The secret ingredient that takes an otherwise ordinary recipe into a spectacular corn flavor soup. Corn mesa “flour” is typically sold in the international aisle and comes in a package that is similar to flour. Corn mesa is ground corn that is used to make tortillas. I use it to thicken the tortilla soup and flavor it with a classic corn taste.

■ TORTILLA CHIPS: I like to use thin corn tortilla chips. A low salt variety or gourmet restaurant style is my favorite. Once the soup is dished up and toppings are added, crunch a few handfuls of tortilla chips into the bowl and stir it all together.

■ CILANTRO: Whether you like cilantro or not, please try adding a little to the stockpot. Even the biggest cilantro haters enjoy a few pinches of freshly chopped cilantro. The robust green herb adds an incredible amount of flavor to the soup without overwhelming it with its classic notes.

■ TOPPINGS: Classic Tortilla Soup toppings include cheddar cheese, sour cream, cilantro, diced jalapenos, and green onions. Honestly, all these toppings add deep flavor to each bite. Don’t skip out on any of them.

Mexican Tortilla Soup - A tilted view of a white soup bowl and white plate on a blue and white napkin and wooden board with cilantro in the background. Bowl of red and yellow broth has shredded cheddar cheese, dice tomatoes, cilantro leaves, corn, pinto beans, white onions, green onions sprinkled throughout dish. Corn tortilla chips and a wood spoon sit at the top of the bowl with a dollop of sour cream with 3 cilantro leaves and a lime slice.

HOW TO SERVE CHICKEN TORTILLA SOUP

Traditionally, this soup is served hot as an appetizer, side dish, or main course with tortilla strips or tortilla chips that are crushed between the hands and sprinkled in the bowl. The most satisfying way to serve the soup is with a dollop of sour cream, a few pinches of shredded cheddar or Mexican cheese, a pinch of diced jalapenos, green onions, and a sprinkle of cilantro in bowl. Give it a little stir and taste away!

I HATE cilantro! Can I leave it out of the soup? Yes, but absolutely mix a little into a seperate bowl to try. I used to hate cilantro, but the herb lends just the enough flair without going overboard. Plus, it totally makes the soup. Trust me. It is not an overwhelming cilantro flavor, but certainly is missed when made without this herb.

MESA HARINA QUESTIONS

Are mesa harina, corn flour, and cornmeal the same thing? No, it is not. Mesa harina has that classic corn flavored dough taste that you will not find with cornmeal and corn flour.

What is mesa harina/corn mesa and where do I find it? It is corn that is ground into flour and soaked in a lime water solution made with calcium hydroxide. This process yields a type of corn flour that gives it a distinctive flavor. Mesa harina can be found in the ethnic food aisle of the grocery store. It comes packaged like flour labeled “corn mesa” or “mesa harina”.

What else can I make with mesa harina? Make homemade corn tortillas with just 3 ingredients! Mix the dough, press it flat, and heat on a griddle. Use the corn tortillas to make tortilla chips by frying in oil. Making the tortilla chips from scratch is a real treat to try next! Use the corn tortillas for burritos, beef tacos, taquitos, taco lasagna, tostadas, enchiladas, and more. Of course, a batch of homemade tortilla chips is best served with a classic margarita recipe, salsa and authentic Mexican restaurant style queso dip!

Do I need to thicken the soup? Any other substitutes I can use that don’t have corn? The soup does not need any thickening, however, I prefer it this way. If you cannot find mesa harina or cannot have it for dietary reasons, use cornstarch. Try 4 tsp cornstarch mixed with 4 tsp cold water. Stir into the soup pot and turn up the heat until it thickens. Adjust as needed.

Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe {Secret Ingredient}

The BEST Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe you'll ever try! A classic Mexican soup with an exceptional corn taste in a mild taco flavored broth with all the classic taco fixings and fried corn tortilla chips. Better than any authentic Mexican restaurant, my Chicken Tortilla Soup will steal the show on Taco Tuesdays! Featuring a secret ingredient that makes this the most outrageously delicious Mexican soup recipe ever!
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Course: Appetizer, Main Course, Side Dish, Soup
Cuisine: American, Mexican
Keyword: Chicken Tortilla Soup, Mexican soup
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 9
Calories: 616kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 medium white onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 (32) oz cartons low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 chicken breasts, diced
  • tbsp taco seasoning
  • ¼ tsp salt, more to taste
  • 3 (10) oz cans diced tomatoes with green chilies (I like Rotel)
  • 16 oz can pinto beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 zucchini, diced
  • cups frozen corn
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 2 bunches cilantro, chopped, divided
  • 8 tbsp corn masa flour (masa harina)
  • 6 tbsp cold water

TOPPINGS

  • 1 bag restaurant style tortilla chips (I like the thin tortilla chips)
  • 16 oz sour cream
  • 12 oz shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 jalapeno, diced
  • 1 bunch green onions, diced

Instructions

  • Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large stockpot or dutch oven over medium-high heat.
  • Add diced onions and saute until translucent; about 5 minutes. Stir in minced garlic and cook; 1 minute.
  • Pour in chicken broth, bring to boil.
  • Cut chicken into small bite size pieces and stir into broth. Reduce heat to medium-high.
  • Cook 10 minutes.
  • Stir in taco seasoning, salt and canned tomatoes.
  • Cook another 10 minutes.
  • Stir in rinsed beans, corn, diced zucchini, and juice of 1 lime.
  • Chop stem bunch off and discard from cilantro. Finely chop cilantro leaves.
  • Stir in about 4 tbsp chopped cilantro, more or less to taste.
    For more heat, add ½ jalapeno diced to soup.
  • In a small bowl, mix corn harina and cold water until combined. Slowly stir in ½ tbsp soup broth into bowl and stir until it is watery. Stir mixture into soup.
    TIP: To make soup thicker, try ½-1 tbsp masa harina and equal parts water in a small bowl then stir in a little soup until watery. TIP: To thin soup – add more broth.
  • Cook 5 minutes, or until zucchini is tender.
  • Spoon into bowl. Serve with a dollop of sour cream, sprinkle of cheddar cheese, cilantro, green onions, and diced jalapenos.
  • Grab a handful or two of tortilla chips and crush between hands over bowl.
    Stir soup bowl slightly.

Nutrition

Calories:616kcal | Carbohydrates:52g | Protein:31g | Fat:34g | Saturated Fat:15g | Cholesterol:98mg | Sodium:755mg | Potassium:885mg | Fiber:7g | Sugar:5g | Vitamin A:1021IU | Vitamin C:18mg | Calcium:458mg | Iron:4mg
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