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Chicken Tortilla Soup

Nathan Congleton / TODAY
makes 12 cups
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Chef notes

This delectable soup is jam-packed with flavor, protein and loads of colorful veggies — bell peppers, carrots, onions, celery and fire-roasted, diced tomatoes. While this recipe tastes amazing straight from the pot, my family thinks it's even better the next day, once all the herbs and spices have mixed and mingled. Right before serving, top each bowl with crispy tortilla strips plus an assortment of your go-to garnishes: chopped cilantro, scallions, shredded cheese, diced avocado, Greek yogurt, sliced jalapeños — choose your own (soup) adventure!

Technique tip: I either use leftover cooked chicken breasts and cut it up into small pieces, or buy a rotisserie chicken, remove the skin and shred the meat.


  • 2 teaspoons olive oil or avocado oil
  • 1 medium red onion, diced (about 1½ cups)
  • 2 medium bell peppers (red, yellow, or orange), diced (about 2 cups)
  • 1 medium carrot, diced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 stalk celery, diced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • tablespoons mild chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 6 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 (14.5-ounce) cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup plain or fire-roasted sweet corn (optional)
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, or more to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 packed cups cooked, shredded white meat chicken
Crispy Baked Tortillas Strips
  • 8 corn tortillas, halved and sliced into thin strips
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil or grapeseed oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon mild chili powder
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Soup Toppings (optional)
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 4-5 radishes, thinly sliced
  • 1 jalapeño, thinly sliced
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges, for serving
  • 1 avocado, diced


For the soup:

In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat 2 teaspoons of oil over medium-high heat (or liberally mist with olive oil spray). Add the diced onion, bell pepper, carrots and celery, and sauté for about 7 minutes, or until vegetables start to soften and onions become translucent. Stir frequently to prevent burning and add additional oil spray if needed. Add the minced garlic and dried spices and herbs, stir and cook until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Add the broth, fire-roasted tomatoes, beans and (optional) corn. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove cover. Add the shredded chicken and stir to combine. Place the cover back on, and simmer for another 10 minutes.

For the tortilla strips:


Preheat oven to 400°F.


In a large bowl, combine the sliced tortilla strips, oil, spices and salt. Toss until everything is well combined.


Spread evenly on a lined baking sheet (or misted with oil). Bake for 10-12 minutes, stirring halfway through, until they're light golden brown and crispy. As tortillas cool, they will crisp up even more.

To serve:

Serve soup with optional toppings and crispy tortilla strips.

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