The Best Chicken Tortilla Soup
I've been told by everyone who's had this recipe that it's literally The Best Chicken Tortilla Soup ever. I use a couple of easy tricks to maximize the flavor while keeping the prep time down and it can be made either in your crockpot or on your stovetop. It's a healthy and delicious slow cooker Mexican recipe that's a true crowd pleaser.
You know that when your latino bestie tells you this is the best chicken tortilla soup he's ever eaten, that it truly deserves The Best part in the title.
I've always been a huge fan of chicken tortilla soup. In my meat-free days, I would sneak down to my fav Mexican restaurant and order a bowl. I told myself that if I didn't eat the pieces of chicken, it must be vegetarian. ← I was really good at that vegetarian thing. Ha!
I made a few (disappointing) chicken tortilla soup recipes at home before deciding to figure out how to nail the recipe so that it is absolutely the best. My friends, THIS is the best chicken tortilla soup recipe there is. Hands down.
Don't worry, it's also super easy to make.
I've used three simple and easy tricks to transform this chicken tortilla soup from good to freaking awesome. Want to know what they are?
1. Bone in chicken. ← This is a trick.
The thing that makes most soup recipes fail is store-bought broth. Sure, it's convenient, but it's a pretty sad replacement for deliciously rich homemade chicken stock.
To keep the convenience factor high and the workload low, we're boosting thin and watery store-bought stock with chicken bones. In other words, we're making our own chicken stock.
The difference this simple trick makes cannot be understated. By slowly simmering the bones for hours, the soup takes on an almost creamy feel and is absolutely bursting with flavor.
Keep this trick in your back pocket when making other soups, too!
The second trick for making this the best chicken tortilla soup recipe ever is also super simple.
2. Dried peppers. ← This is also worthy of being classified a trick.
Most chicken tortilla soup recipes call for chili powder. The problem with that is most chili powder is not awesomely flavorful. I mean, it's ok and it works in a pinch. But if you want to add The Best title to this soup, pick up some dried peppers.
You can find a variety of dried, Mexican peppers in most supermarkets. Bonus points that they're also super inexpensive and will last (nearly) a lifetime in your pantry.
Three peppers seem to be the magic number in this soup, but it's not super important which types of peppers you use. For the soup in the pictures, I used guajillo, pasilla, and ancho. In other versions, I've used two guajillos and one pasilla or two anchos and one guajillo. You get the point. Three mildly spicy and delicious peppers will do the trick.
WARNING: don't use three dried chili peppers. These are all heat with very little flavor. If you'd like a spicier soup, add one chili pepper to your mix of peppers.
How to make the best chicken tortilla soup tip #3.
3. Blend the onions and garlic. ← What a sneaky little trick.
That's right, my friends, we're blending our two favorite flavor enhancers right into the soup.
First, we saute them until the onions are golden and caramelized. Then, we put them in the blender with the dried peppers we've soaked and a little water and blend them until they become a delicious liquid gold.
This means that every single sip of you take will have all sorts of flavor. It works like magic.
If you love this Chicken Tortilla Soup as much as I do, don't forget to give it a 5-star rating in the comments below!Print
I've been told by everyone who's had this recipe that it's literally The Best Crock Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup ever. I use a couple easy tricks to maximize the flavor while keeping the prep time down. It's a healthy and delicious slow cooker Mexican recipe that's a true crowd pleaser.
- 3 dried Mexican peppers – guajillo, pasilla, ancho (see notes)
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 8 skinless bone-in chicken thighs (see notes)
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 3 cups water
- 1 tablespoon sea salt
- 1 – 15 ounce can chopped tomatoes
- 1 – 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 cups frozen corn
- 4 large tortillas cut into thin strips (use gluten-free, if needed)
- Optional toppings: sour cream, queso, limes, cilantro
- Place the dried peppers in a bowl and cover them with about a cup of hot tap water.
- Heat the tablespoon of oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until it is well browned, about 7-8 minutes. Add the garlic and cumin and cook for 1 minute more.
- Pull the stems off of the peppers. Add the peppers and the water they're soaking into your blender. Add the cooked onion and blend until smooth. If it is too thick to blend properly, add some of the stock. Pour this into your crock pot or a large pot.
- Add the chicken thighs, chicken stock, water, sea salt, and tomatoes. Set the crock pot to high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours. If cooking in a pot, you want the pot to barely be simmering. Only heat it enough so that there are a few bubbles.
- Remove the chicken from the crock pot or pot. Remove the meat from the bones. Discard the bones and shred the meat. Return the meat to the pot and add the black beans and corn and let them heat through.
- While the beans and corn are heating, make the tortillas. Set your oven to 350 degrees. Put the tortilla strips on a baking sheet and toss them with the teaspoon of oil. Spread them out on the baking sheet then put them in your oven. Let them toast for about 10-15 minutes, tossing once or twice until lightly browned. Remove them from the oven. Note: they will continue to crisp as they cool.
- Serve the chicken tortilla soup with the tortillas on top and any or all of the optional toppings.
I've tried different combinations of peppers and every time this soup turns out great. The important part seems to be that you use dried peppers, not necessarily which types of peppers you use. If you would like a spicier soup, add a chili pepper into the mix.
Make sure you use bone in chicken. The bones are what make the soup extra flavorful. Usually, bone in chicken is sold with the skin on, simply pull the skin off before putting the chicken in the pot.