Chicken Tortilla Soup

I’m relatively new to the whole chicken tortilla soup thing. My first ever bowl was at Kirbey Lane in Austin last September, and it technically wasn’t even my bowl—it was Adam’s. But he had a kidney stone and I helped him finish it…because that’s what you do for people you love. You help finish their meals when they’re in pain.

To be honest, I’m not quite sure why, so suddenly, chicken tortilla soup has been back on my mind but it is. And if you have never made it yourself, now’s the time. Think of a spicy, rich chicken soup filled with roasted peppers, tomatoes and chilies with soft pieces of corn tortilla floating around.

Yep, pretty much heaven in a bowl. And healthy, to boot! Well, it’s healthy until you dump two cups of cheese on top like I do. Yum.

My chicken tortilla soup uses little balls of hominy, which are essentially balls of cornmeal. They can be a little tricky to find, but look for them in the ethnic food section of your grocery store (near the canned chilies). I love the texture of hominy and they make this soup really filling and tasty!

This soup is perfect to take over to sick friend, or make for yourself when you’re a little under the weather. I had cramps so I made it for myself…and then chased it with a cupcake. But that’s just how I roll. But really! It works wonders for colds and sniffles because of the spicy kick.

But then again—it’s really just awesome any time.

If you want, you could leave out the chicken, sub the chicken broth for veggie broth, and make a vegetarian version.

But I highly recommend using chicken. It heals the soul.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

serves 6-8

Print this recipe!


1.5 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts

2 T olive oil

1 large red onion, diced

1 jalapeno pepper, diced (seeds included)

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 poblano pepper

2 tsp chili powder

2 tsp cumin

2 tsp salt

8 cups chicken broth (2 quarts)

1 4-oz can diced green chilies

1 cup hominy

2 15-oz cans black beans, drained and rinsed

1 14-oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes (or Rotel tomatoes and chilies)

4 corn tortillas, cut into strips

juice of 2 limes

shredded monterey jack cheese for serving

chopped cilantro for serving


Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the chicken breasts and simmer for about 20 minutes, until breasts are cooked through. Drain and set chicken breasts aside to cool. Once cool, chop into cube-sized pieces.

While chicken is cooking, roast the poblano pepper over a burner on a gas range stove or under the broiler. You want the pepper to be very dark and charred—almost black. Set aside on a plate to cool then dice.

Heat the olive oil over medium high heat in a dutch oven or very large pot. Once hot, add the diced onion and jalapeno and cook for five minutes, until soft. Add the garlic and diced poblano pepper and cook for another minute. Add the chili powder and cumin and mix until well combined.

Pour in the chicken stock and add the diced tomatoes, hominy, black beans, green chilies, diced cooked chicken and salt. Bring to a boil.

Finally, add the tortilla strips and lime juice and cook until tortillas soften. Serve with chopped cilantro and shredded cheese on the side.


45 minutes

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  • Alexia @ Dimple Snatcher
    March 31, 2011 at 5:31 am

    NOM NOM NOM because I could use some healing (I is so tired!) right now 🙂

  • jessica @ how sweet
    March 31, 2011 at 5:39 am

    We adore tortilla soup. It also holds a special place in my heart since my grandma used to call it ‘to-rilla’ soup. Pronounced that way too. Then would argue with everything who tried to correct her.

  • kalli
    March 31, 2011 at 5:46 am

    oh this looks so comforting and good! i must try it…..when it gets cold again 🙂

  • mary (sisters running the kitchen)
    March 31, 2011 at 5:48 am

    My mom loves chicken tortilla soup….I’ll have to make this for her! looks like an awesome recipe!

  • Mrs. Fish
    March 31, 2011 at 5:56 am

    I must make this before it warms up here!
    I love the addition of hominy. 🙂

  • Holly @ The Runny Egg
    March 31, 2011 at 5:56 am

    I love tortilla soup — never made my own though!

  • megan @ whatmegansmaking
    March 31, 2011 at 5:58 am

    I love chicken tortilla soup! It’s still soup weather here for the time being (Michigan), so this may make it on our menu! Beautiful Jenna 🙂

  • Justeen @ Blissful Baking
    March 31, 2011 at 6:07 am

    Chicken tortilla soup is one of my favorites! I’ve never had homemade though. Yours look absolutely scrumptious!

  • Lesley Lifting Life
    March 31, 2011 at 6:08 am

    I’ve never made chicken tortilla soup, and in fact, I’m not sure that I’ve even ever eaten it! It looks delicious!

  • Elizabeth@The Sweet Life
    March 31, 2011 at 6:10 am

    Oh wow-this looks amazing!

  • Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat
    March 31, 2011 at 6:16 am

    I’ve never had chicken tortilla soup before, but this sounds great! I’ve heard of hominy, but have had no idea what it is up until now so thanks for the explanation. 🙂

  • Hannah (Culture Connoisseur)
    March 31, 2011 at 6:25 am

    This looks great. I love hominy, and was saddened to learn it was not a bean at all. :-/ It is my favorite ingredient in a recipe I make called taco soup ( )

    This looks so good, and I’ll have to give it a try. It’s getting to hot down here in Florida, so I’m not sure I can make it without major complaints from my hubby.

  • Liz @ Tip Top Shape
    March 31, 2011 at 6:26 am

    Looks like the perfect soup for a cold day!!

    March 31, 2011 at 6:29 am

    Chicken tortilla soup is so good and it’s a light soup for Spring/Summer weather. I like to make mine with corn kernels too! YUM!

  • Tasha @ Voracious
    March 31, 2011 at 6:31 am

    I adore chicken tortilla soup. Any soup I can top with slices of avocado, dollops of sour cream, and a sprinkling of cheddar cheese is perfect with me.

    I’m not sure hominy is balls of cornmeal, I think it’s actually dried corn kernels. Must investigate!

    Gorgeous photos! Now I need soup for dinner…

    • Baking 'n' Books
      March 31, 2011 at 11:38 am

      I love your way of thinking. It’s all about the toppings!

      It sounds spicy though? With the hot peppers?

      Oh man – your photos! I have to ask – how do you take the shot of pouring the broth in…with one hand? Does someone else do it? Or it it a camera zoom/lens trick thing?

  • d.liff @ yelleBELLYboo
    March 31, 2011 at 6:34 am

    I LOVE chicken tortilla soup! I will have to try this. I’d never think to add hominy! I have to leave out the cilantro though – I’m one of those cilantro haters.

  • Estela @ Weekly Bite
    March 31, 2011 at 6:38 am

    Gorgeous pictures!!! The soup looks delicious too 🙂

  • Central Restaurant Products
    March 31, 2011 at 6:47 am

    Looks great! I’m intrigued by using hominy in the soup. Not sure why I hadn’t thought of that. I always use corn, but now that you mention it hominy would add a whole different layer! Great idea! I also put a can of beer in mine which gives it a little kick without tasting too beer-y.

  • Jen @ keepitsimplefoods
    March 31, 2011 at 7:14 am

    Looks delish! I’ll have to try making it without the meat. Yummmm.

  • Heather @ Heather's Dish
    March 31, 2011 at 7:15 am

    It’s all about the chicken tortilla soup…it’s amazing 12 months of the year and ne’er gets old 😉

  • Jessica
    March 31, 2011 at 7:19 am

    Love tortilla soup, one of my faves! I tried to make this once with pumpkin to thicken it up, and it was not nearly as good.

  • Heather @ Health, Happiness, and Hope
    March 31, 2011 at 7:23 am

    Love homemade soups! Awesome recipe! 🙂

  • Kelly
    March 31, 2011 at 7:38 am

    Kirby Lane is literally 5 miles from my house…love!!! I have never had the Tortilla Soup there before though…I always cave and get breakfast…hello gingerbread pancakes (even in the summer) so good!

  • Moni'sMeals
    March 31, 2011 at 8:18 am

    this will make many people, like myself drooling at what…breakfast time. 🙂

  • Lisa
    March 31, 2011 at 8:51 am

    Looks fabulous! Can’t wait to try this recipe. By the way, hominy is dried corn kernals that are soaked in a special solution (used to be weak lye solution, not sure if that’s what they use now). Also, have made your greek burgers several times now and they are amazing. I’ve shared the recipe with several other people and they all love it too. Thanks!!

  • Erin
    March 31, 2011 at 9:09 am

    Wow great minds think alike! I made and posted CHICKEN TORTILLA SOUP today as well, on my blog

  • Katie @ Nourishing Flourishing
    March 31, 2011 at 9:09 am

    I have been making tortilla soup for a really long time (family favorite), but I haven’t seen one with hominy in it before, I don’t think! I love the rich but light flavor of tortilla soup’s broth…mmmm 🙂

  • Molly
    March 31, 2011 at 9:10 am

    Just bookmarked this recipe. I am thinking next cooking date night I will throw this recipe out there and hopefully my idea to make your recipe wins! Yum looks so so good! I never realized that hominy was used to make chicken tortilla soup. MMM

  • Maria
    March 31, 2011 at 9:11 am

    Tortilla soup is always a hit! Love it!

  • Lisa
    March 31, 2011 at 9:11 am

    I love tortilla soup. It’s such a quick and easy meal.

    I’m also embarrassed to admit that I have no idea what hominy is…….?

  • Teri
    March 31, 2011 at 9:28 am

    I just wanted to point out that hominy is actually boiled corn kernels. It’s not balls of cornmeal. The recipe sounds tasty. Thanks!

  • Kat @ Big Apple Little Kitchen
    March 31, 2011 at 9:47 am

    THANK YOU for the recipe! I’ve been looking for a killer tortilla soup for a while now; it looks absolutely delicious!

  • Natalia - a side of simple
    March 31, 2011 at 9:49 am

    The word “hominy” makes me smile every time I see it. It reminds me of Cracker Barrel dates with my mom . I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone say it outloud, though! This looks like the perfect soup to give me that extra boost for the rest of the semester!

  • Andrea
    March 31, 2011 at 9:57 am

    I LOVE tortilla soup! Apart from Pho, it is my ultimate “feel better” dinner (or lunch). Definitely gonna try this recipe soon!

  • Stacy @ LoveDiscoveryGratitude
    March 31, 2011 at 10:03 am

    I <3 soup, i will definitely make this soon 🙂

  • Kristin Eats
    March 31, 2011 at 10:12 am

    Favorite soup ever. It’s fabulous. Ree Drummond has a great recipe for a thicker version, too. Yumm.

  • Jenna H
    March 31, 2011 at 10:26 am

    I LOVE Kerbey Lane! That have the best pumpkin pancakes ever. And chicken tortilla soup is delicious, I’ll have to try this recipe. Maybe it’s just because I’m a hardcore Texan born and bred, but we really do have some of the best food, don’t we? 🙂

  • Jenna H
    March 31, 2011 at 10:29 am

    PS- now that y’all have covered Austin, College Station, and the Hill Country, you and Adam need to visit Fort Worth next! Go Frogs!

  • Frech Heart
    March 31, 2011 at 10:59 am

    Love the gorgeous color, and lime & cilantro…will make this veggie-style, sounds delish, thanks!

  • Emily @ Savory and Savage
    March 31, 2011 at 11:18 am

    This is my favorite soup to order out at a restaurant.

    Yours looks even better!

  • Doc (The Healthy PhD)
    March 31, 2011 at 11:53 am

    This looks exactly like the bowl I had at this little hole in the wall bar in Iowa City. It was so good and I’m excited to try your recipe!

  • Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga)
    March 31, 2011 at 12:06 pm

    The recipe looks fabulous, Jenna! The last time I had tortilla soup was at TGIFriday’s in SC ten years ago. I used to go there with my husband and humor him through football season and nurse a bowl of tortilla soup. And quite a few drinks along with it 🙂

    Your photos look great! Love the 1st one, and then the last one with just the spoon being in focus. And the background blurred. If you were holding that spoon in your L hand and taking a pic with your R, you have steady and strong hands!

  • Katrina
    March 31, 2011 at 12:17 pm

    Yum! I love tortilla soup. This will be great for the upcoming rainy spring days 🙂

  • Brooke @ bittersweetb
    March 31, 2011 at 12:18 pm

    This looks perfect for today, a gross rainy day on the east coast. I just wanna sit in my pajamas and eat this soup!

  • Chelsa
    March 31, 2011 at 12:36 pm

    that looks so good I am going to have to make it this week

  • Shannon
    March 31, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    Yum, now I want to make Chicken Tortilla Soup.
    Your recipe is very similar to mine, except I have my husband grill some boneless chicken breasts on the grill, along with some some red bell peppers.
    In a pan I sautee chopped fresh jalapenos, onions, garlic. then to the pan I add the chicken or veggie broth, can of black beans, diced up grilled chicken, diced up grilled red peppers, roasted frozen corn from Trader joes, and a can of fire roasted tomatoes. I add cumin, salt and pepper. Then I top it with fresh cilantro, diced avacado and either soft corn tortilla strips or I spray the tortilla strips with pam and broil/bake them in the oven.

    So easy, and so good.

  • Jodi
    March 31, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    Love, Love, LOVE chicken tortilla soup. The spice really does help with colds! I made something similar to chicken tortilla soup last night ( I was out of some of the traditional ingredients) but it still was so yummy! Just posted it yesterday on my blog. Thanks for this great recipe and I will be trying it soon 🙂

  • Mary (What's Cookin' with Mary)
    March 31, 2011 at 3:25 pm

    I love chicken tortilla soup. Well… I think I love the toppings most HEHE!

  • Melissa @ Journey to Marvelous
    March 31, 2011 at 3:47 pm

    The soup looks great! Chicken tortilla is my fave…my grandpa makes the best one I’ve ever had.

  • Happy When Not Hungry
    March 31, 2011 at 6:20 pm

    This soup looks delicious! Love all the flavors too!

  • Meghan
    March 31, 2011 at 7:51 pm

    I was ecstatic to see this recipe, having been fortunate enough to live in Austin for a few years I fell in love with Kerbey Ln tortilla soup, and Kerby queso for that matter, but that is a different story. I cannot wait to make this!

  • Lauren from Lauren's Latest
    March 31, 2011 at 9:14 pm

    This is one of my favorite soups. All the colors make it look so refreshing! Yum.

  • Mary @ Delightful Bitefuls
    April 1, 2011 at 12:03 pm

    I’m going to have to try this ASAP! This looks incredibly delicious!

    Great blog!

    Mary xo
    Delightful Bitefuls

  • Gabby @ GabbysGFree
    April 1, 2011 at 1:09 pm

    I love chicken tortilla soup! I also like to reserve some hominy, dry it out, and toast it until it gets super crispy and top the soup with that. Or you can fry the hominy for a crunchy little treat. Delicious!

  • Heidi - Apples Under My Bed
    April 1, 2011 at 1:25 pm

    I’m new to this too – so new, I’ve never head of it! It’s a US thing, I suppose. I love the look of the recipe though!
    Heidi xo

  • Rebecca @ How the Cookies Crumble
    April 1, 2011 at 4:18 pm

    I love tortilla soup! Especially topped with cheese, a big dollop of sour cream and avocado!

  • Laura @FoodSnobSTL
    April 2, 2011 at 6:49 am

    I’m so glad you went to Kirbey Lane cafe. I love that place!! When I lived in Texas we would go to Austin City Limits Festival every year and eat at Kirbey Lane every night after the festival. Their pancakes are to die for.

  • Helen
    April 10, 2011 at 3:43 pm

    having some soup right now–so very tasty!! thanks for always providing such delish recipes 😉 my husband will be home in a few hours from a bike race and i know he’ll be hungry! although he might want extra tortillas!

  • Lauren
    April 12, 2011 at 11:13 am

    Jenna this was so good! Everyone loved it, even my bro-in-law who said, “this is really good, I have to admit I was skeptical.” 🙂 They all stirred in sour cream too-yum. I told my husband that this was from the same girl with the creamy white chicken chili and he was like “oh yeah, I love that!” So, your recipes are a favorite around here! Thanks girl.

  • Em
    April 15, 2011 at 1:46 pm

    I made this last week and it was SO GOOD! I also stirred in a bunch of sour cream and everyone loved it. Thanks!

  • Lisa
    April 18, 2011 at 8:02 pm

    Jenna, thank you for sharing this recipe!! My husband used to get chicken tortilla soup from the deli near his office but now I make our lunches to bring to work and we’ve been trying to replicate it for years. I made this tonight and my husband said this is the flavor he’s been looking for! Thank you, thank you!

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  • Becky @ Fit Chick on the Fly
    September 22, 2011 at 9:04 am

    I made a version similar to this the other day. I tried to make an extremely LARGE batch so I would have left overs to freeze and bring out at a later time. Well that failed…it was so good we ate it all in two days and I sent some home with my parents (not by choice).

  • Traci
    September 22, 2011 at 9:17 am

    You had me at Tortilla Soup!!! I’ve just recently discovered the greatness that is tortilla soup & I can’t get enough!!! LOVE!! Thanks for sharing!

  • Alyssa @
    September 22, 2011 at 8:53 pm

    This looks so good! I love tortilla soup and have been looking for a cleaner version. I can not wait to make this! thanks 😉

  • Katie
    September 27, 2011 at 9:22 am

    I made this soup last weekend and it’s delicious! I had it for lunch the past three days. Yum. I will definitely be making this again.

  • Shannon
    September 27, 2011 at 2:29 pm

    I love your Tortilla Soup Recipe, your is pretty similar to mine. I add TJ’s frozen fireroasted corn, diced redbell peppers & jalapenos, sometimes I add Hominy if I am looking for fillers because I usually make soups with what I have on hand 🙂 But Hominy is really maize kernels which that is what cornmeal is made out of.

    Hominy reminds me of corn nuts, though not crunchy 🙂

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    I am able to make this in the crock pot?

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    April 3, 2014 at 8:11 am

    My fiance is sick so I wanted to make him a soup. I’m not a fan of Chicken Noodle…too basic and blah for me. He wanted this the other day from Qdoba, and I forgot to get it! I stumbled across your recipe a few days ago, and decided yesterday I was going to make it for him. Can I just say how DELICIOUS

  • Grace
    April 3, 2014 at 8:13 am

    Whoops…accidentally posted before I was finished. Bottomline – this is DELICIOUS! I would’ve had 2 bowls if I wasn’t saving room for dessert. My fiance had 2 bowls of it! He loved it. WAAAAY better than Chili’s Chicken Tortilla soup!!! Never had Qdoba’s , but I’m sure this is better than their’s too. So easy to make, and I love that it’s a fairly healthy recipe. Thanks so much!!!

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    Good day! I could have sworn I’ve been to this blog before but after looking at some of the articles I realized it’s new
    to me. Anyways, I’m definitely pleased I discovered it and I’ll be
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  • Jene'
    January 2, 2018 at 9:35 am

    Can’t wait to try this!
    But hominy is not little balls of corn meal. It’s whole kernels of corn…I won’t say the way it’s processed but hominy is used to make grits.

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