This Easy Slow Cooker Tortilla Soup has big flavor and requires little effort. Make it your own with a variety of toppings and freshly pan-fried crispy tortilla strips!
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This slow cooker tortilla soup is a true dinner winner! During these warmer months, I OFTEN find myself craving tortilla soup. In fact, I’ve been known to order bowl after bowl of it at our favorite San Antonio Tex-Mex restaurants during the cooler months. While the salty chicken broth (with a touch of delicious lime) is incredibly soothing/satisfying, tortilla soup is all about the toppings. Years ago, before I realized that I could truly personalize Paleo, I would only make/order it sans tortillas, sour cream, and cheese. Since then, I’ve found that I tolerate the occasional high-quality dairy well! So, I happily add on a dollop of sour cream and the occasional sprinkle of cheese. I’m also a big fan of THESE grain-free tortillas. To make crunchy tortilla strips, I just cut them into pieces and fried them in a pan with a bit of butter until they were crispy.
Why do they call it Chicken Tortilla Soup?
Good question! The reason this soup is referred to as “chicken tortilla soup” is because chicken is the protein included in the soup, and it’s always topped with crispy tortilla strips — makes sense!
Is Chicken Tortilla Soup good for you?
I think so! If you can tolerate the ingredients, it’s an excellent healthy addition to your cool-weather dinner rotation.
- 3 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs
- 1 ½ cups of salsa
- 2 quarts of chicken broth
- ½ cup of lime juice
- 2 teaspoons of salt
- ½ teaspoon of black pepper
- 2 tablespoons of chili powder
- 1 teaspoon of cumin
- 2 corn or grain-free tortillas, for garnish
- 3 tablespoons of butter, to fry the tortilla strips
- 1 avocado, diced, for garnish
- 1 fresh jalapeno, thinly sliced, for garnish
- Cilantro, roughly chopped, for garnish
- Sour cream, if desired
- Shredded cheese, if desired
How to Make
- Add ingredients to the slow cooker + cook – combine all soup ingredients in the slow cooker. Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6-8 hours.
- Shred the chicken – after the soup is finished cooking, remove the chicken and transfer it to a large bowl. Shred the chicken with two forks or with the paddle attachment of a stand mixer. Place the shredded chicken back into the soup. Taste the soup for seasoning and add additional salt, if desired.
- Fry the tortilla strips – cut the tortillas into thin strips and heat the butter in a small pan over medium-high heat. Once the butter is bubbling, add the tortilla strips. Cook 3-5 minutes, stirring frequently, until crisp.
- Garnish, serve, and enjoy – spoon the soup into bowls and top with tortilla strips and other desired garnishes.
Best Chicken Tortilla Soup Toppings
Top your chicken tortilla soup with any taco toppings that you love! I personally enjoy avocado, cilantro, sour cream, crispy tortilla strips, jalapenos, and a lime wedge. Shredded cheese is a delicious add-on too.
Frequently Asked Questions
While the flavor profiles are really similar, tortilla soup is typically made with a thinner broth than enchilada soup (which often includes enchilada sauce). Fun fact: our creamy chicken tortilla soup actually used to be called “enchilada soup” because of its thicker broth!
If you want a thicker soup, you can either add more chicken (or even a can of beans!) to the soup, or you can add a thickening agent like arrowroot starch, masa, or cornstarch.
Stored in an airtight container, your chicken tortilla soup will stay good in the fridge for up to 5 days! Be sure to wait to top it with tortilla strips until you’re ready to enjoy.
If you’re looking for more easy soup and Instant Pot recipes, check out our 10 Best Crockpot Freezer Meals, to make dinner time a cinch!
Crockpot Chicken Tortilla Soup
For the Soup:
- 3 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast or thighs
- 1.5 cups salsa
- 2 quarts chicken broth
- 1/2 cup lime juice
- 2 teaspoons salt to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
For the Garnish:
- 2 Corn or Grain-Free tortillas
- 3 tablespoons butter ghee, or avocado oil
- 1 avocado diced
- 1 fresh jalapeno thinly sliced
- Cilantro roughly chopped
- Sour cream if desired
- Shredded cheese if desired
- Combine all soup ingredients in the slow cooker. Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6-8 hours.
- After the soup is finished cooking, remove the chicken and transfer it to a large bowl. Shred the chicken with two forks or with the paddle attachment of a stand mixer. Place the shredded chicken back into the soup. Taste soup for seasoning and add additional salt, if desired.
- Cut the tortillas into thin strips and heat the butter in a small pan over medium-high heat. Once the butter is bubbling, add the tortilla strips. Cook 3-5 minutes, stirring frequently, until crisp.
- Spoon soup into bowls and top with tortilla strips and other desired garnishes.
- For Paleo: use grain-free tortillas in place of the corn tortillas
- For low-carb: omit the tortilla strips
- For the Instant Pot: combine all soup ingredients in the Instant Pot. Cook on high pressure for 12 minutes.
- For the Stovetop: combine all soup ingredients in a heavy-bottomed pot. Cook over medium/high heat for 45 minutes, or until the chicken easily shreds with a fork.