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Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken Tortilla Soup

December 19, 2017
: 4-6
: 20 min
: 4 hr
: 4 hr 20 min

The most authentic tortilla soup you will find outside of the restaurant world (or Mexico for that matter!). So delicious, you'll be going back for thirds!


  • ~1 1/2 lbs bone-in chicken (ours was a full half chicken but any part of the chicken on the bone that you can then shred after slow cooking is great)
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 1/2 TBSP olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 corn tortillas, cut into 1 inch wide strips
  • 2 medium sized dried ancho chilies, diced
  • 1/2 a jalapeño pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1/2 TBSP cumin
  • 1/2 TBSP fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cups tomato puree
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1 TBSP lemon juice
  • Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Toppings:
  • 1 cup green cabbage, shredded
  • 2 corn tortillas, cut into strips and fried
  • 1/2 jalapeño pepper (from earlier), seeded and diced
  • 1/2 avocado, diced
  • 1/4 cup white cheddar cheese, shredded
  • Optional: Fried chicken skin
  • Step 1 Puree the onion (this will be added as part of the base of the soup). First peel and cut the onion into quarters. Place in a small saucepan, cover with water and bring to a boil for 4-5 minutes. Drain onion and transfer to a food processor. Blend until smooth.
  • Step 2 If you have a Sauté function on your slow cooker, turn to medium high. (Otherwise do this step in a skillet on the stove). Add the olive oil, minced garlic, and tortillas all at once and sauté until the tortillas just start to turn golden and the garlic starts to brown slightly, about 4 to 5 minutes.
  • Step 3 Add the ancho chilies, jalapeño, cumin, cilantro, and bay leaf and then cook for an additional few minutes. Add your prepared onion puree, tomato puree and chicken stock.
  • Step 4 Add the chicken last and then cover the slow cooker with the lid. Turn on the Slow Cook function and cook on low heat for at least 4 hours, or until chicken is cooked through.
  • Step 5 Prepare your toppings at some point while the soup is cooking. After the soup has slow cooked, remove the chicken and shred off the bone on a cutting board. Save the skin if you want to use the chicken skin as a garnish!
  • Step 6 Finish flavoring the soup broth with lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. Process the soup using an immersion blender (or remove from the slow cooker and blend in a food processor or blender). Add the shredded chicken back to the processed soup broth.
  • Step 7 If you want to fry up the chicken skin, place in a non stick pan over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, until the skin starts to crackle and crisp up.
  • Step 8 Ladle soup into serving bowls. Garnish with green cabbage, fried tortilla strips, jalapeño pepper, fresh cilantro, avocado, and white cheddar.

Looks like another cold and wintry week in the ‘burbs, which means you should all stop whatever you’re doing right this second and make this soup! This is one of those recipes that we spent endless hours researching, tweaking and perfecting because we were determined to get it right. And it paid off. There are so many recipes out there for tortilla soup, but nothing we tried ever came close to being as authentic as this one. My father-in-law, who is a bona fide tortilla soup connoisseur, was our official taste tester and he claimed “It was PERFECT” (that’s a direct quote). There’s actually no way we would even be sharing it if we hadn’t received his stamp of approval, so I promise you this soup is the real deal.

This recipe has a fair amount of steps to prep, but once you get it all in the slow cooker, it’s really good to go. Then you just have to slow cook (and try to patiently wait!) for 4-8 hours. You might wonder why we’re using bone-in skin-on chicken, but I think the bones give it so much flavor and the chicken is much more moist. The chicken skin is also an amazing garnish if you want to fry it up. You can really choose whatever other toppings you want, but we go pretty traditional – tortilla strips, avocado, cilantro, fresh shredded cabbage. Sour cream is also good. Pretty much anything you’d throw in a taco is fair game!  We also decided to serve this up with crispy fried plantains on the side. (Chop up a plantain, throw it in the fryer for 2 minutes, then season with salt and voila!)  We’ve tried to lay out the recipe as simply as we can, but follow along in our step by step photos too. As always, we’d love to hear what you think, so feel free to comment below!


STEP 1: Prepare the onion puree, by boiling a quartered yellow onion for 5 minutes.  Then puree to this consistency in a food processor.  Love my Cuisinart baby food processor for this!


STEP 2: Cut up your tortillas and dice your jalapeño and ancho chili pepper (mine was quite possibly the biggest ancho chili I’ve ever seen!).



STEP 3: Add your tortillas and garlic to the slow cooker first and sauté for 4-5 minutes until they start to turn golden.  Then add the ancho chilies, jalapeño, cumin, cilantro, and bay leaf.



STEP 4: Add your tomato and onion purees, chicken stock and then place the chicken in the slow cooker.  Cover and slow cook for at least 4 hours.


STEP 5: 4 hours later… your slow cooked soup will have lightened and color look like this.  Remove the chicken and shred on a cutting board.  Then use an immersion blender to blend the soup to your desired consistency.



STEP 6: Add the shredded chicken back to the soup and then prepare your serving bowls with garnish.  Fry up some chicken skin for an added twist!







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