Creamy Chicken Tortilla Soup

I made this tonight and well…this soup is outstanding! The flavor is rich & delicious. The combination of the creamy soup with the homemade crunchy tortilla strips is a perfect combination.

I urge YOU to try it!

Creamy Chicken Tortilla Soup

Southern California Food Photographer

Creamy Chicken Tortilla Soup

by Heather McCullah

It makes just about 1/2 a large pot full. If you want a full pot double the recipe.


4 chicken thighs (skin on & bone in)

2 cups chicken broth

2 cups water

1 onion (chopped)

1/2 cup carrots (sliced baby carrots or chopped & peeled whole carrots)

1/2 green bell pepper (seeded & chopped)

1/2 red bell pepper (seeded & chopped)

1 small can rotel tomatoes (original style)

1 small can white beans (drained)

1 tbsp minced fresh garlic or 1 tsp garlic powder

1 &  1/2 teaspoons cumin

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

salt to taste

crushed red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper to taste (a little less than 1/2 a teaspoon of one or the other is about what I use)

1-2 cups chopped fresh cilantro

1/4 bar Velveeta cheese (cubed & mexi flavor)

canola or vegetable oil

olive oil

12 corn tortillas


1. Prepare a large pot by preheating it with a few tablespoons of olive oil (just enough to cover bottom of pot in a thin layer). Once the pan is hot add the chicken thighs and brown them on both sides. Add the chicken broth and water to the pot with a medium sprinkle of salt. Bring to a boil and then bring down to a simmer. Let simmer stirring once or twice for 35-40 minutes (make sure all the chicken is submerged as it simmers).

2. Chop all the veggies at this time.

3. Remove chicken from pot and set aside.

4. Add the carrots, onions, peppers, rotel tomatoes, garlic, beans & dry seasonings to the pot. Bring up to a boil and let cook for at least 10-12 minutes (stirring often & scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon if possible).

5. Remove the skin from the chicken and shred it right into the pot with the veggies once it’s cool enough to work with. Discard the bones.

6. Bring the heat down to low and stir in all the chicken. Test your flavors and adjust seasonings if necessary.

7. Add in the cilantro and stir.

8. Chop the velveeta into small cubes (about 1 inch) and add them to the soup. Stir until all the cheese dissolves. Turn off the heat and let the soup sit with a lid on for about 15 minutes while  preparing the freshly fried tortillas for the top.


1. Heat a skillet up with some canola oil in it (a thick layer).

2. Slice your tortillas into tiny pieces (the smaller the better). Fry them up using a spatula to turn them often (the crispier you get them, the better they are). Remove and drain on paper towels. Sprinkle some kosher salt on them. Serve a large mound of these on top of the creamy chicken soup!


leave out the white beans and use a can of drained corn in it’s place

replace any of the bell peppers for other colors or use the baby sweet assorted ones

omit the carrots

use any canned beans you have on hand

use any chicken pieces with bones in and skin on or use precooked shredded leftover chicken and replace all water with store bought chicken broth

sliced avocado for garnishing

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