Easy Chicken Tortilla Soup (Instant Pot Friendly!)

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Chicken tortilla soup in the Instant Pot

This delicious new recipe was a reader request, and since we love Instant Pot meals, it needed to happen! Our inspired version of this traditional Mexican dish is easy to prepare and nutrient-packed — but with all the classic flavors you know and love. It’s smoky, spicy, perfectly brothy, and undeniably comforting! 

With just 1 pot required, this soup comes together in no time but is incredibly flavorful, not to mention satisfying and nourishing! Let’s make soup! 

Chicken breasts, kale, chicken broth, onion, chipotle peppers, lime juice, olive oil, spices, black beans, garlic, tomatoes, tortilla chips, salt, and limes

Origin of Tortilla Soup

Tortilla soup (also known as sopa azteca) is believed to have originated in or near Mexico City. Traditionally, it’s made with chicken broth, roasted tomatoes, onion, garlic, chiles, and tortillas.

The following is our simplified version made with easy-to-access ingredients, a boost of greens, and tortilla chips for ease. For a more traditional version of sopa azteca, check out this recipe from La Piña en La Cocina.

How to Make Chicken Tortilla Soup

This 1-pot chicken tortilla soup recipe can be made in the Instant Pot or on the stovetop, but the Instant Pot is our preferred method because it makes the chicken especially tender.

Either way, it begins with a savory base of sautéd onion and garlic, plus cumin, chili powder, and oregano.

Sautéed onion, garlic, and spices in the Instant Pot

Then we add canned fire-roasted diced tomatoes for ease, chicken breasts for protein, and black beans for a hearty fiber boost.

Pouring chicken broth over boneless skinless chicken breasts

Canned chipotle peppers make this soup spicy and the adobo sauce they come in provides all that smoky flavor without any fuss. Chicken broth provides the liquid to make it soupy and salt enhances all the flavors.

Picking up a cooked chicken breast from the Instant Pot

After cooking the chicken breasts in the Instant Pot, they become perfectly tender and easy to shred into bite-sized pieces using two forks. If using the stovetop method, just make sure not to boil too vigorously or it can cause the chicken to become tough.

Chopped kale on top of chicken tortilla soup

Finish it off by stirring in some chopped greens (we like kale!) and adding the shredded chicken back in. A squeeze of lime adds just the right amount of brightness.

Adding shredded chicken into chicken tortilla soup

Garnish with tortilla chips and avocado (and optional radish and cilantro). And just like that, dinner is served!

Overhead shot of Instant Pot chicken tortilla soup

We hope you LOVE this chicken tortilla soup! It’s:

Smoky
Spicy
Brothy
Comforting
Easy to make
& Perfect for cooler weather!

We love this as an easy weeknight or make-ahead meal, and it also freezes well!

What to Serve with Chicken Tortilla Soup

While plenty filling to be a meal on its own, this chicken tortilla soup would be delicious paired with our Crunchy Jicama Slaw or Chickpea Chopped Kale Salad with Adobo Dressing. If you’re looking for an appetizer, try serving it with our Baked Plantain Chips & Garlicky Guacamole or Southwest Sweet Potato Black Bean Dip.

And for dessert? Try our Apple Butter Tamales or Easy Vegan Flan (No-Bake!)! Hungry yet? We are!

More Easy + Hearty Dinner Recipes

If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo @minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!

Bowl of chicken tortilla soup topped with cilantro, avocado, radish, and tortilla chips

Easy Chicken Tortilla Soup (Instant Pot Friendly!)

Easy chicken tortilla soup that’s smoky, spicy, perfectly brothy, and undeniably comforting! Made in the Instant Pot for an incredibly flavorful meal with just 1 pot required!
Author Minimalist Baker
Print
Bowl of chicken tortilla soup topped with avocado, sliced radish, and tortilla chips
4.91 from 10 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 6 (1 ½-cup servings)
Course Entree
Cuisine Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Mexican-Inspired
Freezer Friendly 1 month
Does it keep? 3-4 Days

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large sweet, white, or yellow onion, diced (1 large onion yields ~2 heaping cups chopped)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder blend (NOT chili flakes, cayenne pepper, or pure chili)
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 (14.5-oz.) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts (organic, pasture-raised when possible // if vegan/vegetarian, sub more black beans)
  • 1 (15-oz.) can black beans, rinsed and drained (or sub 1/4 lb (113 g) more chicken)
  • 4 cups chicken broth or stock (or store-bought // if vegan/vegetarian, sub vegetable broth)
  • 1 tsp sea salt (plus more to taste)
  • 1/2 – 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce (from a can), minced
  • 1 ½ – 3 Tbsp adobo sauce (from a can of chipotle chiles in adobo)
  • 3 cups loosely packed chopped kale, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 Tbsp lime juice

FOR SERVING

  • 3 cups tortilla chips* (slightly crushed)
  • 1-2 large avocados (sliced or diced)
  • Thinly sliced radish (optional)
  • Lime wedges (optional)
  • Cilantro (optional)

Instructions

INSTANT POT

  • Using a 6-quart or larger Instant Pot turn on the sauté function (to the default "Normal" — not high or low). Once hot, add the olive oil, onion, and garlic and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened.
  • Turn off the sauté function by pressing “Cancel.” Add the cumin, chili powder, and oregano, and stir.
  • Add the diced tomatoes, whole chicken breasts, rinsed and drained black beans, broth, salt, chopped chipotle pepper, and adobo sauce (starting with the lesser amount). Stir.
  • Put on the Instant Pot lid and set the valve to Sealing, if applicable (some models seal automatically when the lid is turned). Pressure cook on HIGH for 15 minutes. The Instant Pot will take about 10-15 minutes to pressurize, then will begin counting down. When the timer goes off at the end of the cook time, let the pressure release naturally for 15 minutes, then manually release any remaining pressure. Carefully remove the lid, transfer the chicken breasts to a bowl, and add the kale and lime juice to the Instant Pot.
  • Use two forks to shred the chicken, then return it to the pot. Taste and adjust as needed, adding more adobo sauce for smokiness and heat (we added the full amount, but brands vary), lime juice for brightness, or salt to taste.
  • Divide between bowls and top with tortilla chips and avocado. Optionally, garnish with radish, lime wedges, and cilantro.
  • Leftover soup will keep stored in the refrigerator for 3-4 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month. Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop until hot, adding water to thin as needed.

STOVETOP

  • Heat a large pot over medium heat. Once hot, add the olive oil, onion, and garlic and cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened.
  • Add the cumin, chili powder, and oregano, and cook for 30-60 seconds, until fragrant.
  • Add the diced tomatoes, whole chicken breasts, rinsed and drained black beans, broth, salt, chopped chipotle pepper, and adobo sauce (starting with the lesser amount) and stir. Bring to a simmer and cook (covered) for 15-20 minutes until the chicken is cooked through. Transfer the chicken breasts to a bowl and stir in the kale and lime juice.
  • Use two forks to shred the chicken, then return it to the pot. Taste and adjust as needed, adding more adobo sauce for smokiness and heat (we added the full amount, but brands vary), lime juice for brightness, or salt to taste.
  • Divide between bowls and top with tortilla chips and avocado. Optionally, garnish with radish, lime wedges, and cilantro.
  • Leftover soup will keep stored in the refrigerator for 3-4 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month. Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop until hot, adding water to thin as needed.

Video

Notes

*Baked or fried tortilla strips are traditional in tortilla soup, but we used tortilla chips for ease. If you would prefer tortilla strips, use this method but leave out the spices and nutritional yeast.
*Total prep time and cook time are similar for the Instant Pot and stovetop.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated with the lesser amounts of chipotle peppers in adobo and avocado, with unsalted tortilla chips, and without optional ingredients.

Nutrition (1 of 6 servings)

Serving: 1 (1 1/2-cup serving) Calories: 388 Carbohydrates: 37.4 g Protein: 29.4 g Fat: 13.5 g Saturated Fat: 2.2 g Polyunsaturated Fat: 3.3 g Monounsaturated Fat: 6.4 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 57 mg Sodium: 997 mg Potassium: 1078 mg Fiber: 11.9 g Sugar: 4.1 g Vitamin A: 880 IU Vitamin C: 24.6 mg Calcium: 150 mg Iron: 3.8 mg

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  1. Danielle says

    Hi there!! I’m looking to make this ASAP BUT would like to double the recipe so I can store some and freeze for when I have my baby later this month. When doubling, would I increase time in instant pot or leave as is?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Danielle, congratulations! There’s no need to increase the cook time, but it will take longer for the pressure to naturally release. The only other thing will be to make sure the total contents don’t go past the PC MAX line on the inside of the inner pot. Hope that helps!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Jax, the tomatoes add flavor, but maybe roasted red peppers? Otherwise, yes, perhaps a bit more chicken stock. Hope that helps!

  2. Jessie says

    I’ve made this 3 times now and it’s perfect. Easy and delicious. My kids and husband love it. It’s hard to find a recipe that pleases everyone and this one hits the mark. Thanks!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Amazing! We’re so glad it’s a hit with the whole family. Thank you for sharing, Jessie! xo

  3. Lora says

    Hi there! What can be used to sub the chipotle peppers and adobo sauce? I couldn’t find any at my local grocer stores and hoping to make this asap! :)

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Lora! Unfortunately the chipotle peppers and adobo sauce are pretty essential for the right flavor in this soup, if you have chipotle pepper powder a small amount of that might work, or possibly an addition of smoked paprika (maybe ~1 tsp) and a small amount of cayenne for heat, probably 1/8 tsp to start. We haven’t tried those additions, though. Let us know how it goes!

  4. Eugenia says

    I made the stope top version and it came out delicious! Also it is super easy to make and took less than 30 minutes from start to finish. The only thing I did differently because I did not have the peppers in adobo sauce was that I substituted that with three small sweet peppers cut in half and 1 tsp smoked paprika. I am sure this changed the taste, but it still tasted delicious!!!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Love it! Thanks so much for the great review and for sharing your modifications, Eugenia!

  5. Elizabeth says

    I made this exactly as directed in the recipe and it was SO GOOD! Will definitely be making it again. Thanks minimalist baker!

  6. Larry’s Mom says

    We love this soup. Yes, yes, I overdid the chipotle despite the warnings in the directions so it was a bit spicy for us. But the flavor! Oh my gosh! It was delicious and next time I will ease into the amount of chipotle. Will be in my collection of to cook recipes. Give it a try you’ll love it too!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Woohoo! So glad you hear you all enjoyed this recipe. Thanks so much for the wonderful review!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Yes! You may want to sub some smoked paprika, maybe ~1/2 – 1 tsp, to add some extra smokiness without spice! Let us know what you think if you give it a try!

  7. April C. says

    WOW WOW WOW! I had no idea I would be obsessed with this soup! I was hesitant to try it but it’s my new favorite. Just so different from all the traditional soups out there. It’s unique but I wouldn’t say you you to have an acquired taste for it. It’s amazing! A little spice but just right. Thanks for sharing! :)

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Yay! We’re so glad you enjoyed it so much, April! Thank you for the lovely review! xo

      • Heather says

        Another hit! A quick cooked delicious meal. We are in a small town with limited ingredients so I had to swap chipotle in adobo for enchilada sauce and it was still superb. Definitely a more enchilada vibe but I’m not mad at it! Added the whole can. Not a bad swap if you want it less spicy.

  8. Amanda says

    I made this in the instant pot and it couldn’t have been easier or more delicious! I haven’t had a Minimalist Baker recipe I haven’t loved and this one is definitely at the top of my list!

  9. Natalie says

    This was so delicious! I went a little crazy with the adobo sauce so it was a bit spicier than I intended. I also used spinach instead of kale and it was great.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so glad you enjoy our recipes, Joanne! Frozen should work great with increasing the cook time – we’d suggest increasing it by about 5 minutes. Let us know if you try it!

  10. Maggie says

    This sounds delicious! Love that this site is including chicken recipes too! Could I sub in tumeric if i don’t have cumin? xoxo

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Carol, If you’d like to see only our vegan content, you can subscribe to our vegan-only email list (sign up for the email list and click the subscriber preferences at the bottom of the email) as well as visit our recipe page and select “special diet” “vegan” (here).

    • Nicol says

      I actually think the mix of vegan and non vegan options are fantastic! I’m vegan, however my fiancé is not, so I can modify recipes to accommodate both our dietary preferences.

    • MargoLondinium says

      Pretty much anything can be veganised! I sometimes like to use one of the many vegan chick’n options available (although I find that most of them are better sautéed separately as the IP can make the pieces too soft). I’m in the UK and can highly recommend the brand ‘This Isn’t’ (to sub for chicken breast) or The Vegetarian Butcher (to sub for chicken thigh). Don’t miss out on fab recipes if you want to avoid eating meat – just veganise them! FYI – for vegan chicken stock, you can’t beat Better than Bouillon Vegetarian no chicken base. You guys can get for a few dollars – I usually have to spend much more than that to get in the UK but definitely worth it. I will definitely be making this recipe and veganising it :)

  11. Maria G says

    Hi – would it be at all possible to have some of the sodium in the recipes reduced? They look delicious but it becomes a bit hard for those of us on high blood pressure medication to make them without blowing our sodium allowance for the entire day. Just a thought. Thanks for all you write!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Maria, In this recipe, you can sub low sodium chicken broth and use less sea salt. Hope that makes it an option for you! Our primary goal is to maximize flavor, but we do try to keep sodium content in mind. Thank you for the feedback!

  12. Holly Ketterer says

    This looks delicious! Do you have suggestions for a good vegetarian replacement for the chicken that won’t compromise flavor?