Chicken Tortilla Soup

It doesn’t happen very often in my house that I have any leftover or stale tortilla chips, but if you do…chicken tortilla soup is a great way to use them up. If you don't have leftover tortilla chips, this is still a great soup to make. In fact, it's even better to serve with some chips, salsa, guacamole and other toppings along side. 

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How to Make Pressure Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup

The ingredients for this soup are all pretty standard and easy to come by. While this recipe calls for canned beans, it is entirely possible to cook your dried beans from scratch using your pressure cooker (see the pressure cooker charts for cooking times) before making this soup. Using canned beans make this recipe a very quick fix, and since there are two types of beans in the soup it’s more convenient to add caned than to cook both from scratch.

Ingredients for Chicken Tortilla Soup - black beans, pinto beans, peppers, cilantro, tomato and chili powder.

Tomato-Based Chicken Tortilla Soup

The base for this soup is a mixture of chicken stock and canned tomatoes, making a thin tomato-based broth. I like using fire-roasted tomatoes for the soup for a smoky nuance, but if you can’t find a can of fire-roasted tomatoes (for some reason these seem difficult to find in Canada) you can always use regular tomatoes. If you want that smoky flavor, try adding a teaspoon of smoked paprika when you add the other spices. 

Chicken tortilla soup in a pressure cooker with a ladle spooning some out.

Chipotle Chicken Tortilla Soup

Another variation you could make to this recipe would be to use chipotle in adobo instead of the Jalapeño pepper. A chipotle pepper is a smoked and dried Jalapeño pepper, so it is comparable in heat but has a smokey rather than bright flavor. If you love hot and spicy foods, try adding both!A bowl of chicken tortilla soup on a table next to a pressure cooker, along with chips, limes and a blue napkin.

Chicken Tortilla Soup Toppings

What makes this soup even more fun is all the different topping you can use to top it off. Chicken Tortilla soup is really flavorful on it’s own, but just like a great taco it is even better with some toppings. Try serving this at your next party and put out bowls of different topping for everyone to make their own personal bowl of soup. Some great options to top off this soup are:

  • Tortilla Chips (of course!)
  • Shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • Diced Avocados
  • Guacamole
  • Sour Cream
  • Mango Salsa
  • Black Olives
  • Cilantro
  • Lime Wedges


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Chicken Tortilla Soup

  • Prep Time: 10 m
  • Cook Time: 12 m
  • Total Time: 22 m
  • Servings:


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion finely diced (about 1 cup)
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 Jalapeño pepper minced or sliced into rings
  • 1 red bell pepper chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 28 ounces fire-roasted tomatoes diced
  • 3 cups good-quality or homemade unsalted chicken stock
  • 15 ounces canned black beans drained and rinsed
  • 15 ounces canned red kidney beans drained and rinsed
  • 1 teaspoons salt
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 3 cups corn tortilla chips broken into pieces
  • 1 avocado peeled and sliced
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 cup Cheddar cheese grated
  • 1 lime cut into wedges


  1. Pre-heat the pressure cooker using the BROWN or SAUTE setting.
  2. Add the olive oil. Sauté the onion for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic, Jalapeño pepper, red pepper and spices, and cook for another minute or two. Add the tomatoes, chicken stock, beans and salt, give it a good stir and push the chicken breasts under the liquid. Lock the lid in place.
  3. Pressure cook on HIGH for 8 minutes.
  4. Reduce the pressure with QUICK-RELEASE method and carefully remove the lid. Remove the chicken to a side plate and when cool enough to touch, shred the chicken with two forks into small pieces.
  5. Return the chicken to the soup and season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Place some tortilla chips into each bowl and ladle the soup on top. Garnish with avocado, cilantro, Cheddar cheese and a lime wedge to squeeze.
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Comments (19)Post a Reply

    1. Sure. You will just cook it longer (about 2 to 3 times longer) and you might need to add a little more liquid if you have too much liquid evaporation.

    1. Hi Janet. Sadly, no the calories do not include the optional toppings. I’ll leave it up to you how much of those extras you want to add. 😉

  1. Most recipes I have seen insist that meat in a pressure cooker must be finished with a natural release of pressure. They say a quick release sucks the moisture out of the meat and leaves it dry and tough. Do you disagree, or is it not really important?

    1. Hi Mary. I totally agree with that and try to always do a natural pressure release when cooking meats. With this recipe, however, because you are shredding the chicken, it doesn’t matter as much. If you want to use a natural pressure release, I would only cook the dish for about 3 to 4 minutes before letting the pressure drop naturally.

  2. 4 stars
    I tried the recipe and it came out great. Unfortunately I didn’t have a jalapeño pepper to add. To make up for this loss of heat, can you suggest something for me to add after the soup is done? We don’t like too much heat… Also, I was trying to figure out why the sodium content is so high (1510 mg)? Is that for the entire batch or per serving?

    1. Hi Deb,
      You could use a hot sauce in the soup at the end if you don’t have a Jalapeño pepper. That way, you could customize the soup to your tastes bowl by bowl. The sodium content is per serving and mostly because of the tortilla chips.

  3. I too do not have a pressure cooker. I have a slow cooker which I would use. When using the slow cooker would I cook it on high or low setting? How long do you think it should cook for. I will be using canned, rinsed black beans only. So looking forward to making this soup for myself for Mother’s Day during our quarantine here in California. Love your website. Follow you all the time. Thank you.

    1. Hi Linda. You could use either low or high setting, depending on how much time you have. If you want to cook it on low, I would go for 6 to 8 hours. If on high, 3 to 4 hours. Add the beans only for the last hour – they just need heating through.

  4. Hi, I have made this soup for years. I think I got it from you during cooking segment on QVC during their Christmas close down. I’ve love it have no other tortilla soup recipe, tossed them. I live in Texas so this is a frequent dinner, any time of the year. Thanks for all you great recipes. Also for all your kiddo photos. Always scroll down for those.

  5. I made this in my crock pot as I do not have an instapot. No jalapenos, so I added a can of tomatoes and green chillies. I seared the chicken and onion prior to adding to the crockpot. Cooked on low for 5 hours. Yummy delicious..

  6. 5 stars
    This was wonderful. Not too spicy. I did take the seeds out of the jalapenos. I also added a teaspoon of coriander and served it with a dab of sour cream. Perfect for dinner.

  7. 5 stars
    This is absolutely the best, easiest soup! My family loves it. Thanks Blue Jean Chef for this wonderful recipe and all of the other recipes you have given us. I have tried many of your other ones and they are all equally as good!!

  8. 5 stars
    I made this soup yesterday and it was a big hit with me and my husband. I didn’t have fresh jalapeño so I added 3 chipotles in adobo. We added just shredded cheddar to it and the tortilla chips in our bowls. It was absolutely delicious! I have some left and I’m wondering if it would freeze well? Thanks for this wonderful recipe Meredith! (It was great seeing you back at QVC yesterday!)

  9. 5 stars
    Fabulous recipe! We absolutely loved the flavor of this soup, and will be making it often. Love your cookbooks! Every recipe of yours that I have tried has been wonderful. Thank you for the clear, detailed directions, photos and videos.

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