Confident home cooking
Chicken, Economical, Healthy, Soups, Spicy

Crockpot Chicken Tortilla Soup

by Nick

It’s been a very long time since I’ve posted something made in my crockpot, almost two years in fact.  So I was very happy when a crockpot dish won the poll last week.

Plus, it just makes sense.  It’s cold and you’re probably busy this time of year so a dish that you can RONCO (set it and forget it) is probably helpful.

Funnily, this soup fits almost all of the categories in the poll last week.  I swear that wasn’t planned… sometimes it just works out that way.

I’ve made chicken tortilla soup before, but never posted on it.  This version was, by far, the best version I’ve ever made though.  Something about letting the flavors just kind of mingle all day long really gave the finished soup an interesting and deep flavor.

You’d be silly not to try this!

Serves 5-6
Prep Time
Total Time
Print Recipe

Crockpot Chicken Tortilla Soup

Crockpot Chicken Tortilla Soup


  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Serrano pepper, diced (with seeds)
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 1 chipotle pepper, minced
  • 1 15 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 pound chicken breasts
  • 2 dried New Mexico chile peppers (or poblano)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • A few sprigs cilantro
  • 3 corn tortillas, diced
  • 1 cup corn
  • Salt and pepper
  • Garnish:
  • Corn tortilla strips
  • Avocados
  • Limes
  • Cotija cheese
  • Sour cream

Helpful Equipment


1) Finely dice the onion, garlic, peppers, and celery and add them to a crockpot.

2) Also add in the chicken breasts, canned tomatoes, bay leaves, cumin seeds, dried chiles, and chicken stock. The stock should just cover all the ingredients.

3) Cover and set the crockpot on low. Cook for 6-8 hours.

4) Remove dried chiles and bay leaves and discard. Remove chicken breasts, shred, and return to crockpot.

5) Add in cilantro sprigs, corn, and a few corn tortillas cut into bits. Let the crockpot simmer for another 30-60 minutes.

6) Season soup with salt and pepper.

7) To make tortilla strips, dice corn tortillas into strips and bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes until lightly browned and crispy.

8) Serve soup piled high with tortilla strips. Other fun garnishes include lime wedges, crumbled cotija cheese, avocados, and sour cream.

Preparing the Veggies

I know what you’re thinking:  “Holy crap that’s a lot of ingredients!”

True.  But hang in there.  Most of them are basic stuff and once they are all in the pot, there’s very little work involved in this meal.  You can go cross stuff off your list and come home to a delicious soup.

These are the few veggies that you need to start this soup.


Just a few basics.

The key to these is to dice them pretty finely.

For the Serrano pepper, I left the seeds in.  You could take them out though if you’re worried about the heat.

Then just toss all this stuff into your slow cooker!


A fine dice.

Besides the veggies you need a few other things to get this soup going.

This is where a lot of the flavor comes from in this soup.


Flavor town.

Add all this stuff to the crockpot along with your chicken breasts.  I would shoot for about a pound of chicken but you could use more if you wanted.

For the chipotle pepper, make sure you dice it very finely.  Nobody wants a big bite of chipotle in their soup.

For the dried peppers, you can use almost any dried pepper.  I went with New Mexico chile peppers, but poblanos would work also.  Just break up the dried peppers into a few pieces and scrape out the seeds.  Then throw the dried pieces into the crockpot along with the chicken breasts.

all in

Everybody in the pot!

Add in all your chicken stock which should just barely cover all the ingredients.

A Slow Cook

Set your crockpot to a low heat and let this sucker cook, covered, for at least six hours.  If you wanted you could cook it for even longer though.  Six hours is the minimum.

After that, your house will smell amazing and your soup will look something like this.

after cook

6 hours later…

Finishing the Soup

There’s a few things we need to do to finish this soup now that most of the cooking is done.

For starters, take out the bay leaves and dried peppers from the soup and discard them.  They’ve given the soup plenty of flavor and there’s no need to hang on to them.

Next, take out the chicken breasts and use a few forks to gently shred the meat.  Then you can return it to the crockpot.


Get it?

Finally, there are three new ingredients that I recommend adding at this point as they don’t need to simmer all day long.

First, add some corn and cilantro sprigs.  Second, cube up a few corn tortillas and add those cubes straight to the soup.


Just some more flavor!

Cover this and let it simmer for another 30-45 minutes.  The tortillas will soften and some will completely disintegrate into the soup which will give it a really rich texture.  The cilantro will give the soup a nice herb flavor.

After it’s second cooking, remove the cilantro stalks and season the soup generously with salt and pepper.

The Garnishes

My favorite part of chicken tortilla soup is serving it with tons of fun garnishes and toppings and then people can kind of make their own bowls.

The essential topping (in my opinion) is crispy tortilla strips.  These are super-easy to make.  Just cut a few corn tortillas into long strips and bake them at 350 degrees for about 15-20 minutes.

The strips will be lightly browned when the are done and super-crispy.


Great garnish.

Some other topping ideas that I like are sliced avocado, crumbled cotija cheese (or any cheese really), sour cream, and lime wedges.

fun stuff

Some other fun add-ins.

Once your soup is seasoned well with salt and pepper just ladle it into a bowl and pile on the toppings!


From above.

It’s actually a very filling meal for soup because of the chicken, tortillas, and cheese.  It’s very warming and just a complete winner of a meal in my book.

Don’t be daunted by the ingredient list here, people.  You can and should give this a shot sometime this winter!

The cute little napkins in this post were kindly donated by Oh Little Rabbit.