Chicken Tortilla Soup

Tested & Perfected RecipesCookbook Recipe
chicken tortilla soup

Photo by Alexandra Grablewski (Chronicle Books, 2018)

Whenever we visit my parents in Longboat Key, we spend a lot of time hanging out at St. Armand’s Circle in nearby Lido. It’s the heart of the island — the kind of place where you stroll in and out of boutiques, people-watch at sidewalk cafés, walk around with drippy ice cream cones, and ask every stranger with a dog if your children can pet it. One of our favorite restaurants there is Tommy Bahama’s. The food’s always good and we love sitting at a big round table under gently spinning wicker fans, listening to a one-man band play endless Jimmy Buffet tunes.

We all have our favorite dishes at Tommy’s, but one thing everyone agrees upon is the chicken tortilla soup. It’s a silky purée of vegetables, corn tortillas, chicken broth and spices with tender chunks of grilled chicken and a nest of tortilla matchsticks heaped over top. I found the recipe in the Tommy Bahama cookbook, Life is One Long Weekend, and while it was easy enough, it called for the equivalent of two sticks of butter. No wonder we all love it! For this somewhat healthier version, I cut the fat in half and tweaked the recipe here and there to make it more home cook-friendly. It’s still delicious.

Begin by heating the oil and butter in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, and green pepper.

Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and just starting to brown, about 15 minutes. (Turn the heat to medium-low if the mixture is browning too quickly.)

Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.

Add the chicken broth, cut tortillas, cumin, chili powder, salt, and cayenne.

Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down to low and simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes.

Off the heat, then use a handheld immersion blender to purée the soup until completely smooth. (Alternatively, let the soup cool slightly and use a blender to purée in batches. Be sure to remove the center knob on the blender top and cover with a dish towel to avoid splatters.)

Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary. Stir in the chicken, if using, then ladle the soup into bowls and serve with optional additions.

At Tommy’s, they finish the soup with an artistic drizzle of lime-sour cream, which looks nice but isn’t really necessary. (I’m guessing most of us don’t keep squeeze bottles at home for this type of thing anyway.) Just keep it simple with a dollop of sour cream, chopped fresh cilantro, and crushed tortilla chips. Or for a more substantial soup, add diced chicken and avocado. Enjoy!

chicken tortilla soup

Photo by Alexandra Grablewski (Chronicle Books, 2018)

My Recipe Videos

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Servings: 6


For Soup

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 medium yellow onions, roughly chopped (about 2-1/2 cups)
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced into quarters
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and roughly chopped
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 quarts (8 cups) low sodium chicken broth (best quality such as Swanson)
  • 6 small (6-inch) corn tortillas, cut into small pieces
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Optional Additions

  • 2 cooked skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces (see note)
  • Sour cream
  • Crushed tortilla chips
  • Chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1-2 avocados, peeled, pitted and sliced


  1. In a large pot, heat the oil and butter over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, and green pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and just starting to brown, about 15 minutes. (Turn the heat to medium-low if the mixture is browning too quickly.)
  2. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Add the chicken broth, cut tortillas, cumin, chili powder, salt, and cayenne and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to low and simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes.
  3. Remove the pot from the heat, then use a handheld immersion blender to purée the soup until completely smooth. (Alternatively, let the soup cool slightly and use a blender to purée in batches. Be sure to remove the center knob on the blender top and cover with a dish towel to avoid splatters.) Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary. Stir in the chicken, if using, then ladle the soup into bowls and serve with optional additions.
  4. Note: I usually use leftover or rotisserie chicken for this soup, but if you want to cook the chicken from scratch, you’ll need two bone‑in chicken breasts. Preheat the oven to 425°F and set an oven rack in the middle position. Place the chicken breasts on an aluminum foil–lined baking sheet, season with salt and pepper, and cook for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through. Let cool, then pull the meat off the bone and cut into bite-sized pieces.
  5. Freezer-Friendly Instructions: The soup can be frozen for up to 3 months. Defrost the soup in the refrigerator for 12 hours and then reheat it on the stovetop over medium heat until hot. This soup will also keep nicely in the fridge for 3 to 4 days. (If refrigerated or frozen, the soup will thicken up quite a bit, so add a bit of water or chicken broth while reheating to thin it out as necessary.)

Pair with

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (6 servings)
  • Serving size: 1 bowl (does not include toppings)
  • Calories: 618
  • Fat: 46 g
  • Saturated fat: 14 g
  • Carbohydrates: 14 g
  • Sugar: 3 g
  • Fiber: 3 g
  • Protein: 37 g
  • Sodium: 751 mg
  • Cholesterol: 160 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

Reviews & Comments

  • I’ve been looking for a tortilla soup recipe and decided to give yours a go! Thank you for sharing this recipe. I’ve made it twice for myself (by halving the recipe); however, the second time I accidentally put in double the amount of spices. It still turned out great with a slight kick. When you say to adjust the seasonings at the end of the recipe, are you referring to the salt and/or the spices as well?

    • — Grace on November 15, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Grace, I’m mostly referring to the salt but you can add more of any of the spices, too.

      • — Jenn on November 15, 2018
      • Reply
  • Hi, Jenn: Could this soup be thickened with cornstarch instead? If so, when would I add it? Thanks for answering the questions we have! Jamie

    • — Jamie on November 8, 2018
    • Reply
    • Sure, Jamie — I’d mix it with some cold water and add it at the very end. You could also use fine cornmeal (or instant polenta), increase the amount of corn tortillas, or reduce the amount of broth to make the soup thicker.

      • — Jenn on November 8, 2018
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn: I love your recipes and your new cookbook.
    Regarding your chicken tortilla soup, could you make a suggested substitution for the wheat flour? We are gluten free. Is the flour used to thicken the soup?

    Thank you.


    • — Leslie on October 29, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Leslie, You can just leave it out; the soup won’t be quite as thick but it will still be delicious.

      • — Jenn on October 29, 2018
      • Reply
  • Does it matter if the veggies are diced or roughly chopped

    • — Allison Manowitz on October 24, 2018
    • Reply
    • No, Allison, it doesn’t really matter; they will just cook more quickly if they are more finely chopped. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on October 25, 2018
      • Reply
  • Jenn,

    Maybe it’s because I’ve been making your Potato/Leek and Black Bean soups over the past week which are thicker, but I just made this recipe exactly as written and found it seemed a bit watery.

    Any suggestions for adding a little more body to it, similar to the photo?

    • — Steve on October 16, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Steve, I would simmer it uncovered for a while. If that fails (or you’re in a hurry), you can make a smooth paste with 1 tablespoon flour and 1 tablespoon softened butter. Whisk it into the hot soup, let it simmer for a few minutes, and it will thicken right up. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on October 16, 2018
      • Reply
      • Thanks. Between the roux and an addition 6-7 minutes uncovered at a low boil it now just coats the back of a spoon and holds a line when I run my finger through it.

        • — Steven on October 16, 2018
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  • Wonderful!
    I used a yellow pepper and it gave it a warm color to go with the warm texture and great finish!

    • — Christopher Lenk on October 13, 2018
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  • Are the corn tortillas added during cooking both for flavor and to thicken the soup?

    • — Steven on October 10, 2018
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    • That’s right – they add nice flavor and texture to the soup. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on October 10, 2018
      • Reply
  • Could I use the “soft corn” tortillas which are part corn part flour tortillas?

    • — Thessaly Karas on August 15, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Thessaly, I think that’d be okay. Please lmk how it turns out.

      • — Jenn on August 16, 2018
      • Reply
  • For those who added corn & black beans…did you add it at the end or blend it up with everything else? Making this tonight, looks awesome!

    • — Amy on May 14, 2018
    • Reply
  • Thought we had the best tortilla soup recipe. This one is Delish!! Our new favorite. Made just as described and made a great meal!

    • — Barbara Goldman on March 1, 2018
    • Reply
  • This soup is so good! I would be pleased with this if it was served to me in a restaurant. As a matter of fact, it is better than most tortilla soups I have had in a restaurant. It is as good as my favorite, which thanks to you, I can now make at home! Thank you for sharing!

    • — trish on February 22, 2018
    • Reply
  • This recipe has been my go-to for at least a couple of years. The recipe is good as is but I find that sautéing the tortillas in the very beginning adding more to the flavor. I also fry some tortillas to add some crunch in the end. I serve with avocado and chopped cilantro

    • — Vikki on December 5, 2017
    • Reply
  • This recipe was a huge hit in my household. I am a soup lover but my husband is only an occasional soup eater and my 5yr old has never been a fan. This recipe changed that. They both request it and often.
    I follow this recipe exactly and then modify the toppings based on what I have on hand(avocado, chicken, sour cream,squeeze of lime, etc.). I find it very forgiving too so I have added less/more peppers/garlic/onion because of how much I had and it comes out perfect regardless. It freezes very well and I freeze before adding any extras. I have just started a low carb/no sugar diet so I need to find a way to make this with no corn tortillas or less. or just eat it as a cheat meal 🙂

    • — Jady M. on November 30, 2017
    • Reply
  • This is one of our favorite weeknight meals. It’s affordable, simple to prepare and delicious! I substitute red or orange peppers for the green, because I just simply prefer the taste. I do also add chicken and avocado. I use two organic chicken breasts and roast with olive oil, salt and granulated garlic. I love what it adds to the soup. I completely forgot about the chicken one night so we ran to the store for an emergency chicken, cut it up and it did the job pefectly! And, don’t forgot crushed tortilla chips and the dollop of cream (I use whole plain yogurt). It’s an all time hit and my children are excited every time they see it waiting for them at dinner time. 🙂

    • — JP on November 30, 2017
    • Reply
  • Love your recipes! chicken tortilla soup is one of my husband’s favorites and this recipe really knocked it out of the park! He loves spicy food and I’m wondering how to increase the heat without changing the flavor too much? Would substituting a poblano pepper for the green pepper work well? Or do you think just increase the cayenne pepper at the end?

    • — autumn on November 27, 2017
    • Reply
    • Hi Autumn, so glad you like the recipes! A diced jalapeño pepper would work well – you could add it with the green peppers (add the seeds at your discretion – that’s where most of the heat is). As you mentioned, you could also increase the cayenne pepper. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on November 28, 2017
      • Reply
  • Another delicious recipe 🙂 I have cooked more than 20 of your recipes and can say you are by far my fave food blogger. You have a gift for impressive, delicious recipes that are simple enough for even beginner chefs to follow. I think I learn something with every new recipe I try. Also, just pre-ordered your book, can’t wait!!

    • — J Page on November 3, 2017
    • Reply
    • Thanks so much, J! I’m so happy you’re enjoying the recipes and appreciate your support. 😊

      • — Jenn on November 3, 2017
      • Reply
  • While the taste was similar to Tommy Bahamas it was not the same. Also this soup is very thin whereas Tommy’s is thick. Still a good soup.

    • — Ginger on September 24, 2017
    • Reply
  • I made this over the weekend and it’s delicious.

    • — Jamie on September 18, 2017
    • Reply
  • I have some tortillas that I bought from the refrigerated section. They aren’t cooked yet. Should I cook them first or will they be okay by just adding?
    Here’s an website to the tortillas:

    • — P on May 18, 2017
    • Reply
    • Hi P, if you’re referring to the tortillas that go into the soup (and not the tortilla chips that are a suggested garnish), then, no, they do not need to be cooked.

      • — Jenn on May 19, 2017
      • Reply
  • This soup was my saviour while i was sick. So good!

    • — Noelle on May 11, 2017
    • Reply
  • I made and served this soup without adding cooked chicken, and everyone commented on how delicious it is. This simple recipe packs a powerful flavor punch!

    I served my husband’s friend the last remaining portion of this soup when he dropped by yesterday, and he described it in the same words my son’s girlfriend had used the night before (as she heated up a second bowl): “This tastes just like a liquid chicken enchilada. It’s so good!” ‘Nuff said.


    We had a group of college students over the other night, and I decided — even though I hadn’t tried every recipe I chose — to trust for most of the menu. Here it is, with asterisks in front of Jenn’s recipes, in case anyone would like a fun party menu:
    -raw veggies
    -corn chips (the Xochitl ones in Jenn’s photos)
    -Jack’s salsa (*Roasted Tomato Salsa would probably be great here!)
    *Black Bean Dip
    *Green Pea Guacamole

    *Chicken Tortilla Soup (inspired by Tommy Bahama’s)
    *Best Ground Beef Chili
    *Broccoli & Cheese Soup with Homemade Croutons (NOT in line with the rest of the flavor profile! I just had to use up broccoli and made this in case of vegetarians, lol. *Black Bean Soup would have been a much better menu choice.)
    TOPPINGS for the first 2 soups: crushed tortilla chips and diced avocados (plus shredded cheddar and beans for the chili)

    -fruit salad
    *Nutty Jam Thumbprints (*Coconut-Lime Mexican Wedding Cookies would also be great here!)
    *Flourless Chocolate Cake with Meringue Topping (To fit this menu’s flavor profile even better, I think this cake would still work well with a little cayenne pepper.)

    DRINKS (non-alcoholic, since we were serving underage kids, but I bet Jenn’s *Mojitos and *Margaritas would be great with this menu)
    – mango lemonade; limeade; and lime-coconut seltzer water

    • — Marie-Jeanne on March 25, 2017
    • Reply
  • Awesome Soup. Prepared this soup according to the recipe and it was really one of the best soups I ever ate. I highly recommend the recipe. Thanks Jenn!

  • I replaced the chili powder with ancho chili powder and held back a little of the cumin (as I don’t like spicy foods). Was surprised at the corn tortilla step – would have never considered doing that, but nice flavor and texture. Wish the overall color was more appealing, but I really did enjoy the dish.

    • — Christy on March 17, 2017
    • Reply
    • One more comment . . . I just sprinkled the chicken breasts with Goyas all purpose seasoning and then sautéed until cooked through. I then let it cool and shredded to add to the soup. I would think a rotisserie chicken would be a quick alternative. This recipe will go on my soup rotation.

      • — Christy on March 17, 2017
      • Reply
  • Can I substitute the corn tortillas by corn tortilla chips?

    • — Chantal on March 7, 2017
    • Reply
    • Hi Chantal, Unfortunately that won’t work as the corn tortillas play a big part in this recipe– sorry!

      • — Jenn on March 9, 2017
      • Reply
  • Hi Jen,

    Do you think a vegetarisn version could work? Can I substitute chicken broth with vegetable broth and just skip the chicken or put it as a garnish for the meat eaters?


    • — Jenny on March 4, 2017
    • Reply
    • Sure, Jenny, I think that would work!

      • — Jenn on March 5, 2017
      • Reply
  • Found this recipe to be quick, easy and delicious. I made it as written and tasted it–yummy. As it was simmering I discovered some leftover roasted winter vegetables in the back of my refrigerator (sweet potato, butternut squash, carrots, parsnips). I decided to add about a cup of these and used my immersion blender to puree them in. In addition I added another cup of the diced, cooked veggies. The vegetables added another dimension to the soup that I liked a lot. It no longer was a traditional tortilla soup but I loved the balance of the Mexican flavors with the subtle sweetness of the vegetables. Recipe is a keeper.

    • — Ellie on February 14, 2017
    • Reply
  • I think that the calorie count is way too high here (i.e. Miscalculated not a bad recipe!) my guess is by a factor of 2.

    • — Sue on February 7, 2017
    • Reply
    • Hi Sue, Because I’m not a nutritionist, I use an online tool to calculate the nutritional information for the blog. When I plugged in the ingredients for this recipe, those were the results. I just checked it again and am getting the same numbers. I agree that the calories look quite high; my guess is that much of that comes from the olive oil and the butter, so you can cut back on those a bit if you choose.

      • — Jenn on February 7, 2017
      • Reply
  • Great Recipe taste just like the bowl we had @ Tommy Bahamas . We added Corn ,Black Beans & chopped up jalapeño peppers . NICE

  • Hello Jenn,
    Thank You for the great website and for sharing your wonderful recipes. Your Roasted Beef Stew and Carrots is now my ‘All time Go-To recipe. The last time I made it, I had to eliminate the red wine, so I simply replaced it with the same amount of Beef Broth.

    I am looking forward to making more of these soup recipes. It seems that I can make adjustments to lower the sodium content in a lot of them though, by using home made chicken broth instead of the pre-packaged one. I am assuming the broth is the main source of sodium??

    Keep up the good work. Everything is always full of flavor!!

    Happy Spring,

    • — Sue on March 8, 2016
    • Reply
    • Happy Spring to you Sue! While it depends upon the other ingredients in the recipe, the broth often contributes a significant amount of the sodium. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on March 8, 2016
      • Reply
  • Loved this! Great great great recipe. I substituted 1/4 of a bell pepper with a jalapeño for added heat. Added corn and black beans as suggested.
    Question: do you think this would freeze well?

    • — Tori on March 2, 2016
    • Reply
    • Yes Tori, I do think it will freeze nicely. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on March 4, 2016
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn, I decided to give 1 1/4 cups of masa a try instead of tortillas because the recipe looked SO delicious….and I was too lazy to go to the store! Although I’ve never tasted the original soup, my entire family, including my picky 4 year old, absolutely loved it! The soup definitely had some thickness to it, but not gloppy at all. Next time, I might try reducing the masa amount to just one cup. Thanks for all your recipes!

    • — Tanya on February 29, 2016
    • Reply
    • So glad it turned out with the masa Tanya- thanks for letting me know!

      • — Jenn on February 29, 2016
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn, If I don’t have corn tortillas on hand, would I be able to use masa? If so, how much would you suggest?

    • — tanya on February 27, 2016
    • Reply
    • Hi Tanya,
      I’d be reluctant to suggest that here, because I’m not certain how it would affect the texture and wouldn’t know how much to suggest– sorry!

      • — Jenn on February 29, 2016
      • Reply
  • I had never had tortilla soup, but LOVED the concept of it and have been looking for a recipe for a while. As usual….I found a LOT of recipes where the author tried to add their own special flair to what should be a relatively simple soup. I was so excited to find your recipe and it absolutely did not disappoint!! I’ll definitely be making this again!!

    • — Janice on February 19, 2016
    • Reply
  • Have you made this soup without the tortillas and if so did it drastically change the flavor of the soup?

    • — W on January 22, 2016
    • Reply
    • I’m afraid that making the soup without the tortillas would definitely change the flavor and texture of the soup– sorry!

      • — Jenn on January 22, 2016
      • Reply
  • I love this soup! I have made it several times. Do you have any nutritional information on it?

    • — Janet on January 21, 2016
    • Reply
    • Hi Janet, Glad you like it! I just added the nutritional info. Keep in mind that the numbers don’t include any of the optional ingredients/toppings.

      • — Jenn on January 21, 2016
      • Reply
  • Very good recipe. So much easier than what I have been making over the years with dried and charring vegetables. This imparted just as much flavor and my husband said it is one of the best he has tasted. I did add a couple of cups of super sweet corn I put up over the summer and a can of Trader Joe’s Cuban black beans drained. Just a personal preference for more substance to the broth.

    • — Rochelle Shugrue on December 2, 2015
    • Reply
  • I made this for dinner tonight because after all the Thanksgiving feasting, I definitely needed something on the lighter side!

    I followed the recipe exactly and my husband and two teens loved this. I thought it was yummy and appreciated its simplicity to prepare and get on the table. Due to the cook time, it does take about 45 minutes to an hour to prepare, but that’s mostly cook time so while it’s not an instant dinner, it is easy and doesn’t take a lot of my attention. This recipe is definitely a keeper!!

    • — Janice on November 29, 2015
    • Reply
  • I can not wait to try this recipe. I don’t have, but want, an immersion blender. What brand do you use? Is it electric or battery operated?

    • — Becki on November 17, 2015
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn – I love your recipes! What would you recommend pairing with this soup for serving?

    • — Rachael on November 3, 2015
    • Reply
    • Hi Rachael, I actually serve this soup as a main dish (sometimes I add rice to it as well) and serve with corn bread muffins.

      • — Jenn on November 8, 2015
      • Reply
  • Wowie-wow-wow! This was delicious! Thanks for the great recipe.

    • — Connie on October 7, 2015
    • Reply
    • Made this again and really, can’t put into words how much I love this! It does not taste easy! I’m seriously dreaming about it… come to think of it, I might have a problem… It’s full-bodied, easy to customize and packed with flavor. I have added beans & corn. I have pulled out some of the dice before blending it and adding it back in, so it has some extra ‘junk.’ I’ve served it with all the garnishes and with only a few. I’m bringing it to a neighborhood Halloween party. I expect to bring home an empty crock pot! We will be eating this until May! Thanks again!

      • — Connie on October 29, 2015
      • Reply
  • Fantastic! Didn’t change a thing! This will become a regular on my menu. Chopped up some chicken for my toddler and he loved it. Love that you can be pretty careless with how big you chop up your veggies because you’ll puree them in the end anyway. Thanks Jenn!

    • — Anna on September 24, 2015
    • Reply
  • This is the BEST Chicken Tortilla Soup I have EVER eaten! Absolutley fabulous. The only thing I changed was substituting a Sweet Red Pepper for the Green Bell Pepper.

    • — Sara Dolan on April 13, 2015
    • Reply
  • Make this soup the day before you eat it…it develops and marries all the flavors…I added a few shakes of crystal hot sauce (crystal gives depth,but isnt all that hot).
    Also added a dollop of sour cream to the garnish, with four blend shredded mexican flavor cheese…and chopped rotisserie chicken as it was our main course…..fabulous!

    • — Gayann on March 31, 2015
    • Reply
  • Loved how easy it was to make on a workday! The corn tortillas added a nice flavor and a satisfyingly thick texture. I added just a dash of red pepper flakes. This is now a family favorite!

    • — Michelle on March 27, 2015
    • Reply
  • Delicious, fun, festive, and a family favorite!

    The immersion blender makes these soups so easy to make. Transferring to a blender is a hassle and you can find an immersion blender that will get the job done for $30.

    • — Christina on March 19, 2015
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn. This soup sounds absolutely delicious and I would love to make it tomorrow night for dinner (with the garnishments and all)! I do not have an immersion blender and will need to put the soup in my kitchenaid blender. Does the entire pot of soup need to be blended? I’m guessing 2 cups at a time?

    Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • — Aminah on March 9, 2015
    • Reply
    • Hi Aminah, This is one of my favorites — you will love it! Yes, the whole soup does need to be blended. You can do it a few cups at a time; just be sure the hole is open in the lid to allow the steam to escape and cover with a dish towel.

      • — Jenn on March 9, 2015
      • Reply
  • I was pleasantly surprised to find this was so easy to make and so very delicious! I will surely make this again.

    • — Niki on March 8, 2015
    • Reply
  • My daughter has a peanut allergy and with the recent recall of cumin due to contamination with peanut proteins, I was wondering whether that spice could be omitted or substituted?

    • — Julie on February 24, 2015
    • Reply
    • Hi Julie, I’m afraid the soup might be a little bland without the cumin, as it’s the main seasoning in the soup, but you could try substitute more chili powder and some ground coriander.

      • — Jenn on February 25, 2015
      • Reply
  • This soup is easy to make and extremely flavorful! The butter in it gives a very rich taste. The soup was good without anything in it but my husband loved it filled with chicken, cilantro and avocado.

    • — Karen on February 20, 2015
    • Reply
  • I made this soup for a friend who came out of the hospital and had strict dietary restrictions. He, and his family, loved it! I loved it too, I didn’t know I liked tortilla soup! Super easy and quick as well.

    • — Jenn on January 22, 2015
    • Reply
  • I made a double recipe of this soup to serve to the crowd after a snowshoe race today. It was delicious and the optional toppings were fun, especially for a larger group with varying tastes. I made it exactly as written, and serve with avocado, cilantro, sour cream, and crushed tortilla chips (plain and spicy). I will definitely make it again, but will probably try reducing (or even leaving out) the butter; I think it would still be great with the lower fat content.

    • — Sue on January 4, 2015
    • Reply
  • Another hit! I made this last night, to rave reviews from my husband and three kids (ages 13, 10 and 8 — although it was a little spicy for the youngest). In our house, we rate new recipes as “keepers” or not, and this goes in the keeper pile. I served with homemade corn muffins, hot out of the oven.

    • — Amy G. on December 13, 2014
    • Reply
  • I made this soup with a few changes. Decreased the fat to 1TBSP oil, 1TBSP butter, omitted all the added salt and let guests add their own (plenty of salt in the broth), and used leftover turkey instead of chicken. As suggested, added avocado and cilantro and chips. It was really great. Made my own tortilla strips by cutting corn tortillas and baking at 350 for about 15-20 minutes.

    • — Karen on December 3, 2014
    • Reply
    • What a great way to use leftover turkey. Thanks, Karen!

      • — Jenn on December 3, 2014
      • Reply
  • I was recently in Maui and we ate at Tommy Bahama’s in Wailea. Had this soup and searched for the recipe the day after we got home it was that good. THANKS 🙂 Gonna try to make it very soon

    • — kristal on November 17, 2014
    • Reply
  • This is my husband’s favorite soup! I add just a little extra chili powder because he likes it spicy!

    • — Jen on July 19, 2014
    • Reply
  • Last year I had tortilla soup at Tommy Bahama’s in Scottsdale,AZ.
    It was so delicious, I had to find the recipe. The recipe Jenn has posted here is it! This soup is so easy to prepare, tasty, healthy and loved by my family.
    I cut up corn tortillas and bake the strips to use as a garnish. Chopped avocado in the soup is my favorite! It’s so easy to keep ingredients on hand.

    • — karen on July 17, 2014
    • Reply
  • This is amazing! Family loved it and so did my coworkers when I took it the next day. i didn’t purée just simmered for hours. Still amazing! Thanks.

  • This is a real winner!! I make it often. I garnish with shredded cheddar and chopped cilantro.

    • — Maria on February 2, 2014
    • Reply
  • Thank you Jenn! Can’t wait to make it:)))

    • — Tami on January 7, 2014
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  • This soup is flawless and spectacular! If you like Chicken Tortilla Soup – this is the recipe you’ve been looking for! I squeeze a little lime on top and add a nice dollop of sour cream (in addition to the avocado and tortilla chips). Make this soup! You will not be disappointed!

    • — Amy on January 7, 2014
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  • Thank you Jenn! I also can’t eat bell peppers any more:( any flavor suggestions? Will it be boring without it?

    • — Tami on January 7, 2014
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    • Tami, It will still be good. I would just substitute another vegetable, like a carrot.

      • — Jenn on January 7, 2014
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  • Hi, this soup sounds fantastic! I can’t eat nightshades: red pepper, cayenne, chili. Any substitutes you can think of?
    Thank you in advance.

    • — Tami on January 7, 2014
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    • Hi Tami, You can just leave out the cayenne and chili powder. It won’t make a big difference. You might add a 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano and some other form of heat. Not sure if you can have jalapeño peppers, but you could add one with the green peppers in the beginning if you’d like the soup to be spicy (add the seeds at your discretion – that’s where most of the heat is).

      • — Jenn on January 7, 2014
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  • May I suggest poaching the chicken breast in 4 cups of water, with a bay leaf and some whole pepper corns, instead of baking it. That’s what I did, and used the poaching water for 1/2 of the stock. Fantastic recipe thank you.

    • — Myra on December 17, 2013
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  • Would not change a thing. Awesome soup

    • — Judee on November 8, 2013
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  • I made this and was so proud , it looked so good before puréed I hated to do it but it was worth it! Yum!!

    • — Judee Diehl on March 15, 2013
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  • I had this soup at Tommy Bahama in Manhattan, NY on Sunday. When I got home I looked for the recipe and found yours. Delicious, just like Tommy Bahamas. Evelyn

    • — Evelyn Egan on January 8, 2013
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  • I’ve made this soup three times in the last month and it’s been so delicious every time!

    I have Celiac Disease, so I substitute 3 cubes of gluten-free chicken bouillon + 8 cups of water (instead of the boxed chicken stock) and use a dash of ground fresh chili paste instead of the chili powder. I’ve also started cutting back on the amount of butter – the last batch I made used only 2T and there was no discernible change in taste.

    A BIG winner in our house! Thanks, Jenn!

    • — Erin on October 2, 2012
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  • I loved the tortilla soup. I’ve never been to the Tommy Bahama restaurant so I couldn’t compare it to that, but it was better than the ones I tried in Arizona and New Mexico.

    • — C.J. on May 23, 2012
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  • This soup is delicious. We’ll be going to Lido Beach at the end of July and can’t wait to eat at Tommy Bahamas.

    • — Jane on May 15, 2012
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  • Hands down, the absolute best tortilla soup recipe on the planet! E.V.E.R.

    • — Paige on May 15, 2012
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  • I just wanted to let you know that I’ve been making this soup for a year now and every time I make it, I think about eating at the Tommy Bahama restaurant in Naples, FL.
    This soup is so easy yet the flavor is huge. Whenever I have a baked chicken on hand, this is the first recipe I think about for the leftovers.

    • — Mona on March 19, 2012
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  • One of my favorite soups. Can’t wait to try your version!

    • — teresa on March 6, 2012
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  • Yum!!

    • — Elizabeth on March 2, 2012
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  • We love Tommy Bahamas in Long Boat Key. I was excited to try this soup and was very happy I did! Delicious.

    • — Hadley on March 1, 2012
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  • I love the creaminess and richness of this soup. It is also very good with chicken and tortilla chips.

    • — Sherri on March 1, 2012
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  • This soup is so good & so easy.
    I get so many compliments every time I make it. The corn tortillas give the perfect amount of thickness. A Costco rotisserie chicken is perfect to add at the end. Yummy!

    • — Jennifer on March 1, 2012
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  • my family loves this recipe! delish!

    • — Meredith on March 1, 2012
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  • All I can say is YUM!! One of my favorite things in cold weather- soup and Mexican food and with this recipe I get both!! 🙂

  • I love this soup and how easy it is to make!

    • — Judee on March 1, 2012
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  • This was SOOO good!!! My husband was raving about it the whole time he was eating, and he asked me to make it again when we have company tomorrow. I broiled some boneless, skinless chicken breasts (which only took about 15 minutes), shredded them, and added them in at the end. Thank you so much for another winning recipe, Jenn!!!

    • — Kim on February 25, 2012
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  • The stock of this soup looks delicomma and I plan to make it tonight. For my taste I think I’ll add roasted corn and black beans along with the chicken. I’ll let you know how the final product tastes!

    • — Helen Clark on January 26, 2012
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  • I love this soup!

    • — Sherri on January 10, 2012
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  • This looks great! Can’t wait to try it!

  • We make a very similar soup.
    No added salt or butter, but we add skinless chicken to soup while it simmers with chopped cilantro stems and a can of enchilada sauce. Remove the chicken and puree soup. Shred chicken and add to soup, top with chopped cilantro leaves, tortilla chips, avacado, jalapenos…

    • — Anne on February 2, 2011
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  • We made this soup last night, preparing for the snow storm. It is FANTASTIC! We love the blend of flavors. I’ll definitely be making this recipe again, soon. Great for lunch the next day too.

    • — Bonnie on January 27, 2011
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  • The soup was good! Very tasty…I loved it with the avocado — really balanced out the flavor. I brought some on for lunch today 🙂

    • — Kelly on January 25, 2011
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  • I love St Armands Circle and my husband loves his Tommy shirts. This soup looks wonderful..perfectly soul warming

  • Tommy Bahamas is my Favorite restaurant in Long Boat Key as well! I am obsessed with their fish tacos, if you get a chance try them next time

  • Hello, love your blog and this is a great recipe!

    Have you ever blog hopped before? We’d love it if you contributed this awesome soup recipe, it’s a great way to get links back to your site. Really easy too.

    You can check out our blog hop here:


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