Chicken Tortilla Soup

Updated: Jan 17

Delicious gluten free chicken soup with the flavors of the American Tex-Mex cuisine and topped with crunchy tortilla strips!

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: about 45 minutes

Serves 4 to 6 people

Bold, full of flavor, easy to make, and absolutely delicious! This Tex-Mex dish is a favorite of mine. The multiple layers of flavors and textures makes it so delectable and addictive.

Chicken tortilla soup is a rich broth, flavored with traditional Tex-Mex spices and herbs, loaded with black beans and sweet corn, and topped with sliced jalapeños, avocado, and fresh cilantro. It is always served with lime wedges for acidity. Normally, it is served at restaurants as an appetizer. But you can honestly make a meal out of it.

The greatest thing about this soup is that it tickles many dietary restrictions boxes: soy-free, dairy-free, and can be made vegan/vegetarian by omitting and substituting some of the ingredients.

What is Tex-Mex cuisine?

Tex-Mex cuisine (fromTexan and Mexican) is an American regional cuisine that derives from the culinary creations of the Tejano people ofTexas. It has spread from border states such as Texas and others in theSouthwestern United States to the rest of the country as well as Canada. Tex-Mex is most popular in Texas and neighboring areas, especially nearby states in both the US and Mexico.

What is the flavor profile of this dish?

Complex, bold, tangy, spicy, and creamy. The vegetables give the dish a nice balance while the spices awaken the taste buds. The addition of the avocado in the end brings that extra touch, almost creamy, and the tortilla strips add a layer of crunchiness.

What ingredients will I need to make this dish?

Chicken, gluten free chicken broth, black beans, whole kernel corn, canned petite tomatoes, cumin seeds, adobo, chili powder, onions, garlic, limes, 1 avocado, 1 jalapeño pepper, fresh cilantro, bay leaves, spices, salt, pepper, and vegetable oil

What else will I need to make this dish?

A large skillet or pot with a lid, a couple of containers with lids, a baking tray, parchment paper, a knife, cutting board, measuring cups and spoons, and a wooden spoon.

Can I make substitutions?

You can use chicken on the bone. Keep in mind that the cooking process will be a tad longer.

If you are in a time crunch, store-bought corn tortilla chips can be used instead of making your own tortilla strips.

If needed, you can also substitute the salt for a salt substitute.

If you can find a store-bought chili powder that is 100% gluten free, you can use that as well.

Can I make this dish vegan or vegetarian?

Yes. Skip the chicken and the chicken broth. Use vegetable stock instead.

What is Adobo?

Adobo is a combination of seasonings and spices used in Latin cuisine. It is used to impart flavor to fish, poultry, beef, pork, and vegetarian dishes. Keep in mind that Latin Adobo is different from Adobo from the Philippines.

Is store-bought Adobo gluten free?

Most of the time it is not. Thus why I will teach you how to make your own. It is very easy to make and it can be stored for months.

What will I need to make adobo?

Salt, black pepper, onion and garlic powder, cumin, paprika, turmeric, and oregano.

What is Chili Powder?

Chili powder (also spelled chile, chilli, or, alternatively, powdered chili) is the dried, pulverized fruit of one or more varieties of chili pepper, sometimes with the addition of other spices (where it is also sometimes known as chili powder blend or chili seasoning mix).

It is used as a spice (or spice blend) to add pungency (piquancy) and flavor to culinary dishes.

In American English, the spelling is usually "chili"; in British English, "chilli" (with two "l"s) is used consistently.

Chili powder is used in many different cuisines, including American (particularly Tex-Mex), Chinese, Indian, Korean, Mexican, Portuguese, and Thai. A chili powder blend is the primary flavor in American chili con carne.

What are the ingredients for Chili Powder?

Paprika, oregano, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, and cayenne pepper.


  • 2 to pounds of chicken breasts (whole and deboned)

  • 6 cups of Swanson Gluten Free Chicken Broth

  • 30 oz canned petite diced tomatoes (drained)

  • 15 oz canned black beans (drained and rinsed)

  • 15 oz canned whole kernel corn (drained)

  • 1 large yellow onion (chopped finely)

  • 1 large red onion (chopped finely)

  • 8 garlic cloves (peeled and chopped finely)

  • 5 limes

  • 1 jalapeño (chopped / optional)

  • 5 corn tortillas (cut into long thin strips)

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of cumin seeds

  • 1 1/2 tablespoon of chili powder (recipe below)

  • 1 tablespoon of Adobo (recipe below)

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika

  • salt & pepper

  • fresh cilantro (divided in two)

  • vegetable oil

  • 1 avocado (peeled and sliced into small pieces)


  • 5 tablespoons of salt

  • 2 tablespoons of black pepper

  • 2 tablespoons of onion powder

  • 2 tablespoons of garlic powder

  • 2 tablespoons of cumin

  • 1 tablespoon of turmeric

  • 1 tablespoon of paprika

  • 2 tablespoons of crushed oregano

Chili Powder

  • 2 tablespoons paprika

  • 2 teaspoons oregano

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder

  • 3/4 teaspoon onion powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper


  1. Mix all the adobo ingredients together in a container with a lid. Shake well. Set aside. Do the same with for the chili powder. You can store the Adobo and Chili Powder in a dry place for up to 12 months.

  2. In a large pot over medium high heat, add 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil.

  3. Once the oil is heated, add the onions and cumin seeds. Stir frequently and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic. Cook until fragrant.

  4. Add the chicken broth, chicken, 1/2 tablespoon of chili powder, 1/2 tablespoon of adobo, bay leaves, 1/2 teaspoon of paprika, and 1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium low. Cook for 25 minutes.

  5. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

  6. Once the time has elapsed, remove the chicken breasts and set aside and let them cool. Once they have cooled down enough, cut them into small pieces or shred them with two forks. Return the chicken to the pot.

  7. Add the black beans, tomatoes, corn, the juice of 3 limes, 1 teaspoon of chili powder, 1/2 tablespoon of adobo, 1/2 teaspoon of paprika, and half of the cilantro. Taste for salt and pepper and adjust to your liking. Reduce heat to low, cover, and let the soup simmer for 20 minutes.

  8. Cut the corn tortillas into long thin strips. Place them on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Bake them in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let them cool down.

  9. By now the soup should be ready. Serve and top with fresh cilantro, tortilla strips sliced avocado, chopped jalapeño bits, and a lime wedge.


Printable PDF Recipe File below:

Chicken Tortilla Soup
Download PDF • 17.65MB

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