This Spicy Mexican Chicken Tortilla Soup is super hearty and filling, and chockfull of feel good and wholesome ingredients like corn, black beans, rice, and sweet peppers! It’s also naturally gluten-free, creamy (without using any heavy cream), and deliciously spicy and comforting!
Prepare all the ingredients: Chop the onion, garlic, sweet peppers, and red and green chilies, and coriander. Clean and pat dry the chicken breasts with paper towels. Drain the can of black beans, rinse, and set aside. Measure out the cream, corn kernels, rice, and water, and set aside. Finally, combine all the spices in a small bowl – the freshly cracked black pepper, kosher salt, smoked paprika, Mexican hot chili powder, ground cayenne, ground cumin, and oregano flakes – and set aside.
For the corn tortillas: Chop the tortillas into bite sized strips. Heat 2-3 TBLS olive oil in a small shallow pot. Once the oil is hot, as the tortilla strips and fry until golden crisp on all sides – about 3-4 minutes. Transfer the tortilla to a paper towel lined plate to drain. Once cool, transfer to an airtight storage container and add salt to taste. Cover, shake the container so that the salt distributes evenly on the chips, and set aside. (Note: The tortilla chips can be made two to three days in advance.)
For the Spicy Mexican Chicken Tortilla Soup:
Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven or stockpot over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the onion and sweet peppers. Sauté for 2-3 minutes until softened, then add the garlic and red & green chilies. Sauté until fragrant – about 1-2 minutes.
Add the chicken breasts, fire roasted crushed tomatoes, canned chopped tomatoes, corn, black beans, low sodium chicken broth, cooking cream, water, coriander, the spices and seasonings in the bowl, tomato paste, and juice from the freshly squeezed lime. Lower the heat to medium and cover. Simmer for 18-25 minutes or until the chicken has cooked through. (Note: the time for cooking the chicken will vary depending on how thick your chicken breast pieces are).
Once the chicken breasts are fully cooked and no longer pink on the inside, use tongs to carefully transfer them to a chopping board and add the rice to the soup. Shred the chicken with two forks, while stirring the soup periodically to ensure that the rice doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot.
Transfer the chicken back to the pot and stir to combine, and simmer uncovered for the 3-5 minutes or until the rice has cooked through. Then turn off the heat.
To Serve: Ladle the soup into individual bowls and top with the tortilla chips, avocado slices, sour cream, chopped coriander, cheddar cheese, and serve with extra lime wedges if desired. Feel free to add any of your other favorite toppings!
If using store-bought rotisserie chicken to save time: Shred the meat with two forks. Add it to the pot when you add everything else in step 2 (except the rice). Simmer for 5 minutes and then add the rice. The soup will be done and ready to serve once the rice is fully cooked.
If using leftover chicken to save time: You can also use leftover shredded chicken if you have some in your fridge/freezer. Thaw it in the fridge if frozen first. Then add it to the pot when you add everything else in step 2 (except the rice). Simmer for 5 minutes and then add the rice. The soup will be done and ready to serve once the rice is fully cooked.
To save time with the tortilla chips: Feel free to use store-bought tortilla chips if you like and want to save time. Or you can make then up to three days in advance. You can also make the tortilla strips up to three days in advance. Just salt them once fried, and store in an airtight container in a cool dry place. Double check that the container is sealed properly to ensure that they stay fresh and crunchy!
To make this gluten-free: Every ingredient in the soup is naturally gluten-free, but you will need to use gluten-free corn tortillas to make the tortilla chips. I also recommend checking the ingredients label on your canned chopped tomatoes to make sure that there isn’t any hidden added gluten in it.
To make this dairy-free: Omit the cooking cream. The soup tastes delicious and is fabulous with or without the cream!
To freeze: Cool the soup in the fridge and then transfer it to freezer safe containers. You can store the soup in the freezer for up to three months. To reheat, thaw in the fridge overnight and reheat in a pot on the stovetop, or in a dish/bowl in the microwave.