Main Dishes, Recipes, Soups

30 Minute Chicken Tortilla Soup

So, Thursdays are always really busy evenings for us. Ben and I usually get home around 5:20, 5:30ish and then it’s rush rush rush to eat dinner, clean up, play with the cats a bit, and make it to our church small group at 7. [Well, 7ish… I’m naturally a pretty punctual person, but sometimes make it a habit to be places late when I know everyone else is going to be late and it’s awkward to be early. Know what I mean?] Basically this means we need to leave by 6:45 at the latest to be there relatively on time, thanks to the massive amounts of road construction in Bloomington right now.

Lots to do in an hour or so. That’s our Thursday. You can probably relate, yes?

Our routine used to be that Thursdays were leftover nights. I’m not sure where that got derailed, but it did, and so that left us with a gaping hole in the fridge [and our stomachs] last Thursday. Fortunately, I was able to whip up this incredible soup to fill the gap!

30 Minute Chicken Tortilla Soup | The Pajama Chef

I know Chicken Tortilla Soup is nothing original, but I was proud of myself for a) making this recipe up as I went along [after perusing a few recipes online earlier in the week, and no, I don’t have a photographic memory], and more importantly, b) making this WHOLE SOUP in under 30 minutes!! Yes, the whole soup… chopping, cooking, and all. All I did was let the chicken and [homemade] chicken broth defrost in the refrigerator overnight. Then when it came time to make the soup, I started preheating the stockpot as I chopped the onion and minced the garlic, then cut up the chicken as the onion and garlic were cooking. As the chicken was cooking, I measured out the rest of the ingredients in assembly line fashion, added them when appropriate, and was ladling up this spicy, aromatic soup by 6 pm! I was quite pleased with myself for this timely performance.

And boy, was I even more pleased once I took the first bite of this Chicken Tortilla Soup! The broth is spicy, but not too hot–you can really taste the different flavors and the subtle heat that comes from paprika versus cumin versus chili powder. Nothing too intense, but it blends nicely with the chicken that is cooked with a dose of taco seasoning. Then, accompanying the chicken in the broth is corn and two kinds of beans; my favorite black beans and also another Mexi-food staple: pinto beans. Rounding out the soup is a bit of fresh cilantro and lime, as well as some cornstarch to thicken it up a bit. Then you can top the soup with whatever toppings you desire. I liked the combination of chopped tomatoes, avocado, and tortilla chips the best. Oh! And cheese and more cilantro. Just too many to remember, I guess. It was just so good…

30 Minute Chicken Tortilla Soup | The Pajama Chef

There’s no doubt that this Chicken Tortilla Soup requires a speedy, dedicated-to-cooking 30 minutes, that’s for sure, but it has a tasty result at the end so I suggest you give it a try next time you need a hearty dinner in a hurry! The leftovers ain’t bad either–this is definitely a soup that improves with age. Off to my busy Thursday–wish I had everything to make this soup again for dinner tonight. 🙂

30 Minute Chicken Tortilla Soup

  • Servings: 6
  • Print


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound chicken breasts, cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons taco seasoning [this is my go-to]
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 15 ounce can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 1/2 cups corn
  • 1/2 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch, dissolved in just enough warm water to be pourable
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • toppings: salsa, avocado, tortilla chips, sour cream, cheese, cilantro, green onions, tomato


In a large stockpot set over medium heat, saute onion and garlic for 5 minutes or until soft. Add chicken and taco seasoning to the pot, then stir to coat. Cook for another 5-6 minutes until chicken is cooked through.

Pour in chicken broth, then stir in beans, corn, paprika, oregano, cumin, and chili powder. Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in cornstarch, lime juice, and cilantro, then season with black pepper to taste.

Serve with toppings as desired.


20 thoughts on “30 Minute Chicken Tortilla Soup”

  1. Yum, this sounds very good! It is so soup weather here too. I see you’re not too far away from me here in MI 🙂 I just wanted to say hello, introduce myself and say thank you so much for participating in Veronica’s fundraiser for myself. I am really humbled by all this. I appreciate all your doing so, so much!! I look forward to getting to know you better. xoxo


    1. Suzie, I am so glad I can participate! Thanks for stopping by to say hello. Will be watching for more updates on your blog/from Veronica. Praying for you 🙂


  2. Very nice Sarah! I hardly ever can make a whole meal in that amount of time, it’s a real accomplishment. I love chicken tortilla soup and it sounds great. My hubby made dinner tonight and it was a taco chili…so kinda sorta similar in that it was a Mexican-ish soup-lol. He did a good job! But I’m pretty sure it took him more like an hour and a half-lol.


    1. haha, definitely a guy thing. when ben & i cook together we can be super fast but if it’s just him alone (and truthfully, me alone too) things can be really sloooow.


    1. thanks amy! the flavor definitely deepens & gets more complex as it sits in the fridge but i think the key here is the taco seasoning to get it flavorful right away. 🙂


  3. I love a chicken tortilla soup – it’s something you don’t really see in Australia and I was super proud to bring home from my American travels. But well done for getting it in under 30mins, I’ve going to have to remember some of those handy tricks!


  4. chicken tortilla soup is one of my favorites along with broccoli cheddar! but the only “quick” version I know of is from a can and we all know homemade does NOT compare. I’m saving this recipe Sarah! Perfect quick dinner fix, you are right!


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