BZ’s Chicken Tortilla Soup


Brenda, one of our art directors whose last name starts with a “Z,” is also known around the office as BZ. She gave me this recipe, adapted from, so I thought I’d call it BZ’s Chicken Tortilla Soup! It’s a creamy, mildly spicy, cheesy soup that really warms you up and fills you up!

Brenda has said she likes to throw in extra garlic sometimes when she cooks, so I thought I’d add a little more garlic to this soup. I also used olive oil instead of corn oil and Half & Half (light cream) instead of milk. If you want to try a vegetarian version, another friend, Mary, said she likes to substitute firm tofu for the chicken, cut into small chunks and browned in a skillet with olive oil.

The directions below are for making the soup on your stove top, but you can also make it in a slow cooker–see the end of the recipe for how to do that! If you have a large nonstick stock pot, that would well, too. Thanks for sharing this recipe, Brenda!


Makes 8 servings

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup carrot, diced
  • 1 cup celery, diced
  • 1 cup onion, diced
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon garlic powder or 1 to 2 fresh minced garlic cloves
  • 4 (15-ounce) cans chicken broth (or use vegetable broth for a vegetarian version)
  • 1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 (10-ounce) can Rotel diced tomatoes and chilies, drained
  • 1 to 2 (1 1/2-ounce) packet(s) taco seasoning mix (start with one packet and use another packet or part of another packet if you want a stronger seasoning flavor)
  • 12 ounces chicken meat, poached and diced (or substitute pre-cooked grilled chicken strips, cut up into small chunks; or substitute rotisserie chicken); to make this vegetarian, substitute firm tofu, cut into small chunks and browned in olive oil in a skillet)
  • 1 (10-count) package corn tortillas, cut into small pieces (or substitute 1 cup of Masa Harina (Masa Flour)
  • 1/2 to 1 cup Half & Half (light cream) or milk (I just used 1/2 cup)
  • 12 ounces Monterey Jack or Fiesta/Mexican blend cheese, shredded
  • Corn Tortilla chips, crushed into small pieces, for garnish

In large stockpot, on low heat, add olive oil, salt, and pepper. Add carrots, celery, onion, and garlic powder or fresh garlic, and saute until tender.

Add chicken broth and bring to a boil. Add tomatoes, Rotel, taco seasoning, and chicken. Cut corn tortillas into small pieces and add to broth mixture. Let boil for 20  minutes or until tortillas are thoroughly incorporated into soup, stirring occasionally to keep from sticking.

Reduce heat and add 8 ounces of the cheese to the soup mixture. Simmer for an additional 10 minutes.

Add light cream or milk and simmer for an additional 10 minutes.

To serve, ladle into bowls and garnish with remaining shredded cheese and some crushed tortilla chips.

Note: I thought the thickness of the soup was just right, but if you’d like it thicker, you can add a few more cut up corn tortillas to the soup while it’s cooking (or if using Masa Flour, add a little more flour to the soup).

You can also make this soup in a slow cooker–that’s actually how Brenda makes it. She puts all the ingredients except the milk and cheese into a crock pot on the LOW setting (she doesn’t cook her chicken beforehand, letting the chicken cook in the crock pot). Stir ingredients several different times the first hour of cooking, then cook on low for another 3 to 4 hours, or until chicken is done. Shred the chicken right in the crock pot with a fork. The last hour of cooking, stir all ingredients well and then add the cheese and milk (or light cream). Stir occasionally that last hour, until cheese is well-blended. Total cooking time  in your crock pot is 5 to 6 hours on the LOW setting.


This was my first time making homemade chicken tortilla soup, and I’ll probably be making it many times during the fall and winter! Have you made it before?

15 thoughts on “BZ’s Chicken Tortilla Soup

  1. Bam's Kitchen (@bamskitchen)

    I make chicken tortilla soup very often but it is fun to see your version and the tofu idea is great because all the flavors in the soup to pick up. I also add some rice, corn and black beans to the soup to fill up my hungry boys. Have a super weekend. BAM


    1. nancyc Post author

      Your version sounds great! I have another recipe I’ll be trying that has several different kinds of beans in it. Hope you have a great weekend, too! 🙂


  2. Annie McPhee

    I bought all the ingredients today, I am going to make it tomorrow, vegetarian without chicken or tofu. The recipe doesn’t say anything about pureeing the onion, carrot and celery, but the pictures in your post make the broth look smooth. Do the vegies just cook down on their own, did you chop them very small, or did you puree them before adding the chicken and remaining ingredients? I am quite interested to see how it turns out. I almost bought a can of hominy to put in there instead of the chicken or tofu, but that just looked like a bunch of empty carb/calories.


    1. nancyc Post author

      Hi Annie–I didn’t puree my veggies, but I did chop the veggies small. So my soup was not totally smooth, but not super chunky either. If you want a smooth soup, you could puree your veggies, but you don’t have to. Hope you like the soup! 🙂


      1. Annie McPhee

        I just made this and had a bowl. I followed your instructions, but used about twice the amount of vegies finely chopped since no chicken or tofu. I pureed about 75% of them and left the rest alone. It was delicious. Thank you for sharing.


  3. Marieli

    Hello, Nancy!
    I just prepared the soup. It is amazing.
    Next time I will use a nonstick pan. I stirred many times, but I still got some soup sticked in the bottom of the pan.
    Thank you so much for helping me add new flavors to my family meals 🙂


    1. nancyc Post author

      You’re welcome, Marieli! Yes, you do need to stir the soup quite frequently because of all the cheese in it. A nonstick pan would help!



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