Chicken Chipotle Tortilla Soup

chicken tortilla soup

I adapted this recipe from a soup at Pete’s Southside Cafe (now closed) in San Luis Obispo, California. In the late 90s, SLO folks would go there just for a bowl of the tortilla soup. At the time, I remember thinking that a spoonful of chipotle would perk it up and lend a nice smokey flavour to the broth. So here it is, my rendition of chicken tortilla soup with chipotle, SLO style.

Chicken Chipotle Tortilla Soup
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 8
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 8 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups tomatoes, diced
  • 1 cup roasted green chilies, diced
  • 1 tbs. chipotle in adobo sauce, minced (seeds discarded)
  • 1 tbs. chipotle adobo sauce (for the brave)
  • 1 tbs. citrus juice (lime or lemon)
  • 10 corn tortillas (6 inches wide)
  • 1½ pounds chicken breast (boneless, skinless) cut into ½ inch pieces
  • 2 large avocados
  • 2 tbs fresh parsley, chopped
  • salt to taste
  • ½ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  1. In a 5 to 6 quart pan over medium heat, stir onion, garlic, cumin, oregano, chili powder, and black pepper until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  2. Add broth, tomatoes (including juice), roasted green chilies, and chopped chipotle.
  3. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat.
  4. Meanwhile, stack tortillas and cut into ⅛ inch wide strips. Add to boiling broth.
  5. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Pit, and thinly slice the avocados.
  7. Add chicken to broth and return to a boil over high heat.
  8. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until chicken is white in center (about 5 minutes).
  9. Stir in half of parsley and salt to taste. Ladle into soup bowls, garnish with remainder of parsley, avocado slices, and cheese.
Serve with a light and refreshing Alsatian varietal. I paired this intensely flavoured batch with a chilled bottle of Rancho Sisquoc Sylvaner. Please note, Rancho Sisquoc is the only winery in California that produces it. This wine is fresh, precise, and not overly sweet. A bit of lime on the nose, it finishes with apricot and ripe pear. A well balanced, yet bossy white wine that will make your tastebuds party like it’s Cinco de Mayo. !Salud!

Movie night suggestion: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. I always just figured Steven’s (Antonio Casas) bowl in the opening scene was filled with Tortilla Soup. As the interrogation continued, it was Angel Eyes (Lee Van Cleef) who finally dipped his spoon into the comfort bowl.
tortilla strips into broth