Instant Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup

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BEST EVER instant pot OR crockpot (tested for both) Mexican Chicken Tortilla Soup I chelseasmessyapron.com I #crockpot #instantpot #tortilla #mexican #chicken #easy #quick #avocado #lime #health #healthy #beans #soup #kidfriendly

Instant Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup is the easiest, dump-it-all-in-and-forget-about-it kind of meal! Tender shredded chicken, savory black beans, crisp corn, fire-roasted tomatoes, and a rich, well-seasoned broth come together to deliver an unforgettable soup! Top your bowl with plenty of tortilla strips, a handful of cheese, a scoop of sour cream, and anything else you like atop your tortilla soup.

If you’re looking for a quick 20-minute stovetop version of this recipe, check out this Chicken Tortilla Soup.

Overhead image of the Instant Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup

Instant Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup

This chicken tortilla soup is unlike any others thanks to a “secret ingredient” that boasts loads of flavor, adds a nice thickness to the broth, and is as easy as opening a can. So what’s the secret? While most chicken tortilla soup recipes use vegetable or chicken broth as the base, we combine that chicken broth with red enchilada sauce to make an unforgettable soup base.

That’s right, one can of enchilada sauce in this soup and you’re never going to want chicken tortilla soup any other way! The enchilada sauce adds layers of flavor, the perfect amount of seasoning, and a touch of heat. And all this for virtually no extra work on your end — just open the can and dump it in.

Process shots-- images of the oil, onion, garlic, seasonings, and tomato paste added to the instant pot

Instant Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup Ingredients

  • Chicken: While chicken breasts will work, I highly recommend boneless chicken thighs. The thigh meat becomes exceptionally tender in the pressure cooker and shreds quickly and easily. It’s also more forgiving if it is cooked for longer; chicken breasts tend to dry out if they’re cooked too long.
  • Red enchilada sauce: Enchilada sauce can vary greatly in heat from brand to brand. Personally, I love and recommend Old El Paso® mild red enchilada sauce (not sponsored). If you aren’t able to find this specific brand, I’d recommend tasting the enchilada sauce first and making sure it isn’t too spicy for your taste buds.
  • Chicken stock: A high-quality, flavorful stock adds loads of flavor and allows us to cut down on spices or other additions. We highly recommend Swanson ® chicken stock — it’s our favorite in this recipe.
  • Chili powder: Don’t confuse this with chilli powder, which is very hot. We’re using American chili powder (I use McCormick® which is very mild).

Process shots-- images of the diced tomatoes, chicken, chicken stock, and remaining ingredients being added to the instant pot

How To Make Chicken Tortilla Soup

  • Sauté: Using the nifty sauté function on the instant pot, we’ll sauté the onion, garlic, spices, tomato paste, and diced tomatoes in stages. This base adds a wonderful depth of flavor to the soup.
  • Add everything in: Once we’ve got the flavor base for this soup, everything else gets added in, and then it’s time to cook.
  • Pressure cook: The cooking time is quick — only 7 minutes and then 15 minutes of natural release. While it sounds super quick (and is fairly fast), keep in mind the machine needs to come to pressure, which can take 20-30 minutes.
  • Finishing touches: Once the pressure is released, shred the chicken (it practically falls apart!) and add cilantro and lime juice. Serve up the soup and add your favorite toppings — more on these below!

QUICK TIP

When cooking this soup in the instant pot, don’t rush the release of pressure. A rapid change in temperature and pressure can make the chicken tough. Let the pressure release naturally for at least 10 (preferably 15) minutes before fully releasing. 

Process shots of instant pot chicken tortilla soup-- images of the chicken being pulled out and shredded

Don’t get me wrong, this soup is absolutely delicious, but the toppings are what really make this chicken tortilla soup!

Instant Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup Toppings

  • Tortilla strips: To keep things as easy as possible, use pre-packaged tortilla strips (typically near croutons, salad toppings, and shelf-stable salad dressings in the store). Otherwise, make your own (check out the “variations” box below).
  • Cheese: We love adding a Mexican blend of sharp Cheddar, or Monterey-Colby Jack cheese.
  • Fresh lime: A squeeze of fresh lime in each bowl adds a nice freshness.
  • Fresh cilantro: Beyond what is added into the soup, a bit of extra cilantro is always a good idea if you’re a cilantro lover. 🙂
  • Avocado: A perfectly ripe avocado is one of our favorite additions — it adds a wonderful creaminess and freshness. You can also add a big scoop of guacamole instead.
  • Sour cream: This is another favorite addition — especially if you like your soups on the creamy side! Fat-free or low-fat (lite) adds tons of creaminess for fairly few calories!

VARIATIONS

To make your own baked tortilla strips: Stack 2-3 corn or flour tortillas and slice in half. Cut crosswise into 1/2 inch strips and place on a parchment-paper-lined baking sheet. Toss with oil, salt, and pepper. Spread into an even layer and bake until golden brown and crisp (turn halfway through), about 7-10 minutes.

Process shots-- images of the chicken, lime juice, and cilantro being added to the instant pot and mixed together

STORAGE

Instant Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup Storage

  • How to reheat: This soup (without any toppings) stores nicely in an airtight container in the fridge for 4-6 days. To reheat, add the soup to a small pot and heat over low heat until warmed to desired preference. Or reheat in the microwave. (Make sure to cover it so it doesn’t splatter!)
  • Freezing: This soup (without any toppings) will freeze well for up to 3 monthsHere are some best methods for thawing frozen soup.

Overhead image of the Instant Pot Chicken Tortilla soup in a bowl

Instant Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup Spiciness

Using mild enchilada sauce (Old El Paso brand) and McCormick chili powder, we’d rate this soup as medium-heat spicy. If adding toppings like cheese, sour cream, and avocado (or guac), these additions will mute the spiciness quite a bit. 

If you don’t plan on adding some of these toppings and are sensitive to spice, we’d recommend reducing or omitting the chili powder. You will be missing out on some flavor, but the soup will be overall milder.

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Instant Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup

5 from 22 votes
Instant Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup is the easiest, dump-it-all-in-and-forget-about-it kind of meal! Tender shredded chicken, savory black beans, crisp corn, fire-roasted tomatoes, and a rich well-seasoned broth come together to deliver an unforgettable soup! Top your bowl with plenty of tortilla strips, a handful of cheese, a scoop of sour cream, and anything else you like atop your tortilla soup.
Print Recipe

Instant Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup

5 from 22 votes
Instant Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup is the easiest, dump-it-all-in-and-forget-about-it kind of meal! Tender shredded chicken, savory black beans, crisp corn, fire-roasted tomatoes, and a rich well-seasoned broth come together to deliver an unforgettable soup! Top your bowl with plenty of tortilla strips, a handful of cheese, a scoop of sour cream, and anything else you like atop your tortilla soup.
Course Dinner, Main Course, Soup
Cuisine American, Healthy
Keyword Instant Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 6 -8 servings
Calories 393kcal
Author Chelsea
Cost $9.42

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced (~1-1/2 cups)
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic (~3 cloves)
  • 1 teaspoon each: ground cumin, paprika
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder Note 1
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 can (14.5 oz.; 411g) diced tomatoes fire-roasted (or plain) or whole canned tomatoes
  • 1 pound (16 oz.; 470g) uncooked boneless skinless chicken thighs (or breasts) Note 2
  • 1 can (10 oz.; 283g) red enchilada sauce Note 3
  • 1 can (4 oz.; 113g) fire-roasted diced green chiles
  • 1 can (15.25 oz; 432g) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can (15.25 oz.; 432g) corn undrained, fire-roasted (or plain)
  • 1 container (32 oz.; 907g) chicken stock (broth works) Note 4
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Fine sea salt and cracked pepper
  • Finishing touches: 2-3 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro, 2 tablespoons lime juice, optional but recommended!
  • Toppings: Tortilla strips, Freshly squeezed lime juice, freshly grated sharp Cheddar cheese, ripe avocados, fresh cilantro Note 5

Instructions

  • PREP: Trim fat from the chicken. If using breasts, cut each one into 2-3 larger pieces. Turn instant pot on by pressing the "sauté" button to begin warming it up.
  • SOUP BASE: Once the instant pot is on the sauté function, add 1 tablespoon olive oil and sauté the diced onion for 4-6 minutes or until the onion starts to soften and turn golden. Add in minced garlic and sauté for another 30 seconds to a minute or until fragrant. Add in the seasonings and tomato paste. Sauté for 1-2 minutes or until slightly darkened and very fragrant (but nothing should be burning!) Add in the diced tomatoes and continue to sauté, scraping the bottom to release any browned bits (this is important to avoid a burn warning).
  • COOK: Add prepared chicken to the instant pot along with all of the other ingredients up until the finishing touches (Don't add these yet!). Season to taste with salt and pepper; we add 1 teaspoon fine sea salt & 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Secure the lid, making sure to seal and cook on high pressure (manually select) for 7 minutes. Let the pressure naturally release for 10-15 minutes (10 minutes for breasts, 15 for thighs) before using quick release to release the remaining pressure. Remove the chicken and transfer to a separate bowl. Using two forks, shred chicken, and then return to the pot along with the cilantro and lime juice. Taste and adjust any seasonings (salt + pepper) to taste. Remove and discard the bay leaf.
  • SERVE: Serve bowls of soup with your favorite toppings. We love freshly grated cheese, a large spoonful of sour cream, additional cilantro, chopped avocado or guac, fresh lime, and lots of tortilla strips!
  • SLOW COOKER INSTRUCTIONS: Follow steps 1-2. Sauté ingredients in slow cooker base if your slow cooker has that function; otherwise, sauté in a separate pot and then add everything to the slow cooker. Cover and cook for 3-5 hours on high or 5-7 hours on low or until the chicken is cooked through, tender, and easily shreds. Remove the chicken and transfer to a separate bowl. Using two forks, shred chicken, and then return to the pot along with the cilantro and lime juice. Taste and adjust any seasonings (salt + pepper) to taste. Remove and discard the bay leaf. Follow step 4 for serving. Enjoy!
  • STORAGE: This soup (without any toppings) stores nicely in an airtight container in the fridge for 4-6 days. To reheat, add the soup to a small pot and heat over low heat until warmed to desired preference. Or reheat in the microwave. (Make sure to cover it so it doesn’t splatter!) Freezing: This soup (without any toppings) will freeze well for up to 3 monthsHere are some best methods for thawing frozen soup.

Recipe Notes

Note 1: Chili Powder: not to be confused with chilli powder which is very hot. We're using American chili powder (I use McCormick which is much milder).
Note 2: Chicken: While chicken breasts will work, we highly recommend chicken thighs. The thigh meat becomes exceptionally tender in the pressure cooker and shreds quickly and easily. It’s also more forgiving if it is cooked for longer; chicken breasts tend to dry out if they’re cooked too long.
Note 3: Enchilada sauce: This can vary greatly in heat from brand to brand. Personally, I love and recommend Old El Paso® mild red enchilada sauce (not sponsored). If you aren’t able to find this specific brand, I’d recommend tasting the enchilada sauce first and making sure it isn’t too spicy for your taste.
Note 4: Chicken stock: A high-quality, flavorful stock adds loads of flavor and allows us to cut down on spices or other additions. We highly recommend Swanson’s® chicken stock — it’s our favorite in this recipe.
Note 5: Toppings: While this soup is tasty out of the pot, the toppings truly seal the deal, delivering an unforgettable meal so don't skimp on these! Nutrition information is calculated without toppings.

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 393kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 27g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 61mg | Sodium: 816mg | Potassium: 847mg | Fiber: 9g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 1235IU | Vitamin C: 19mg | Calcium: 74mg | Iron: 4mg

We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed.

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Recipe Rating




58 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Made your tortilla soup tonight in the instant pot. We doubled the recipe and it was the best soup I have ever had. My husband who is not a big fan of soup has already had 4 bowls. Thanks.

  2. 5 stars
    Wonderful and easy recipe. Used my Instant Pot as a slow cooker and the soup turned out delicious! On to your Minestrone Soup!

  3. Hi,

    I want to make your Mexican Tortilla Soup tonight. My question is do I cut the raw chicken up first into cubes or do I put the whole chicken breasts directly in the Instapot ? Do I salute the chicken or just put in pot?

    1. You don’t need to saute the chicken first, it can go in raw 🙂 I like to cut the breasts just into 2-3 pieces, no need to cube it! Enjoy!

  4. 5 stars
    This was a huge hit! I have a super picky husband, and he ate 2 bowls! Definitely adding to our go to favs!

  5. Wow this looks good! Minus the chicken for me of course but I bet it would still be delicious! Absolutely going to try this for our next soup night.

  6. That looks great! I’ve always wanted to try making a Mexican tortilla soup but never found a recipe I really loved but this one sounds super tasty!

  7. Oh my gosh! I have to stop looking at all of your yummy soup recipes. It’s making me CRAVE fall…and fall foods!

  8. 5 stars
    This is a very satisfying soup! Even a grown man can dine like this! Thank you for the recipe! and for incredibly tasty photos! And for the site as a whole – you are a wizard in the kitchen! I admire you!

  9. 5 stars
    Wow! The flavor of this is DELICIOUS! I didn’t know if it would be as good as the reviews but it definitely was. I may add an extra can of black beans next time to make it a little thicker (since I like my soups rather hearty) but that is only change I will make.

  10. 5 stars
    Amazing! I added a chopped red pepper with the onion and garlic, and then decided to cube and saute the chicken. Best soup ever. Perfection in the instant pot.

  11. 5 stars
    Terrific soup! I had to take some liberties such as kidney beans vs. black beans, jarred salsa vs. enchilada sauce, and diced tomatoes in a can but it came out great and my husband enjoyed it. Next time I’ll cube some type of potato and some type of pumpkin.

    1. Ooh that sounds delicious!! You’ll have to let me know how you like it with some type of pumpkin! Thanks Lulu!

  12. Could you use dry beans for the Instant Pot Mexican Tortilla Soup Recipe? I’m a newbie and a little unsure how I would adjust the cooking time. Any help is appreciated.
    Thanks!

  13. 5 stars
    I made your chicken tortilla soup tonight and it’s so good that I haven’t heard a sound out of my two teenage kids! That’s a feat!

    I used chicken thighs instead of breast and just trimmed as much fat off as I could. It’s the first soup I’ve made in the instant pot. It was wonderful!

  14. 5 stars
    I made this in my Insta pot oh Em Gee this is a delicious recipe I am printing it out and will definitely make it again

  15. 5 stars
    This is delicious and been making it for years! About to make my first batch for the season this year – does it freeze well?

    1. I’m so thrilled you love this recipe! I haven’t personally tried freezing it but since it is not dairy based I would imagine it should freeze nicely! Let me know if you freeze it! Thanks for your comment! 🙂

      1. We freeze this soup all the time and defrost using the IP steam function. (Sans tortilla chips.)

        @Chelsea, I’m finally replying about pumpkin and have successfully added cubed butternut squash, cubed potatoes, and cubed sweet potatoes. 🙂

  16. 5 stars
    My daughter shared this recipe and it’s now a family favorite! I’ve modified it a bit to taste, but I love that it’s easy and delicious. Thank you for sharing.

  17. 5 stars
    This is the best Chicken Tortilla Soup I’ve had/made in my Instant Pot! Thank you for the recipe…quick and easy!

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