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.
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 months. Here are some best methods for thawing frozen soup.
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.