Yes, you can make chicken tortilla soup in a crock pot! Yes, you can make slow cooker chicken tortilla soup healthy! Yes, it’s amazingly easy, delicious AND it freezes well, too!
I honestly have no idea how I have never added a chicken tortilla soup recipe to the blog before. It’s probably my favorite kind of soup ever, yet I haven’t ever made it for myself.
What’s up with that?
And, oh my, it was amazing.
Using all fresh ingredients for this recipe makes such a difference. I used fresh tomatoes instead of diced tomatoes and really liked how the flavor turned out. Not only did this soup make my house smell absolutely lovely, but it was hearty, flavorful, and so, so comforting – just what I love about chicken tortilla soup.
How To Thicken Chicken Tortilla Soup
There are a few ways you can easily thicken chicken tortilla soup. I’ve listed my most commonly used ways to thicken chicken tortilla soup below:
- Personally, I like adding some tortilla strips into the slow cooker in the beginning so they thicken the soup as they dissolve into the liquidy tortilla soup goodness in the crock pot, slowly, throughout the day. This just seems like a nice use of the ingredients to me.
- If you’d rather a quicker fix, you can add in about 1-2 tsp. arrowroot starch mixed with some of the liquid from the soup. Stir it all into the soup after dissolving the starch and you’ve got yourself a thickened soup in just about 2-3 minutes.
- You can blend some of the cooked soup together using an immersion blender — just remove the chicken and blend a little bit until you reach the desired thickness.
- To get the soup as thick as possible, remove all the chicken and blend everything. This will make the soup more of a puree, which is definitely a way many restaurants serve chicken tortilla soup. This is how you make chicken tortilla soup creamy, too. Works like a charm! Then, just top it off with a few pieces of the shredded cooked chicken and you’re good to go.
Any of these methods works great to thicken the soup, from just a little thick to super thick. Choose whichever method sounds best to you.
Is Crock Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup Healthy?
Not all chicken tortilla soups are created equal with respect to being healthy. In fact, chicken tortilla soup often comes topped with a lot of cheese and may even contain cream and lots of salt if you order it at a restaurant. Here are some easy ways to make your slow cooker chicken tortilla soup as healthy as possible. Spoiler: all of these methods were used to make this slow cooker chicken tortilla soup healthy for ya!
- use low sodium chicken broth (this reduces sodium/salt content)
- use clean-eating corn tortillas, not refined flour (this removes unnecessary processing and empty carbs — and limit the amount you’re using, too!)
- use chicken breast in addition to chicken thighs (to reduce the saturated fat from the thighs)
- don’t add cheese (or minimize it as much as possible to reduce unnecessary fat)
- make this soup in the slow cooker to release as much flavor as possible while it cooks throughout the day
- to thicken, follow the steps to thicken this soup from this post instead of using all-purpose flour
- use fresh tomatoes, not canned that contain higher levels of sodium
- season as you go to control the amount of sodium being added
All these tips will definitely make this crock pot chicken tortilla soup healthy and delicious.
What Type of Chicken to Use in Chicken Tortilla Soup
I’ve found that cooking chicken breast along with chicken thighs does a few amazing things in the slow cooker.
One: It makes the final chicken way more flavorful and juice (versus just breasts by themselves).
Two: It allows you to get the lower fat, healthier chicken breast without sacrificing on flavor or texture.
While you can even use a whole chicken and then pick the meat off from the carcass, you can also use boneless, skinless chicken breasts and thighs – it’s up to you!
Toppings To Use For Chicken Tortilla Soup
And, in line with splurging, I had to make my own tortilla strips. Please do this as well. Your tastebuds will thank you ever so much.
Making the fried tortilla strips takes just about 10 minutes from start to finish and I recommend doing it right before serving so they’re nice and crispy to add as a topping to the soup. Just a handful will do. Be strong.
To that end, a lot of what really makes chicken tortilla soup great are all of the toppings you can add which add more depth of flavor, texture, and interest to the soup. Popular toppings are the tortilla strips, sliced or diced avocado, fresh tomatoes or salsa, shredded cheddar and/or jack cheese, a dollop of plain greek yogurt, and freshly squeezed lime juice.
Choose all of them or just a few, but please – oh please – choose toppings. 🙂
How to Freeze Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup
Since this slow cooker recipe makes quite a lot of chicken tortilla soup, you’ll likely find yourself with plenty of left-overs, The good news is you can easily freeze any leftovers. Here are some tips for how to freeze:
- Allow the soup to cool completely. Since slow cookers retain heat very well, you may want to transfer to a large bowl and place in the refrigerator to cool more quickly.
- Freeze in either gallon– or quart-sized freezer bags or freezer safe containers for easy thawing and storage.
- Leave enough space at the top of the bag to allow for expansion during freezing. Squeeze as much air as possible out of the top of the bag and seal securely.
- Place the soup-filled freezer bags in the freezer, in a single, flat layer (using a rimmed baking sheet is helpful). Allow to freeze completely. Then, stack them on top of each other or standing side by side.
- Thaw bags of frozen chicken tortilla soup in the refrigerator overnight.
I recommend waiting to add any of the toppings, if possible, until after the soup is reheated and ready to eat — that way it is as fresh as possible.
Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup
- 1 lb chicken breasts, boneless and skinless
- 1 lb chicken thighs, boneless and skinless
- 4 large vine-ripened tomatoes (approx. 4 cups), diced
- 1/2 red onion, diced
- 1/2 yellow onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 1/2 jalapeño, seeds and membrane removed, minced
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp dried basil
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tbsp lime juice (approx 1/2 lime), plus more for garnish
- 1 1/2 cups corn (can be fresh or frozen)
- 2 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
- 6 corn tortillas, sliced into strips, divided
- 1/4 cup olive oil for frying the tortilla strips (optional)
- 1/2 avocado, sliced for topping
- Lay the chicken into the bowl of a slow cooker.
- Top with the diced tomatoes, red onion, yellow onion, garlic, chicken stock, jalapeño, cumin, salt, pepper, chili powder, paprika, basil, oregano, cayenne, lime juice, corn, and cilantro. Stir to combine.
- Take 2 of the 6 corn tortillas (cut into strips) into the liquid in the slow cooker. This will thicken the broth and will dissolve as it cooks.
- Cover, and cook on low for 5-6 hours or on high for 3-4 hours.
- Once chicken is tender and can easily be pulled apart, remove from the pot and shred using your fingers (if cool enough) or use two forks. Shred into bite-size pieces and then return to the pot, stirring to incorporate.
- When ready to serve, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a wide pan. Slice the remaining 6 tortillas into thin, long strips.
- In batches, lightly fry the tortilla strips in the oil until golden brown and crispy. Remove and lay on paper towel to drain. Lightly sprinkle with salt, if desired.
- To serve, ladle the soup into a bowl. Top with the sliced avocado and fried tortilla strips. Squeeze a little more lime juice over top, if you'd like.
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