This Black Bean Chicken Tortilla Soup is bursting with lean chicken, healthy veggies and South-of-the-Border flavor and it comes together in under an hour!
Perhaps this should be called "Reinvented" Southwest Black Bean Chicken Tortilla Soup because when I originally made it a few weeks ago, I forgot to record the recipe. We photographed it, but when I looked through my recipe collection, the soup was nowhere to be found. I was frustrated but I went ahead, purchased new ingredients and started from scratch. The good thing is, I think the reinvented recipe is better than the original! So there you go, a silver lining, for sure!
Since this soup utilizes rotisserie (or leftover) chicken as well as canned fire-roasted tomatoes, black beans and canned or frozen corn it comes together quickly with minimal hands-on time. There is a bit of chopping (onion and bell pepper) but I use my Vidalia Chop Wizard to make quick work of that. I love this little kitchen workhorse and use it repeatedly. It comes with two blades, one for dicing small (¼-inch), the other for a ½-inch dice.
What is chicken tortilla soup?
Chicken tortilla soup is a classic Mexican soup that (according to Wikipedia), "is made of fried corn tortilla pieces, submerged into a broth of tomato, garlic, onion, and chile de árbol and epazote". Whoever originally created this soup is not known, however, it is known that it comes from the Mexico City region of Mexico. Like many other classic international recipes, there are as many versions of chicken tortilla soup as there are cooks in Mexico.
This is my personal rendition... so if you're a born and bred Mexican, this probably isn't your mamá's chicken tortilla soup. But it is super delicious and has lots of authentic flavors. I like to start the soup with some finely sliced corn tortillas which melt into the soup as it simmers and creates a wonderful south-of-the-border layer of flavor. I also like to top my Black Bean Chicken Tortilla Soup with some thinly sliced tortilla strips that are crisped in the oven with a drizzle of olive oil. I guess that makes it a tortilla-tortilla soup!
How to serve this Black Bean Chicken Tortilla Soup
Other topping options are endless, keep them simple or go all out!
Here are a few suggestions: grated Cotija cheese, shredded Monterey Jack, diced avocado, pickled red onions, sliced jalapeños, sour cream, Greek yogurt, crushed tortilla chips (in lieu of the strips), sliced radishes, lime wedges, fresh cilantro, and/or hot sauce (for those who like to spice things up a bit). It's also wonderful drizzled with this Mexican Cilantro Sauce.
We also love it with a big spoonful of this Best Ever, Super Easy Salsa.
Pin or save this recipe!
Don't be like me and neglect to save or pin this delicious Black Bean Chicken Tortilla Soup recipe. We served it to guests last night and they all commented how delicious it was, cleaning up their bowls to the last drop. I just heated up a bowl for Scott and myself and the leftovers are just as fabulous as when it was first made, maybe even better as all those wonderful ingredients have had a chance to marry and meld. I think you will enjoy it as much as we have!
Café Tips for making this Southwest Black Bean Chicken Tortilla Soup
- This is a hearty soup that works well for a main course. I like to serve it with warm cornbread and a simple green salad with a honey-lime dressing.
- This recipe calls for rotisserie or leftover chicken. We prefer white meat in this soup, but feel free to use thighs, legs, whatever you like best!
- This makes a large pot of soup. Feel free to half the recipe, but it does reheat well and makes wonderful leftovers!
- Diced fire-roasted canned tomatoes are one of the ingredients in this Black Bean Chicken Tortilla Soup recipe. You can find fire-roasted tomatoes in the section of most grocery stores where you find regular canned tomatoes. Fire-roasted tomatoes are tomatoes that are roasted over an open fire before canning to create a wonderful, slightly smoky Southwestern flavor. If you can't find fire-roasted tomatoes, regular diced canned tomatoes will also work.
- If you don't care for chunks of tomato in your soup, just drain the juice from the tomatoes into a soup pot, then pulse a few times with an immersion blender (right in the can) to break down the larger chunks.
- You can use either frozen or canned corn for this recipe. With either, I like to look for corn that's labeled "super sweet", "tiny" or "crisp". If using canned corn, I really like Delmonte's Summer Crisp Corn or Delmonte's Steam Crisp Corn.
- Even if you don't like cilantro, don't skip it here! When it's simmered in the soup for 30 minutes, it loses all the fresh cilantro taste but adds amazing flavor to the soup! I've had lots of non-cilantro-lovers write me to affirm this.
Thought for the day:
But far be it from me to boast,
except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ,
through which the world has been crucified to me,
and I to the world.
What we're listening to for inspiration:
If you enjoy any of these recipes, please come back and leave a star rating and review! It’s so helpful to other readers to hear your results, adaptations and ideas for variations.
This Black Bean Chicken Tortilla Soup is bursting with lean chicken, healthy veggies and South-of-the-Border flavor - it comes together in under an hour!
- 6 small corn tortillas (6-inch)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium sweet onion finely diced
- 1 medium yellow bell pepper finely diced
- 4 medium cloves garlic finely minced
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon chili powder I like Mexene
- 8 cups low sodium chicken broth maybe more
- 2 14½- ounce (411g) cans diced fire-roasted tomatoes If you can't find the fire-roasted tomatoes just use regular, canned diced tomatoes.
- 1 cup finely chopped cilantro (about 1 medium-size bunch) use both stems and leaves
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 4-5 cups diced rotisserie chicken
- 1 10-ounce bag frozen tiny corn I like to buy the petite or tiny sweet variety, (you can also use 2 11-ounce (312g) cans sweet, crisp corn, well-drained)
- 2 15-ounce (425g) cans black beans rinsed and well drained
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 6 small corn tortillas (6-inch)
- 1½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
Stack the corn tortillas on top of each other. Cut pile in half then stack the halves on top of each other. Very thinly slice the stacked halves widthwise. Run your knife through the strips a few times to cut into smaller pieces. Set aside. These will be used in the soup.
In a large Dutch oven or heavy-duty soup pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and bell pepper. Cook for 3-4 minutes until soft and translucent. Add the garlic, oregano, paprikas, cumin and chili powder and cook for another minute until nice and fragrant.
Add the broth, tomatoes, cilantro, reserved tortilla strips (from step 1), brown sugar, salt and pepper. Bring the mixture to a medium boil over medium-high heat. Cover and cook for 30 minutes.
Uncover and add the chicken, corn, black beans and lime juice. Cover, turn off the heat and allow the soup to rest (covered) for another 10 minutes before serving.
Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed. If you prefer your soup a little “juicier” feel free to add more chicken broth. Sometimes I need to do that, especially when reheating a day or two after making as the tortillas will continue to thicken the soup. Enjoy!
Preheat oven to 400˚F. Line a sheet pan with foil or parchment paper for easy clean up.
Stack the corn tortillas on top of each other. Cut pile in half then stack the halves on top of each other. Thinly slice the stacked halves widthwise (about ¼-inch thick). Set aside.
Place strips on prepared sheet pan and drizzle with 1½ tablespoon of olive oil. Sprinkle with ½ teaspoon kosher salt and toss lightly with your hands until all strips are coated with oil. Spread-out, as much as possible, to a single layer.
Bake for 8 minutes then remove from oven and toss with a spatula. Redistribute to an even layer and return to the oven. Repeat, stirring gently every 8-10 minutes, until golden and crisp, a total baking time of 20-30 minutes. Watch carefully toward the end so they don't burn.
See Café Tips above in the post for more detailed instructions and tips to ensure success.
If you prefer to use Metric measurements there is a button in each of our recipes, right above the word “Instructions”. Just click that button to toggle to grams, milliliters, etc. If you ever come across one of our recipes that doesn’t have the Metric conversion (some of the older recipes may not), feel free to leave a comment and I will add it.