Thanks to the pressure cooker, aromatic and mouthwatering Instant Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup is everything you love about Mexican food in a one-pot 30-minute meal. Delicious and healthy, this warm-you-to-the-bones soup is loaded with juicy chicken, tender veggies, and crispy tortillas- all you need to do is grab a spoon and dig in!
Table of contents
- Instant Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup
- Why This Recipe for Tortilla Soup Instant Pot Works?
- Ingredients for Chicken Tortilla Soup
- How to Make Instapot Chicken Tortilla Soup
- Optional Add-In’s and Variations
- Tips for Best Pressure Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup Results
- Serving Recommendations
- Making Pressure Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup in Advance
- More Instant Pot Soup Recipes
Instant Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup
This Instant Pot chicken tortilla soup is from Gina’s new cookbook Skinnytaste One and Done.
It’s thick, chunky, and crazy delicious. It’s so easy to make in the Instant Pot because it’s basically a dump and set recipe. There are no extraordinary ingredients, but rather basic kitchen staples, and yet the crispy tortilla chips and bold flavours are what make this one of the best Mexican soups you’ll make this season!
The ingredients for Instapot chicken tortilla soup are flexible and can be adjusted to your family’s preferences. Whether you like it spicy or mild, beans or no beans, dairy-free, gluten-free, vegetarian or not, it’s totally up to you. Then you can choose to load it up with all of the topping possibilities or keep it simple and enjoy this warming bowl of soup all on its own.
I bet you could whip up this pressure cooker chicken tortilla soup right now with perhaps a quick run to the store for fresh Mexican garnishes, and you’re all set. If you don’t have the Instant Pot, make healthy chicken tortilla soup on the stovetop or crockpot instead. As the flavours settle overnight in the fridge, enjoy it, even more, the next day for a quick lunch or easy dinner!
Looking for more dinner ideas? Check out my most popular collection of 45 healthy Instant Pot recipes.
Why This Recipe for Tortilla Soup Instant Pot Works?
- There is major flavour in this Instapot chicken tortilla soup! It’s infused with bold spices like chili powder and cumin which are balanced by the smoky adobo and the acidic tomato base. Then add in tender chicken, chunky beans and corn, crispy tortilla strips, and creamy avocado! AH-MAZING!
- It’s ready and on your table in 30 minutes which makes it a perfect weeknight meal or a weekend soup to ward off the chills!
- Other than a bit of sauteeing, it’s a dump and set recipe. You can even shred the chicken right inside the pot!
- A one-pot meal makes for easy cleanup and the Instant Pot always makes the food extra flavourful.
- It’s easy and can be made with what you’ve already got in your kitchen. The ingredients are customizable!
- Leftover and freezer-friendly. The flavour gets better as it sits, and freezing it means you can have it again in a few weeks when it gets even colder!
Ingredients for Chicken Tortilla Soup
Soups are very forgiving. That’s why I love them unconditionally, including this Instapot chicken tortilla soup!
- Chicken: Fresh chicken breast, thighs, or any part of chicken works. Leftover cooked chicken or a store-bought rotisserie chicken is great as are Instant Pot whole chicken and Instant Pot frozen chicken. Either way, the recipe stays the same.
- Black beans: Omit them altogether or use red kidney or pinto beans. I use black beans that have been batch cooked in my Instant Pot!
- Corn: I use frozen corn and no need to thaw. Canned works too for this tortilla soup Instant Pot.
- Tomato sauce: Passata or crushed tomatoes will work. It is the same tomato sauce with a different name based on your location. Or pulse diced tomatoes in a blender.
- Broth: If you don’t have broth on hand, just use water and add more spices to taste. I have done this many times.
- Chipotle in adobo sauce: You can find it in small cans in the International food section. Replace with smoked paprika or extra chili powder to taste, if you can’t find it.
- Cumin and chili powder – A traditional combination of spices used in tacos, fajitas, and chilis!
- Tortillas: I recommend using corn tortillas rather than wheat to keep it gluten-free. You can use corn tortilla chips – crushed to thicken the soup and whole for serving.
How to Make Instapot Chicken Tortilla Soup
No Instant Pot? Check out my stove top version of chicken tortilla soup.
- Cook half the tortilla strips: Saute garlic in oil right in the Instant Pot and add half of the tortilla strips. I tried to saute them for more flavour in my 8 quart Instant Pot and they stuck badly – I would worry about getting the Burn notice. Ironically, my 6 quart, sautes better. So, if you can saute, go ahead. If not, that’s completely fine, it’s just a bonus.
- Add remaining ingredients: Add chicken, corn, black beans, chipotle in adobo, cumin, chili powder, broth, tomato sauce, salt, and pepper. No need to stir. It is better not to stir because sugars in tomatoes may start caramelizing at the bottom and cause the “burn” message.
- Cook for 20 minutes on high pressure: On the Instant Pot Duo, press Pressure Cook and select high pressure. On Instant Pot Lux press Manual (it cooks only high pressure). The pot will take about 20 minutes to come to pressure and only then will the countdown begin.
- Saute the other half of tortilla strips: I find the pan on the stovetop yields crispier tortilla strips that don’t break. This is for garnish. You can add a bit of crushed garlic as well. Yum!
- Release pressure: You can do either quick or natural release, mostly depending on your time. If you do a quick release, I recommend waiting 5 minutes before doing so to avoid very aggressive steam and possible splatters. Also using a steam diverter helps a lot!
- Final touch: Open the lid and shred chicken with 2 forks right in the pot. Stir to combine and we are ready to top off the soup with our favourite garnishes. It’s the best part if you ask me!
Optional Add-In’s and Variations
- Add some peppers. Depending on how spicy or mild you like tortilla soup Instant Pot, switch it up from diced bell peppers or roasted red peppers to chilis, jalapenos, or poblanos.
- Toss in a few more veggies such as diced carrots and celery.
- If you only have a slow cooker: Cook garlic and tortillas in a skillet. Then add half tortillas to a large slow cooker with remaining ingredients. Cook on Low for 8 hours or on High for 4 hours.
- Omit the beans totally if you’re not a fan or substitute black beans for kidney or pinto beans.
- Substitute the chicken for ground beef, sausage, or diced ham for an alternative flavour.
- Need meatless? Make this a vegetarian friendly tortilla soup by omitting the chicken and adding chickpeas or doubling the amount of beans used. Swap the chicken broth for vegetable broth, too.
Tips for Best Pressure Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup Results
- For 3 quart Instant Pot: Half the ingredients but keep same cooking time.
- Double the recipe? If you have 8 quart Instant Pot, you can double all ingredients but keep the same cook time. 6 quart is too small for the doubled recipe.
- Frozen chicken: You can use Instant Pot frozen chicken breast, just make sure they are separated. Cooking time will be the same but your Instant Pot will take a few extra minutes to come to pressure.
Kettle trick: Use hot broth or boiling water to speed up the pressure build-up. I usually turn on the full kettle before starting the soup rep. I dilute organic bouillon cubes in hot water to make broth.
Chicken tortilla soup is a Mexican soup that has chicken and tortilla strips in it, so the name is pretty fitting! Although, the ingredients can be flexible which is why the Mexican soup is traditionally just called tortilla soup. Then, depending on what meat you use, that will determine the label at the beginning of the name.
Sometimes it’s mistaken for pozole, which has a hominy base (made from corn) but is also made with chicken or other meat and a ton of other spices. They are both deliciously, hearty soups originating from Mexico, but a pozole soup is usually reserved for special occasions.
There are a couple of ways to thicken this Instapot chicken tortilla soup. One is to make a cornstarch slurry (corn starch and cold water) and add it to the soup. You can also remove some of the beans, mash them up, and add them back in. If you like a chunkier soup, and not necessarily thicker, think about cutting up your veggies chunkier rather than dicing them.
As with any soup that has this much going on with loads of flavour and wonderful textures, you don’t necessarily need anything at all. Instapot chicken tortilla soup can be a complete meal on its own. However, if you are looking for something a little extra, salads, sandwiches, quesadillas, small portions of whatever you have leftover from a previous meal, there’s no limit. Even a slice of crusty bread or extra tortilla chips to scoop up that deliciousness is great!
Not at all! It’s loaded with good healthy foods packed with nutrients. As with all of my recipes, I aim to make my recipes as healthy as possible. Whether it’s gluten-free, dairy-free, or refined sugar-free, I aim to commit to using fresh, wholesome, and good quality ingredients wherever possible.
If you and your family don’t like spice, you can easily adjust the spices such as the chili powder and the chipotle peppers in adobo in this pressure cooker chicken tortilla soup. You can omit them both or replace the chipotle with a mild enchilada sauce and think about using a smaller amount of chili powder or use smoked paprika instead.
- Tortilla strips: Fry the other half in a separate ceramic non-stick skillet while your pressure cooker chicken tortilla soup is cooking. Crispy tortilla strips add such a fun contrasting texture!
- Or simply use tortilla chips. Scooping up some soup on a crunchy chip is also a bonus!
- Lime – A squirt or drizzle of lime adds a vibrant citrus finish that is amazing.
- Cilantro – Or parsley, or green onions.
- Red onion – Sweeter than white onions, and very popular in Mexican-inspired cuisine. It’s not too pungent but adds great taste and a slightly crispy component.
- Avocado – Sliced or diced avocado on top adds a creaminess without adding any dairy. Plus, it’s yum!
- Sour cream, Greek yogurt, and/or freshly shredded cheese – If you’re not concerned about keeping it dairy-free, by all means, add some of this good stuff.
Tortilla Soup Meal Ideas
This Instapot chicken tortilla soup is hearty, wholesome and a complete meal all on its own. If you’re serving a hungry crowd or you’d rather serve smaller portions with a side for variety, check out these delicious recipes for inspiration.
Soup and a side: Tex Mex rice and beans, cauliflower breadsticks, or Mexican cauliflower rice are some of my family-friendly go to side dishes. Find a few you might like on this list of healthy sides!
Making Pressure Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup in Advance
Store: Refrigerate leftover soup in an airtight container or right in the pot with a lid for up to 5 days.
Freeze: This chicken tortilla soup is freezer-friendly because there are no tender vegetables. Freeze cooked and cooled down soup leftovers in an airtight container or re-sealable silicone bags leaving room for expansion for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight or on the counter for 6 hours.
Reheat: Reheat the amount you will consume at that time by simmering on low heat in a pot. Shouldn’t take more than 5-7 minutes. For quick thawing, place frozen soup into a pot and simmer on low, covered, and stir occasionally.
More Instant Pot Soup Recipes
- Instant Pot chicken rice soup
- Instant Pot chicken noodle soup
- Instant Pot chicken wild rice soup
- Instant Pot Thai chicken soup
Instant Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup
- 8 corn tortillas cut into thin strips
- 2 tbsp avocado oil divided
- 4 large garlic cloves minced
- 1 lb large chicken breasts or thighs boneless & skinless
- 15 oz can low sodium black beans drained
- 1 1/2 cups corn fresh or frozen
- 4 cups chicken broth low sodium
- 2 x 15 oz cans tomato sauce low sodium
- 2 tbsp chipotle in adobo sauce minced
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Ground black pepper to taste
- Avocado red onion, cilantro and lime, for garnish
- On Instant Pot, press Saute and wait until display says Hot. Add 1 tbsp oil and garlic; saute for about 1 minute. Press Cancel.
- Add half of tortilla strips, chicken, black beans, corn, broth, tomato sauce, chipotle in adobo, cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper.
- Close the lid, turn pressure vent to Sealing and press Pressure Cooking on High for 20 minutes.
- While soup is cooking, preheat large ceramic non-stick skillet on medium heat and swirl remaining 1 tbsp of oil to coat. Add tortilla strips and cook for 5-7 minutes or until crispy, stirring occasionally. Or skip this step and use tortilla chips.
- After Instant Pot has finished cooking, release pressure using Quick Release method.
- Open the lid and shred chicken with 2 forks right in the pot. Stir to combine.
- Serve hot with tortilla strips and garnishes.
- Store: Refrigerate in an airtight container or right in the pot for up to 5 days. Reheat amount you will consume at that time by simmering on low heat in a pot for 5-7 minutes.
- Freeze: Freeze in a glass container or resealable silicone bags leaving room for expansion for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight or on the counter for 6 hours.
- No Instant Pot? Check out my stove top version of chicken tortilla soup.
- If you only have slow cooker: Cook garlic and tortillas in a skillet. Then add half tortillas to a large slow cooker with remaining ingredients. Cook on Low for 8 hours or on High for 4 hours.
- Instant Pot size: 3 quart Instant Pot half the ingredients but keep same cooking time. In 8 quart Instant Pot you can double the recipe, keep same cook time.
- Sauteing tortilla strips: I tried to saute them for more flavour in my 8 quart Instant Pot and they stuck badly – I would worry about Burn. But my 6 quart, sautes better. So, if you can – saute them all in there, if not – saute garnish part on a skillet.
- You can use frozen chicken: Cooking time will not change. Your Instant Pot will take a few minutes longer to come to pressure. If using a couple of chicken breasts, make sure they are separated.