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recipe: slow cooker chicken tortilla soup

January 25, 2011

I love Mexican food – fajitas, rice, beans, tamales, etc. One of my favorite dishes to get at a Mexican restaurant is the house chicken tortilla soup. Almost always, the soup is very delicious but sometimes, it’s just a bit too salty for my taste. My husband hardly orders it because it’s usually kind of greasy, and it bothers his stomach. (Back to the salt – I’ll blame/credit my upbringing, raised in a low-sodium household. Why? My mom is a dialysis technician, working at a county hospital helping people with kidney failure.) So, I’m constantly finding ways to cook without spiking my food with salt. I firmly believe that one can eat great tasting, low sodium food via spices, herbs and other ingredients.

Anyway, I’ve also been trying to use my crockpot more so I scoured the Internet for a slow cooker chicken tortilla soup recipe. Alas, I found one at I read the list of ingredients – not complicated at all. I read the reviews – all singing praises! I had to give it a try.

Below is my version of this “healthier” chicken tortilla soup. It’s got quite the kick! Hope you enjoy it as much as we did at home.

Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup
(adapted from; click here for original recipe)


  • approximately 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken tenderloins (I used 1 chicken breast and 7 tenderloins)
  • 1 can (14.5 oz)  petite diced tomatoes, no salt added
  • 1 can (10 oz) red enchilada sauce
  • 2 tbsp dehydrated minced onions (I was being lazy; this equals to 1/2 cup minced raw onion)
  • 1 can (4 oz) diced green chilies
  • 2 tsp refrigerated minced garlic
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2.5 cups frozen corn kernels
  • 1 can (15 oz) black beans, drained but not rinsed
  • fistful of cilantro, de-stemmed and roughly chopped
  • white corn tortillas
  • vegetable cooking spray
  • lime juice

1. Place all the chicken pieces in the crockpot, and add tomatoes, enchilada sauce, onion, green chilies and garlic.

2. Pour water and broth over the chicken, and add cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper; mix with a wooden spoon. Add the bay leaf, black beans, corn and cilantro.

3. Cook on HIGH for 3-4 hours.

(At the 3rd hour, take the chicken pieces one by one and put on a plate; shred with a fork and put the chicken back into the crockpot.  I also gave this soup a taste during the last hour of cooking and wow, it had quite the heat! I told my husband of its spiciness and we agreed to tone down the heat so we could actually taste the other flavors in the soup. I did this by adding 3/4 cup of water to the soup, then cooked it for 30 more minutes.)

(for the tortilla strips, spray each side of a corn tortilla with the vegetable spray, cut into strips and bake for about 10 minutes in 400 degrees F.)

To serve soup, ladle into serving bowls and top each bowl with fresh cilantro, baked tortilla strips and a splash of lime juice.

This soup was so good! The reviews were right – the soup is very healthy and so flavorful. The best thing about it? My husband loved it as well. That, my friends, is success.

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