Since I’ve started this blog, the hardest thing by far has been to learn how to measure the ingredients. I’m used to cooking by feel and taste. I basically toss in ingredients that I feel will go well together and I have never ever measured how much of anything goes into anything I cook. Well, except for baking, that I do measure!
This soup is the perfect example of how I really really cook. I’ve probably made this soup 30+ times in my life and as my hubby says, it never has tasted the same twice! This is not a bad thing though because sometimes you realize you don’t have a green pepper, so you use a red one, or you have rotisserie chicken and you prefer to use it instead of making your own shredded chicken. There are no rules when it comes to making this soup. Consider this soup a course on improvising in the kitchen! Ha!
Let’s start with the basics for this Chicken Tortilla soup
It starts with a sofrito (mix of aromatic ingredients sautéd or braised) of onions and peppers.
The sofrito is followed by fresh tomatoes and bone in chicken, skin on. The flavor from the chicken will be infused and intensified with added chicken stock. Once the chicken is done, the soup simmers and the flavors concentrate. With a splash of fresh lemon or lime juice, the soup comes to life and it is rich and so flavorful but at the same time it is light and fresh.
Now, let’s talk about the toppings
Imagine a salad bar but for soup. The beauty about this soup is that each person can customize it with the toppings of their preference. I love to use corn, sour cream, a mix of chopped up scallions and cilantro, shredded chicken, crispy tortilla strips and queso fresco (latin fresh cheese). You can add any toppings you like, jalapeños, olives, etc.
The colors and the flavors in this Instant Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup are a party for your eyes and your mouth. I hope you enjoy this soup as much as my family does. It is a guaranteed crowd pleaser!
Detailed instructions on how to make this Instant Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup:
I love using an Instant Pot for this but if you do not have one, a regular pot works too. The reason I prefer instant pot is because it cooks the chicken quicker.
With the Instant Pot on Sauté mode, heat extra virgin olive oil and add the onions and peppers. Season with salt and pepper to allow the onions to sweat.
Tip! I love to use green pepper because it adds color and a more distinct flavor than red pepper.
When the onions are translucent, add the fresh tomatoes and more salt. Sauté for 3-5 minutes until the tomatoes start getting softer.
Tip! When sautéing, I always add salt after adding onions or fresh tomatoes. Salt helps them “sweat” and cook faster.
Add the chicken breasts, skin side down and season with salt and pepper. next, add the chicken stock. Make sure you cover the chicken breasts with the liquid.
Tip! If you are not using bone-in chicken and prefer to get rotisserie chicken instead then skip this step and just add the stock. Use vegetable stock if you are making this a vegetarian soup.
Set the Instant Pot to 20 minutes on pressure cook. If the chicken breasts are not too thick, you can cook it for a little less, 15 minutes will do. Pressure cooking really speeds up cooking time.
After the 20 minutes are done, let the steam escape and remove the chicken breasts from the pot.
Set them aside until they are cool enough to handle. Shred the chicken and place in a bowl.
Set the Instant Pot on sauté mode again. Add the strained tomatoes and let the soup come to a simmer for 10-15 minutes.
Tip! Simmering the soup without a lid on allows the flavors to intensify as the liquid reduces.
While the soup simmers, it’s the perfect time to prepare the toppings for the soup bar.
Stack the tortillas on a cutting board and slice them into thin strips.
Drizzle olive oil, and salt. Toss them so they are all covered in the oil.
Bake in a 350° oven for 15 minutes or so until they are all crispy.
Tip! It is super important to toss the tortillas constantly. Every few minutes, toss them as this allows the moisture to escape and that is how they get crispy without getting burnt.
Place all topping in different bowls.
I like to cut the avocado in cubes, cut the cheese in cubes, season the sour cream with salt, and combine the scallions and the cilantro in a small bowl.
Serving this soup is fun. You serve everyone the soup, and let them head to the toppings bar to add the goodies they want. Everyone is happy!
- Instant Pot
- 1/2 yellow onion
- 1/2 green bell pepper
- 3 fresh tomatoes diced
- 1 26 oz container chopped tomatoes
- 2 split chicken breasts with ribs (bones)
- 1 32 oz container of chicken stock
- 8 corn tortillas
- 1 15 oz can canned corn strained
- 1 1/2 cup queso fresco cubed
- 1 cup sour cream
- 2 avocados cubed
- 1 handful of cilantro chopped
- 2 scallions chopped
- Extra Olive Oil
- Salt and Pepper
- Set the Instant Pot to sauté mode
- Heat some extra virgin oilve oil and toss in the chopped onions and peppers
- Season with salt and pepper
- When the onions are translucent, add the chopped fresh tomatoes
- Season with salt again and sauté for 3-5 minutes until the tomatoes have started to soften
- Add the chicken breasts, skin side down and season with salt and pepper
- Add the entire container of chicken stock, make sure the chicken is covered with the liquid
- Change the settings on the Instant Pot and set to presure cooking. Presure cook for 20 minutes
- After the 20 minutes are done, let the steam escape and remove the chicken from the soup
- Let the chicken cool a bit before you shred it. Place shredded chicken in a bowl
- Add the strained tomato to the soup and set Instant Pot to sauté mode once more
- Simmer the soup for 10-15 minutes
- For the tortillas: Line the tortillas and cut in thin strips.
- Place in a baking sheet, dizzle with olive oil and sprinkle salt. Toss well
- Bake in a preheated 350° oven for 15 minutes or until golden and crispy
- Every few minutes, using tongs, toss the tortilla strips so the moisture escapes and they can crisp up evenly
- Set the rest the toppings in separate bowls
- Shredded chicken, canned corn, queso fresco, cilantro, scallions, sour cream and the tortilla strips are some of my favorite toppings to serve with this soup. Your imagination is the limit.