Mom’s Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe {Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Paleo, Whole30}

I love this tortilla soup recipe! It reminds me of cold winter days sitting in front of the fireplace with my family. As you can see from the picture, it’s not a thick, heavy soup. But it’s brothy and bursting with fantastic flavors. In my opinion what really makes this soup shine is the fresh lime juice and the fried tortillas (you can used baked corn chips if you’re not into the frying thing) used for garnish. Deeeelicious!

The last time I made this I cooked it in the crock pot, but the original recipe is for the stove top so I’ll post both methods.

*Update- My original recipe called for 15 C water and 15 packets of flavor boost, but a nice reader informed me that Swanson’s Flavor Boost contains gluten! So replace the Flavor boost and water with 15 C gluten free chicken stock or broth. I updated the recipe below.

Mom's Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe
*Note- This soup is not spicy at all. If you want it spicier, you can add a jalapeno to the blender, If you seed and de-vein the jalapeno, it will be only be mildly spicy 🙂
  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • up to 3 C non-hydrogenated shortening, for frying (omit for Paleo or Whole30)
  • up to 36 corn tortillas, cut into strips (omit for Paleo or Whole30)
  • 15 Cups Chicken Stock or Broth
  • 1 14-oz. can petite diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1 small onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • ¼ C dried oregano
  • 1 C carrots, chopped
  • 1 C celery, chopped
  • 1 14.5-oz. can diced tomatoes with green chili (I use Ro-tel)
  • salt, to taste (I added about 1 or 1½ tsp.)
  • fresh lime juice, for garnish
  • cilantro, chopped, for garnish
  • avocado, sliced and pitted, for garnish
  1. Start by chopping up your carrots and celery. Pour into crock pot.
  2. In a blender, combine the diced tomatoes, onion, and garlic. Blend on high until smooth. Pour this into the crock pot as well.
  3. Add in the 15 C of chicken broth or stock.
  4. Stir in all your spices - coriander, cumin, pepper, chili powder, and oregano.
  5. Then, add the chicken and diced tomatoes with green chili's.
  6. Cook on high for 5 hours, or until the chicken and veggies are tender.
  7. Use a slotted spoon to remove the chicken and place on a large cutting board. Shred with 2 forks or place in a stand mixer and mix on low with the paddle attachment until perfectly shredded. Then, return to crock pot. Serve with fried tortillas and fresh lime juice.
Stove-Top Instructions
  1. In a large pot, cover chicken breasts with water and boil 30 minutes, or until tender.
  2. Shred into small pieces and set aside.
  3. In a another large pot, add the 15 cups of chicken broth or stock and place over medium heat.
  4. In a blender, combine the diced tomatoes, onion, and garlic. Blend on high until smooth. Pour the mixture into the pot.
  5. Stir in the spices - coriander, cumin, black pepper, chili powder, salt, and oregano. Add the chopped celery, carrots, and diced tomatoes with chilies.
  6. Cover pot and simmer about 25 minutes, or until veggies are tender. Stir in shredded chicken and cook an additional 5 minutes.
  7. Serve with fried tortillas, fresh lime juice, cilantro, and avocado if desired.
Fried Tortillas:
  1. Heat about 2 inches of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat or 375 degrees.
  2. Stack 6 tortillas on a cutting board and cut into strips.
  3. Fry in a single layer in batches until golden-brown, stirring occasionally. Drain on paper towels. Repeat for remaining tortillas.

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