When you are short on time, you may not want to spend hours in the kitchen cooking.This is when crockpot dinners, such as crockpot tortilla soup, are ideal, as you can put everything in the pot in the morning. Then, when you come home, you only need to serve the dish.
This simple dump-and-go recipe uses common pantry staples that are easy to find.
With that being said, this recipe might use very basic ingredients, but it is packed full of flavor that the whole family will enjoy.
Read on to learn our easy-to-follow recipe that can help you make this delicious crockpot tortilla soup.
What Is Crockpot Tortilla Soup?
This chicken tortilla soup in the crock pot is simple to prepare, loaded with vegetables and protein, and incredibly filling.
It’s a terrific recipe to have in your back pocket for hectic weeks because it calls for common cupboard goods.
Due to the vast amounts of sweet corn, chicken, black beans, and fire-roasted tomatoes in this dish, your family will adore this soup.
Additionally, we must not overlook the tortilla strips placed on top to add a great crunch.
This dish will appeal to you because it doesn’t require browning or sautéing, making preparation incredibly simple and requiring little hands-on time.
Once it’s cooked, everyone can add toppings, including chopped fresh cilantro, avocado, sour cream, cheese, and jalapeños.
History Of Crockpot Tortilla Soup
The history of Crockpot Tortilla Soup is a fusion of traditional Mexican cooking and modern convenience. Tortilla soup, known as “sopa de tortilla” in Mexico, dates back to the Aztecs.
It traditionally features a tomato-based broth with spices, vegetables, and shredded tortillas.
The advent of the slow cooker in the 1970s introduced a new dimension to this classic dish. By adapting the original recipe for Crockpot cooking, the soup could be left to simmer for hours, intensifying flavors while allowing for a hands-off approach. This union has made it a household favorite across generations.
Interesting Facts About The Crockpot Tortilla Soup
- Ancient Roots: The origins of tortilla soup can be traced back to the Aztecs, making it a dish steeped in cultural history.
- Flavor Fusion: Combining spices like cumin, chili powder, and garlic, Crockpot Tortilla Soup is a flavor powerhouse that marries multiple culinary traditions.
- Time-Saver: The slow-cooking method allows for a ‘set-it-and-forget-it’ approach, freeing up your day while offering a gourmet meal.
- Nutrient-Rich: With ingredients like tomatoes, corn, and beans, the soup is a source of essential nutrients, including fiber, protein, and vitamins.
- Customizable: It’s incredibly versatile, allowing you to swap out proteins, opt for vegetarian versions, or adjust the spice level to suit your taste.
- Social Dish: Often served during gatherings, its communal nature makes it a staple at family dinners and social events.
- Freezer-Friendly: Crockpot Tortilla Soup freezes well, making it a convenient option for meal prepping or future feasts.
What Makes The Crockpot Tortilla Soup Special?
- Effortless Complexity: The slow-cooked approach coaxes nuanced flavors from simple ingredients, creating a gourmet experience with minimal effort.
- Time-Saver: Its ‘set-it-and-forget-it’ nature aligns with busy schedules, delivering a delectable meal with just a few minutes of prep.
- Nutritional Harmony: Featuring a balance of protein, fiber, and essential vitamins, it’s as good for your body as it is for your palate.
- Customizable: Easily adaptable to different dietary needs, from vegetarian to gluten-free, making it versatile and inclusive.
- Crowd Favorite: Its universal appeal makes it a go-to choice for family dinners, potlucks, or special occasions.
- Rich Heritage: Rooted in Aztec tradition, the soup brings history to the modern table.
- All-Season Star: Its hearty yet light profile makes it ideal for winter comfort and summer meals.
|Skinless and boneless chicken thighs or breasts
|1 ½ pounds
|Black beans (canned, drained and rinsed)
|1 x 15-ounce can
|Fire roasted and diced tomatoes with green chilies (canned)
|1 x 15-ounce can
|Diced tomatoes (canned)
|1 x 15-ounce can
|Small yellow onion
|Granulated garlic powder
|Mild chili powder
Tortilla Topping Ingredients
|4, sliced into thin strips
|Neutral flavored oil or avocado oil
|Mixture of sliced avocado, jalapeño, cilantro, cheese & sour cream
- Chicken Choice: Opt for thighs for juicier meat or breasts for a leaner option. Both work well.
- Bean Varieties: Black beans are traditional, but kidney or pinto beans are suitable substitutes for variety.
- Fresh Tomatoes: Substitute canned diced tomatoes with freshly chopped ones for a fresher taste.
- Stock Quality: Use homemade chicken stock when possible for a richer flavor, but good-quality store-bought stock is a convenient alternative.
- Spice Level: Adjust the chili powder to your heat preference. Use hot chili powder for an extra kick.
- Tortilla Tips: Opt for whole-grain tortillas for added fiber and nutrients.
- Oil Options: Avocado oil offers a higher smoke point and a more neutral flavor than olive oil.
Can You Vary The Recipe With Other Ingredients?
- Keto: Replace the beans and corn with low-carb vegetables like zucchini or cauliflower. Use bone broth for added nutrients.
- Paleo: Omit beans and corn, and ensure you’re using a paleo-friendly chicken stock. Consider adding more vegetables like bell peppers.
- Gluten-Free: Make sure your chicken stock and canned tomatoes are gluten-free. Use gluten-free tortillas for the topping.
- Whole30: Skip the beans, corn, and cheese. Add in more vegetables and use Whole30-compliant chicken stock.
- Vegetarian: Replace chicken with a plant-based protein like tofu or tempeh and use vegetable stock.
- Vegan: Follow the vegetarian adjustments and omit any dairy-based toppings, replacing them with vegan cheese and sour cream.
- Step 1: Combine chicken, corn, beans, onion, and tomatoes in a 6-quart slow cooker. Add spices and stock. Stir.
- Step 2: Cover and cook on high for 4-5 hours or low for 6-7 hours until chicken is tender.
- Step 3: Make crispy tortillas by baking them at 400°F for 8-10 minutes.
- Step 4: Shred the cooked chicken, return to the pot, and add lime juice. Adjust seasonings.
- Step 5: Serve with crispy tortillas and choose toppings like guacamole, cilantro, and jalapeños.
Variations, Add-Ons, And Toppings
- Seafood: Swap chicken for shrimp or fish for a pescatarian version.
- Vegan Protein: Use tofu, tempeh, and vegetable stock for a plant-based twist.
- Corn Kernels: Adds sweetness and texture.
- Bell Peppers: For additional color and flavor.
- Zucchini: For a green, nutrient-rich addition.
- Queso Fresco or Cotija: Authentic Mexican cheeses that crumble easily.
- Sliced Olives: A hint of tanginess.
- Fresh Cilantro: For a herby lift.
- Sliced Radishes: Adds a peppery crunch.
- Pico de Gallo: A fresh salsa that complements the soup’s depth.
- Sliced Green Onions: For a mild, oniony zest.
Scaling The Recipe
- Ingredient Proportions: Maintain the ratios of ingredients, especially the seasonings and liquids, to preserve the soup’s flavor balance.
- Crockpot Size: Make sure your slow cooker can accommodate the adjusted quantity. For scaling up, you might need a larger crockpot or to cook in batches.
- Cooking Time: Increasing the quantity may require a longer cooking time, while reducing it might shorten. Always check for doneness, especially the chicken, before serving.
- Storage: If scaling up, have storage containers ready for leftovers. Soups like this often taste better the next day.
- Serving Sizes: When scaling down, consider using smaller serving bowls and reducing topping quantities to maintain the dish’s presentation and balance.
What Is Used For Garnishing?
- Crispy Tortilla Strips: These add a delightful crunch and are a staple garnish for the soup.
- Lime Wedges: A squeeze before eating enhances the soup’s zesty profile.
- Fresh Cilantro: Offers a burst of herbal freshness.
- Sliced Avocado: Adds creaminess and visual appeal.
- Jalapeño Slices: For those who like a little extra heat.
- Cheese: Queso fresco, cotija, or shredded cheddar for a comforting, cheesy finish.
- Sour Cream: A dollop can add a tangy creaminess.
- Chopped Green Onions: For a milder onion flavor and a pop of color.
Can I Make Crockpot Tortilla Soup In A Slow Cooker Or Instant Pot?
The versatility of Crockpot Tortilla Soup extends to the cooking appliances you can use.
- The slow cooking allows flavors to meld beautifully, creating a rich, intensely flavored soup.
- Follow the original recipe, setting your slow cooker to either high or low depending on your timing needs.
- For those short on time, the Instant Pot can be a lifesaver.
- Use the ‘Sauté’ function to soften the onions, add other ingredients, and switch to ‘Pressure Cook.’
- Cooking time is generally around 20-30 minutes on high pressure.
- Make sure to release the pressure before opening quickly.
Can I Use Store Bought Broth, Or Should I Make My Own?
Both store-bought and homemade broths have their merits, and the choice often comes down to your preferences and time constraints.
- This is a convenient, quick option that’s ready to use. Opt for low-sodium, organic versions to ensure better quality and control over seasoning.
- Some even come in flavors like roasted garlic or herb-infused, adding an extra layer to your soup.
- If you have the time, making broth from scratch allows for customization. You can control the salt content, choose your mix of vegetables, and even add herbs for a more complex flavor profile.
Can I Use Different Types Of Meat/Fish/Pasta/Vegetables For The Soup?
Due to the fire-roasted tomatoes and green chilies in this crock pot, chicken tortilla soup contains a bit of spice.
If you aren’t a massive fan of spice, you could substitute the green chilies and tomatoes with normal chopped tomatoes for a milder variation.
However, if you want this soup to be even hotter, add a second can of chopped green chilies and one diced jalapeño.
Adding 1/2 cup heavy cream (or a non-dairy creamer) to the finished soup before returning the chicken to the slow cooker can transform this dish into a creamy tortilla soup.
You can make a vegetarian tortilla soup by leaving out the chicken and adding two cans of beans while substituting veggie stock for the chicken stock.
As a result, there are various ways in which you can modify this recipe to suit your tastes and any dietary requirements you might have. Ultimately, you will still have a delicious crockpot tortilla soup to enjoy.
Success Tips – Tips And Tricks For Making The Soup
While crockpot tortilla soup is already quite simple, we have gathered a few tips that could help make this recipe even easier.
- Store Bought Tortilla – While the soup simmers in the slow cooker, you may save time by crisping up the tortilla strips.
Using store-bought tortilla chips or strips instead of homemade makes this recipe even simpler.
- Use What You Have – What makes this recipe so enjoyable is that you can use what you have on hand.
If you only have frozen corn or chicken, you may use these. You need to allow them to defrost thoroughly before adding to the soup.
- Taste At The End – You must taste the soup immediately. This way, you can alter any seasonings you have added by adding more salt, cumin, or chili to suit your tastes.
Also, a lime or lemon squeeze helps lift the whole soup, so you know what the soup is missing.
- Sautéing Onions – You don’t have to sauté the onions in this recipe, and in fact, you do not have not to add them in at all if you don’t like them.
There is no denying that you do gain more flavor from them if you sauté them first. However, this is an optional step.
- Toppings – You can go wild with the toppings you serve alongside the soup and tortillas. However, you must be careful that the toppings you add complement the soup and don’t overwhelm the other flavors.
- Leftover Chicken – To save even more time, you could use leftover chicken and create the soup in a pot on the stove. This way, the soup should be ready within 30 minutes. Hence, a soup that is still full of the same flavors but made in less time.
Savor a bowl of Crockpot Tortilla Soup without the guilt! This comforting dish packs protein, fiber, and essential vitamins. Perfect for those seeking both taste and nutrition in one meal.
What Are The Total Calories In The Soup?
Calculating the total calories in Crockpot Tortilla Soup depends on various factors such as portion size and the specific brands of ingredients used.
As a rough estimate, a single serving of this soup—assuming it yields about 6 servings—can range between 300 to 400 calories without the toppings.
The chicken contributes the bulk of the calories, followed by the beans and stock. Additional toppings like avocado, cheese, and sour cream add more calories.
Dietary Restrictions Of The Crockpot Tortilla Soup
- Gluten: Those with gluten sensitivities should check the chicken stock and corn tortillas for hidden gluten.
- Dairy: While the soup base is dairy-free, toppings like cheese and sour cream are not.
- Meat: The chicken makes this unsuitable for vegetarians and vegans.
- Sodium: Canned beans and store-bought chicken stock can be high in salt.
- Allergens: Some may have sensitivities to ingredients like corn.
Health Benefits Of The Crockpot Tortilla Soup
- Protein: The chicken is a good source of lean protein, essential for muscle repair and growth.
- Fiber: Black beans provide dietary fiber, beneficial for digestive health and satiety.
- Nutrients: Tomatoes offer vitamins like Vitamin C and lycopene, an antioxidant.
- Low Fat: This soup is relatively low in saturated fats, mainly if you use skinless chicken and limit high-fat toppings.
- Spices: Ingredients like cumin and chili powder contain antioxidants and may be anti-inflammatory.
- Hydration: The high water content from the broth helps with hydration and makes the soup fill with fewer calories.
How Can I Make Crockpot Tortilla Soup Lower In Sodium?
- Homemade Broth: Use the base of homemade, sodium-free chicken or vegetable broth.
- Low-Sodium Canned Goods: Opt for low-sodium versions of canned beans and tomatoes. Better yet, cook your beans and use fresh tomatoes.
- Skip Added Salt: Forgo the teaspoon of salt in the recipe and rely on the natural flavors and spices for seasoning.
- Spice it Up: Enhance flavors using more herbs and spices like cumin, garlic powder, and smoked paprika, which don’t contribute sodium.
- Taste Test: Always taste before serving and let individuals add their salt if necessary.
How Can I Make Crockpot Tortilla Soup Lower In Sugar?
Check Canned Goods: Some canned tomatoes or beans may contain added sugar. Opt for those labeled ‘no added sugar.’
- Broth: Use a homemade or store-bought chicken or vegetable broth without added sugar.
- Fresh Ingredients: Utilize fresh tomatoes and beans, avoiding canned items that could have added sugar.
- Spices over Sweet: Stick to spices like cumin, garlic powder, and smoked paprika to enhance flavor without adding sugar.
- Read Labels: Always check the nutritional information of packaged goods, even spices, as some may contain unexpected added sugar.
How To Serve The Crockpot Tortilla Soup At Its Best?
- It is best to serve this crockpot tortilla soup while it is hot. You can serve it as it is, or you may add a variety of toppings, as mentioned above.
- Since this is such a filling dish, there is no need to include other side dishes while serving this soup.
- The crispy tortilla strips act as a side dish to the soup. They are great when dunked in the soup or eaten alongside it.
- In addition to this, since this soup also includes plenty of protein and vegetables, there is no need to serve it with a side salad.
- As a result, this crockpot tortilla soup is already the perfect full meal, which is why it is ideal to make during the week when you are limited on time.
- A complete meal is made; you only need to create and serve the tortilla strips.
Perfect Side Dishes To Complement Crockpot Tortilla Soup
- Cornbread: A slice of warm, moist cornbread pairs beautifully, soaking up the broth and adding a different texture.
- Cilantro Lime Rice: This subtly flavored rice complements the soup’s spiciness while providing a filling carbohydrate.
- Green Salad: A light, crisp salad with a tangy vinaigrette can balance the richness and spices of the soup.
- Cheese Quesadillas: These make for an indulgent, cheesy side that complements the soup’s Mexican flavors.
- Grilled Vegetables: A plate of grilled peppers, zucchini, and onions can add color and a smokey flavor.
- Fresh Salsa or Pico de Gallo: Serve as a refreshing palate cleanser between spoonfuls of the hearty soup.
How Long Can We Store The Soup?
- The leftovers from crockpot tortilla soup make a fantastic lunch the next day and taste even better. In a sealed container, it stays fresh in the refrigerator for 3–4 days.
- This soup also freezes nicely in a ziplock bag or a single mason jar. It can be kept in a well-sealed, freezer-safe jar for two to three months.
- Always remove the soup from the freezer the night before eating it.
- This soup tastes great, warm or cold, but if you are thinking of reheating it, we advise you to place it in a large pot over medium heat.
- Keep stirring the soup until everything is hot. Due to there being chicken in this soup, you want to ensure the chicken is hot all the way through.
- This way, you know that any bacteria has been killed off.
- It is best to make the crispy tortilla strips when you want them.
- However, any leftover crispy tortilla strips can be kept in an airtight container for several days.
- You can freeze cut-up tortilla pieces, but we advise baking them when needed.
- This is because they will lose their crispness if you try to freeze or place these crispy strips in the fridge.
- Thus, you should only think about storing any leftover soup and make the tortilla strips fresh.
Can I Make The Soup In Advance?
- Prep Ingredients: To expedite cooking, chop all vegetables and measure spices the day before.
- Cook Ahead: The soup’s flavors often improve after a day, making it an excellent option for cooking in advance.
- Store Separately: Keep crispy tortilla strips and other toppings separate to prevent sogginess.
- Reheat: Reheat the soup on the stovetop or microwave before serving.
- Final Touch: Add freshly baked tortilla strips and your choice of toppings before serving.
What Can We Do With Leftovers?
- Enchilada Filling: Shred the chicken and combine it with some of the soup’s beans and vegetables for a rich enchilada filling.
- Rice Bowl: Layer the soup over a bed of cooked rice, adding extra toppings for a new texture and flavor combination.
- Taco Night: Use the cooked chicken and vegetables as a taco filling. Add some cheese, and you’ve got a quick taco meal.
- Stuffed Peppers: Mix the leftovers with cooked rice and stuff into bell peppers before baking.
- Quesadilla: Use the shredded chicken and vegetables as a quesadilla filling, adding cheese and pan-frying until crispy.
- Frittata: Stir the soup into beaten eggs and bake for a flavorful frittata, perfect for breakfast or brunch.
Special Tools/Equipment Needed
- Crockpot or Slow Cooker: The central appliance needed, ideally a 6-quart or larger, for best results.
- Cutting Board and Sharp Knives: Essential for precisely chopping vegetables and chicken.
- Measuring Cups and Spoons: Accurate measurements are crucial for capturing the perfect balance of flavors.
- Mixing Bowls: Useful for seasoning the chicken or mixing spices before adding to the crockpot.
- Tongs or Slotted Spoon: Handy for removing and shredding the cooked chicken.
- Two Forks: Required for shredding the cooked chicken back into the soup.
- Baking Tray: Needed for baking the tortilla strips.
- Paper Towels: For draining and cooling the baked tortilla strips.
- Ladle: For serving the soup without making a mess.
- Oven Mitts: Always necessary when handling hot kitchen equipment.
If you need more time, you must make this crockpot tortilla soup. It uses simple ingredients that all pack a lot of flavor.
Anyone could make this soup, as all you need to do is add your ingredients and walk away since the crockpot does the work for you.
You can easily customize this recipe to include more heat or vegetables.
The possibilities of what you can do with this soup are endless, and it may become a routine meal that you make.
We hope this article has been interesting. Now you know how to make this delicious crockpot tortilla soup for yourself tonight.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Can You Thicken Your Crockpot Tortilla Soup?
To thicken this soup, you need to add some form of starch such as flour or cornflour, but this shouldn’t be added directly to the soup, as it will form lumps. Instead, remove a small amount of the broth and add your starch. Once combined, add this mixture to your soup and stir everything together.
Can You Make This Soup Vegan?
This recipe is straightforward to modify. Therefore, you can easily make it suitable for a vegetarian or vegan diet. All you need to do is use vegetable stock instead of chicken and do not include the chicken. In place of chicken, you could add more vegetables and herbs. This is a great recipe that allows you to have the flavors that you enjoy the most.
How Long Does Crockpot Tortilla Soup Last?
As mentioned above, this soup can last for 3 to 4 days in an airtight container in the fridge. Otherwise, you could also freeze any leftovers for up to 3 months.
Is It Necessary To Shred The Chicken?
Shredding the chicken allows it to soak up the flavors of the soup more effectively, but it’s not mandatory. You can also cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces if you prefer.
Can I Use Store-Bought Tortilla Strips?
Yes, store-bought tortilla strips can save time, although homemade strips often have a fresher taste and crispier texture. If convenience is a priority, store-bought strips will work just fine.
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