Bohemian Soupsody: America’s Test Kitchen Chicken Tortilla Soup

This is the final post in our soup series. So far we’ve brought you soups featuring carrots, lentils, mushrooms, and sausage & kale.

Carrot-Ginger Soup with Cashews

Smoky Lentil Soup with Bacon

Mushroom Soup with Thyme

creamy mushroom soup with thyme

Lighter Zuppa Toscana

Like Zuppa Toscana from the Olive Garden





The Soupsody Grand Finale is one of our favorites! It’s Chicken Tortilla Soup from *The America’s Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook.* It’s an aromatic soup which, “gets its richness from pureed, caramelized vegetables that are stirred into a fragrant broth.”

America's Test Kitchen Tortilla SoupAs with most soups, the toppings add interest to the dish, but with this soup, the focus is on the toppings! Toppings like tortilla strips, avocados, cilantro, lime, sour cream and cheese. They all add up to a crowd-pleasing soup.

Bloggers note: If you’re feeling fancy, you can make your own tortilla strips as directed in step #1, but store-bought, high-quality multi-grain tortilla chips work well. 

Chicken Tortilla Soup

from The America’s Test Kitchen Healthy Cookbook
**This soup is fairly spicy; to make a milder soup, use a smaller amount of chipotle chile or omit it altogether. Serve with lowfat sour cream and shredded lowfat Monterey Jack or Cheddar cheese.


8 (6-inch) corn tortillas, cut into 1/2-inch-wide strips (or just buy tortilla chips and skip to step #2)
Vegetable oil spray
Salt and pepper
8 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1-1/2 pounds bone-in, skin-on split chicken breasts (about 2 split breasts), skin removed. (I have used boneless, skinless and it worked well)
1 onion, peeled and quartered (and divided)
4 garlic cloves, peeled (and divided)
8-10 fresh cilantro sprigs
1/2 tsp dried oregano
12 ounces, tomatoes (about 2 medium tomatoes), cored and quartered
1 tablespoon minced, canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce (**see note above)
1 teaspoon canola oil

1 avocado, pitted, peeled, and cut into, 1/2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves
1 jalapeño, stemmed, seeded and minced
Lime wedges for serving
Low-fat sour cream
Shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack  cheese


(If you are not making your own tortilla strips skip to #2)

1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 425 degrees. Spray the tortilla strips with oil then sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Spread the tortilla strips out over a rimmed baking sheet and bake until golden brown and crisp, 15 to 17 minutes, stirring halfway through baking. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside.

2. Bring the broth, chicken breasts, 2 of the onion quarters and 2 of the garlic cloves, cilantro and oregano to a simmer in a large Dutch oven over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and cook until the chicken registers 160 to 165 degrees on an instant-read thermometer about 20 minutes.

3. Remove the chicken from the broth; when cool enough to handle, shred into bite-sized pieces, discarding the bones. (To shred, use 2 forks and pull apart the meat.) Strain the broth, discarding the solids; set aside.

4. Process the remaining 2 onion quarters, 2 garlic cloves, tomatoes, and chipotle in a food processor until smooth, 15 to 20 seconds. Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over high heat until just smoking. Add the pureed onion-tomato mixture and cook, stirring often, until the mixture has darkened in color, about 10 minutes.

5. Stir in the strained broth, cover, and simmer until the flavors have blended, about 15 minutes. Stir in the shredded chicken and continue to simmer until it is heated through, about 5 minutes.

6. Divide the tortilla strips among individual bowls and ladle the soup over the tortillas. Sprinkle with the avocado, cilantro and jalapeño and serve with lime wedges. Top with a dollop of sour cream and sprinkle with cheese, if desired.

To Make Ahead: The soup can be prepared through step 5, then cooled and refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Reheat the soup over medium heat until hot before continuing with step 6. The tortilla strips and garnishes are best prepared the day of serving.

*I know I’ve mentioned America’s Test Kitchen before–it’s my #1 favorite recipe source. Their mission is to test recipes until they understand how and why they work and arrive at the best version. I have learned so much from their methods and explanations, which has given me more confidence in the kitchen to improvise when needed. I highly recommend that you check out their cookbook selection and their show on PBS.

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