Instant Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup

bowl of tortilla soup with cheese, cilantro, and tortilla chips

The Spruce / Diana Rattray

  • Total: 26 mins
  • Prep: 14 mins
  • Cook: 12 mins
  • Pressure Build/Release: 24 mins
  • Servings: 10 servings
  • Yields: 10 bowls

This flavorful Instant Pot chicken tortilla soup is an easy weeknight meal that you'll fix again and again. We love the pressure cooker for this soup because the prep is minimal and it takes just minutes to cook. Aside from a few minutes to sauté the onions and peppers, there is very little hands-on cooking time required. To save on prep time, slice and chop all of the vegetables the day before or earlier in the day and then refrigerate everything until it's time to cook.

Garnishes give the soup extra flavor and color. Top each serving off with some cilantro and shredded cheese or add diced avocado, lime wedges, or a dollop of sour cream. Make homemade tortilla strips or serve with purchased tortilla chips for a nice crunch.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (or vegetable oil)
  • 1 cup onion (chopped)
  • 3/4 cup bell pepper (chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon garlic (minced)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 quart chicken stock
  • 2 (14.5-ounce) cans fire-roasted tomatoes (diced)
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans (or pinto beans, rinsed and drained)
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen corn kernels
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless chicken breasts
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1/4 cup cilantro (chopped, plus more for garnish)
  • Kosher salt (to taste)
  • Black pepper (to taste)
  • 8 ounces tortilla chips (or homemade tortilla strips)
  • Optional: lime wedges
  • Optional: shredded cheese
  • Optional: diced avocado

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    ingredients for chicken tortilla soup
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  2. Select the Instant Pot sauté button and add the oil. When the display reads hot, add the chopped onion, bell pepper, and garlic. Sauté the vegetables in the hot oil for 3 to 4 minutes or until the onion is softened.

    vegetables sauteeing in the instant pot
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  3. Add the chili powder, oregano, cumin, cayenne pepper, bay leaf, chicken stock, tomatoes, beans, and corn. Stir and then top with the chicken breasts.

    ingredients in the instant pot for tortilla soup
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  4. Secure the lid and make sure the valve is in the sealing position. Choose pressure cook or manual (high pressure), and set the timer for 8 minutes. When the time is up, let the pressure come down naturally for 10 minutes, and then move the valve to the venting position to release the remaining pressure.

    instant pot lid in the sealing position
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  5. Remove the chicken to a plate and shred it with two forks.

    shredding the chicken
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  6. Return the shredded chicken to the pot along with the lime juice and chopped cilantro. Taste the soup and season with salt and pepper, as needed.

    adding the lime juice and cilantro to the instant pot
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  7. Garnish each serving with tortilla strips or chips and serve along with lime wedges, shredded cheese, diced avocados, extra cilantro, or sour cream.

    two bowls of tortilla soup with tortilla strips as garnish
    Diana Rattray

Tips

  • When chopping cilantro for a recipe, it's okay to include the tender upper stems. Unlike bitter parsley stems, cilantro stems are as flavorful as the leaves.
  • If the recipe makes too much for your family, you can freeze the leftovers. Let the soup cool, then freeze it—without the tortilla chips—in freezer bags or covered containers. Defrost the soup in the refrigerator or use your microwave oven's defrost setting.