Instant Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup

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Instant Pot chicken tortilla soup makes the perfect meal on a busy night! The recipe takes about 30 minutes and is full of authentic Mexican flavors.

Instant Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup in a black bowl topped with avocado tortilla strips and cilantro

What is tortilla soup made of?

This is a classic Mexican soup with a tomato base. Traditionally, it can be made with chicken or as a vegetarian version with black beans.

Any of a variety of chile peppers are used to increase the spiciness. Jalapenos are a popular choice. However, for this recipe, I use dried ancho chile powder. The peppers arent very hot, ranking below jalapenos on the Scoville Scale (the scale measures how spicy peppers are.

Using ancho chiles will give you the option to make it more or less spicy, depending on the tastes of your family. Stick with the ancho chile powder for a mild soup. Or, use jalapenos or habaneros to spice it up.

My Instant Pot chicken tortilla soup also has a topping of crispy tortilla strips. Follow the simple steps below to make your own.

Other ingredients that can be added to tortilla soup include:

  • Corn
  • Black beans (cook them in your Instant Pot!)
  • Cilantro
  • Hominy

How do you make Instant Pot chicken tortilla soup?

Chicken tortilla soup may be a classic, but the Instant Pot makes it an easy weeknight favorite. You can speed up the process and still have a delicious comforting soup.

Keep in mind a few tips for using the Instant Pot for soup:

  • Place tomatoes on top of the other ingredients. Tomatoes tend to stick. As a result, a burn warning notification will appear on the Instant Pot. If this happens, you will have to turn the unit off and allow it to cool completely before starting to cook again.
  • Use a natural pressure release. This basically means you do nothing, allowing the pressure to drop naturally to the point the lid can be removed. The cooking process stops slowly this way, continuing to cook the chicken. Plus, soup creates foam under pressure and that foam can shoot out through the valve if you use a manual release.
  • Use an immersion blender. After you shred the chicken, you can stick your immersion blender right into the Instant Pot to blend the broth and tomatoes. Its quick, with no additional clean up. If you dont have an immersion blender, you can use a regular blender but you will have to do it in batches so you dont fill the blender more than half way each time.

What toppings can I put on the soup?

Its fun to have a variety of toppings available to go with this flavorful soup. Guests can create their own favorite combination with toppings such as:

  • Tortilla strips
  • Avocado
  • Shredded cheese
  • Cilantro
  • Lemon or lime wedges
  • Salsa
  • Sour cream
  • Jalapenos
  • Hot sauce

Does Instant Pot chicken tortilla soup freeze well?

You can freeze the chicken tortilla soup without any of the toppings. Make the soup in the Instant Pot. then shred the chicken and blend the soup. Allow it to cool completely and store in the freezer for up to three months.

Thaw the soup in the refrigerator overnight before reheating. Then, simply reheat on the stove top or in a microwave. I like to prepare the toppings and tortilla strips while the soup reheats.

Instant Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup

Instant Pot chicken tortilla soup makes the perfect meal on a busy night! The recipe takes about 30 minutes and is full of authentic Mexican flavors.

  • 1 onion
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • sea salt
  • black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp ancho chili powder (*see notes)
  • 2 chicken breasts (about 10 oz each)
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 28 oz can fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 6 corn tortillas
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 cup cilantro
  • 1/4 cup queso fresco
  • 2 limes
  1. Peel and finely chop onion and garlic.

  2. Press the saut button on the Instant Pot to preheat and once the display says hot, add a splash of oil (whichever you like) and add chopped onion and garlic to it. Saut until translucent. Then add sea salt, pepper, and ancho chili powder and give it a quick stir.

  3. Add a splash of chicken broth to deglaze the bottom with a spatula or wooden spoon. Remove all the stuck on onion to avoid the burn warning during the high-pressure cooking time.

  4. Add the rest of the chicken stock, the chicken breasts as a whole, and then dump the whole can of fire-roasted tomatoes ON TOP and do not stir in. (*see notes)

  5. Put on the lid and turn the valve to the sealing position and set the Instant Pot to 10 minutes on high pressure. Then allow for full natural pressure release (this will take at least 15 minutes). (*see notes)

  6. In the meantime, cut tortillas into thin strips and toast them on a baking sheet under the broiler for 3-6 minutes or until golden and crispy. Peel and cut avocado into slices, and wash and dry cilantro.

  7. By now the Instant Pot should be finished. Remove the lid, take some tongs and remove the chicken breasts and place on a cutting board to shred with two forks.

  8. Use an immersion blender or regular blender to blend the broth and tomatoes, then return the shredded chicken to the pot and give a quick stir.

  9. Serve in a bowl and top with toasted tortilla strips, sliced avocado, fresh cilantro, crumbled queso fresco and drizzle the juice of half a lemon over it all. Enjoy!

* Ancho chili powder is not very spicy, if you are using a different chili powder you may have to reduce the amount by quite a bit so its not too spicy.

* It is important NOT to stir in the tomatoes into the broth! Rather, have them sit on top of the chicken to avoid the burn warning of the Instant Pot. Tomato products are notorious for causing the burn warning.

* Natural pressure release (NPR) means you do not touch the Instant Pot once the alarm goes off. You let the pressure release naturally and wait for the safety pin to drop on its own, without manipulating the valve.

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