Chicken Tortilla Soup is about as good is it gets on a cold winter night. It’s creamy, spicy, zingy, and cheesy, with every spoonful. In my opinion, The Cheesecake Factory makes the absolute best Chicken Tortilla Soup so they were my inspiration for this homemade version and I think this recipe hits the nail on the head. What’s more, it’s a perfect recipe for your crock pot or slow cooker. There are a ton of chopped veggies in this recipe so I strongly recommend busting out your food processor.
Crock Pot Cheesy Chicken Tortilla Soup
- 1 1/2 pounds skinless chicken thighs (The flavor of bone-in meat is always so much better but if you prefer boneless then go with 1 pound)
- 3 ribs of celery, finely diced
- 2 large carrots, finely diced
- 1 medium onion, finely diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes with green chilis
- 1 (10-ounce) package frozen or canned corn
- 1 fresh poblano pepper, seeded and minced
- 1 fresh jalapeño, seeded and minced
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 2 cups water
- 1 lime, zested and juiced
- 1 (10.5 ounce) can chicken broth
- 1 pint fat-free half and half (If you really want the real thing, go for it, but fat-free tastes just as good in this recipe and that means you can go back for seconds!)
- 12 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (Plus extra for garnish!)
- 6 corn tortillas, cut into strips
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1. Lay the chicken thighs on the bottom of the crock pot. Layer celery, carrots, onion, garlic, tomatoes, corn, peppers, spices and seasonings on top.
Pour chicken broth, lemon juice, and zest on top and stir well.
2. Cook for 6-8 hours on LOW or 3-4 hours on HIGH. About 30 minutes prior to serving, switch the crock pot to warm and remove chicken and set aside to cool so you can shred it.
Add the half and half and cheese to the crock pot and stir.
3. Heat a large skillet to medium high and add the vegetable oil. Add the tortilla strips and fry until nice and crispy. Remove from oil onto a plate lined with paper towels. Set aside.
4. Remove chicken from the bones and shred. Add back to the pot and stir.
5. Ladle up bowls of soup and garnish cheese and tortilla strips. I also like to add more chopped cilantro, sour cream, or avocado to my bowl. When serving for a group, I’ll fill up bowls with all of these ingredients and let people customize their soup. Lots of fun and so good! Enjoy!