My Instant Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup is a delicious low-carb version of the classic Mexican soup that’s served with tortilla chips. I use toasted low-carb tortilla strips to keep it low in carbs, but you can offer regular tortilla chips for family members or guests who don’t care about carbs!
Any time you’re having houseguests during the winter months and looking for something really tasty to feed them, this Instant Pot Chicken Tortilla Soupis always going to be a winner. When we created this recipe, we wanted a tortilla soup recipe that would would still have a good flavor and texture without using high-carb ingredients like the beans, corn, or rice often found in this type of soup. And I can emphatically say that we absolutely loved how this soup turned out!
My version of Chicken Tortilla Soup is mild enough for most kids if you don’t overdo it on the Green Tabasco Sauce, and it’s a soup the whole family is probably going to love! And if you’re like me you’ll eat your soup with some grated Mexican Blend Cheese, a dollop of sour cream, and a squeeze of lime juice to add at the table. In fact, if I had those toppings I wouldn’t even care about the tortillas.
But when we were testing the recipe, we came up with the idea to use low-carb tortillas to make the tortilla strips part of this much-beloved Mexican soup. Of course, use any tortilla chips you like for the kids or others who don’t care about a few carbs.
And this is a perfect soup to make with leftover rotisserie chicken or even leftover turkey if you have some of that. See my tips below for using leftover poultry in this tortilla soup. I hope you enjoy the recipe!
What ingredients do you need?
(This is only a list of ingredients; please scroll down for complete printable recipe. Or if you use the JUMP TO RECIPE link at the top of the page, it will take you directly to the complete recipe.)
What makes my Instant Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup so good?
You can find variations of Chicken Tortilla Soup all over the web. But the favorite ingredients I use to add flavor to the soup are what I think makes my version of Chicken Tortilla Soup especially good. I use chopped Poblano Chile Peppers that get cooked with the onions. I add seasonings like garlic and ground cumin to the soup, and I also include my favorite Green Tabasco Sauce and a good handful of chopped cilantro before the soup cooks under pressure. And when the soup is done I stir in a generous amount of fresh-squeezed lime juice, more Green Tabasco sauce, and more chopped cilantro for a final punch of flavor.
What are Poblano Chili Peppers?
Poblano Chile Peppers are one of the things that add amazing flavor to this soup. Poblanos (often called Pasilla Peppers in U.S. grocery stores) are mild green chiles that come from the Puebla region of Mexico. They can be large and have a pleasant flavor whether they’re eaten raw or cooked.
What if you don’t like the flavor of cilantro?
If you’re someone who doesn’t enjoy the flavor of cilantro, replace it with some thinly sliced green onion in this soup.
How do you toast the low-carb tortilla strips?
While the soup cooked in the Instant Pot we cut my favorite Mission Carb Balance Tortillas into short strips, misted them with olive oil, and seasoned with a little salt, and cooked them in the Air Fryer (affiliate link) until they were golden brown. (They don’t take long, watch them carefully!) You can cook the tortilla strips in the oven too if you don’t have an air fryer.
Want more Mexican Food in the Instant Pot?
Check out Instant Pot Mexican Food Recipes on my other site, Slow Cooker or Pressure Cooker.
Steps for Making Instant Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup:
(This is only a summary of the steps for the recipe; please scroll down for complete printable recipe. Or if you use the JUMP TO RECIPE link at the top of the page, it will take you directly to the complete recipe.)
- Chop up onion and Poblano Chile Pepper (also called Pasilla.)
- Heat olive oil in the Instant Pot on SAUTE, MEDIUM HEAT, and cook onion and chiles until starting to get soft and getting some color.
- Add minced Garlic, ground cumin, salt, and half of the chopped cilantro and cook a couple of minutes. (Oops, didn’t take a photo of that.)
- While those ingredients cook, trim chicken breasts and cut into 3 or 4 thin strips.
- Drain tomatoes into a colander placed in the sink.
- When veggies and seasonings are done, add chicken breasts, chicken stock, drained petite dice tomatoes, and Green Tabasco Sauce to Instant Pot.
- (If you’re making the soup with leftover turkey or chicken, add only the other ingredients at this point. Chop up 3 cups cooked turkey or chicken while the other ingredients cook in the Instant Pot.)
- Lock the lid and set the Instant Pot to MANUAL, HIGH PRESSURE, 10 MINUTES.
- When the time is up, let pressure release naturally.
- When pressure is released, use slotted spoon to scoop out chicken strips and shred chicken into chunks with a fork.
- Add chicken back to the Instant Pot. (Add the leftover chicken or turkey now if you’re using that.)
- Taste to see if you want a little more salt and more Green Tabasco Sauce.
- Add the fresh-squeezed lime juice and the rest of the chopped cilantro to the pot.
- While soup cooks, cut Whole Wheat Fajita size Mission Carb Balance Tortillas (or low-carb tortillas of your choice) into short strips.
- Set Air Fryer to 350F. My Cuisinart Convection Air Fryer Toaster Oven (affiliate link) doesn’t have to be pre-heated, but preheat if your Air Fryer needs it.
- Arrange the tortilla strips in a single layer in the Air Fryer basket, mist with olive oil, and season with a little salt.
- Cook tortilla strips 2 minutes, then shake the basket and cook a bit longer until they’re nicely browned. We cooked ours a total of four minutes, but I’d start to watch them after about 3 minutes. Cook tortilla strips slightly longer in the oven if you don’t have an Air Fryer.
- Serve soup hot with tortilla strips, sour cream, and cheese on the side. And I like an extra squeeze of lime in my soup!
More Mexican Dinners from the Instant Pot:
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- 1 medium onion, chopped small
- 1 large Poblano Chile Pepper, chopped small (see notes)
- 1 T olive oil
- 2 tsp. minced garlic
- 1 tsp. ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
- 1/4 cup + 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (see notes)
- 4 cups chicken broth (see notes)
- 4 small boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 2 tsp. Green Tabasco sauce, plus more to add when you taste the soup if desired
- 1 14.5 oz can petite dice tomatoes, drained in a colander in the sink
- 2 T lime juice, or more (see note)
- 4 low-carb tortillas of your choice
- olive oil for misting or brushing on tortillas
- salt to taste
Other Optional Condiments For Serving:
- grated Mexican blend cheese
- sour cream
- lime wedges to squeeze into the soup
- more Green Tabasco Sauce to add at the table
- Chop the onion and Poblano (Pasilla) Chile Pepper into small pieces.
- Heat olive oil in the Instant Pot (affiliate link) on SAUTE, MEDIUM HEAT, and cook until the onion and chile are starting to get soft and barely getting some color, about 4-5 minutes.
- While those ingredients cook, prepare minced garlic (or measure minced garlic from a jar) and chop the cilantro. Trim the chicken breasts to remove any unwanted parts and cut each one into 3 or 4 strips. Drain tomatoes into a colander placed in the sink.
- When the onions and peppers are done add the minced garlic, ground cumin, salt, and half of the chopped cilantro and cook that for a couple of minutes.
- When veggies and seasonings are done, add chicken breasts, chicken stock, drained petite dice tomatoes, and 2 tsp. Green Tabasco Sauce (affiliate link) to the Instant Pot.
- (If you’re making the soup with leftover turkey or chicken, just add the other ingredients at this point. Chop up 3 cups cooked turkey or chicken while the other ingredients cook in the Instant Pot.)
- Lock the lid and set the Instant Pot to MANUAL, HIGH PRESSURE, 10 MINUTES. When the time is up, allow the pressure to release naturally.
- When pressure has released, use a slotted spoon to scoop out the chicken strips and pull chicken apart into chunks with a fork. Add chicken back to the Instant Pot. (Add the leftover chicken or turkey now if you’re using that.)
- Taste the soup to see if you want to add a little more salt and/or more Green Tabasco Sauce. Add the fresh-squeezed lime juice and the rest of the chopped cilantro to the soup and let it keep warm in the Instant Pot.
- While the soup cooks, cut Whole Wheat Fajita size Mission Carb Balance Tortillas (or low-carb tortillas of your choice) into short strips. Set Air Fryer to 350F. (My Cuisinart Convection Air Fryer Toaster Oven (affiliate link) doesn’t have to be pre-heated, but preheat if your Air Fryer does.)
- Arrange the tortilla strips in a single layer in the Air Fryer basket, mist with olive oil, and season with a little salt. Cook tortilla strips 2 minutes, then shake the basket and cook a bit longer until they’re nicely browned. We cooked ours a total of four minutes, but I’d start to watch them after about 3 minutes. Here is How to Make Baked Tortilla Chips if you don’t have an Air Fryer.
- Serve soup hot with tortilla strips, grated Mexican Blend Cheese, sour cream, lime wedges, and more Green Tabasco Sauce to add at the table as desired.
Sometimes Poblano Chiles are called Pasilla Chile Peppers in the U.S.
You can use homemade chicken stock or canned chicken broth for this soup. Use one more cup chicken stock if you prefer a more brothy soup.
I used my fresh-frozen lime juice for this soup, but I wouldn’t use bottled lime juice.
If you’re not a cilantro fan, use thinly-sliced green onion for this soup instead.
Nutritional information doesn’t include optional tortilla strips or toppings.
I tested this recipe with help from Jake and Kara and our experiments were inspired by tortilla soup recipes we spotted around the web as well as the Chicken Tortilla Soup in The Keto Instant Pot Cookbook (affiliate link).
Amount Per Serving:
Calories: 226Total Fat: 5.7gSaturated Fat: 1.2gUnsaturated Fat: 3.6gCholesterol: 71mgSodium: 825mgCarbohydrates: 4.9gFiber: .8gSugar: 42.4gProtein: 27g
Nutrition information is automatically calculated by the Recipe Plug-In I am using. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee 100% accuracy, since many variables affect those calculations.
Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
This Instant Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup is a great main dish for most low-carb diets, or for phase two or three of the original South Beach Diet. It’s lower in carbs if you skip the tortilla strips of course, but they don’t add many carbs and give a nice added texture to the soup. The low-carb tortillas we used are not gluten-free, but you can easily make this recipe gluten-free by using gluten-free tortillas.
Find More Recipes Like This One:
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Historical Notes for this Recipe:
This recipe was posted in 2019. It was last updated with more information in 2023.
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