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Smoked Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe

I will show you my step by step recipe for smoked chicken tortilla soup. It’s just like regular chicken tortilla soup, except I smoked the chicken thighs on the pellet grill.


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By Brent Doud


Updated on

Chicken tortilla soup is a staple in my house. My kids love this soup and it is always on the most requested list for dinner. I recently stepped up my chicken tortilla recipe by smoking the chicken on the pellet grill. I’ll outline the recipe based on the smoked chicken, but please note that you can use almost any chicken in this soup. The fastest hack is to use a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store. Or cook the chicken in the soup pot with a little oil before you add all the other ingredients. You can’t mess up this recipe, but you can elevate it a little bit with the smoked chicken thighs that I will outline below. The smoked chicken thighs give this soup just a hint of smoke in the broth, nothing overpowering, but it enhances the broth flavor and as you can imagine the smoked shredded chicken is amazing.

Smoking The Chicken Thighs

Let’s get started with the smoked chicken thighs since these will take the longest time to cook. I wanted to keep this super simple, so I rubbed the thighs in a little olive oil and then dusted them with taco seasoning, and tossed them on the Camp Chef Woodwind Pro pellet grill at 225 with some Bear Mountain Savory Wood Pellets. I added a few pieces of Bear Mountain apple chunks into the smoker box to enhance the smokey flavor of the chicken. Cook these until they hit an internal temperature above 165. I let my chicken thighs smoke until they reached 170 degrees. This is the same process that I used to cook my Chipotle grilled chicken recipe.

Shred The Smoked Chicken Thighs

Once the chicken has cooled a bit, you should be able to grab the thigh bone and twist it out. Once the bone is out, you can shred the chicken thighs with your fingers. I did not use the chicken skin in the soup, but you can if you want to.

Smoked Chicken Tortilla Soup Ingredients

It may seem like a lot of ingredients, but rest assured this recipe is easy to make. I count 17 ingredients on my list, but basically, you just toss everything into a soup pot and let it simmer for an hour or so. I start by cooking the chopped onions a large soup pot with a touch of oil. Next, I add the celery, and from here just dump everything else in the pot except the seasonings and turn up the heat until it boils.

You will want to taste the broth to see how much salt and seasonings to use. It will vary based on the chicken broth and enchilada sauce that you use.

How Long To Cook Chicken Tortilla Soup

The soup doesn’t need to cook long. It typically takes about an hour for the celery and carrots to soften up and the flavors to come together. Sometimes I will serve it after an hour and other times I will leave it simmering for hours and the family will grab a bowl as they arrive home.

How to Garnish & Serve Smoked Chicken Tortilla Soup

The garnish for this soup is almost as important as the soup itself. I had crispy tostadas or chips, creamy avocados, cilantro, and cheese to work with. Feel free to go crazy with the garnish and add sour cream & queso fresca, salsa, or hot sauce. Start by crushing the crispy corn tostada on the bottom of the soup bowl. You can use tortilla chips if you don’t have the crispy corn tostadas.

Next, add a couple of ladles of the soup over the tostada. Add your cheese, cilantro, and avocado to the center, and dive into this smoked chicken tortilla soup. Don’t wait too long, because you want to have a little crunch in those tostada chips.

Feel free to give this recipe a try and let me know in the comments how it turned out for you.

Smoked Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe

5 from 1 vote
Author: Brent Doud
Course: Soup
Cuisine: Mexican
Keywords: chicken tortilla soup,smoked chicken tortilla soup
Servings: 7 people
This is my fast and easy recipe for chicken tortilla soup and instead of just plain chicken I used smoked whole chicken thighs. The smoked chicken give the soup a subtle smokey flavor that really elevates this recipe. If you want to save time, or don't have a smoker, you can just saute the chicken in the soup pot prior to adding all the ingredients.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours


  • 4 Chicken Thighs
  • 1 Cup Diced White Onion Fresh
  • 2 Cups Diced Celery Fresh
  • 10 Ounces Rotel Original 1 small Can
  • 10 Ounces Enchilada Sauce 1 Small Can
  • 2 Quarts Chicken Broth
  • 1 Quart Water
  • 15 Ounces Black Beans 1 Small Can
  • 1 Cup Diced Carrots Fresh
  • 2 Cups Roasted Corn Fresh
  • 1 TSP Salt
  • 1/4 TSP Smoked Paprika
  • 1/4 TSP Chili Powder
  • 1 Sm Lime Juice from 1 Lime
  • 7 Tostadas (Crushed on the bottom of the soup bowl) You can substitute tortilla chips.
  • 1 Sliced Avocado Garnish
  • 1 Cup Grated Cheddar Cheese Garnish
  • 1 Cilantro Garnish


  • I start with the chicken. I did a simple rub of olive oil and taco seasoning. You could use almost anything as a rub. but I wanted that taco flavor.
    Chicken for Chicken Tortilla Soup. Olive oil and taco seasoning.
  • Place the chicken thighs skin side up on the smoker at 225 and smoke them until the internal tempuratre hits 170 degrees. For me that took about 1.5 hours. If you do not have a smoker, you can grill the chicken or just cook the chicken in the soup pot until it is cooked.
    Smoked Chicken for Chicken Tortilla Soup needs to be cooked over 165 degrees.
  • While the chicken thighs are smoking you can prepare all the ingredients. Chop 2 cups of celery, 1 cup of carrots, 1 cup of onions. Start by cooking the onion, then add the celery and carrots
    Ingredients for smoked chicken tortilla soup
  • Next add 2 quarts of chicken broth, 1 quart of water, 1 10oz Can of Rotel diced tomatoes and green chilis, 1 15oz can of black beans, 1 10oz can of enchilada sauce and 2 cups of roasted corn. I used frozen roasted corn.
  • Shred the smoked chicken and add it to the soup. I removed the top skin and did not add that to the soup. I used 4 chicken thighs.
    Shredded smoked chicken
  • Add 1 tsp salt (more or less to taste) 1/4 tsp chili powder, 1/4 tsp smoked paprika and the juice of a fresh lime. You can put a small lime wedge in the soup as garnish if you prefer.
  • Let the soup simmer for 1 hour or until the celery and carrots are soft.
  • Add 1 crispy corn tostada to the bottom of the soup bown and crunch it up. If you don't have tostada shells then you can use tortilla chips.
    Chicken tortilla soup tostada chips
  • Add your soup over the tostada shell pieces and garnish with grated cheddar cheese, cilantro and avocado slices and serve.
    Smoked Chicken Tortilla Soup with garnish


Calories: 554kcalCarbohydrates: 48gProtein: 29gFat: 29gSaturated Fat: 9gPolyunsaturated Fat: 5gMonounsaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 102mgSodium: 2009mgPotassium: 967mgFiber: 12gSugar: 9gVitamin A: 3952IUVitamin C: 14mgCalcium: 201mgIron: 3mg
5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)

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