Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken Tortilla Soup

While I usually have Mancktastic recipe leftovers for my lunch each day at work, sometimes I venture into the world outside my office to find sustenance. When I do go forth blinking into the sunshine, one of my favorite lunch spots is McAlister’s Deli, a southern favorite for their delicious sandwiches and sweet tea. Over the years my preferred dish has varied from sandwich to wrap to soup, but my recent favorite has been their Chicken Tortilla Soup; it’s creamier than some other restaurants’ interpretation of this classic TexMex dish, with a subtle heat that doesn’t overwhelm your palette. After bemoaning the cost of this delicious treat, I finally set out in search of a reasonable facsimile I could make at home and stumbled across this recipe on, purportedly from a McAlister’s manager!

I’ve made a few changes to remove onions and such, but it’s pretty close to what you’ll get in the restaurant! It’s a nice, filling soup that I particularly enjoy when accompanied by tortilla chips or half a baked potato. You can use the cheese and tortilla chips to change up the texture, thickness and heat of the soup to your own particular taste. Enjoy!

Chicken Tortilla Soup (ala McAlister’s Deli)

  • 2 cups cooked chicken, set aside
  • 1 ½ teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon taco seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 14½ ounces crushed tomatoes
  • 32 ounces chicken broth
  • ¾ cup plus 2 Tablespoons water, divided
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • 4 ounces chopped green chiles
  • 1 cup Cheddar cheese, plus additional for garnish
  • 2 cups tortilla chips
  1. In a soup pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic and saute until soft.
  2. Add taco seasoning, oregano, tomatoes and their liquid, chicken broth and ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons water to the soup pot and stir.
  3. Combine cornstarch and ¼ cup water in a small bowl and stir until thoroughly combined. Add this mixture to the soup pot and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Stir in chiles, cheese and chicken until cheese melts, then let simmer for 10 minutes.
  5. Ladle soup into bowls and serve with chips and extra cheese on the side.


This soup warms you up inside and out without being either too spicy or too cheesy. I recommend you use homemade tortilla chips to garnish this tasty dish; their thicker nature allows them to soak up more soup without getting crumbly.

Click here to download a PDF of this recipe!


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