Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup
Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup

I unabashedly use my slow cooker all year long, but it really gets a good workout during the Fall and Winter months. I know there are some soup aficionados out there who can enjoy a piping hot bowl of the stuff any time of year, but my soup love only really kicks in around the same time the weather gets cool enough that I want to wear socks again.

Anyone else not wear socks from about April to September? Just me? I live in the country. Honestly, you’re lucky I even have shoes on.

Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup

Now that the temps have dropped (and are hopefully staying that way), my slow cooker has been granted a semi-permanent piece of real estate on my countertop.

(And, before you ask, this is my slow cooker. I love it. I got it for a wedding present, meaning I’ve had it for almost a decade. I use it multiple times a week. It still rocks.)

I know slow cooking has become seriously en vogue in recent years—and I think all that attention is totally deserved. You can slow cook just about anything! Honey-Glazed Ham. Barbecue Ribs. Pumpkin Butter. Mashed Potatoes. Christmas Wassail. There have actually been a few times in my life where I wished I owned more than one slow cooker so I could slow cook multiple things at one time (I’m looking at you, Thanksgiving dinner).

Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup

If you’re inexperienced with the slow cooker, while I would say there are very few rules to slow cooking, there are a few recommendations that I personally would suggest you follow. First up, I generally avoid lean meats in the slow cooker. I know lots of people make chicken breast casserole things and ground turkey soupy doo-dads and the such in the slow cooker, but I personally find that the long cooking time just tends to dry out lean meat.

I much prefer to go with a fattier cut of meat that can “handle” the long cooking time. Hence why I’m using chicken thighs in this here soup recipe. The added fat of the dark meat helps that chicken stay moist and tender, even after being under heat for eight hours.

Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup

The second important thing to remember with the slow cooker is that it is a very wet method of cooking—unlike, say, the oven or the grill. With the lid on, the slow cooker basically turns into a steam room for food.

This means that anything that you’d like to have a crunchy, crispy, or chewy texture probably either needs to be added only at the very end of cooking in the slow cooker or added upon serving to avoid them turning into complete mush.

Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup

If you’ve never had chicken tortilla soup before, it pretty much is created on the principle of adding the crunchiness at the end. The thing that makes tortilla soup so fun (other than the awesome taste) is how it’s served. You fill a bowl with fresh chunks of avocado and warm, crispy corn tortilla strips, and then pour the hot soup over top. The tortilla strips turn into “noodles” in the soup, and the avocado gets warm and creamy.

Honestly, after you’ve put it all together, it’s a lot less soup-like, and a lot more hearty, comforting, totally cozy stew-like. Some folks make their chicken tortilla soup a little more liquidy and thin, I prefer something that will happily pile up on a spoon. No slurping here! Enjoy.

Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup

Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup

Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 8 hours 20 minutes

The fun of this Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup comes from the mix-ins! Ripe avocado, crispy tortilla strips, melty cheese and fresh cilantro are my favorite way to serve it up.


For the Soup:

  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeds and ribs removed, minced
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 16-ounce jar of your favorite salsa
  • 1 6-ounce can tomato paste
  • 1 pound chicken thighs
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 28-ounce can hominy, drained

For the Toppings:

  • Vegetable oil
  • Corn tortillas
  • Ripe avocados, cut into large chunks
  • Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
  • Fresh cilantro, minced
  • Sour cream


  1. Place all the soup ingredients, except the hominy, in the basin of a slow cooker. Stir well. Cover the slow cooker, and cook for 6-8 hours on low or 4-6 hours on high.
  2. When ready to serve, shred the chicken thighs using two forks, and then stir in the hominy. Check seasoning, adding more salt and pepper if desired.
  3. Heat the vegetable oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Cut the corn tortillas into thin strips, and fry in the oil for 1-2 minutes per side, until crispy. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to cool and crisp up.
  4. To serve the soup, pile some of the tortilla strips, avocado chunks and cheese in a bowl. Ladle hot soup over top. Top with more tortilla strips, avocado, cheese, cilantro, and sour cream, if desired.


Never used hominy before? You can find cans of it in the international foods aisle of your grocery store. It's got an amazing puffy and chewy texture that really adds some interest to this soup (but you can totally leave it out if you can't track it down). Hominy tends to go a bit mushy if you let it slow cook for the entire time. Just toss it in at the end and let it warm through right before serving.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1 serving
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 352Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 84mgSodium: 1473mgCarbohydrates: 31gFiber: 8gSugar: 10gProtein: 21g

At Wholefully, we believe that good nutrition is about much more than just the numbers on the nutrition facts panel. Please use the above information as only a small part of what helps you decide what foods are nourishing for you.

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  1. I made this recipe the other night and I really loved it! I never tried hominy before, but it was great…almost like little potatoes in a way. Mine came out more like a soup then the pictures looked. I topped it with cheddar cheese, avocado, sour cream, and tortilla strips. If you don’t want to make your own tortilla strips, They sell packaged ones for salads by the salad dressings, croutons, etc. in my store. I will be making again! Thanks!

  2. Ohmigosh I need this recipe in my life!! I’ve been trying to brainstorm things to make in the slow cooker now that it’s dipped below 70 degrees here, but there is SO MUCH on Pinterest it’s kind of overwhelming haha.

    I love your tips, too. I think I knew both of these things (based on botched meals), but they were never fully confirmed until now. Thank you. 🙂 <3

  3. I share your slow cooker love, I also recently dusted mine off as well. Bring on the slow cooker recipes-cannot wait to try this one out with my family!~Carolyn @ Cabot

  4. Recipe looks yummy! I have two 6 quart slow cookers and often use both at once…around the holidays you can get the basic models for about $ 30 — totally worth it…

  5. Our slow cooker gets quite the workout in the fall and winter! This soup needs to get added to the rotation soon!

  6. Reading this has me seriously considering buying a slow cooker. And thanks for the note on hominy — I’d never heard of it before and am intrigued!

    1. Okay, I couldn’t resist — I ran into Canadian Tire on the way to work yesterday and picked up your Hamilton Beach slow cooker (and it was 40% off, score!). Can’t wait to make slow cooker recipes all winter long!

  7. I often wish I had ore than one slow cooker, it is the one thing I cannot live without in my kitchen. and this soup will definitely make an appearance as soon as our weather cools a bit.

  8. Dear Cassie, I do own two slow cookers. And I’m so glad, because my oven is currently broken and I’m having to custom order a new one because of my cabinets. Glad to have another slow cooker recipe in the recipe box. Flavorful and delicious, I could eat this soup every day for a week. Chicken thighs are so flavorful and tender. Can’t wait to try this one out!