Quick & Easy Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe Using Leftover Chicken

 by Texas Homesteader ~ 

Got leftover chicken and wondering how to use it? I use Planned Leftovers cooking!

Turn leftover chicken, a few dried out corn tortillas and a few cans of veggies into delicious, hot & satisfying Chicken Tortilla Soup FAST! 

Chicken tortilla soup with corn black beans and tortillas #TexasHomesteader

Jump to Recipe

Planning Your Meals For Leftovers

We had company coming for a visit so I plopped a whole chicken and some spices into the slow cooker to cook a whole chicken.

My Sticky Chicken recipe includes lots of savory spices.  

Slow cooker spicy sticky chicken recipe. #TexasHomesteader

Heck if you’re gonna have company you might as well make something delicious that requires precious little time in the kitchen #amiright??

Saving Leftover Cooked Chicken

After that chicken was enjoyed that night I pulled the remaining meat from the bones & then turned that carcass into plenty of Homemade Chicken Stock (I add a secret ingredient to leach more calcium out of those bones!) 

That leftover chicken meat & broth will come in handy for today’s soup.

Chicken broth label written on glass jar with permanent marker - can be easily scrubbed off later. #TexasHomesteader

Now I typically have lots of options for remaking these chicken leftovers. I’ve written about 6 ways I’m able to make meals from a single chicken

But today’s cold and rainy, a perfect day for a Spicy Chicken Tortilla SOUP!

Assembling Homemade Chicken Tortilla Soup

Making homemade chicken tortilla soup is easy. The simple ingredients for the soup are: 

Planned Leftovers: Use leftover chicken, a few dried out corn tortillas, a few cans of veggies to make delicious Chicken Tortilla Soup! #TexasHomesteader

2 cups Leftover shredded chicken

1.5 cups Homemade Unsalted Broth

2 cans of mild Rotel diced tomatoes – juice & all. 

1 drained can black beans

1 drained can of corn. (I used my Home-Canned Corn

Minced garlic

Chopped onions

Season with cumin, salt & pepper

Planned Leftovers: Use leftover chicken, a few dried out corn tortillas, a few cans of veggies to make delicious Chicken Tortilla Soup! #TexasHomesteader

Dump it all into the slow cooker, give it a stir and add the lid. I set the dial to low and let the flavors all blend for about 3-4 hours.

(I used this Homestead Hack to make my slow cooker more efficient:)

Homestead hack: Cover slow cooker to make it more efficient while cooking. #TexasHomesteader

How To Add Tortillas To Chicken Tortilla Soup

Then right before serving I took the last 2 dried-out corn tortillas that were left in the fridge from our Homemade Taco Shells a few nights ago. 

Corn tortillas are quick & easy to make yourself. #TexasHomesteader

I sliced those tortillas into about 1/4″ strips that were 2-3″ long and stirred them into the hot soup.

Some people like to lightly fry these corn tortilla strips to give them a little extra crunch before placing them atop the soup.

Sometimes I do that too, but typically I’ll just add the tortilla strips as they are. In & out of the kitchen FAST with fewer dishes to clean is my jam, y’all.

Add Fast Homemade Cornbread To Soup Meal

But what should I make to go with it? I decided to bake up a skillet of Spicy Jalapeno Cornbread, what a perfect accompaniment! 

Chicken Tortilla Soup: Use leftover chicken, a few dried out corn tortillas, a few cans of veggies to make delicious Chicken Tortilla Soup! #TexasHomesteader

Finally our meal was ready to be served. I ladled out hearty bowls of soup, sprinkling a little cheese on top.

Aaaahhhh – sure hits the spot on a cold rainy day! And there’s enough left over for us to enjoy for lunch tomorrow too!

Planned Leftovers Reduces Food Waste

By utilizing planned leftovers cooking I’m able to incorporate leftovers from several different meals into this one delicious soup. Oh yeah, reducing food waste is my secret super power! 

The corn tortillas were leftover from our carnitas tacos the other night, leftover chicken & broth from my slow cooker sticky chicken meal and I used some home-canned corn from the pantry.

The beauty of this soup is that you can use whatever you’ve got. Want your soup meatier? Feel free to add more chicken. Don’t like black beans? Add canned pintos instead or leave them out completely. 

The world is your oyster, make it the way you & your family like it.

But by cooking this way I’m able to make sure no leftover food is left to go bad, and our grocery budget stays tiny – yet we eat very well. 

Leftovers can be delicious!

Did you make this Chicken Tortilla Soup? Please rate the recipe in your comment below!

5 from 3 votes

Lazy Cooking: Spicy Chicken Tortilla Soup

Course Soup
Cuisine American
Keyword chicken, corn tortillas, leftover, soup
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Servings 4
Author www.TexasHomesteader.com



  • 2 cups leftover cooked chicken, shredded or cubed
  • 2 15-oz cans Rotel mild diced tomatoes, undrained (can use cans of regular diced tomatoes)
  • 1 15-oz can black beans, drained
  • 1 15-oz can corn, drained
  • 1.5 cups unsalted chicken broth I used homemade broth
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 2-4 corn tortillas, sliced into 1/4 inch strips
  • 1/2 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese



  1. Place 2 cups shredded or chopped leftover cooked chicken into a slow cooker. Add all other ingredients and stir gently.

  2. Cover & cook on low heat for 3 hours to allow flavors to marry.

  3. Just before serving, add tortilla strips to slow cooker. Stir to blend. Serve soup in soup bowls, topping each serving with cheese.


This post categorized in  

Tagged in  All our favorite soup recipes. #TexasHomesteader            A list of our favorite entree recipes. #TexasHomesteader   

Our Favorite Tex-Mex Recipes

Homemade Seasoning Mixes & Sauces

Entrees & Casseroles



Bread & Tortillas

Our Favorite Soups

Soup Tips

Beef Soups

Chicken Soups

Vegetable Soups

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9 thoughts on “Quick & Easy Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe Using Leftover Chicken

  1. Chase R. Martin

    5 stars
    Great recipe. I used 2 cups broth not 1.5 and it still could have used more. Also I zapped fresh corn (in the husks) in the microwave instead of canned corn. Finally I used queso fresco (instead of shredded Mexican cheese) and sliced avocado on top. Very good. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Love your additions, Chase. This soup really is an easy recipe to add what ya like to personalize flavors and textures to your tastes. It sounds like you’ve done just that, deliciously! ~TxH~

  2. Thelma Briggs

    5 stars
    An easy, delicious soup! I used leftover cooked turkey in place of the chicken and used cans of plain chopped tomatoes instead of the spicy tomatoes. And I doubled the recipe so there would be plenty of leftovers. An easy, delicious recipe that’s a winner in my book!

  3. Katrin

    I’ve never tried this kind of leftover, but it looks so yummy and I love chicken tortillas! Thank you so much for sharing at Sweet Inspiration, have a lovely Sunday!

  4. Leanna

    Thank you for joining linking up at the #HomeMattersParty This chicken soup looks delicious. I don’t like cooking very much, its a necessary chore for me. The idea of cooking once for two meals, while saving money and eating healthy is very appealing.

    I remember my grandmother always planning her next meal based on the leftovers of the meal before. She wasted nothing. Thanks for the reminder.

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      I’m like you Leanna – I cook our meals from scratch daily but see it as a necessary chore. But by using planned leftovers I’m able to spend precious little time cooking and that really appeals to me! LOL ~TxH~

  5. ColleenB.~Texas

    It has been soup weather that’s for sure and this looks delicious. Soup to warm the soul…………….and That’s a Good Thing.
    Have a great day Tammy and a wonderful weekend

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      I have to agree with ya there Colleen. This made a delicious meal for me to pack up & take with us on the road to visit my dad. ~TxH~


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