For years I’ve used the same Tortilla Soup recipe, but I recently changed things a bit and it is now Instant Pot Tortilla Soup. It can still be made over the stove, but making it in the Instant Pot is a little more fun. I am not sure why since the process is pretty much the same, but I like it better.Jump to Recipe
Some New Ingredients
This is similar to my old recipe, but I recently simplified it by ditching the step of pureeing the dried soaked peppers. The pepper version was good, but I found I wasn’t making the soup as often because I didn’t feel like messing with the blender. So this is a more streamlined version with some new ingredients thrown in for flavor — and by new, I mean bacon. The bacon adds just a touch of flavor, but the fat from the bacon also improves the mouth-feel of the soup. You can leave it out and still have great soup, but I made it with the bacon and got extra compliments, so I suppose the bacon does its usual magic.
Instant Pot Tortilla Soup Ingredients
- Bacon— This adds a little body and background flavor to the soup. After cooking the bacon in the Instant Pot, I save it and use it later on salads rather than use it in or on top of the soup.
- Carrots — The carrots add sweetness to the soup, so if you leave them out you may need to balance the sweetness with something else. Corn is also a good addition.
- Jalapeno — If you use Ro-Tel you can leave it out. It just adds flavor and a little spice
- Ro-Tel Tomatoes – Ro-Tel is spicy, but they also have a mild variety which is still kind of spicy. For even less heat (or less salt) you can use any other brand or type of canned tomatoes. When making this for Fuzz, I use a can of drained diced tomatoes rather than Rotel.
- Garlic — 3 cloves should do the trick, but feel free to double!
- Chicken Broth or Vegetable broth — I use Swanson, Progresso or whatever brand is on sale. Sometimes I use reduced sodium and add more salt, sometimes I just use fully salted broth and just a pinch.
- Cumin is one of my favorite spices, but I’ve dialed it down over the years from a tablespoon to a teaspoon. You can adjust it to taste.
- Honey — This may seem like an odd ingredient, but it’s the secret to making the soup really good! Two teaspoons should bring out the natural sweetness of the tomatoes. You can leave it out or halve it, but give it at try. Brown sugar also works.
- Smoked Paprika — Adds a dash of smokiness. If you are using Anchos or Chipotle flavored Ro-Tel you can skip it.
- Salt – I would never make soup without tasting as I go, and I don’t think you should either. For that reason, salt to taste. If you are using low sodium broth you’ll need to start with at least 1/4 teaspoon and will probably need more — maybe up to 1/2. If you are using salted broth, you may not need any.
- Bay leaf — Adds more flavor than you’d think. The big ones are the best because they are easy to fish out.
- Chicken — I’ve made this soup with leftover cooked chicken breast, thighs refrigerated chicken chunks and even canned. They’re all good.
Instant Pot Tortilla Soup
- Instant Pot
- 2 slices bacon, fairly thick if possible
- 1 tablespoon butter or oil I use olive or canola
- 1 cup chopped onions (100 grams)
- 1/3 cup chopped carrots (50 grams)
- 1 large jalapeno, optional, seeds removed
- 3 cloves garlic, minced (18 grams)
- 3 large chopped corn tortillas (72 grams)
- 1 can RoTel tomatoes (10 oz) or a 14 oz can fire roasted
- 3 cups chicken or vegetable broth, low sodium or regular
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika (optional)
- 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
- 2 teaspoons honey, plus more as needed (8 grams) — I sometimes use more
- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste! And you may need less depending on broth.
- 1 bay leaf, whole
- 1 can corn, drained
- 1 cup chopped cooked chicken
- 5 corn tortillas for air frying or baking
- Set the Instant Pot to Sauté, and adjust to high. Add the chopped bacon and cook it for about 10 minutes or until browned. Remove it from the pot leaving behind the grease. There shouldn't be too much — about about 2 teaspoons. As for the bacon, you can serve it on top of the soup or save it and use it on salads or pasta.
- Add the butter, onions, carrots and jalapeno and together for 3-4 minutes. Add garlic and chopped tortillas. Cook for another 2 minutes, stirring and scraping any tortilla that sticks to the bottom.
- Add the whole can of Ro-Tel or tomoatoes, undrained, and scrape bottom of Instant Pot. Add 3 cups broth, the cumin, honey and smoked paprika. At this point it won't be very hot because you are still in Sauté mode.
- Taste the soup and adjust any salt or pepper or add any other ingredients you like. Add the bay leaf.
- Put the top on the pot and set steam valve to the center, press manual, set time to "2", press manual again. Let soup pressure cook for 2 minutes. Allow for a natural release. This should take about 20 minutes. If you are in a hurry, you can do a quick release.
- Open pot and stir in chicken. Alternatively, you can leave the chicken out and pour the soup over the chicken like they do in restaurants. Adjust any spices you like (more salt, less, pepper, whatever). Throw in some corn if you feel like it. Set the slow cook function or put it on a keep warm setting and serve when you are ready.
- For more flavor, make the soup earlier in the day and leave it in the pot on the slow cooker "low" setting. This will allow the flavors to develop a little more.
- Serve with air fried or baked corn tortilla strips. Cut the tortilla strips about 1/2 inch wide. Arrange in an air fry basket and spray with cooking spray or olive oil spray. Air fry at 250-300 for about 7 minutes. Alternatively, just bake them at about 350 for 8 to 12 minutes or until crisp.