Panera Chicken Tortilla Soup

This copycat Panera Chicken Tortilla Soup recipe features tender chicken, green chile, black beans, corn, and crispy tortilla strips in a savory, southwest-flavored broth. You can have this easy, gluten free, healthy soup on the table in 30 minutes!

2 orange bowls of Panera chicken tortilla soup with vegetables, 2 copper spoons, and an orange napkin.

👩🏻‍🍳 Tamara Talks – About Copycat Soup

Have you ever been to a restaurant and just loved the soup? I have… more than once. When I came home from New Mexico with 10 pounds of roasted Hatch green chile, I was looking for healthy or healthyish ways to use it. I thought of this Panera chicken tortilla soup recipe. It’s a perfect vehicle for Hatch green chile!

I do not have a recipe for the Panera chicken soup, but I’m pretty good at determining ingredients in a dish. And soups are relatively simple. Additionally, there are ingredients listed on line for their canned version, and a few reviews that help. So, this chicken tortilla soup is a combination of my taste buds and knowledge of flavor profiles, and online sources. I think the end result is pretty close.

I know Panera bread features multi-colored bright tortillas. I am not a fan of food coloring, and I really don’t think they use natural ingredients to achieve their brilliant hues. I don’t really know. My copycat chicken tortilla soup tastes great with baked or air fryer tortilla strips.

If you love Panera Bread, you won’t want to miss this Copycat Panera 10 Vegetable Soup. It’s chock full of healthy veggies, and gluten free as well!

📋 Ingredients

Ingredients for copy cat Panera chicken tortilla soup: Corn, chicken, black beans, chicken stock, tomatoes, onion, green chile, garlic, Mexican oregano, red chile powder, cumin.
  • chicken – Either boneless, skinless chicken breast or thigh meat will work in this soup recipe.
  • onion
  • ground cumin
  • garlic
  • chicken broth
  • canned tomatoes with their juice
  • Mexican oregano
  • ground red chile powder – Use ancho, chipotle, or NM red chile powder. Generic “chili powder” is a spice blend that includes other ingredients.
  • black beans – This recipe requires cooked black beans, but they can be rinsed and drained canned black beans or cooked from dried.
  • green chile – I never miss an opportunity to plug Hatch green chile. You need chopped green chile, and there are a few options. I love to pull a package of roasted Hatch green chile from my freezer, thaw, stem, and seed, then chop it. You can use commercial chile like this frozen chopped green chile or this canned green chile.
  • corn – Fresh off the cob, frozen corn, or canned corn will work in this recipe.
  • corn tortillas
  • cheese – I prefer crumbled cotija, but you can use queso fresco, Mexican blend, or your favorite cheese!
  • lime wedges and cilantro for garnish

See recipe card for quantities. 😀

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🔪 Instructions

Start to finish you need about 30 minutes to complete this soup!

step 1

Step 1 - Diced chicken breast browned in a soup pot.
  • Brown the chicken – In a heavy soup pot, brown the chicken in a drizzle of olive oil. The chicken should not be fully cooked, but you do want to see some caramelization (browning). Remove from the pot and set aside.

step 2

Step 2 - Aromatics including onion, garlic, and ground cumin in the soup pot with a wood spoon.
  • Sauté the aromatics – To the same pot, add a drizzle of olive oil (if pan is dry) over medium-high heat. Add the chopped onion. Cook until fragrant and beginning to soften -about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and ground cumin, and cook an additional 1-2 minutes. Avoid burning the garlic!

step 3

Step 3 - All remaining soup ingredients including tomatoes, green chile, black beans, and corn added to the soup pot.
  • Make the soup – Add broth, partially cooked chicken, Mexican oregano, red chile powder, and tomatoes. Simmer 5 minutes before adding the green chile, corn, and black beans. Simmer an additional 10 minutes covered. While the soup simmers, prepare the garnishes (including tortilla strips).

step 4

The completed chicken tortilla soup in a soup pot with a ladle and an orange cloth.
  • To serve – Ladle the chicken tortilla soup into bowls. Garnish with prepared tortilla strips, lime wedges, cheese, and chopped cilantro as desired. Enjoy!

How do I make the crispy tortilla strips?

I use the air fryer mode on my microwave. I cut corn tortillas in thin strips (see photo below), spray lightly with olive oil or cooking spray, lightly salt, and cook them about 10 minutes at 375°.

If you prefer a recipe, see Air Fryer Tortilla Strips or Baked Tortilla Strips. Alternatively, you can fry them, but I prefer to avoid the fat and calories.

A close up of 1 bowl of gluten free chicken tortilla soup with a copper spoon and rust napkin.

🥘 Variations

Most of the time when I’m not cooking for the blog, I don’t follow the recipe. 😉 Here are a few ideas for “ad libbing.”

  • Spicy – Add hot green chile, a chipotle in adobo (or two), or a dash of cayenne.
  • Decadent – Garnish with a scoop of sour cream and avocado slices, or melt your favorite cheese over top.
  • Kid friendly – Omit the green chile and add macaroni (or other small pasta).
  • Extra Healthy – Add additional vegetables like carrots, kale, or green beans.
  • Vegetarian – Replace chicken with a quality vegetarian protein like Just Like Chicken or extra firm tofu. Replace chicken broth with vegetable broth.

💭 Tips

If you’ve got part of a rotisserie chicken on hand, add diced or shredded rotisserie chicken in with the black beans and green chile. Omit step 1.

Tortilla chips are a quick substitute for baked tortilla strips, but keep in mind they’re likely higher in fat and calories.

❓ FAQ

Is this chicken tortilla soup good left over?

We think so. Add the tortilla strips and other garnishes to each bowl just prior to serving. Reheat the soup at a later date, adding fresh garnishes.

How should I store leftovers?

I keep it in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 5 days, and in the freezer for up to 2 months. Do not store with garnishes.

If it’s “soup season” in your area, you will want to give this chicken tortilla soup recipe a try. I’ll be waiting for a nice, cool day in south Texas to make it again!

Signature in red and green with chiles and limes. Healthyish Latin cuisine.
A single bowl of Panera copy cat chicken tortilla soup with an orange cloth and copper spoon.

Panera Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe

A quick and healthy chicken, vegetable, and black bean soup garnished with crunchy tortilla strips… Ready to eat in 30 minutes!
4.67 from 3 votes

Click to rate!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Main Dishes
Cuisine American Southwest
Servings 4 servings
Calories 400 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 16 ounces boneless chicken breast - cut in cubes
  • 1 small onion - chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3 cloves garlic - minced
  • 4 cups chicken broth +/-
  • 2 teaspoons Mexican oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground red chile powder - or to taste
  • 1 can tomatoes - with their juice
  • ½ cup green chile - chopped
  • 1 cup corn kernels
  • 1 can black beans - rinsed and drained
  • sea salt and fresh ground pepper - to taste

Instructions

  • Brown the chicken in a heavy soup pot with a drizzle of olive oil over medium-high heat. Remove from pot.
  • To the same pot, add a drizzle of olive oil (if pan is dry) over medium-high heat. Add the chopped onion. Sauté about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and ground cumin, and cook an additional 1-2 minutes.
  • Add broth, chicken, Mexican oregano, red chile powder, and tomatoes. Simmer 5 minutes before adding the green chile, corn, and black beans. Simmer an additional 10 minutes covered. While the soup simmers, prepare the garnishes.
  • Ladle the chicken tortilla soup into bowls. Garnish with prepared tortilla strips, lime wedges, cheese, and chopped cilantro as desired.

Notes

If you use salted chicken broth, you may not want any salt. If you use unsalted chicken broth, start with about 1/2 teaspoon and season to taste.

Nutrition

Calories: 400kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 37g | Fat: 8g

NOTE: Macronutrients are an approximation only using unbranded ingredients and MyFitnessPal.com. Please do your own research with the products you’re using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.

Did you make this recipe? Please leave a comment and/or star rating! Email us with any questions: tamara@beyondmeresustenance.com

🌶 More Recipes that Use Hatch Green Chile

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4 Comments

  1. Wow this was so good! I think it’s pretty spot on for the Panera recipe. I chose to add the chipotle in adobo for spice along with some of its juice and made sure the green chile and tomatoes were the fire roasted ones.

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed it Tanya! Good for you for playing with the recipe; your changes sound perfect. Thanks for taking time to write. Happy Holidays!