Beer Chicken Tortilla Soup

Beer Chicken Tortilla Soup, best 20-minute soup ever.

Beer Chicken Tortilla Soup

You’d be shocked if you knew how many nights I lay away wondering what you want me to make. Trying to predict what it is that you’ll take notice of, share, and love as much as I do.

Sometimes I go too far with it and make something side-eye-worthy like this, and sometimes I just make something I love and hope you love it, too.

This is the second one. I wanted something that reminded me of LA, of the older Mexican ladies who made me homemade tortillas and were forgiving about my toddler-like Spanish.

The women who sold tamales in Echo Park and would never use any cheese other than cotija (or maybe panela) in their food and topped everything with Crema. 

I wanted something warm and spicy so I could forget that I’m in Seattle and we’re in the thick of it right now. The Pacific Northwest is pretending like daytime doesn’t exist and we’re going from dawn to dusk with not really much in between.

It’s a soup for lovers, for pretenders, for those of us who don’t live in the present as much as we like to pretend we do. I’m already planning my escape to a warmer land, even if it’s just for the weekend.

For now, my warm escapes are mostly just soup and coffee.

Beer Chicken Tortilla Soup

Yield: 4-6 servings


  • 1 (14.5 oz) can fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 (6oz) can tomato paste
  • 2 dried negro chili pods (stem and seeds removed), torn in pieces
  • 1 cup beer (pilsner, pale ale, pale lager, Hefeweizen)
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon red chili flakes
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 3 large radishes, thinly slices
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • ¼ cup cotija cheese, crumbled
  • 4-8 tostadas, crumbled (or fried tortilla strips)
  • 1/4 cup Mexican crema


  1. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, chili pods, and beer to a high powered blender. Blend on high until well combined.
  2. Add mixture to a large pot over medium high heat along with the broth and all spices except the salt.
  3. Sprinkle salt all over the chicken. Add the chicken to the pot to poach.
  4. Once the chicken is cooked through, about ten minutes, remove from soup, shred using two forks, return to pot.
  5. Ladle the soup into bowls, garnish with remaining ingredients.


Garnishes are not optional. They make a big difference in the flavor profile and the balance of the soup. If you don't like radishes, try sliced jicama.Don't like cilantro? try green onions instead.

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14 thoughts on “Beer Chicken Tortilla Soup

  1. Anyone reading these comments, MAKE THIS! I’m finishing the leftovers tonight, and am going to be so sad when it’s gone. And I am having it without garnishes because I’m lazy with the leftovers….and I am telling you, this soup warms the soul! And I am not a ‘warms the soul’ type of person but there is no other way to describe it. It has so much depth and it’s really just freaking unbelievably amazing!!! I am so glad I have extra chiles 🙂 cuz I’ll be making it again like soooo soon!

  2. love all of these flavors and know what you mean about the authentic places with the cotija! I’ve made versions of this but never with cotija and never with beer! So, a very nice change for me, thank you!

  3. Made this last night for my family and it was a hit! Super easy and fast. I used a Belgian IPA and think it worked well.

  4. Jackie made me look like a hero again. My wife was sick with flu, and she desperately wanted soup. On the first night of her illness I brought home some mediocre Vietnamese soup…which didn’t exactly hit the spot. The second night I thought I’d peruse the Beeroness’ site for a soup recipe. I settled on this one, and boy was it a hit. My wife is a soup aficionado, and she went wild over the depth of flavours, pronouncing this to be “the best soup she’s ever tasted.” High praise indeed! Now that she’s over the flu she’s decided to make this soup for her book club that’s convening in a couple of weeks. Thanks again Jackie – your recipes never disappoint.

    1. No, great question! I do have a vegetarian cookbook coming out next year so I love veg cooking 🙂
      I would obviously sub the chicken broth with veggie broth, then instead of chicken, I’d add corn and sauteed mushrooms, maybe some black beans?

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