gluten free creamy chicken tortilla soup

Well, it’s time to post my first recipe and I’m scared to death! This is a big leap for me. My first passion is photography but since I do it for a living it is accompanied by the stress of trying to provide for my family. Disclaimer: I’m not a food photographer. I photograph people so forgive my learning curve as I experiment. Cooking is my way of being creative without any pressure. I’m not a chef. I’m a home cook with a real life. These recipes are ones I hope that anybody can make. I would really love any and all feedback. I’m learning and growing and I’m open to ideas. I’ve got my big girl panties on and I’m ready.

I am a huge fan of Mexican flavors and I also love soup, so this recipe is the best of both worlds. We have it at least once every couple of weeks during the fall and winter months. And still occasionally in warmer weather. One of the best things about it is the simplicity and how adaptable it is. You can make so many changes to this soup depending on your palette and what is available in your pantry.

creamy chicken tortilla soup

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 6 servings


  • 2 medium chicken breasts
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 small onion
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cumin (divided into 1/2 tsp. and 1 whole tsp.)
  • 1/2 tsp. chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 4 smallish tomatillos
  • 1 can rotelle tomatoes
  • 1 cup milk (room temperature)
  • 4 oz. cheddar cheese (or your favorite cheese)
  • 16 oz. GF chicken broth
  • 2 tbs. butter
  • 2 tbs. GF flour
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • Start by boiling the chicken breasts in a large pot until done. Remove from water, pat dry and shred chicken breasts into tiny pieces. If you've never shredded a chicken breast before it's relatively easy and a great technique for tons of recipes. Take 2 forks and pull them in opposite directions through the chicken. Be prepared for a great forearm workout! This is one I usually let my hubby help with ;)
  • Set the chicken aside. Finely chop the onion and cube the tomatillos. I like to cut my tomatillos into rather small pieces so that they are not as noticeable to my picky 8 year old. Heat some oil or butter in a pan and saute the onions with a pinch of salt (I like to use kosher sea salt) for a couple of minutes by themselves and then add the minced garlic, tomatillos, and the first 1/2 tsp. of cumin. Cook low and slow for a few minutes until the tomatillos are tender and the flavors have mingled. Add the cooked chicken and saute for another couple of minutes . Remove from heat and set aside.
  • In a separate pot start the roux for the soup. Melt 2tbs butter, then slowly whisk in the flour. Make sure to stir so that all of the flour is thoroughly blended. Since we want this to be a lighter colored soup you do not need to cook the roux for too long. A few minutes will do.
  • Slowly pour in the room temperature milk and continue to stir to prevent clumping. I like to add my cheese in next to give it time to melt and add flavor to the soup base. Continually stir so that the cheese does not stick to the bottom of the pot. Add chicken broth, the remaining spices, chicken mixture and canned tomatoes (do not drain). Turn heat to low and let simmer for approx. 20-30 min. Stir occasionally. This time will allow the flavors to build and produce a tastier dish. Add salt and pepper to taste once the soup has simmered for a while.
  • Top with your favorite garnish and serve. I like to add tortilla chips to mine. Otherwise it wouldn't really be tortilla soup!


Dairy Free- sub coconut milk for regular milk and omit cheddar. Less Spicy-sub regular canned tomatoes for the Rotelle (drain). Less Chunky-use 1 medium chicken breast and give the soup a quick puree in the food processor.

Here is a tutorial on making a roux. Making a roux with gluten free flour is a little different because GF flour tends to be more dense. I experimented and found that 2 tbs. butter to 2 tbs. rice flour worked well.

If you’ve never worked with tomatillos before, don’t let them intimidate you. Also known as the Mexican tomato they are a fruit and part of the nightshade family. Tomatillos (pronounced toh-mah-TEE-yoh) are somewhat tart when raw but have an amazing flavor after they are cooked. And cumin and tomatillos are a marriage made in heaven. I can’t even describe the flavor, but it’s oh so good!  This is a great article on how to choose a tomatillo . You will need to remove the husks before cooking and rinse the tomatillos because the husks leave a sticky residue.

Once you’ve made this soup and feel confident, experiment! I have added leftover mashed potatoes to the chicken saute before and it gave the soup an even creamier texture and great flavor. Once, when I made it just a little too spicy, I searched my fridge for some kind of cream to tone it down. The only thing I could find was goat cheese. We love goat cheese so I decided to give it a try and added about 2 tbs. worth. It worked. My hubby said it was his favorite version I’ve made so far. You could also add black beans, corn, or avocado. Let your imagination do the cooking! I’d love to hear what you tried.