Dairy Free Creamy Chicken Tortilla Soup is a flavourful weeknight meal perfect for families. The soup is as filling and can be quickly made in an Instant Pot or slow cooked in a crockpot. This recipe is not only gluten free but also free from top 8 and top 9 allergens.
- Why We Like This Recipe
- The Ingredient Low Down
- Instructions/ Directions and Tips
- Low Food Waste Tips
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- Variations /Adaptations
- Storage and Reheating Instructions
- How to Send Dairy Free Creamy Chicken Tortilla Soup as Leftovers for Lunch
- Instant Pot Tips for Timing and Altitude Adjustments
- Top Tip for Making Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup
- What To Serve With
- Other Recipes You May Enjoy
- Have You Made Our Dairy Free Creamy Chicken Tortilla Soup ? Please Leave a Comment Below.
- Rate our Recipe.
- We Love To Hear From You!
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Why We Like This Recipe
Our kids love this soup because it is darn tasty and we let them choose their own garnishes from a list. It is a fabulously filling soup that isn’t tough to make. Rob and I love this soup because it is really easy to put on and make in either an instant pot or a slow cooker.
We can also use boneless skinless chicken thighs in this recipe as they are better for long cooking chicken recipes. This is another thing we love about this recipe. Thighs have always been a bit of a cheaper part of the chicken where we live and makes this recipe a bit more affordable.
- Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs
- Olive Oil
- Celery Ribs
- Sweet Bell Pepper
- Chicken Stock
- Canned Diced Tomatoes
- Crushed Gluten Free Tortilla Chips
- Canned White Beans
- Canned Green Chilies
- Canned or frozen Corn Nibs
- Canned Coconut Cream
- Chilli Powder
- Cumin Powder
- Oregano, dried
- Smoked Paprika
- Coriander, ground
- Salt and Pepper
See recipe card for quantities.
The Ingredient Low Down
Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs
We prefer the thighs in this recipe as they are generally a cheaper cut of chicken. They also have a higher fat content and stand up to the cooking for this recipe without drying out or going rubbery. Breasts could be used but may not be as juicy when shredded.
This can be substituted for a suitable cooking oil for your family. We prefer the taste of olive oil but another that can handle the browning and sauteing at a higher temperature will work. Always make sure to use oils within below their smoke point. For more info on oils and smoke points check out this excellent article on the USDA website.
Carrots, Celery, Sweet Bell Pepper, Onion, Garlic
Fresh are our personal preferred type of vegetables in soups in our opinion but dehydrated versions that have been hydrated could absolutely be used. Many home gardeners will dehydrate their crops for use in the winter months in a home machine. If the dried veggies are not hydrated first more broth will be needed in the soup. Powdered vegetables like garlic or onion powder are not recommended as they will greatly change the texture of the soup.
Frozen vegetables are also a great and economical way to incorporate veggies into soups. It can be freezing your own home grown vegetables or commercial frozen ones. The frozen veggies can be added directly to the soup, frozen. Alternatively, for meal prepping
If buying commercially made dehydrated or frozen veggies always check the ingredients and call the manufacturer to ensure they are not produced in shared facilities. Shared lines can be an area where there is a high risk for cross contact between foods.
We make our own gluten and soy free chicken stock from leftover chicken carcass after a roast chicken dinner. You can use homemade or premade if it is safe for you. Chicken bone broth or stock will work.
Crushed Gluten Free Tortilla Chips
Corn can have a high gluten risk through cross contact so we use certified gluten and wheat free chips. If you use green or blue coloured chips they may colour the soup so be aware of that. We save the bits at the end of a bag of chips to use in this recipe rather than crush whole chips that we would use to make nachos.
Canned White Beans
We use canned white beans in this Dairy Free Creamy Chicken Tortilla Soup recipe as it is easy. If you prefer to use dried beans they can be used but must be soaked overnight before using in the recipe or they will not be soft enough in the soup.
Chickpeas or black beans can be used instead of white beans. For bean allergies, omit and use only corn, if it is safe for you.
Canned Diced Tomatoes, Canned Green Chilies
We use whichever is cheapest and safe for us. We check that they are free from cross contact with the manufacturer. The chillies are the mildest ones we can find and only use as the kids abhor anything spicy.
Canned or frozen Corn Nibs
We use canned usually as they are easy to store and we rarely have loads of room in our freezer but when the corn is on sale we use it in the soup. Fresh corn cut from the cob also works.
Canned Coconut Cream
Full fat canned coconut cream is the best option for making this soup as creamy as possible. The drinking coconut milk is not thick enough nor is the light coconut milk. If the cans of just cream are not available near you, chill full fat tinned coconut milk in the fridge overnight. The coconut cream will solidify and can be scooped out of the can and added to the soup. Alternatively, you can add the coconut milk and to thicken the soup add 1 tablespoon of gluten free cornstarch or arrowroot starch to 1 tablespoon of water and mix well. Then add that starch slurry to the soup.
Always check that the spices are packaged in plants with no cross contact or shared line issues. The manufacturer should be able to provide that info with a call or email to them to inquire. We are seeing more and more “may contain” warnings on spices and even salt and pepper. The warnings are not regulated nor mandatory but are starting to pop up here and there.
Instructions/ Directions and Tips
Turn on Instant Pot to Saute setting. Add 1 tablespoon of Olive Oil and let it heat up.
Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper on both sides.
Using tongs place the seasoned thighs in the inner pot and brown. Turning after 2-3 minutes per side to get all sides. When seared all over, remove the chicken thighs to a plate. Set aside.
Add the rest of the olive oil, let it heat. Once oil is heated add the diced celery, carrots, onions, sweet bell peppers, and minced garlic. Cook until the onions are translucent, about 4-5 minutes, stirring often. When stirring try to scrape up any bits of chicken that may be stuck to the inner pot base.
Sprinkle in the spices, cumin, coriander, smoked paprika, oregano, chilli, and cayenne. Stir well and continue to saute for 1-2 mins.
Turn off the saute on the Instant Pot. Pour in The chicken stock, crushed tortilla chips and diced tomatoes and liquid in the diced tomatoes can. Stir.
Add back the sauteed chicken thighs that were set aside in step 3.
Put the lid on the Instant pot and lock it into position. Ensure the valve is set to Sealing. Set the Instant Pot to cook on Manual at High pressure for 10 minutes (see our section about higher altitudes).
When pressure cooking is finished, let the pressure release naturally for 15 minutes. After the 15 minute natural release, carefully do a controlled quick release.
When pressure has fully released, pull out the chicken thighs and place on the cutting board from cutting the vegetables. Using two forks pulling in opposite directions away from each other pull the chicken apart into shredded bits.
Alternatively, you can use a hand mixer on low speed to shred the chicken, if desired.
Return the shredded chicken to the Instant pot.
Turn the Instant Pot onto the soup function.
Add the green chillies, drained corn and white beans, and coconut cream to the soup. Stir well to mix and let heat until the coconut cream is fully melted and mixed into the soup.
Hint: Make sure to scrape up any bits of chicken that are stuck to the bottom of the pot as it can cause the pot to fault instead of pressurising. If this occurs, remove the contents of the bowl, let the pot cool and clean the food from the bottom of the pot, dry it and replace the contents. Sometimes we find it easier to saute in a different pan to avoid this issue. It is a common issue with sauteing on the inner pot of the Instant Pot , we have found.
Low Food Waste Tips
Save the clean ends, skins, and peelings from the carrots, celery, onion, and garlic. Put them all in a large bag and store in the freezer until the bag is full. When full, make vegetable stock out of the scraps or add to a chicken carcass with water and boil to make amazing chicken stock.
We save the tiny crushed bits of tortilla chips in one bag until we have enough to make this soup. The ones from the end of a bag of tortilla chips.
When draining the canned white beans, save the liquid from the can. It will keep for up to 3 days in a well sealed container in the fridge or frozen in 3 tablespoon cubes in the freezer. Pop the cubes out after freezing for 8 hours and store them in a container in the fridge for up to 6 months. Thaw before using.
The liquid is just like aquafaba and can be used in some recipes as an egg replacer. We use it in baking. 3 tablespoons of aquafaba replaces one large egg.
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- Gluten Free Oat Milk - Gluten free oat milk, preferably a creamy barista style, can be used in place of coconut cream or a plant based cream alternative like Country Crock or Silk Whip.
- Corn Based Taco Shells - If you do not have gluten free tortilla chips you can use gluten free hard corn taco chips. They can be crushed up and measured the same way.
- Vegan - The chicken breast can be replaced with jack fruit or with chickpeas in the soup. To make this a vegan soup use jackfruit in place of chicken and omit searing it first, start with sauteing the veggies. Use vegetable stock instead of chicken, also and ethically sourced coconut cream.
- Spicy - Add ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper and jalapenos or chillies in adobo sauce to add a bit of heat to the soup.
- Pork or Beef- You can use boneless pork or beef medallions instead of chicken. They should still be browned before pressuring or cooking in the slow cooker.
- Tomatillo- Canned Tomatillos can be used in place of diced tomatoes for a green tortilla soup. Use the liquid from the can as well, just like with the diced tomatoes.
The biggest piece of equipment needed to make this gluten free chicken is an Instant Pot. If you do not have one but want to use a slow cooker we have the conversions for that in the recipe and the section about how to make the soup in a slow cooker.
Two forks, a vegetable peeler, cutting board and knife are all needed for the preparation of the vegetables and the shredding of the meat. A plate to put the chicken on after browning while it waits to go back in the pot while the onions sweat down. Utensils like tongs and one for stirring are useful as are measuring cups and spoons.
Storage and Reheating Instructions
In the fridge the soup will keep for up to 3 days in a covered container. The garnishes should be stored separately from each other and from the soup.
In a well sealing container with room to expand the dairy free creamy chicken tortilla soup will keep for up to 6 months. This is a soup the kids love to take to school for lunch so we often freeze it in individual portions that are sized to their thermoses and appetites.
Add up to ¼ cup of water per portion to the soup when reheating to thin it out a bit.
In a pot that is big enough to allow room to simmer, reheat the gluten free chicken tortilla soup over medium high heat. Bring the soup to a boil and reduce the heat to allow the soup to simmer for 5 minutes to heat it through to a food safe temperature.
How to Send Dairy Free Creamy Chicken Tortilla Soup as Leftovers for Lunch
The best way to heat up the soup for lunch we have found is on the stove top. It retains the heat longer than when microwaved, in our experience. First, fill a double walled insulated small thermos with hot water and lay the lid over it to keep the heat in.
While the thermos is heating, heat the soup up in a small pot on the stove over medium heat. The soup may need a bit of water added to thin it while heating, usually ¼ of a cup per portion is perfect. Bring the soup to a boil and reduce the heat to allow the soup to simmer for 5 minutes.
When the soup is ready, pour out the water from the thermos and fill it with soup and put the lid on to close up the thermos without it leaking. Make sure the lid is easy to remove for the kids at school. A big thing is to make sure it will not burn the kids when opened by being too full or too hot at lunch time. It can take a few tries at home to get the just right temperature and practice with the kids the opening of the thermos.
Instant Pot Tips for Timing and Altitude Adjustments
There will be additional time to get to the set cooking pressure. This additional time can vary by version and size of the pot. We have a 6 Qt InstantPot and it usually takes about 15 minutes to get up to pressure for us.
If you live at a high altitude above sea level you may need to increase cooking time. The guideline is generally to increase it by 5% for every 1000 ft about 2000 ft above sea level. In this recipe it would be 30 seconds for each 1000 ft above 2000 ft above sea level.
For example for anyone in Calgary, Alberta set the pressure for 11 minutes instead of 10 minutes for this recipe. For Colorado Springs you would need to multiply the cooking time by 1.20 so it would need to cook at pressure for 12 minutes. Do not lower the cooking time if living below 2000 ft.
Top Tip for Making Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup
You can make this dairy free creamy tortilla soup in a slow cooker instead. Sautee all the ingredients as per the recipe in a pan with over medium to high heat. When all are sauteed, place all the ingredients in a slow cooker except the coconut milk. Put on the cover and cook. Low for 6-8 hours or high for 4-6 hours. When the soup has cooked add the coconut milk and mix well.
Our recipe is! When making this soup if you are gluten sensitive or allergic to wheat it is important to check EVERY ingredient for gluten and/or wheat and cross contact on shared lines. It is always best to go with certified GF products as they are monitored and tested frequently and must meet set standards. We also recommend contacting the manufacturer as well. Don’t forget to check spices and salt and pepper as many are packaged on shared lines.
Ours doesn’t! Some recipes do use dairy based cream to thicken it. Since all of our recipes are top 8 allergens free we do not use any dairy products in our food. In place of dairy we make our soup really creamy with full fat coconut cream or a barista style gluten free oat milk.
It depends entirely on which green chillies are used. We buy the most mild ones available in a can to use in this Dairy Free Creamy Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe. If you’d like it spicy you can add jalapenos and cayenne pepper to the one you make. We choose to omit those as our kids cannot tolerate any spice in their foods. One has a condition called EoE and spicy foods can trigger acid reflux in them so I keep the spicy foods for when it is just me. For measurements check out our variations section.
What To Serve With
This Gluten-free Chicken Tortilla Soup is the best when served with a few garnishes. When we make this dish we put a small toppings bar together and the kids can all personalise their dinners. The topping will include chopped green onions, diced avocado, dairy free cheese shreds, a dollop of dairy free sour cream, sliced jalapeno rings, chopped fresh cilantro leaves, extra tortilla chips. This soup is hearty enough to be served on its own, with a slice of gluten free bread, or with a green salad with a vinaigrette dressing.
Other Recipes You May Enjoy
Have You Made Our Dairy Free Creamy Chicken Tortilla Soup ? Please Leave a Comment Below.
Rate our Recipe.
We Love To Hear From You!
- Instant Pot
- 2 Forks
- Cutting Board and Knife
- Vegetable Peeler
- Stirring Utensil
- Measuring cups and spoons
- 6-8 Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- ¼ teaspoon Pepper
- 2 Tbsps Olive Oil divided in 2
- 1 Cup Carrots peeled and medium diced - about 2-3
- 1 Cup Celery Ribs medium diced about 3
- 1 Cup Sweet Bell Pepper medium diced
- 1 Cup Yellow Onion medium diced
- 6-8 Cloves Garlic minced
- 2 teaspoon Chilli Powder
- 1 ½ teaspoon Cumin Powder
- 1 ½ teaspoon Oregano dried
- 1 teaspoon Smoked Paprika
- 1 teaspoon Coriander ground
- ⅛ teaspoon Cayenne optional
- 6 Cups Chicken Stock
- 1 28 oz Can Diced Tomatoes and their liquid
- 2 Cups Crushed Tortilla Chips see Notes
- 1 15 oz Can White Beans rinsed and save the canning liquid for another recipe
- 1 4 oz Can Green Chilies
- 1 11-15 oz Can Corn Nibs drained
- 1 14 oz Can Coconut Cream
- Turn on Instant Pot to Saute setting. Add 1 tablespoon of Olive Oil and let it heat up.
- Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper on both sides.
- Using tongs place the seasoned thighs in the inner pot and brown. Turning after 2-3 minutes per side to get all sides. When seared all over, remove the chicken thighs to a plate. Set aside.
- Add the rest of the olive oil, let it heat. Once oil is heated add the diced celery, carrots, onions, sweet bell peppers, and minced garlic. Cook until the onions are translucent, about 4-5 minutes, stirring often. When stirring try to scrape up any bits of chicken that may be stuck to the inner pot base.
- Sprinkle in the spices, cumin, coriander, smoked paprika, oregano, chilli, and cayenne. Stir well and continue to saute for 1-2 mins.
- Turn off the saute on the Instant Pot. Pour in The chicken stock, crushed tortilla chips and diced tomatoes and liquid in the diced tomatoes can. Stir.
- Add back the sauteed chicken thighs that were set aside in step 3.
- Put the lid on the Instant pot and lock it into position. Ensure the valve is set to Sealing. Set the Instant Pot to cook on Manual at High pressure for 10 minutes (see notes about higher altitudes).
- When pressure cooking is finished, let the pressure release naturally for 15 minutes. After the 15 minute natural release, carefully do a controlled quick release.
- When pressure has fully released, pull out the chicken thighs and place on the cutting board from cutting the vegetables. Using two forks pulling in opposite directions away from each other pull the chicken apart into shredded bits. Alternatively, you can use a hand mixer on low speed to shred the chicken, if desired.
- Return the shredded chicken to the Instant pot.
- Turn the Instant Pot onto the soup function.
- Add the green chillies, drained corn and white beans, and coconut cream to the soup. Stir well to mix and let heat until the coconut cream is fully melted and mixed into the soup.
- Cook to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat
- Wash hands after touching raw meat
- Contact the manufacturer of products, regarding cross contact and ingredients, to ensure they are safe for you
- Always check ingredients for allergens
- Do not use the same utensils on allergen free food, that previously touched allergens
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove