Instant Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup for Meal Prep
Let me tell you about my love affair with the Instant Pot and using it for fresh and healthy meal prep. When I first started seeing it everywhere, I thought “what could possibly be so great about one little product?” For starters, I have an aversion to specialty cookware. Things like rice cookers and breadboxes are a little too niche for me. They take up a lot of space in the kitchen but are hardly ever used. Also, you can make these things on the stovetop or in the oven, using other commonly used pots and pans. But I quickly stopped resisting the urge to buy an Instant Pot, once I heard about all you can do with it. If you’re a fan of meal prep, like me, the Instant Pot is an absolute must-have. Not only can it be used as a pressure cooker and slow cooker, but also as a rice cooker, yogurt maker, steamer, sauté pan, and sterilizer. I use it for meal prep all the time to make soups, stews, braised meats, rice, and stir-fries. I love that you can use it as a slow cooker to meal prep a soup or stew while you’re at work, or as a pressure cooker for a quick, homemade dinner. One of my favorite instant pot meal prep recipes is this Instant Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup for meal prep. Spicy, tomato-y broth, tender chicken pieces, black beans, and corn are the base of this quick and easy soup, which is served with homemade baked tortilla chips and your favorite fix-ins.
How Do I Meal Prep the Tortilla Soup Without the Chips Getting Soggy?
The reason this soup is so friendly for meal prep is that you can make the soup and prepare and store the tortilla chips and fix-ins separately, which allows the soup to sit, without the chips getting soggy. Speaking of chips, rather than going through the trouble of heating a pot of frying oil and making a mess, I bake the tortilla chips in the oven. This not only saves time and effort but also makes them a little healthier. You can use corn or flour tortillas, but I think corn tortillas have a little more flavor. For seasoning the tortilla chips, I just use some salt and chili powder, but you can add other seasonings if desired. The key to making the chips for meal prep is tightly sealing them in plastic bags so that they don’t become stale.
Why is the Instant Pot So Great for Meal Prep?
While your tortilla chips are baking, make the soup in the instant pot. This is a one-pot soup, which I love for meal prep. You make a large batch, but everything is cooked in the same pot, including the chicken. Bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts are best for this recipe because it keeps the chicken moist, and gives the broth a richer taste. When the chicken is cooked through, remove the skin and bones and use a fork to shred the meat.
I also add fresh and healthy onions and jalapeños, along with a medley of spices to infuse the broth with more flavor. My favorite spices to use are chili powder, cumin, bay leaf, and smoked paprika. If you don’t cook with a lot of spices, you should give my post about spices a read. They have a lot of health benefits, especially when infused into a soup or stew. If you’d like to meal prep a spicier chicken tortilla soup, I recommend adding a big pinch of cayenne, as well.
What Fix-Ins Should I Use for Chicken Tortilla Soup Meal Prep?
I think people love chicken tortilla soup so much because of the fix-ins. The soup is great on its own, but adding lots of toppings gives it different sensations, flavors, and textures. The tortilla chips add crunch, cilantro provides a fresh and healthy flavor, cheese gives a great salty bite, and avocado adds a cool creaminess. Finishing everything off with a squeeze of lime brightens everything up. Sometimes when you meal prep a soup or stew, the ingredients can become soft or stale over time, so it’s important to add things like these to bring everything back to life. The key to making this soup for meal prep is storing all the fix-ins in resealable containers, so that they don’t get soggy in the soup.
This Chicken Tortilla Soup Meal Prep is the bomb dot com. I love making soup in the Instant Pot cause you can make a huge batch in minutes, and freeze it for months. You dirty one pot, and you don’t even have to turn on the stovetop. Meal prep often takes up a lot of different pots, pans, and dishes, but it’s important to have some quick and easy meal prep recipes in your arsenal. What are your favorite soups to make for meal prep? This one’s definitely up there for me.
Instant Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup Meal Prep
For the soup:
2 tablespoons butter
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 large jalapeño, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
6 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 14.5-ounce can fire-roasted tomatoes
2-2 1/2 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts (if your chicken breasts are large, cut in half through the bone)
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
1 tablespoon chili powder
3/4 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 bay leaf
1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 cups frozen or fresh corn kernels
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
For the tortilla chips:
10 small corn tortillas
1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Pinch chili powder, optional
Baked tortilla chips
Cotija or shredded monterrey jack cheese
Make the tortilla chips:
Preheat oven to 350° F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
Cut each tortilla into 6 equal triangles, using a sharp knife.
In a large mixing bowl, toss the tortilla wedges with the vegetable oil, until evenly coated.
Divide the tortilla wedges between the lined baking sheets, spreading them into a single layer. Sprinkle with salt and chili powder, if using.
Bake the tortilla chips for 8 minutes. Flip each tortilla chip, using tongs, and bake for an additional 8-10 minutes, or until golden brown and crisp.
Allow the chips to cool before sealing airtight in plastic bags. Store at room temperature until ready to serve.
Make the soup:
Turn the Instant Pot on to the high sauté setting. Melt the butter, then add the onion, jalapeño, garlic, and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring often, until the vegetables start to soften, 3-4 minutes.
Pour in the chicken broth, fire-roasted tomatoes, 1/2 teaspoon salt, chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, and bay leaf. Nestle the chicken breasts in the Instant Pot, so that they are mostly submerged in the liquid.
Close and lock the lid, making sure to read the instructions, if necessary. Place the Instant Pot on the high-pressure setting, and cook for 10 minutes.
After the 10 minutes are up, wait for the steam valve to depressurize (read instructions if necessary), about 10 minutes. Carefully unlock the Instant Pot and remove the lid.
Using tongs, transfer the chicken to a cutting board, and remove the skin. Use two forks to shred the chicken, discarding any bone and cartilage.
Add the black beans, corn, and cilantro to the Instant Pot, and place back on the high sauté setting. Cook, uncovered, for 3-5 minutes, or until the corn and black beans are heated through.
Turn off the Instant Pot, and add the shredded chicken and lime juice. Stir to combine everything, and taste to make sure the soup is appropriately seasoned.
Allow the soup to cool completely, before transferring it to resealable containers.
Meanwhile, prepare the garnishes, and store, refrigerated, in resealable containers.
When ready to serve, reheat the soup on the stovetop or in the microwave. Serve in bowls, garnished with fresh cilantro, lime wedges, cotija or Monterrey jack cheese, and avocado. Serve with diced avocado.
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