what to serve with chicken tortilla soup

What to Serve with Chicken Tortilla Soup: 13 Sides and Toppings

Making chicken tortilla soup is like combining everything you love about Mexican cuisine into a bowl. It has a rich tomato and chicken-based sauce; with beans, spices, seasonings, tortilla chips, corn, and other ingredients. Thus, recipes can vary based on the extra elements.

The toppings also vary, as chicken tortilla soup is often topped with treats like sour cream, salsa, tortilla chips, avocados, and more! Sounds so interesting, right? And it doesn’t end there! Check out these 13 sides and toppings when you need some inspiration for what to serve with chicken tortilla soup.

1. Tortilla Strips

It’s not a chicken tortilla soup without tortilla strips. They are exactly as they sound: you’ll cut and slice corn tortillas and then fry or bake the pieces until they’re crisp and crunchy. Some grill them, too. If you don’t like the long strips, you can crush tortillas and spread the crumbled pieces all over the soup. You can also keep some whole ones on the side for dipping!

2. Pineapple Mango Salsa

Many salsa types are excellent with chicken tortilla soup. Still, one of the most recommended is pineapple mango salsa or pineapple pico de gallo. Many might prefer it because of its impressive blend of sweet and tangy flavors that teleport you to Mexico and the tropics. You can serve this on the side of your soup. However, some go all in and use it as a topping.

3. Guacamole

Avocado is a classic topping for chicken tortilla soup, so it makes sense that guacamole would be an incredible alternative. It might even offer more flavors and textures because it’s not just fruit in the mix. There are onions, cilantro, jalapeños, lime juice, coriander, and salt. Thus, beneath the sweet creaminess of avocados, you get hints of tangy, spicy, and fresh flavors that will brighten up your soup.

4. Mexican Crema

Many love to top their chicken tortilla soup with sour cream, which is convenient, creamy, and delicious. But if you want to stick to Mexican themes, crema is better. It’s often dubbed the Mexican version of sour cream, although there are a few differences. For instance, this recipe has lime juice, sour cream, and chipotle powder; thus, you can expect an intense tanginess intertwined with spicy notes.

5. Pickled Jalapeños

Chopped jalapenos often grace the bowls of chicken tortilla soups to provide heat and spiciness. These pickled jalapenos do the same but offer just a bit more. That’s because pickling these peppers imbibes them with an exciting blend of sweet and tangy tastes. Thus, if you think your soup needs a little bit of spiciness, tanginess, and sweetness, don’t look any further –  just make this recipe.

6. Rice

Plain rice is a go-to side dish for chicken tortilla soup because you can mix it right into the bowl. Yes, you read that right. You can take your cooked grains, pour them into the bowl, and combine everything, so the rice absorbs the indulgent sauces and flavors. Also, it’s interesting that the grains become softer as the rice takes it all in.

7. Mexican Cornbread

Even with Mexican soups, bread is an excellent side dish. You can use any crusty loaf at home but nothing’s like this Mexican cornbread. It is soft and tender; thus, perfect for sopping up the flavorful sauce. The taste profile also stands out from other cornbreads. It has the classic sweet and buttery flavors but is also impressively spicy and cheesy. An interesting twist on an American classic, right?

8. Cheese Quesadillas

Sandwiches are classic with soups. Thus, what else is a better side dish for chicken tortilla soup than Mexican grilled cheese? You thought that right: cheese quesadillas. They may not use bread like American grilled cheese, but the cheesy pull, creamy filling, and tender textures are there. The cheeses used for this recipe are Colby and Monterey Jack, but you can swap those for the Mexican ones or your faves.

9. Grilled Mexican Street Corn (Elote)

Elote is a famous street food in Mexico that also works as a delicious, juicy side to many dishes, including chicken tortilla soup. It looks like corn on a cob, but there are critical differences in taste. That’s because elote, or Mexican street corn, is coated with crema, mayo, cilantro, garlic, chipotle, lime, and cotija cheese instead of just butter or cheese. Thus, it’s much more flavorful and enjoyable.

10. Mexican Corn Salad

Besides making elote, there are more ways you can serve corn with your chicken tortilla soup. Some include them in the recipe, while others take plain kernels and use them as toppings. However, you can opt for this Mexican corn salad. It takes the flavors and textures of elote from the cob into a bowl. Thus, it’s more convenient and less messy to eat!

11. Mexican Wedge Salad

Many make their chicken tortilla soup spicy, so pairing it with a salad that tones down the heat is brilliant. This Mexican wedge salad would help because it features cool and creamy flavors, like the classic. But this one stands out as it does so in a different way. Instead of blue cheese dressing, Mexican wedge salad has cojita cheese and creamy cilantro lime sauce.

12. Mexican Coleslaw

Do you want to know how cool, creamy, and spicy flavors come together? Serve your chicken tortilla soup with Mexican coleslaw! Unlike the classic slaw, this recipe has more than just cabbage and mayo. There are also peppers, tomatoes, corn, black beans, and cilantro. The dressing is also mayo-based but combined with sour cream, lime juice, and taco seasoning for more complex flavors.

13. Mexican Quinoa Salad with Chili Lime Dressing

Instead of rice, some have their soup with quinoa. But instead of cooking and serving your quinoa plain, why not turn it into a salad? You’ll get a medley of flavors and textures to make your meal more fun. For instance, this recipe also has bell peppers, tomatoes, black beans, corn, onions, and cilantro. The spicy and tangy chili lime dressing ties all these elements together.

AboutRibana Hategan

Ribana is a certified pastry chef and passionate home cook who curates and develops recipes that are high on nutrition. She develops and tests cost effective, nutritious meals using quality ingredients to help people better their everyday eating experiences.