Easy chicken tortilla soup side dish ideas, from black bean mini burritos to guacamole-stuffed taquitos, and Mexican elote street corn to jicama lime salad. Discover what to serve with chicken tortilla soup today.
Chicken tortilla soup is a warm, crowd-pleasing dish that will make the whole family happy, especially in the cold winter months. The warming Mexican spices and protein-packed chicken are delicious, but the best part of serving chicken tortilla soup is how easily you can customize it.
With plenty of sides and serving ideas, you can use chicken tortilla soup as a base for countless different meals to accommodate hungry people and picky eaters alike. Here are a few serving ideas.
Chicken tortilla soup is delicious, but it’s not always very filling, particularly if you’re feeding a horde of growing teenagers. Complete the meal by serving burritos along with the soup. Burritos are customizable, adding to the fun, and the similar seasonings and flavor palate pairs well with chicken tortilla soup.
You can make burritos out of any filling, including black beans, chicken, or beef. Once you make the filling, put it in a large tortilla along with your choice of topping (traditional fillings include cheese and rice). Roll in a log and heat to combine the filling.
Try This Recipe: These mini burritos offer all of the flavors of a regular burrito but in a more manageable form. Skip the eggroll wrapper that some recipes use, and instead use a regular warmed tortilla for a more authentic experience.
Soup and bread are a classic combination, so serving cornbread alongside chicken tortilla soup makes perfect sense. The buttery, rich flavor of cornbread pairs well with the warm, spicy soup.
You can buy cornbread at your local shop or bakery or you can make your own. Make a dough out of cornmeal, all-purpose flour, baking powder, eggs, and plenty of butter. Mix together and bake in a skillet or baking tray.
Try This Recipe: Proof that cornbread from scratch is much easier than you think. This take on the Southern classic mixes in jalapeño peppers for a dash of heat and is (almost) entirely cooked in a hot skillet.
Fried polenta is a great way to use up leftover polenta that is not reheating well. It can also replace croutons or crackers and add a bit more texture to your soup. The mild flavor of polenta absorbs the bold tastes of chicken tortilla soup nicely.
To make fried polenta, start with cooked polenta. Spread it into a baking dish and let it cool into a rectangle, then cut the firm polenta into small cubes. Fry the polenta cubes, then season with salt.
Try This Recipe: Ditch boring potatoes or vegetables and try fried polenta. Seared in a skillet over high heat, this recipe retains its iconic yellow color while enriching it with a light caramelization that pairs perfectly with the heat from tortilla soup.
Jalapeño poppers are a fun appetizer that fly off the menu at Mexican restaurants. Make them at home to stay with the Mexican theme. They can also add a bit of a spicy kick if your soup is on the milder side.
To make jalapeno poppers, start with fresh jalapeno peppers and slice them in half (remove the seeds to make the spice level more manageable). Make a filling out of cream cheese and stuff the peppers. Top with bread crumbs and bake until golden.
Try This Recipe: Our cream cheese and bacon jalapeño poppers contain two iconic popper fillings to offer a cool and salty contrast to the heat of their peppers casing. Swap with cheddar cheese if you prefer but, for us, the cream cheese is a winner.
Jicama salad is a cooling, flavorful vegetable dish. It is a traditional Mexican salad that can help make your dinner feel more authentic. The base for this salad is jicama, a starchy root vegetable grown in Mexico. If you can’t find jicama at your local store, replace it with another root vegetable such as a radish or turnip.
To make jicama salad, slice jicama into thin strips. Chop up your other vegetables (you can choose which ones you like, but most recipes include bell peppers, cucumbers, red onions, and oranges). Make a dressing out of lime juice, toss the salad, and serve.
Try This Recipe: This light but sharp jicama salad is the perfect pairing for most Mexican-inspired dishes, including tortilla soup. On top of its julienned jicama, it boasts fresh bell peppers and red onion, and a dash of lime.
To make your soup extra filling, serve Mexican rice on the side and give everyone an extra boost of carbohydrates. Plus, Mexican rice is packed with flavor and compliments the warm flavors of your soup.
To make Mexican rice, start by sautéing the onions (you can add carrots or other vegetables if you want). Then, cook the rice in oil until golden. Add water, tomato sauce, and spices such as chili powder and garlic powder and boil until the liquid is gone.
Try This Recipe: Mexican rice slow-simmered in tomato sauce, garlic, and vegetables for a beautiful red dish loaded with flavor.
Soup and salad are the perfect pairing for a filling lunch that isn’t so heavy you can’t move afterward. To stick with a consistent theme and flavor profile, make Mexican salad alongside your chicken tortilla soup.
Mexican salad, sometimes called Mexican chopped salad, has vegetables such as romaine lettuce, bell pepper, beans, and corn, along with whatever else you have on hand. Chop up the vegetables and top with a dressing based on lime juice. You can even add tortilla strips to the salad if you have any left over from the soup.
Try This Recipe: This spin on Mexican chopped salad matches jicama plant with fresh zucchini and sweet corn for a light but crunchy side salad.
Spicy Cabbage Slaw
This slaw pairs well with chicken tortilla soup because its cooling acidity balances out the heat from the soup. Like all slaw, this dish uses cabbage as a base, but adds a Mexican twist with warming spices and acidity from citrus.
To make Mexican slaw, start with prepackaged coleslaw or make your own by thinly slicing and pickling cabbage. Add sliced red onion, chopped cilantro, jalapeno peppers, lime juice, and spices such as salt, coriander, and cumin. You can adjust the amounts of each spice according to your own preferences, making the slaw spicier or more acidic if you want.
Try This Recipe: Topped with cilantro lime dressing, this Mexican coleslaw has citrus, depth, and a little bit of heat.
Roasted corn is a staple street food in Mexico and the charred flavor pairs well with the spices in chicken tortilla soup. Plus, if you serve it on the cob, that adds a fun component to eating dinner that everyone, especially kids, will love.
Roasting corn at home is easy. Just get corn at the grocery store that is still on the cob, rub it with butter, and put it on a lined baking tray in the oven. Make elote, or traditional Mexican roasted corn, by adding more toppings such as mayonnaise, shredded cheese, and lime juice.
Try This Recipe: While a lot of corn is enjoyed on the cob, this elote salad moves it to a tray back while still retaining the crunch and texture that we love in traditional street corn.
Taquitos are a fun twist on tacos and make the perfect bite-sized accompaniment for another dish such as chicken tortilla soup. These rolled tacos can be stuffed with your filling of choice and are usually packed with warming Mexican spices.
To make taquitos, prepare your filling (traditionally you would use shredded beef, but you can use any filling of your choice). Put several spoons of filling in each pre-warmed tortilla, roll, and secure with a toothpick. Then, fry the taquitos or bake until golden. You can serve them with guacamole and sour cream, which also double as soup toppings.
Try This Recipe: These buffalo chickpea taquitos are crispy and flavorful, and with a dash of added spice in the buffalo sauce. These golden brown and crunchy wrapped tortillas and slathered in BBQ sauce and non-dairy cheese, with a mashed chickpea filling.
Chips & Guacamole
Chicken tortilla soup is such a classic Mexican dish, so why not serve it with another absolute classic of Mexican food—chips & guacamole? The crunchiness of the chips compliments the texture of the soup, and who can say no to delicious guacamole?
You can use store-bought chips and guacamole, but why do that when making your own guacamole is so easy by pulsing together avocadoes, lime juice, cilantro, red onion, and jalapeño. You can even make your own chips by baking tortillas.
Buttery cornbread is the perfect accompaniment to soup for a comforting meal. Mexican cornbread, which differs from the American version thanks to the addition of spicy jalapeño peppers, is an even better match for chicken tortilla soup.
To make Mexican cornbread, make a base for regular cornbread using flour, eggs, buttermilk, butter, and baking powder. Fold in Mexican ingredients such as shredded Monterey jack and sliced jalapeño, then bake.
Serving quesadillas with chicken tortilla soup is a twist on the classic “soup and a sandwich” lunch combination. Together, the two dishes make a filling meal that will fuel you for the rest of the day.
Another great thing about quesadillas is that you can adapt the filling to include your favorite ingredients: chicken, beef, vegetables, or just cheese. Once you have your filling, add it along with shredded cheese to a tortilla and fry until the cheese melts.
Elote is a classic Mexican street food and a great choice if you want to serve a traditional meal. It’s essentially loaded grilled corn on the cob with plenty of toppings. Elote goes well with chicken tortilla soup because it adds an aromatic pick-me-up after the warming flavors of the soup.
Besides corn, you will need mayonnaise, chili powder, lime juice, and Cotija cheese. Whisk the mayo sauce ingredients together, grill the corn, then roll the corn in the mayo.
Frijoles are refried beans, a creamy, smooth side dish common in many Mexican meals. Serve them alongside chicken tortilla soup because the creaminess compliments the soup, plus you can dip tortilla strips in the beans.
You can make your own frijoles instead of buying them from a can. Just boil beans (usually pinto beans) with spices and seasonings such as garlic and bay leaves, mash them, then fry before serving.