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Mcalister’s Copycat Chicken Tortilla Soup

Embrace the essence of McAlister’s renowned Chicken Tortilla Soup with this irresistible copycat recipe. 
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Author: Dr. Leah Alexander
Course: Soup
Cuisine: American/Thai
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings: 3
Calories: 410kcal


  • 2 tablespoons of cornstarch acting as a thickening agent to give the sauce a smooth and creamy consistency.
  • 1 clove of minced garlic to infuse a delightful, pungent note throughout the sauce.
  • 1/4 teaspoon of smoked paprika bringing a warm and slightly sweet flavor to the sauce.
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cumin adding an earthy and slightly nutty taste that complements the other spices.
  • 1/2 of a 14.5-ounce can of crushed tomatoes undrained, providing a rich and robust tomato base for the sauce.
  • 16 ounces 2 cups of chicken broth, divided, creating a flavorful and aromatic liquid base for the sauce.
  • 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt more or less to taste, seasoning the dish and enhancing the flavors of all the ingredients.
  • 1/2 cup of heavy cream at room temperature, adding a luxurious and indulgent creaminess to the sauce.
  • 1 tablespoon of butter melting into a velvety and smooth base for the sauce.
  • 1/2 cup of shredded Mexican-style cheese blend at room temperature, melting into the sauce to create a rich and gooey texture.
  • 2 ounces 1/2 can of chopped green chiles, undrained, providing a mild and tangy flavor that complements the other ingredients.
  • 1/4 yellow onion minced finely to release its sweet and aromatic flavor, adding depth to the dish (approximately 1/4 cup).
  • 1/2 cup of shredded rotisserie chicken adding a tender and flavorful protein component to the dish.
  • 1/4 tablespoon of cilantro, chopped adding a fresh and vibrant herbal note to the sauce.
  • 1/2 tablespoon of white wine vinegar offering a tangy and acidic touch that balances the richness of the sauce.
  • 1/2 of a 10.5-ounce can of cream of chicken condensed soup imparting a creamy and savory element to the sauce.
  • 1/2 teaspoon of chili powder lending a subtle heat and smoky undertones to the dish.


  • Turn up the heat to medium-high, bring it to a boil, then reduce to medium-low and simmer for 5-10 minutes until it slightly thickens.
  • Heat butter in a medium-sized stockpot over medium heat until it melts evenly.
  • Sauté minced onion and garlic until they turn soft, which should take about 5 minutes.
  • Allow it to cool slightly, then gradually stir in heavy cream and shredded cheese until fully melted.
  • Add chili powder, paprika, cumin, crushed tomatoes, and 3 ½ cups of chicken broth.
  • Combine cornstarch with the remaining ½ cup of chicken broth in a small bowl and then add it to the pot.
  • Return the pot to heat, mix in, and let it simmer for a0 minutes.
  • Serve the soup in bowls and garnish.


  • You can substitute the Mexican-style cheese blend with any shredded cheese of your choice.
  • To make this soup vegan, substitute the butter with oil and use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.
  • Feel free to adjust the spices and herbs to taste. You can also add other ingredients, such as black beans or jalapenos, for extra flavor.
  • This soup can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat when ready to serve.
  • This recipe can easily be doubled or tripled for larger crowds.
Keyword: Mcalister’s Copycat Chicken Tortilla Soup