Does Chick Fil tortilla soup have dairy?

Quick Answer

Chick-fil-A’s tortilla soup does contain dairy ingredients. The primary dairy ingredients in Chick-fil-A’s tortilla soup are cream and cheese. Specifically, the tortilla soup contains heavy cream, Monterey Jack cheese, and cheese culture. So those with dairy allergies or avoiding dairy for other reasons will want to avoid Chick-fil-A’s tortilla soup.

Ingredients in Chick-fil-A Tortilla Soup

According to the Chick-fil-A website, the ingredients in their tortilla soup are:

Chicken Stock
Heavy Cream
Monterey Jack Cheese
Cheese Culture
Tomato Puree
Jalapeño Puree
Tortilla Strips

As you can see, the heavy cream, Monterey Jack cheese, and cheese culture are all dairy ingredients. So Chick-fil-A’s tortilla soup clearly contains dairy.

Why Dairy is Used in Tortilla Soup

Dairy ingredients like cream and cheese are very commonly used in tortilla soup recipes. There are a few reasons for this:

– Cream provides a rich, velvety texture and mouthfeel to the broth. It makes the soup taste thicker, richer, and more indulgent.

– Cheese adds savory, salty flavor. The melted cheese incorporates into the broth and gives it more body.

– Dairy ingredients help emulsify the flavors of the soup, allowing the spices, garlic, onions, etc to blend together more seamlessly into the liquid.

– Cream and cheese help thicken the soup slightly so it coats the tortilla strips nicely.

So in short, dairy is an integral part of most tortilla soup recipes. The cream and cheese are what give this soup its distinctive texture and flavor. Tortilla soup made without dairy would likely taste much thinner, flatter, and less satisfying to most people.

Alternatives for Making Dairy-Free Tortilla Soup

For those avoiding dairy, it is possible to make tortilla soup using non-dairy substitutions. Here are some ideas for alternatives:

– Use vegetable broth instead of chicken stock as the base. Make sure the vegetable broth doesn’t contain dairy.

– Omit the heavy cream, or replace with coconut milk or unsweetened almond milk. You may need to thicken the soup in other ways.

– Use dairy-free cheese such as Daiya cheese shreds. Or omit cheese completely.

– Thicken and add creaminess with pureed vegetables like potatoes, cauliflower, or butternut squash.

– Use olive oil or avocado to add richness.

– Add gluten-free flour like chickpea flour to thicken and add body.

– Garnish with fresh herbs, lime juice, diced avocado instead of cheese and cream.

Dairy-Free Tortilla Soup Recipe

Here is a sample recipe for dairy-free tortilla soup:

– 2 tbsp olive oil
– 1 medium onion, diced
– 3 cloves garlic, minced
– 1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
– 1 (15 oz) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
– 6 cups vegetable broth
– 1 (15 oz) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
– 1 tbsp chili powder
– 1 tsp cumin
– 1 tsp oregano
– 1 medium zucchini, diced
– Juice of 1 lime
– Chopped cilantro
– Diced avocado
– Tortilla strips
1. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook for 5 minutes until translucent.
2. Add garlic and jalapeno and cook for 1 minute more until fragrant.
3. Stir in diced tomatoes, vegetable broth, chickpeas, chili powder, cumin and oregano. Bring to a boil.
4. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Add zucchini and simmer 5 minutes more.
5. Remove from heat and blend soup using an immersion blender until slightly smooth with some chunks.
6. Stir in lime juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
7. Serve soup topped with cilantro, avocado, and tortilla strips.

This dairy-free tortilla soup uses vegetable broth as the base and gets creaminess from pureed chickpeas and zucchini. The avocado and lime add richness and tang. Spices, herbs, onions, and garlic give plenty of flavor without needing cheese.

Nutrition Facts of Chick-fil-A’s Tortilla Soup

Since Chick-fil-A’s tortilla soup contains dairy ingredients like cream and cheese, it is higher in calories and fat compared to a broth-based soup:

Nutrition Facts Per 1 cup serving
Calories 330
Total Fat 24g
Saturated Fat 15g
Trans Fat 1g
Cholesterol 65mg
Sodium 830mg
Total Carbohydrates 18g
Dietary Fiber 2g
Sugars 3g
Protein 12g

A single 1 cup serving provides over half of the daily value for saturated fat. It also contains a significant amount of cholesterol and sodium.

Those on low-fat or low-cholesterol diets will likely want to avoid this soup or consume small portions infrequently due to the high amounts of cream and cheese. A dairy-free tortilla soup is likely to be much lower in saturated fat, cholesterol, and calories in comparison.

Dairy Allergies and Chick-fil-A’s Tortilla Soup

For those with dairy allergies or lactose intolerance, Chick-fil-A’s tortilla soup should definitely be avoided. Allergies to dairy ingredients like milk, cream, cheese or butter can range from mild to severe and life-threatening. Even small amounts of dairy can trigger allergic reactions in sensitive individuals.

Reactions to dairy can include:

– Hives, rash or itchy skin
– Swelling of lips, face, tongue, throat
– Wheezing, trouble breathing
– Runny nose, sneezing
– Stomach cramps, vomiting, diarrhea
– Anaphylaxis – difficulty breathing, fainting

Those with known dairy allergies should be very cautious when ordering any menu items from restaurants. Always inform the server about allergy concerns. Cross-contact between dairy and dairy-free dishes can potentially occur in kitchens. For highest level of safety, dairy-allergic individuals should prepare their own food at home.

Other Dairy-Containing Chick-fil-A Menu Items

In addition to the tortilla soup, there are many other Chick-fil-A menu items that contain dairy and should be avoided for those with milk allergies:

– Milkshakes – contain milk and ice cream
– Cheese slices on sandwiches
– Butter on biscuits
– Yogurt parfaits – contain yogurt and whipped cream
– Ice cream cones
– Cookies – contain butter
– Creamy dressings like ranch, cheese sauce, etc.

Always thoroughly review ingredient lists and ask questions when dining out with dairy allergies. Do not assume menu items are safe. Unfortunately at most restaurants, truly dairy-free options are limited.

Lactose Intolerance and Chick-fil-A’s Tortilla Soup

Those with lactose intolerance may also want to avoid Chick-fil-A’s tortilla soup. Lactose intolerance means the body lacks sufficient amounts of the enzyme lactase needed to properly digest lactose, the natural sugar in dairy products.

Consuming dairy foods like milk, cheese, cream or butter can cause significant digestive distress in lactose intolerant individuals. Symptoms may include:

– Bloating
– Gas
– Abdominal pain
– Cramps
– Diarrhea

The severity of symptoms depends on the individual and the amount of dairy consumed. Some lactose intolerant people can tolerate small quantities of dairy, while others must strictly avoid it altogether.

A 1 cup serving of Chick-fil-A’s tortilla soup contains significant amounts of both cream and cheese. Most lactose intolerant people would experience stomach upset after eating this soup. Their safest bet is sticking with completely dairy-free menu options when visiting Chick-fil-A.


In conclusion, Chick-fil-A’s tortilla soup does contain substantial amounts of dairy ingredients like heavy cream, Monterey Jack cheese, and cheese culture. The cream and cheese give the soup its signature thick, rich, and creamy texture. However, the high dairy content makes this soup unsuitable for those with milk allergies, lactose intolerance or avoiding dairy for other health reasons. Dairy-free alternatives like vegetable broths, nut milks, and pureed vegetables can be used to produce a tasty tortilla soup without the cream and cheese. When dining at Chick-fil-A, patrons with dairy issues should steer clear of the tortilla soup, milkshakes, cheeses and other obviously dairy-based menu items. Carefully inspecting ingredient lists and asking questions is key to safely navigating menu items.

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