Tortilla Soup

Tortilla soup encompasses all the things I love best in Mexican cooking. Do you like salsa? avocado? cilantro? fresh hot tortilla chips? Tortilla soup is like a soup version of my favorite enchilada, with chicken, and tortilla chips. And avocado.

We originally found this recipe at the website of Muir Glen, makers of organic canned tomatoes, and have made a few slight adjustments to it. Muir Glen makes a particularly good “fire-roasted” canned tomato, which is well suited to Mexican dishes.

Tortilla Soup Recipe

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4


  • 6 (6-inch) corn tortillas, preferably a little old and dried out
  • 1/4 cup canola oil, peanut oil, or other high smoke-point oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium Anaheim, poblano or jalapeño chile, seeded, veins removed, chopped (Depending on the hotness and flavor desired. You can also mix chiles - 1 Anaheim and a half jalapeño.)
  • 4 cups chicken broth or homemade chicken stock
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained (recommended Muir Glen fire-roasted)
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt (kosher or sea salt)
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1/2 cup (2 oz) shredded Monterey Jack cheese (or mild cheddar)
  • Chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges


1 If you are starting with somewhat old, dried out tortillas, great. If not and you are starting with relatively fresh tortillas, put them on a baking sheet and put them in the oven at 200°F for 10-15 minutes to dry them out a bit. It is best to start with tortillas that don't have a lot of moisture in them.

Cut the tortillas in half, and then cut the halves into 1/4-inch wide strips.

tortilla-soup-1-800 tortilla-soup-2-800

Heat oil over medium-high heat in a 3-quart pot. Working in three batches, fry the tortilla strips in the oil, until lightly browned and crisp. Remove the tortilla strips from the pan and let drain on a paper-towel-lined plate.

2 Add the chopped onions to the pan, cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the chopped chile and cook for 2-3 minutes more, until the onions and chiles have softened. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds more.

Add the broth, tomatoes, and salt. Increase the heat to high, heat until the soup begins to boil, then reduce the heat to a low simmer, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the shredded chicken and cook until heated through.

3 To serve, pit, peel, and cut the avocado into 1-inch pieces. Divide half of tortilla strips among 4 individual serving bowls; ladle in soup. Top with avocado and cheese; garnish with remaining tortilla strips and cilantro. Serve with lime wedges.

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Showing 4 of 56 Comments

  • Traci in Texas

    Living in San Antonio, I can assure you that there are as many Tortilla Soup recipes as there are little, old ladies making it!

    Some of the ones I’ve eaten included corn, summer squashes, beans, etc. (in addition to the ingredients listed above) in various combinations. Some are tomato-based, and some are chicken-stock based.

    All of them are luscious!
    A friend of mine says she cleans out the fridge when she makes it! ;) Now that is authentic!

    My only suggestion would be to NOT substitute flour tortillas for the corn tortillas.

  • beastmomma

    I made this for my parents and they both enjoyed it very much.

  • Lisa in Maryland

    I made this past weekend and it was wonderful! I couldn’t find the fire roasted tomatoes so I just used Rotelle’s green chili tomatoes. It was so good. I thought the broth was a bit thin, anyone add something like tomato paste to thicken it up a tad? I fried the old tortillas in the deep fryer for about 2 minutes and they came out just as beautiful. What little left over I had was gone by lunch the next day – I ate it.


    This recipe is great! Another thing I like to do is add cooked (CUBED)butternut squash in place of the chicken. I roast the squash until it’s almost done and then toss it in with everything else. It’s a great vegetarian option if you sub the chicken base for vegetable too. Pacific makes a good one.

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