Turkey Tortilla Soup

Soup and StewMexicanGluten-FreeTurkey Leftovers

GREAT tortilla soup made with leftover turkey, corn tortillas, and chipotle in adobo. EASY!

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Do you like tortilla soup? It’s one of the easiest soups to make from scratch. You start by frying strips of corn tortillas in a little oil until crispy, then use that same tortilla-infused oil to sauté onions as you start to build the soup. The flavor is fabulous!

It’s usually made with chicken, but we can just as easily make this soup with leftover shredded turkey. If you have homemade turkey stock? Even better.

Turkey Tortilla Soup

In this version we are spicing up the soup base with a minced chipotle chili in adobo. The smoky flavor of the chili goes perfectly with the turkey.

From start to finish the soup takes less than an hour to make, and it’s so good you’ll want to make another batch. My father came over the day I made a pot of this soup and he ate half of it! Cleaned us out actually. Now I’m waiting for our Thanksgiving leftovers so I can make some more.

Turkey Tortilla Soup Recipe

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4 to 6

To save time, prep the garnishes (avocado, shredded cheese, cilantro, lime wedges) while the soup is cooking in step 3.


  • 6 6-inch yellow corn tortillas
  • 4 Tbsp high smoke point oil such as rice bran oil, canola oil, or peanut oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced, about 2 teaspoons
  • 1 chipotle chili in adobo, minced
  • Pinch of ground cumin
  • 6 cups turkey stock or chicken stock
  • 1 15-ounce can of crushed tomatoes (use fire roasted if available)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (more to taste)
  • 2 cups cooked, shredded turkey meat


  • 1 avocado, cut into cubes
  • 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese (or mild cheddar)
  • Chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges


1 Fry strips of corn tortillas:  Somewhat dry corn tortillas work best for this, so you can either leave the tortillas out overnight on a rack, or put them in a 200°F oven for 10 minutes. (If your tortillas are too dry, you can soften them by putting them in the microwave for 30 seconds.)

Slice them into 1/4-inch wide strips, and then cut the longer strips in half.

Heat oil in a 4 to 5 quart, thick-bottomed pot on medium high heat. When the oil is shimmering hot, working in batches (a third at a time) add the tortilla strips.

Fry them until lightly browned at the edges, a minute or so. Use tongs to remove them to a paper towel-lined plate.

2 Cook the onions until softened: Add the chopped onions to the pot with the remaining oil. Cook on medium high heat until softened, about 3 to 4 minutes.

3 Add garlic, cumin, chipotle: Add the garlic, cumin, and minced chipotle chili in adobo and cook for 2 minutes more.

4 Add tomatoes, stock, salt, then simmer: Add the crushed tomatoes, turkey (or chicken) stock, and salt. Increase the heat to high, bring mixture to a simmer, lower the heat, and cook at a gentle simmer for 15 minutes.

5 Add shredded turkey: Add the shredded turkey and cook until just heated through, a minute or two.

6 Garnish and serve: To serve, divide half of the fried tortilla strips into individual serving bowls. Top with the soup.

Sprinkle with chopped avocado, shredded cheese, the remaining tortilla strips, and cilantro.

Serve with lime wedges.

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Turkey Tortilla Soup

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Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

More from Elise

7 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Selina

    Great soup recipe! Question for storing leftovers: Should I separate the tortilla strips until serving?

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Selina, yes, if storing for later, I would separate the tortilla strips.

  2. danielle

    This soup has become one of my favorites! So delicious and comforting. But most importantly, it’s easy! You’re the best, Elise!


  3. Jamie LeVine

    Is the chili you use spicy at all? Do I find it in a regular grocery store? My kids can’t eat spicy, but I’d love to make this recipe since the flavor sounds amazing. Thanks for sharing your recipe. :-)

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Jamie, the chipotle chili adds a lot of flavor to this soup and a little bit of spiciness. I would start with a half chili and see how that goes with your kids. You can find it in a regular grocery store that has an International section that includes Mexican products.

  4. Robert Park

    Oh, spot on. Where I grew up it was more posole. Tortilla soup was something I came to much later in life. Not complaining. Just pushing the envelope.

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Robert, I love our turkey posole too! It’s a bit more elaborate. More toppings, and the soup includes hominy.

Turkey Tortilla SoupTurkey Tortilla Soup