Tortilla Soup

From south of the border comes this spicy and hearty soup ladled over crisp tortilla strips and grated cheddar. The soup is chunky with chicken and avocado, but it's the tortillas that give it a slight thickness and a special flavor.

Slideshow: Warming Soups
  • Servings: 4
KEY: Soup


  • 6 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 8 6-inch corn tortillas, halved and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch strips
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 large cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 1/2 quarts canned low-sodium chicken broth or homemade stock
  • 3 cups canned crushed tomatoes in thick puree (one 28-ounce can)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 cup lightly-packed cilantro leaves plus 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro (optional)
  • 1 3/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
  • 1 avocado, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1/4 pound cheddar, grated
  • Lime wedges, for serving

How to make this recipe

  1. In a large heavy pot, heat the oil over moderately high heat. Add half the tortilla strips and cook, stirring, until pale golden, about 1 minute. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Repeat with the remaining tortilla strips.

  2. Reduce the heat to moderately low. Add the onion, garlic, and spices; cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Add the broth, tomatoes, bay leaves, salt, cilantro leaves, if using, and one-third of the tortilla strips. Bring to a simmer. Cook, uncovered, for 30 minutes; remove the bay leaves.

  3. In a blender, puree the soup in batches; pour it back into the pot. Add the chicken, bring the soup back to a simmer, and simmer until just cooked through, about 1 minute. Stir in the avocado.

  4. To serve, put the remaining tortilla strips in bowls, top with the cheese, and pour in the soup. Sprinkle with the chopped cilantro, if using, and serve with the lime wedges.

Suggested Pairing

A Rioja Reserva, with its complex combination of spicy, earthy, and fruity flavors, will echo the taste of the soup beautifully.

Photo © Kelly Brisson Published October 2009

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505879 recipes/tortilla-soup 2013-12-06T23:54:40+00:00 Quick From Scratch One-Dish Meals fall|winter|game-day|latin-american|mexican|soups-and-stews|4|weeknight-dinner|lunch october-2009 recipes,tortilla-soup 505879

Aggregate Rating value: 5

Review Count: 3349

Worst Rating: 0

Best Rating: 5

Author Name: Claudia D

Review Body: This soup turned out delicious! Definitely a new family favorite.  The only thing i did different was to serve the avocado as a garnish instead of stirring it in as instructed in step 3.  Also, use cooked chicken; the recipe is not clear on this but raw chicken will not cook in 1 minute when added in step 3.

Review Rating: 5

Date Published: 2017-01-09

Author Name: Tom Ponder

Review Body: Very good added zucchini  to recipe. 

Review Rating: 5

Date Published: 2016-12-10

Author Name: seawasls

Review Body: Best tortilla soup recipe we've found! This is a favorite among family and friends. Very easy. Everyone we have served this to has made it - repeatedly.

Review Rating: 5

Date Published: 2017-01-14

Author Name: Jeff6548

Review Body: Unless I am reading this wrong, it is instructing you to simmer raw chicken for one minute. This appears to be a recope for food poisoning!

Review Rating: 1

Date Published: 2017-01-27

Author Name: TheJoeC

Review Body: This tortilla soup contains avocado? I'm curious as to what the effect of avocado to the soup.

Date Published: 2017-01-26

Author Name: Valerie Gibson

Review Body: This recipe was fantastic! I made a full recipe and froze what was left. It's easy to crisp up some tortillas when reheating it. I used a rotisserie chicken , which worked out great but you don't even need the chicken if you don't have it. I'm going to make it again today!

Review Rating: 5

Date Published: 2017-04-12

Author Name: Shannon Russell

Review Body: No

Review Rating: 1

Date Published: 2016-10-21