This quick and easy tortilla soup recipe is made with shredded chicken and crispy fried tortilla strips in a tomato-based broth. Chiles, avocado, fresh cilantro and lime are added to the bowls to give this soup incredible flavor. For a festive dessert, serve these adorable Mexican chocolate cupcakes.
This tortilla soup recipe is similar to the one I had when I was living in Guadalajara. Smoky heat from the chiles give the broth tons of flavor and the creamy avocados practically melt right into the soup.
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How to make tortilla soup
This version of tortilla soup is perfect for weeknight cooking. You can use leftover roasted chicken or use a store-bought rotisserie chicken to make this soup recipe.
Sauté onions and garlic, then add in broth and tomatoes to start building the flavor in the soup.
A tomato based broth with crispy fried tortilla strips and shredded chicken make up the bulk of this Mexican tortilla soup recipe.
To make this recipe vegetarian, simply omit the chicken and swap chicken stock for vegetable broth.
Normally, traditional tortilla soup does not have beans or corn, but if you are making a vegetarian version, those would be good additions to bulk up the soup.
The key is having freshly fried tortilla strips. Warm, crunchy strips of fried tortilla make this soup what it is – and that is delicious.
If you are opposed to frying the tortilla strips, you can use broken up pieces of tortilla chips, but it won’t quite be the same.
Chicken tortilla soup recipe
This soup is also known as “sopa azteca”. Traditionally, it is served with avocado, cheese and Mexican crema (or sour cream) as a garnish. I’ve kept this version dairy-free, but feel free to pile on the Monterey jack or queso fresco.
I like to make small bowls of the garnish for people to serve themselves. Some people don’t care for cilantro, so I keep it separate.
Plus, all of the green garnish together in one bowl looks really pretty on the table. These terra cotta cazuelas are perfect for holding the garnish.
What can I use instead of ancho chiles?
You can find dried ancho chilies on Amazon, but if you don’t want to wait, use a bit of canned chipotles in adobo. They are available everywhere.
If you’re lucky enough to have a well-stocked Latin American grocery store or aisle in the local grocery store, ancho and pasilla chilies are fairly common.
This tortilla soup recipe is seriously satisfying and it is so easy to make. The crunchy strips of tortilla are my favorite part of this soup and it is what helps to give it body.
This is one of our favorite soup recipes and I hope it will become one of yours too.
What can I serve with this tortilla soup?
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- 2 quarts chicken stock
- 1 lb chicken breasts, cooked and shredded (about 3)
- 1 medium onion, finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 can diced tomato (15 oz)
- 2 ancho chile peppers (+ 2 cups water)
- 3 tbsp canola oil
- 1 bunch cilantro, washed & leaves picked
- 4 corn tortillas
- 1 avocado
- 2 limes
- Soak ancho peppers - Heat 2 cups water to near boiling and soak the ancho peppers for approximately 20 minutes. When peppers are soft, blend to puree.
- In a medium stock pot, heat canola oil over medium heat. Add onions and garlic. Saute for about 5 minutes to soften.
- Add chicken stock, diced tomatoes and ancho puree. Bring to a simmer, not a boil. Turn down the heat if necessary. Cook for 20 minutes.
- Add shredded chicken, stir and simmer an additional 10 minutes.
- Garnish tortilla soup with sliced avocado, tortilla strips, a squeeze of lime juice and cilantro.
- While soup is simmering, fry tortillas - heat 1 quart of oil in a deep pot, leaving at least 3 inches of space from the top of the pot.
- While oil is heating, cut tortillas in half and stack on top of each other. Cut into thin strips.
- When oil has reached 350- 360 degrees, carefully place tortilla strips into oil. Fry until golden brown and crispy (about 3- 4 mins).
- Remove from oil and lay on paper towels to drain. Sprinkle with salt.
Fry tortilla strips
To cook chicken breasts:
Roast in oven at 350°F for 25 minutes, or poach in simmering broth.
This is also a GREAT use for leftover chicken or a store-bought rotisserie chicken.
Ancho Chile peppers are dried Poblano peppers, they can be found in any Latin American market or some grocery stores in the Ethnic food section.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 506Total Fat: 23gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 18gCholesterol: 89mgSodium: 635mgCarbohydrates: 35gFiber: 6gSugar: 10gProtein: 41g
Nutrition information calculated by a third-party company as a courtesy. It is intended as a guideline only.
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Originally published: 5/16/12. Most recent update: 4/28/20