Hearty Tortilla Soup

new tortilla soup post

Hope y’all had a wonderful Mother’s Day and got to spend time with your families.  We missed having my recently deceased mother-in-law with us but it was a perfect day otherwise.  One of the best parts was having dinner catered at our house.  My husband outdid himself to arrange a trouble-free day for all the moms. The food was really good–I’m already trying to duplicate a couple of the recipes in my mind to share with you.  I couldn’t resist making two desserts when I had so many people to help eat them.  They were both “Tuesdays with Dorie” selections from her book entitled Baking. One was a Quick Classic Berry Tart (up this Tuesday) and the other was Dried Cranberry and Cherry Butter Bread Pudding which I will post on May 18th.

Because of all the activities this weekend, I pulled out a recipe I’ve been saving for awhile.  There is just enough time for one more soup recipe before the weather gets too hot.  However, I could eat this soup all year-round.

Tortilla soup comes in so many forms. Unless you’re a repeat customer, you never know what you’ll get when ordering at a restaurant. It might be tomato based, broth based, thick, thin, with or without avocados, with or without vegetables such as zucchini or corn, etc., I personally have cycled through various stages with tortilla soup. This is my newest favorite.

tortilla soup closeup

By virtue of its name, all tortilla soups contain corn tortillas.  However in this one, part of the tortillas are chopped and sauteed with the onions. They don’t get crispy. Instead they are cooked in the broth and become a thickening agent in the soup making it hearty and filling with the best flavor imaginable. Of course, you still need the requisite crispy fried tortilla strips to flavor and garnish.

cutting tortillas

Cut tortillas into small pieces and fry to garnish soup (and eat on the side).

Hearty Tortilla Soup
Serves: 6
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 6 corn tortillas, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 6 cups chicken stock (I boil the bones of the rotisserie-baked chicken listed below)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Chicken from one rotisserie-baked chicken, shredded or cubed
  • Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
  • 1-2 avocados, cubed
  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 4 corn tortillas, sliced and fried crisp (actually, we need more than this because we like to eat them plain)
  1. Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add chopped tortillas, garlic and onion. Saute 2-3 minutes. Add cumin and chili powder. Saute additional minute to bring out the flavor of the spices (and make the house smell good). Add tomatoes, bay leaves and chicken stock and pepper. Return to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Add salt if necessary depending on saltiness of stock.
  2. While soup simmers is a good time to fry tortillas for garnish. Preheat ½-3/4 cups of vegetable oil in a small skillet. Cut tortillas in strips. When oil is hot enough to bubble when tortillas hit the oil, put in enough strips to cover the bottom. Strips are done when they start to turn a golden brown color. Remove from oil with a slotted spoon and repeat process with remaining strips.
  3. Remove bay leaves and stir in chicken. Reheat.
  4. Garnish soup with shredded cheese, avocado and tortilla strips. Sour cream is optional.

Adapted from Stop and Smell the Rosemary, published by the Junior League of Houston.

If you like Tex-Mex, you may want to check these out:

Beefy Bean and Frito Burgers

Green Chili Enchiladas

Southwestern Roasted Stuffed Peppers

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Sarah December 27, 2014 at 10:36 pm

Made it for dinner tonight. It was awesome! Thanks for sharing.


Zana@GreenGlobalTravel March 13, 2014 at 12:15 pm

Looks great! I’ve had a restaurant version of this and I loved it. I’m so excited to try and make this myself so I can have it anytime! Thanks for sharing!


samantha October 28, 2012 at 5:45 pm

just made it, absolutely wonderful thanks! 🙂


Paula October 28, 2012 at 9:53 pm

Thanks for coming back to comment Samantha.


Marla September 27, 2011 at 4:13 pm

Wow – delish recipe! I love tortilla soups – and yours is fantastic 🙂 I actually made mine with Gardein veggie chicken (cuz I’m vegetarian) and it turned out excellent! Can’t wait to try more of your recipes 🙂 Thanks!


Kendra January 16, 2011 at 9:10 pm

Yup. made it again for dinner tonight (I’ve made it at least 5 times since finding this recipe). I LOVE it!
Thanks again… 🙂


Jenn L @ Peas and Crayons December 7, 2010 at 10:05 pm

Yummm how have I not noticed this one before?
Can’t wait to make this! aside from matzo ball soup, tortilla soup is my second fav!


Kendra August 25, 2010 at 10:06 am

I made this for dinner last night. It. Was. Amazing.
I’ve made so many different kinds of Tortilla Soup trying to find just the right one. My search is over. This is the one. I love it.
My kiddos devoured it. My husband had fourths.


sandy May 20, 2010 at 2:40 pm

This looks awesome! I have printed this off and plan to make it very soon. I love the idea of using rotisserie baked chicken. Makes life a little easier. I know my family will be impressed. I have tried several tortilla soup recipes over the years but this one looks like the winner.


mike May 15, 2010 at 3:15 pm

I’ve got it – Tortilla Stew! That’s what we’ll call this – looks quite hearty, festive AND spicy. Bridges the gap between summer and winter soup/stew season. You can really capture non-baked food so well…. it’s such a challenge to me (so I usually don’t try)!


Jill May 15, 2010 at 9:31 am

You’re right – tortilla soup at restaurants is all over the place. Yours sounds like a really delicious version!


Ann May 12, 2010 at 3:51 pm

This looks amazing, I HAVE to make this!


Leslie May 12, 2010 at 3:06 pm

Mmmmm, this looks so good! It’s been a bit cool here and I’m craving soup.


Window On The Prairie May 11, 2010 at 12:53 pm

Sounds and looks wonderful. Great pics too!


Gina May 10, 2010 at 9:33 am

This looks great! I’ve been looking for a good tortilla soup recipe.


Karen May 9, 2010 at 10:24 pm

This looks so delicious! There are so many recipes for tortilla soup, but I’ve been disappointed when they turn out rather ‘thin.’ This does indeed look hearty.

I’m glad you enjoyed your Mother’s Day!


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