30-Minutes Tortilla Soup Recipe (Mexican-Inspired Dish)

This post may contain affiliate links. See my disclosure policy.

Dive into a bowl of Mexican magic with our Tortilla Soup, a zesty concoction that brings the fiesta to your taste buds! Juicy tomatoes, aromatic spices, and tender chicken create a symphony of flavors, simmering to perfection. Crispy tortilla strips add a delightful crunch, while avocado and fresh cilantro lend a burst of color and freshness. Garnished with a sprinkle of zesty lime and creamy queso fresco, this soup is a celebration of bold and vibrant flavors. ¡Buen provecho!

Welcome to our culinary adventure, where we dive deep into the flavors of Mexico with an extraordinary recipe: Tortilla Soup. This traditional dish, born in the heartland of Mexican cuisine, encapsulates the essence of vibrant flavors and comforting warmth.

Tortilla Soup recipe

Picture yourself savoring each spoonful of this rich and aromatic broth infused with a medley of spices and the smoky allure of roasted tomatoes.

As you take your first bite, the velvety texture of the soup dances on your palate, while tender shreds of chicken, plump avocado slices, and crispy tortilla strips create a symphony of textures.

But this is no ordinary soup; it is a bowl of nostalgia inspired by generations of culinary traditions passed down through time.

Our recipe combines authentic techniques with a modern twist, ensuring every ingredient harmoniously blends to create a sublime dining experience.

What Is Tortilla Soup Recipe?

Tortilla soup is a flavorful and comforting Mexican dish. It typically consists of a rich and savory tomato-based broth seasoned with spices like cumin and chili powder. 

The soup is often made with shredded chicken and crispy tortilla strips and garnished with fresh toppings such as avocado, cheese, and cilantro. 

The combination of textures and flavors makes it a satisfying and delicious meal. Tortilla soup is a popular choice for those seeking a taste of Mexico in every spoonful, whether enjoyed as a light lunch or a hearty dinner.

History Of Tortilla Soup Recipe

The history of Tortilla Soup is deeply rooted in Mexican culinary traditions. Originating from Mexico’s central and southern regions, the soup’s history dates back centuries. 

It is believed to have been inspired by pre-Hispanic dishes incorporating maize, the key ingredient in tortillas. 

Over time, the soup evolved and embraced various regional flavors and ingredients. Today, Tortilla Soup is considered a beloved Mexican classic, enjoyed both in households and restaurants around the world. 

Its popularity can be attributed to its comforting nature, vibrant flavors, and the ability to showcase the diverse culinary heritage of Mexico in a single bowl.

Interesting Facts About Tortilla Soup

  • Tortilla soup is said to have originated in Mexico City, specifically the Tlaxcala region, where it was initially made as a way to use up stale tortillas.
  • The soup’s popularity in the United States grew in the 1980s when it was featured in a famous Mexican cookbook and later appeared in the movie “Tortilla Soup” in 2001.
  • The traditional tortilla soup base is made by blending or pureeing tomatoes, onions, garlic, and spices, giving it a rich and flavorful broth.
  • While chicken is a common protein in tortilla soup, it can also be made with other meats such as shrimp or beef or vegetarian by using vegetable broth and adding beans or tofu.
  • Toppings play a crucial role in tortilla soup. Common toppings include crispy tortilla strips, diced avocado, shredded cheese (such as queso fresco or Monterey Jack), fresh cilantro, lime wedges, and sour cream, allowing for customization to suit personal preferences.

What Makes Tortilla Soup Special?

  • Bursting with Flavors: The combination of ingredients and spices in tortilla soup creates a symphony of flavors that tantalize the taste buds. From the rich tomato-based broth to the aromatic spices like cumin and chili powder, each element contributes to the depth and complexity of the dish.
  • Versatility: Tortilla soup is incredibly versatile and can be customized to suit individual preferences. Whether you prefer a vegetarian version with beans and tofu or a meaty variation with chicken or shrimp, the recipe can be adapted to accommodate various dietary choices and restrictions.
  • Texture Play: The contrast of textures is a standout feature of tortilla soup. The soft, tender chicken or other proteins, the crunch of crispy tortilla strips or chips, and the creamy avocado all work together to provide a delightful and satisfying eating experience.
  • Comforting and Nourishing: Tortilla soup offers a comforting and nourishing meal. It combines wholesome ingredients like vegetables, proteins, and whole-grain tortillas, providing a balanced and satisfying dish that can be enjoyed as a standalone meal or as part of a larger spread.
  • Cultural Heritage: Tortilla soup represents the rich culinary heritage of Mexico. By preparing and savoring this traditional dish, you can connect with Mexican cuisine’s vibrant culture and history, adding authenticity to your dining experience.
Tortilla Soup recipe

Ingredients List

Lard¼ cup
Corn tortillas, cut in half and then into thin strips4
Onion, peeled and chopped½ cup
Anaheim, poblano, or jalapeño chile, chopped1 medium
Garlic, minced2 cloves
Double-Cooked Mexican Caldo1 quart
Tomato paste¼ cup
Sea saltTo taste
Cooked chicken, shredded1 cup
Ripe avocado, peeled, pit removed, and chopped1
Shredded Monterey Jack or mild cheddar cheese1 cup
Fresh cilantro, choppedTo garnish
Lime, cut into wedges1 (cut into 4 wedges)

Ingredient Tips

  • Tomatoes: Opt for ripe, flavorful tomatoes for the best base. If fresh tomatoes aren’t available or in season, you can use canned diced tomatoes as a convenient alternative.
  • Spices: Experiment with different spices to personalize the flavor profile. Traditional options include cumin, chili powder, paprika, and oregano. Adjust the quantities based on your preference for heat and depth of flavor.
  • Broth: Choose a high-quality broth, whether it’s chicken, vegetable, or beef, to ensure a robust and flavorful base for your soup. Homemade broth can also add an extra layer of richness.
  • Tortillas: Use corn tortillas for an authentic touch. Stale tortillas work best for making the crispy strips or chips, but if you only have fresh tortillas, you can lightly fry or bake them until crispy before adding them to the soup.
  • Protein: While chicken is commonly used, feel free to experiment with other proteins like shrimp, beef, or even tofu for a vegetarian version. Ensure your chosen protein is cooked and seasoned before adding it to the soup.

Can You Vary The Recipe With Other Ingredients?

  • Vegetarian/Vegan Version: Skip the meat and create a hearty vegetarian or vegan tortilla soup. Add extra vegetables like bell peppers, zucchini, or corn, and incorporate protein-rich ingredients like black beans, chickpeas, or tofu.
  • Seafood Delight: Instead of chicken, go for a seafood-inspired tortilla soup. Use shrimp, fish, or a combination of seafood to create a delicious and flavorful twist on the traditional recipe. Add a splash of lime juice and chopped cilantro to enhance the seafood flavors.
  • Roasted Veggies: Elevate the flavor profile by roasting some vegetables before adding them to the soup. Roasted tomatoes, peppers, and onions can bring a smoky and caramelized touch to the dish.
  • Spicy Kick: If you love heat, experiment with adding different types of chili peppers to the soup. The spice level can be adjusted to your preference, whether it’s jalapeños, serranos, or even a touch of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce.
  • Grain Additions: Add an extra element of heartiness by incorporating grains like quinoa, rice, or barley into the soup. They can provide additional texture and substance.
Tortilla Soup recipe

Recipe Directions 

  • In a soup pot, heat lard and fry tortilla strips until crispy. Remove and set aside.
  • Sauté onion, chile, and garlic until softened. Add Mexican Caldo and tomato paste—season with salt.
  • Simmer for 20 minutes, then blend a portion of the soup for a smoother texture.
  • Add shredded chicken and simmer for a few more minutes. Adjust seasoning if needed.
  • Serve the soup hot, topped with avocado, shredded cheese, cilantro, and a squeeze of lime. Garnish with crispy tortilla strips. Enjoy!
Tortilla Soup recipe

Variations, Add-Ons,And Toppings


  • Vegetarian/Vegan: Skip the chicken and use vegetable broth instead. Add protein-rich ingredients like black beans, tofu, or tempeh as a substitute.
  • Seafood Twist: Replace the chicken with shrimp, fish, or a combination of seafood to create a seafood-inspired tortilla soup. Adjust cooking times accordingly to ensure the seafood is cooked properly.
  • Spicy Flavor Burst: Increase the heat by adding additional chili peppers, such as serranos or habaneros, for those who enjoy a spicier kick.
  • Roasted Vegetable Medley: Roast vegetables like tomatoes, bell peppers, or corn before adding them to the soup for a smoky and caramelized flavor.


  • Corn: Add fresh or frozen corn kernels to the soup for extra sweetness and texture.
  • Rice or Quinoa: Include cooked rice or quinoa to make the soup heartier and more filling.
  • Diced Tomatoes: Add a can of diced tomatoes along with the broth for a chunkier texture and additional tomato flavor.
  • Canned Beans: Include a can of rinsed and drained black beans, pinto beans, or kidney beans for added protein and fiber.


  • Sour Cream or Mexican Crema: Dollop a spoonful of sour cream or Mexican crema on top of the soup to add creaminess and tang.
  • Sliced Radishes: Thinly slice radishes and place them on top of the soup for a refreshing crunch and a touch of peppery flavor.
  • Sliced Jalapeños: For those who love extra spice, garnish with sliced jalapeños to add a fiery kick.
  • Tortilla Strips: Besides the crispy strips used in the recipe, consider adding store-bought tortilla chips or strips for an extra crunchy element.
  • Fresh Salsa or Pico de Gallo: Top the soup with a spoonful of homemade or store-bought salsa or pico de gallo for added freshness and flavor.

Scaling The Recipe 

Scaling Up

  • To increase the yield of the recipe and serve more people, multiply the quantities of each ingredient by the desired scaling factor. For example, if you want to double the recipe:
  • Multiply all ingredient quantities by 2 (e.g., ½ cup onion becomes 1 cup, 1-quart Double-Cooked Mexican Caldo becomes 2 quarts).
  • Adjust the cooking time and pot size to accommodate the larger ingredients.

Scaling Down

  • To reduce the recipe yield for fewer servings, divide the quantities of each ingredient by the desired scaling factor. For example, if you want to make half the recipe:
  • Divide all ingredient quantities by 2 (e.g., ½ cup onion becomes ¼ cup, 1-quart Double-Cooked Mexican Caldo becomes 2 cups).
  • Adjust the cooking time and pot size to accommodate the smaller ingredients.

What Is Used For Garnishing?

  • Crispy Tortilla Strips or Tortilla Chips: These are often used as a garnish to add a crunchy texture to the soup. You can make your own by frying or baking thin strips of corn tortillas until crispy or using store-bought chips.
  • Chopped Fresh Cilantro: Sprinkle some freshly chopped cilantro leaves over the soup for a burst of freshness and herbaceous flavor.
  • Lime Wedges: Serve the soup with lime wedges on the side, allowing each person to squeeze some lime juice into their bowl for a tangy and citrusy twist.
  • Shredded Cheese: Options like Monterey Jack, mild cheddar, or queso fresco can be sprinkled on top of the soup to add a creamy and cheesy element. Sprinkle it over the hot soup, and it will melt slightly.
  • Chopped Avocado: Add diced or sliced ripe avocado to the soup as a creamy and rich garnish. It adds a smooth texture and a touch of luxuriousness to each bite.
Tortilla Soup recipe

Can I Make Soup In A Slow Cooker Or Instant Pot?

Slow Cooker Method

  • Follow the recipe up to step 3, where you sauté the onion, chile, and garlic. Instead of using a pot, you can do this step directly in a skillet or sauté pan on the stovetop.
  • Once the onion, chile, and garlic are sautéed, transfer them to the slow cooker. Add the Double-Cooked Mexican Caldo, tomato paste, sea salt, and shredded cooked chicken to the slow cooker. Stir to combine.
  • Cover the slow cooker and cook on low heat for 4-6 hours or on high heat for 2-3 hours, allowing the flavors to meld together.
  • While the soup is cooking, prepare the crispy tortilla strips and the final garnishes as described in the original recipe.
  • When cooking is complete, use an immersion blender or transfer a portion of the soup to a countertop blender to puree until smooth. Return the blended soup to the slow cooker and stir well.
  • Adjust the seasoning if needed, and keep the soup warm until ready to serve.
  • Ladle the hot soup into bowls and garnish each bowl with crispy tortilla strips, chopped avocado, shredded cheese, fresh cilantro, and a squeeze of lime juice.

Instant Pot Method

  • Set the Instant Pot to sauté mode and heat the lard. Add the onion, chile, garlic, and sauté until the onion becomes translucent and the chiles are slightly softened.
  • Cancel the sauté mode, then add the Double-Cooked Mexican Caldo, tomato paste, sea salt, and shredded cooked chicken to the Instant Pot. Stir well to combine.
  • Secure the lid on the Instant Pot and make sure the valve is set to the sealing position. Select the manual/pressure cook function and set the timer for 10 minutes on high pressure.
  • Once the cooking time is complete, allow for a natural pressure release for about 10 minutes, then carefully perform a quick release to release any remaining pressure.
  • While the soup is cooking, prepare the crispy tortilla strips and the final garnishes as described in the original recipe.

Can I Use Store Broth Or Should I Make My Own?

  • Store-bought broth, whether it’s chicken, vegetable, or beef, provides convenience and saves time in the preparation process. There are various brands and types available, including low-sodium or organic options. It’s important to choose a high-quality broth that complements the flavors of the soup.
  • Making your own broth gives you more control over the flavors and ingredients used. Homemade broth can add a depth of flavor and richness to the soup. You can simmer and create your broth with chicken bones, vegetables, herbs and spices. This option requires additional time and preparation, as you would need to plan ahead to make the broth before starting the soup recipe.

Can I Use Different Types Of Meat/Fish/Pasta/Vegetables?


  • Instead of shredded chicken, you can use diced or shredded cooked beef, pork, turkey, or even a combination of different meats.
  • For a spicy twist, consider using chorizo or spicy sausage as a flavorful meat option.


  • Substitute the chicken with cooked and flaked fish, such as tilapia, cod, or shrimp, to create a seafood-inspired tortilla soup.
  • Add other seafood elements like clams, mussels, or crab meat for a more complex seafood flavor.


  • To make the soup heartier, you can add cooked pasta such as small shells, elbow macaroni, or rotini.
  • Use Mexican-inspired pasta shapes like fideos (thin noodles) or vermicelli to maintain the dish’s authenticity.


  • Enhance the vegetable content by adding diced bell peppers, corn kernels, carrots, or spinach to the soup. These vegetables will add color, texture, and nutritional value to the dish.
  • For a unique twist, experiment with other vegetables like diced zucchini, butternut squash, or sweet potatoes.
Tortilla Soup recipe

Success Tips – Tips And Tricks For The Recipe

  • Flavorful Broth: Use high-quality broth or make your own for a rich and flavorful base.
  • Layered Seasoning: Build layers of flavor by sautéing onions, garlic, and chiles before adding the broth.
  • Garnish Freshly: Add toppings like crispy tortilla strips, avocado, and lime just before serving for optimal texture and freshness.
  • Adjust Seasoning: Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed, adding salt, spices, or lime juice to balance the flavors.
  • Customize: Experiment with different protein options, vegetables, or spices to create your own unique twist on the recipe.

Prepping Tips

  • Prepare your ingredients ahead of time: Before you start cooking, ensure that all your ingredients are prepped and ready to go. Chop the onions, garlic, chiles, and any other vegetables, and shred the chicken if needed. This will save time during the cooking process and allow for a smoother workflow.
  • Make crispy tortilla strips in advance: If you plan to make your own crispy tortilla strips or chips for garnishing, you can prepare them in advance. Cut the tortillas into thin strips or triangles, and either fry or bake them until crispy. Store them in an airtight container until you’re ready to use them.
  • Use leftover cooked chicken: If you have leftover cooked chicken from a previous meal, it can be a great time-saving option for this recipe. Shred or chop the chicken and add it to the soup during cooking.

Cooking Time Tips

  • Simmer for optimal flavor: Allow the soup to simmer for an appropriate amount of time to ensure the flavors meld together. This helps develop the depth and complexity of the soup. However, be mindful not to overcook the ingredients to maintain their texture and freshness, particularly if you’re using delicate seafood or vegetables.
  • Adjust cooking time for different proteins: If you decide to use a different protein, such as beef, pork, or seafood, make sure to adjust the cooking time accordingly. Seafood generally cooks much faster than poultry or beef, so that it may require less time in the soup.
  • Cook pasta separately, if using: If you’re incorporating pasta into the soup, consider cooking it separately and adding it to individual servings. This helps to prevent the pasta from becoming mushy or absorbing too much liquid. Add the cooked pasta to each bowl before ladling the hot soup.
  • Taste and adjust the seasoning: Towards the end of the cooking process, taste the soup and adjust the seasoning as needed. Add more salt, spices, or even a squeeze of lime juice to balance the flavors and make them more pronounced.
Tortilla Soup recipe

Nutritional Values

The nutritional value of tortilla soup may vary based on specific ingredients and preparation methods. However, generally, it can be a good source of protein from chicken and cheese, healthy fats from avocado and lard, and carbohydrates from tortillas. It may also contain vitamins, minerals, and fiber from vegetables like onions and chiles.

What Are Total Calories In The Recipe?

The total calories of the tortilla soup recipe can vary depending on the specific brands and quantities of ingredients used. However, as a rough estimate, the recipe can range from approximately 300 to 400 calories per serving.

Dietary Restrictions Of The Recipe

  • Vegetarian/Vegan: The original recipe includes lard and chicken as ingredients. To make the recipe vegetarian or vegan-friendly, you would need to omit the lard and use vegetable-based fat or oil instead. Replace the chicken with plant-based proteins like tofu, tempeh, or legumes. Ensure that the broth used is also vegetable-based.
  • Gluten-Free: The recipe itself is naturally gluten-free as long as you use gluten-free corn tortillas and verify that the other ingredients, such as the broth and tomato paste, are gluten-free. Check for any potential cross-contamination if using store-bought ingredients.
  • Dairy-Free: To make the recipe dairy-free, you can opt for dairy-free shredded cheese alternatives or omit the cheese garnish altogether. Verify that your chosen broth and tomato paste are dairy-free.
  • Low-Sodium: If you’re following a low-sodium diet, consider using low-sodium broth and tomato paste to control the sodium content. You can also adjust the amount of added salt to taste or use salt substitutes if desired.
  • Nut-Free: The recipe itself does not contain nuts, but always check ingredient labels to ensure that there are no potential traces of nuts in store-bought ingredients, especially if you have severe nut allergies or sensitivities.

Health Benefits Of The Recipe

  • Tomatoes: Tomatoes are a rich source of vitamins A and C and antioxidants like lycopene. These antioxidants have been linked to reducing the risk of chronic diseases, supporting heart health, and promoting healthy skin.
  • Onions: Onions are a good source of dietary fiber, vitamin C, and various antioxidants. They may have anti-inflammatory properties and support immune function. Onions also contain compounds that may have potential anti-cancer effects.
  • Chiles: Chiles, such as Anaheim, poblano, or jalapeño, contain capsaicin, a compound known for its potential metabolism-boosting and appetite-suppressing properties. Chiles may also have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.
  • Garlic: Garlic has been associated with potential health benefits, including supporting heart health by promoting healthy cholesterol levels and blood pressure. It may also have immune-boosting properties and anti-inflammatory effects.
  • Chicken: Chicken is a lean source of protein, which is important for building and repairing tissues, supporting immune function, and providing satiety. It also contains essential nutrients such as vitamins B6 and B12.

Nutrition Table 

Nutrition Table 

How Can I Make Soup Lower In Sodium?

  • Use Low-Sodium Broth: Opt for low-sodium or no-salt-added chicken or vegetable broth versions. This will significantly reduce the overall sodium content of the soup.
  • Make Homemade Broth: If you have the time and resources, consider making your own homemade broth using low-sodium ingredients. This way, you have full control over the sodium content and can adjust it to your preference.
  • Limit or Omit Added Salt: Be mindful of the amount of salt you add to the recipe. Taste the soup during the cooking process and adjust the seasoning sparingly. The flavors from other ingredients, such as spices and natural sodium content, are sufficient without additional salt.
  • Use Fresh Ingredients: Fresh vegetables and herbs contain natural flavors and can contribute to the overall taste of the soup. This can help reduce the need for excessive salt to enhance the flavor.
  • Increase Flavor with Herbs and Spices: Use herbs and spices like cumin, chili powder, paprika, and oregano to add depth and complexity to the soup without relying solely on salt. These seasonings can provide an array of flavors while keeping the sodium content low.

How Can I Make Soup Lower In Sugar?

  • Choose Low-Sugar Tomato Paste: When selecting tomato paste, look for options with lower sugar content or no added sugar. Read the labels carefully to find a brand that aligns with your desired sugar intake.
  • Avoid Sweetened Condiments: Pay attention to any condiments or toppings you add to the soup, such as store-bought salsa or pre-packaged garnishes. Some of these products may contain added sugars. Opt for unsweetened or low-sugar versions, or make your own homemade alternatives.
  • Reduce or Omit Sweetened Ingredients: If the recipe includes any sweetened ingredients like sweet corn or sweetened sauces, you can reduce or omit them to lower the sugar content. Instead, use fresh or unsweetened options, such as plain corn kernels.
  • Limit or Avoid Added Sweeteners: Be mindful of any additional sweeteners you may use while cooking, such as honey, maple syrup, or sugar. Consider reducing the amount or omitting them altogether. The flavors from the natural ingredients and spices in the recipe often provide ample taste without adding sugars.
  • Focus on Fresh and Whole Ingredients: Incorporate fresh vegetables, herbs, and spices to enhance the soup flavors naturally. Fresh ingredients can add depth and complexity without relying on added sugars.
soup lover

How To Serve The Soup At Its Best?

  • Serve Hot: Tortilla soup is best enjoyed hot, so make sure to serve it immediately after cooking or reheating. Heat the bowls before serving to keep the soup warmer for longer.
  • Garnish with Fresh Toppings: Just before serving, add the final touches of garnishes to each bowl. Sprinkle the crispy tortilla strips or chips, diced avocado, shredded cheese, and chopped fresh cilantro on top of the soup. This adds visual appeal, texture, and freshness to the dish.
  • Squeeze Lime Juice: Provide lime wedges or quarters on the side, allowing each person to squeeze lime juice into their soup according to their taste preferences. The citrusy tang of lime adds a vibrant flavor that complements the soup well.
  • Consider Individual Toppings: If serving a larger group or family style, consider providing individual bowls of toppings. This allows guests to customize their soup with their preferred amount of garnishes, creating a more personalized experience.
  • Serve with Warm Tortillas or Bread: Offer warm tortillas or crusty bread on the side as accompaniments. These can be used for dipping or enjoyed alongside the soup, adding a comforting element to the meal.
  • Pair with a Side Salad: For a more complete meal, consider serving a side salad with fresh greens, tomatoes, and a light dressing. The crispness and freshness of the salad can balance the flavors and textures of the soup.

Perfect Side Dishes To Complement The Recipe

  • Mexican Rice: Serve the tortilla soup alongside a flavorful Mexican rice. The rice can be seasoned with spices like cumin, garlic, and tomato sauce to enhance the overall meal.
  • Cornbread: Freshly baked cornbread is a classic side that complements the flavors of tortilla soup. Its slightly sweet and crumbly texture provides a nice contrast to the soup’s savory profile.
  • Guacamole and Chips: Offer a bowl of homemade guacamole with a side of tortilla chips for dipping. The creamy and rich guacamole pairs well with the soup and adds a fresh and tangy element.
  • Black Bean Salad: Prepare a refreshing black bean salad with ingredients like black beans, diced tomatoes, corn, red onions, cilantro, and a lime-based dressing. The salad’s vibrant flavors and textures complement the soup’s heartiness.
  • Grilled Quesadillas: Prepare delicious and cheesy grilled quesadillas filled with ingredients like Monterey Jack cheese, sautéed vegetables, or cooked chicken. The quesadillas can be served as a side dish or even enjoyed by dipping them into the soup.
soup lover

How Long Can We Store The Soup?

  • Allow the soup to cool: Before storing the soup, allow it to cool to room temperature. Placing hot soup directly in the refrigerator can increase the overall temperature inside and potentially affect the food safety of other items.
  • Store in an airtight container: Transfer the soup to an airtight container or sealable plastic bags. This helps prevent air and moisture from entering, which can lead to spoilage.
  • Label and date: To keep track of the storage time, label the container with the date you prepared the soup. This allows you to easily identify how long it has been stored.
  • Refrigerate promptly: Place the sealed container of soup in the refrigerator as soon as possible, ideally within two hours of cooking or serving. Keeping it at a consistent cool temperature helps maintain its quality.
  • Reheat properly: When reheating, ensure the soup reaches a safe internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) to kill any potential bacteria. You can reheat individual portions on the stovetop or microwave, or reheat the entire batch on the stove or in the oven.

Can I Make Soup In Advance?

  • Follow the recipe instructions: Prepare the soup following the recipe instructions, cooking it as you normally would.
  • Allow the soup to cool: Once it is cooked, cool to room temperature. Let it sit on the countertop for a bit, or place the pot or bowl of soup in an ice bath to cool it down faster.
  • Transfer to storage containers: The soup needs to be transferred to sealable freezer bags or airtight containers, once the soup has cooled. Also, make sure the containers have an appropriate seal to maintain freshness.
  • Refrigerate or freeze: If you plan to consume the soup within a few days, store it in the refrigerator. If you want to keep it for longer, freeze it. Label the containers with the date so you can easily keep track of the storage time.
  • Reheat when ready to serve: When you’re ready to enjoy the soup, reheat it on the stovetop or in the microwave until it reaches a safe and desired serving temperature. You may need to add a splash of water or broth to adjust the consistency, as the soup may thicken upon refrigeration.
  • Garnish and serve: Just before serving, garnish the soup with fresh toppings like crispy tortilla strips, avocado, cheese, cilantro, and a squeeze of lime. This will add freshness and texture to the soup.

What Can We Do With Leftovers?

  • Tortilla Soup Bowls: Enjoy the leftover tortilla soup as is by reheating it and serving it in bread bowls made from hollowed-out crusty bread. This creates a fun and flavorful meal.
  • Tortilla Casserole: Layer the leftover tortilla soup with tortilla chips or torn corn tortillas in a baking dish. Top it with shredded cheese and bake until it is melted and bubbly. This creates a delicious tortilla casserole.
  • Tortilla Soup Nachos: Spread a layer of tortilla chips on a baking sheet, then ladle the leftover soup over the chips. Top it with shredded cheese, sliced jalapeños, and any other desired toppings. Bake until the cheese is melted, and serve the tortilla soup nachos as a tasty snack or appetizer.
  • Soup Remix: Use the leftover tortilla soup as a base for a new soup creation. Add additional ingredients like cooked beans, diced vegetables, or leftover cooked meat to give it a different flavor and texture. Simmer the mixture until heated through, and you have a revamped soup ready to enjoy.
  • Freezing for Future Meals: If you have a larger quantity of leftover soup, portion it into freezer-safe containers and freeze it for later use. It can be thawed and reheated for quick and convenient meals in the future.
soup lover

Special Tools/Equipment Needed

  • Large Soup Pot: A large, sturdy soup pot or Dutch oven is ideal for cooking the soup. It should have enough capacity to hold all the ingredients and allow for stirring without overflowing.
  • Immersion Blender or Countertop Blender: An immersion blender can be handy for blending a portion of the soup directly in the pot, creating a smoother consistency while still leaving some texture. Alternatively, a countertop blender can be used to blend the soup in batches.
  • Slotted Spoon or Spider Strainer: A slotted spoon or spider strainer can be useful for removing any solids, such as chicken bones or vegetable chunks, from the soup before blending or serving.
  • Cutting Board and Sharp Knife: A good quality cutting board and a sharp knife are essential for chopping and preparing the ingredients, such as onions, chiles, and garlic.
  • Tongs: Tongs are useful for flipping tortilla strips or tortilla chips while frying or baking them to achieve an even and crispy texture.
  • Soup Bowls: Serving the soup in large, deep soup bowls allows for easy consumption and presentation.
  • Garnish Bowls or Ramekins: Small bowls or ramekins can be used to hold the garnishes, such as crispy tortilla strips, chopped avocado, shredded cheese, lime wedges, and cilantro, making it convenient for guests to customize their soup.
  • Serving Ladle: A serving ladle makes it easier to portion out the soup into bowls without spills or mess.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Can I Make The Tortilla Soup Vegetarian-Friendly?

Absolutely! You can make the soup vegetarian by omitting the lard and using vegetable-based fat or oil instead. Substitute the chicken with plant-based proteins like tofu, tempeh, or legumes.

Can I Make The Tortilla Soup Gluten-Free?

Yes, the tortilla soup can be made gluten-free. Ensure that you use gluten-free corn tortillas and check the labels of other ingredients like broth and tomato paste for any gluten-containing additives.

Can I Make The Tortilla Soup Dairy-Free?

Yes, you can make the soup dairy-free. Simply omit the cheese garnish or use dairy-free shredded cheese alternatives. Ensure that the broth and tomato paste you use are also dairy-free.

Can I Freeze The Tortilla Soup?

Yes, the tortilla soup can be frozen for up to 3 months. Store it in airtight freezer-safe containers or freezer bags. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.

Can I Use Different Meats Or Seafood In The Tortilla Soup?

Absolutely! You can customize the recipe using different meats like beef, pork, or seafood. Adjust the cooking time accordingly, as seafood generally cooks faster than poultry or beef. Experiment and enjoy the versatility of the soup with your favorite proteins.

30-Minutes Tortilla Soup Recipe (Mexican-Inspired Dish)

30-Minutes Tortilla Soup Recipe (Mexican-Inspired Dish)

5 from 6 votes
Recipe by Hanna Barnes Course: Soup Recipe


Prep time


Cooking time





Tortilla soup is a flavorful and comforting Mexican-inspired dish. It features a savory tomato-based broth infused with onions, chiles, garlic, and aromatic spices. Topped with crispy tortilla strips, melted cheese, creamy avocado, and lime juice, it’s a delightful combination of textures and flavors that will satisfy you.


  • 1/4 Cup 1/4 Lard

  • 4 4 Corn Tortillas, Cut In Half And Then Into Thin Strips

  • ½ Cup ½ Onion, Peeled And Chopped

  • 1 Medium 1 Anaheim, Poblano, Or Jalapeño Chile, Chopped

  • 2 2 Garlic Cloves, Minced

  • 1 Quart 1 Double-Cooked Mexican Caldo

  • ¼ Cup ¼ Tomato Paste

  • Sea salt (To Taste)

  • 1 Cup 1 Cooked Chicken, Shredded

  • 1 1 Ripe Avocado, Peeled, Pit Removed, And Chopped

  • 1 Cup 1 Shredded Monterey Jack Or Mild Cheddar Cheese

  • Fresh Cilantro, Chopped (To Garnish)

  • 1 1 Lime, (Cut Into 4 Wedges)

Step-By-Step Directions 

  • Melt the lard over medium heat in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add the tortilla strips and cook until golden and crispy, stirring occasionally. Remove the strips from the pot and set aside for garnishing later.
  • Add the chopped onion, Anaheim/poblano/jalapeño chile, and minced garlic in the same pot. Sauté until the onion becomes translucent and the chiles are slightly softened.
  • Pour in the Double-Cooked Mexican Caldo (page 159) and stir in the tomato paste—season with sea salt to taste. Bring the soup to a simmer and let it cook for about 15 minutes to allow the flavors to meld together.
  • Add the shredded cooked chicken to the soup and continue simmering for another 5 minutes until the chicken is heated through.
  • While the soup simmers, prepare the final touches. Arrange the chopped avocado, shredded cheese, cilantro, lime wedges, and the reserved crispy tortilla strips in separate bowls.
  • Once the soup is ready, use an immersion blender or transfer the soup in batches to a countertop blender to puree until smooth. Be cautious when blending hot liquids, allowing steam to escape from the blender.
  • Return the blended soup to the pot and adjust the seasoning if needed.
  • To serve, ladle the hot soup into bowls. Garnish each bowl with a handful of crispy tortilla strips, a sprinkle of shredded cheese, a few pieces of chopped avocado, a pinch of fresh cilantro, and a squeeze of lime juice.
  • Serve the Tortilla Soup immediately, allowing the flavors to meld together. Enjoy the soup with warm tortillas or crusty bread.
  • Additional Options
    Customize the spice level by adjusting the amount of chile pepper used.
    Add extra vegetables like corn, diced tomatoes, or bell peppers for added texture and flavor.
    For a creamier soup, stir in a heavy cream or coconut milk splash before serving.
    For added richness, experiment with different garnishes, such as diced red onions, sliced radishes, or a dollop of sour cream.

Recipe Video


  • Adjust Spiciness: If you prefer a milder soup, you can reduce the amount of chiles or use mild varieties like Anaheim peppers. Keep the seeds and membranes intact for a spicier kick, or add hot sauce or spices to suit your taste.
  • Homemade Tortilla Strips: While store-bought tortilla chips or strips can be used, making your own adds a fresh and crispy texture. Cut corn tortillas into thin strips or triangles and bake or fry them until golden and crisp.
  • Make-Ahead Toppings: Prepare the toppings in advance and store them separately. This way, you can easily garnish the soup when serving without the toppings becoming soggy.
  • Freezing: The soup can be frozen, but keep in mind that the texture of some ingredients, like avocado and tortilla strips, may change upon thawing and reheating. Consider adding fresh toppings after reheating for the best results.
  • Adjust Consistency: If you prefer a thicker soup, you can blend a portion of the soup or use a potato masher to break down the ingredients partially. For a thinner consistency, add a bit more broth or water.
  • Enhanced Flavor: For even more depth of flavor, you can roast the onions, chiles, and garlic before adding them to the soup. This intensifies their natural sweetness and brings out richer flavors.

Leave a Comment

Author picture

soup chick!

You've entered a realm where each bowl isn't just a meal; it's an expedition to the core of comfort, well-being, and the sheer delight of feeding both body and soul. My name is Julia, and I'm here to navigate you through the flavorful worlds of Soup Chick. Together, we'll uncover the artistry behind each recipe, share stories that warm the heart, and celebrate the simple pleasures of making and enjoying soup.

More About Me