How to Make Tortilla Soup

Start to Finish:

25 minutes



Difficulty Level:


Tortilla soup makes a satisfying meal in itself when you add chicken as well as beans. Serve a green salad with orange segments and radishes alongside for a cool contrast to both the flavor and temperature of the soup. Fresh-baked cornbread, while not traditional in Mexican cuisine, also works well to round out the meal.



  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes
  • 2 cans black or pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups shredded, cooked chicken
  • 1 tablespoon pureed chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
  • Juice from 2 limes


  • 2 avocados, cubed
  • 1/3 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 cups toasted corn tortilla strips or slightly smashed tortilla chips


Cook the onion in the oil over medium heat in a soup pot until it softens and turns translucent, about six minutes.

Add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds.

Add the tomatoes, beans, chicken stock, cumin and salt. Cook these ingredients on a low simmer until the flavors blend, about 15 minutes.

Add the chicken, chipotle chiles and lime juice, and heat the soup until it's steaming hot.

Divide the avocado among the soup bowls and ladle the soup on top. Sprinkle an equal amount of cilantro over each bowl.

Let each diner add a spoonful of sour cream and a handful of tortilla strips to the soup throughout the meal.

Substitutions and Variations

  • Instead of using chicken, substitute cooked and crumbled sausage or ground beef.
  • Make a vegetarian version of tortilla soup by omitting the chicken and using vegetable stock instead of chicken stock.
  • Add cubed or crumbled Mexican cheese such as queso fresco, or any other soft farmer's cheese as a garnish.