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Tortilla soup is a flavorful and hearty soup that is perfect for any occasion. It is a classic Mexican soup that is made with a variety of ingredients, including chicken, vegetables, and, of course, tortilla chips.
The soup is spicy, savory, and has a wonderful depth of flavor that will warm you up from the inside out. Serve this soup on a chilly day with some fresh bread or tortillas and Voila, you have dinner. It is perfect for a weeknight because it doesn’t take much time or effort from start to finish and you likely have most of the ingredients on hand. If you want it make it in a hurry then pick up a rotisserie chicken on your way home and start from there. Otherwise, I like to poach my chicken breasts and then shred them.
If you prefer beef to chicken then you can easily substitute ground beef for the shredded chicken. Just cook the beef in place of the chicken and add to the broth. We like to add a few slivers of fried tortillas to the top. Just cut them into thin slices then shallow fry in a bit of fresh oil in a pan and then when done remove to paper towel and lightly salt them. Once you serve the soup add a few for garnish for a little crunch.
I also like to add a squeeze of fresh lime juice and a bit of fresh cilantro to finish it off with a little freshness, but these are optional. You can add whatever toppings you like, or none at all. It’s up to you. If you have fresh cotija cheese, guacamole or pico de gallo they are also great toppers. When I make this for my family I like to create a little topping station so everyone can personalize their own bowl.
Tortilla soup has its roots in Mexican cuisine, and it is believed to have originated in Mexico City. The soup was created as a way to use up leftover tortillas, which were often stale and difficult to eat. The soup was traditionally made with chicken broth, tomatoes, onions, garlic, and chiles, and it was served with fried tortilla strips and avocado.
Now that you know a little bit about the history of tortilla soup, it’s time to learn how to make it yourself. This recipe serves 4-6 people and takes about 45 minutes to prepare.
If you like the flavor of spicy Mexican soups then give my Mexican Tortellini Soup a try. You can find the recipe here
If you want to freeze this soup, leave out the tortillas until you serve it. I like this handy freezer container from Starfrit which freezes in 1 cup portions. Once its frozen, pop them out and put them in freezer bags and just take out as many cups as you want each time. It’s such a timesaver. I LOVE MINE.
Tips for making Tortilla Soup:
- Use a rotisserie chicken to save time and add extra flavor to the soup.
- To make the soup spicier, leave the seeds in the jalapeño pepper or add more chili powder.
- If you don’t have fresh cilantro, you can use dried cilantro or parsley instead.
- You can also add other toppings like shredded cheese or sliced green onions to customize the soup to your liking.
- If you’re short on time, you can use store-bought tortilla chips instead of frying your own tortilla strips.
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 med onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 large jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped *leave seeds in if you want spice/heat
- 1 can diced tomatoes with peppers (14.5 ounces) *I use Rotel
- 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained (15 ounces)
- 1 cup frozen corn *or 1 can, drained (15 oz)
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp red chili flakes *more if you want it spicy (up to 1 T)
- 6 cups chicken broth
- 2 cups cooked chicken, shredded *2 chicken breasts
- 1 tsp each, Salt and pepper (adjust to taste)
- Tortilla strips (deep fried), for serving
- ½ lime (juice only)
- Shredded cheese, for serving optional
- Avocado, for serving optional
- Cilantro, for serving optional
- In a large pot, heat the 2 Tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Add 1 med onion, chopped, 3 cloves garlic, minced, and 1 large jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped and sauté for 3-4 minutes, until the onion is soft and translucent.
- Add 1 can diced tomatoes with peppers (14.5 ounces), 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained (15 ounces), 1 cup frozen corn, 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp chili powder,1 tsp red chili flakes salt and pepper to the pot. Stir to combine and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
- Pour in the 6 cups chicken broth and bring the soup to a simmer. Add the 2 cups cooked chicken, shredded and simmer for 10-15 minutes, until the flavors have melded together.add ½ lime (juice only) after the 15 minutes are up (before serving)
- To serve, ladle the soup into bowls and top with tortilla chips, shredded cheese, avocado, cilantro and extra lime wedges.