Tortilla Soup Recipe

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Tortilla soup authentic recipe

The other night while we were eating Chilaquiles for dinner, my family and I were talking about how so many of the tastiest dishes have been created out of necessity, or by using leftovers. You know, those moments when you stare at your fridge or pantry, wondering what you’re going to make for dinner, and you arrive to the conclusion: “I have nothing to cook!” Later on, after gathering things that you never imagined would work together, you end up creating one of your best meals. Has this ever happened to you?

Tortilla soup
This is what I think happened to the cook that created this soup. Tortilla Soup is one of the most famous soups from Central Mexico. There are several variations, some include shredded chicken, roasted poblano peppers, and even pork skins (Chicharrones). You can find this soup served in upscale restaurants or in small eateries known as “cocinas economicas” in Mexico City, and cities all over the country.
Mexico city
Mexico City is located in The Valley of Mexico (Valle de México), a large valley in the high plateaus at the center of Mexico. Photo from Wikipedia

I hope you enjoy it and add your own personal taste.



  • · 6 cups of chicken broth
  • · 2 medium-size tomatoes (About 14 oz.)
  • · 1/3 of a medium size onion
  • · 2 garlic cloves
  • · 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil, plus ¼ cup extra to fry the tortilla strips
  • · 1 Epazote branch
  • · 6 Corn tortillas cut into thin strips, day-old ones are better**
  • · 1 or 2 Pasilla Pepper, thinly sliced, seeds removed.
  • · Salt and pepper to taste


  • · 1 Avocado (cut in cubes until ready to serve)
  • · 1 cup of fresh cheese cut in small cubes
  • · Mexican Cream (Optional)
  • · Lime wedges

Tortilla soup1

  • *You can also add one pasilla pepper to the sauce, soak one pepper in water and onece soften add to the tomatoes while making the sauce. 
  •  The pasilla peppers have shiny dark brown and wrinkled skin. The color resembles that of a prune’s skin. It is a very mild pepper used to make the famous Salsa Borracha (Drunken Sauce), as a garnish for the tortilla soup, and in moles and stews. Some recipes also include the seeds and the veins in order to give more flavor and spiciness to the dish.
  • ** Day old tortillas are better for frying since they are dryer and absorb less oil and tend to crisp faster. Just leave them on your kitchen counter overnight, cover with a kitchen napkin or place in your oven at 250 for 10-12 minutes before frying. Or you could bake the tortilla strips instead of frying.
  • *** Some cooks prefer not to roast the tomato, onion, and garlic. These ingredients are just chopped and puree in the blender and skipping the roasting step. That is a personal choice.


  • · 1 ½ cup of shredded cooked chicken & 1 roasted Poblano Pepper, cut into strips.
  • · Chopped onion and cilantro to taste.

Tortilla soup13
1. Heat a griddle and roast the tomatoes, garlic cloves and onion. Roast until tomatoes are blistered and slightly softened. Rotate often for an even roasting. Garlic cloves will roast faster. Remove them after a few minutes.
2. Once the vegetables are roasted, peel the tomatoes place them into a blender with the onion and garlic, puree until you have a smooth sauce. Add some chicken broth if needed.
3. In a large pot, heat the 1 Tbsp. of vegetable oil over medium high heat. Add the tomato sauce mix and cook for about 3 minutes, it will start boiling. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. The color of the sauce will reduce and change color.
4. While the sauce is cooking, start cutting the tortillas into thin strips in case you haven’t already done that.

Tortilla soup14
5. After the 5 minutes of simmering the sauce, add the chicken broth and turn the heat up. When it starts to boil, lower the heat to simmer for about 10-12 more minutes.
6. Add the Epazote branch and season with salt and pepper. Simmer for 3 more minutes.
7. Now, in a large skillet heat the oil and start frying the tortillas (making sure not to over crowd the skillet) until they are crispy and have a golden color. You will need to work in batches in this step. Place the fried tortillas over a plate covered with paper napkins to drain any excess oil.

Tortilla Soup15
8. In the remaining oil, fry the pasilla pepper strips, these will get crisp very quickly. Once they get crispy, remove and set aside.
9. Gather all your garnishes: cut the lime in wedges and the avocado in cubes, ready to assemble the bowls of soup.
Tortilla soup authentic recipe

10. Ladle the soup into bowls add the tortilla strips and then the rest of the garnishes. You can also place the garnishes at the table and let everyone serve themselves.

I hope you enjoy it and go back for seconds.

This post is part of  Simple Lives Thursday and Full Plate Thursday.

What extra thing will you add to your soup?

¡Buen provecho!


  1. Great soup, Mely! I don't cook this very often but I love it. I wish I can have some now that I'm under the weather...

    1. Hello Prieta,
      Sorry to hear you are not feeling well.
      Take care,


  2. Mi sopa favorita!

    Un abrazo querida Mely

    1. Si Flavio, es que es deliciosa. A mi en lo personal me encanta el sabor que le da el chile pasilla.


  3. I stare into my fridge almost every night wondering what I can throw together! And yes, some of the best things were made like this! I'd have to add some jalapenos to my soup :)

    1. Hello Karen,

      Yes! Jalapeños are a must for me too.


  4. Hi Mely
    It is so good to see you today. Your Tortilla Soup looks delicious, I really love Pasilla Chilis and the special flavor they have. Thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday. Hope you are having a great weekend and come back soon!
    Miz Helen

  5. Our first cold snap of the year hit this week and we have been craving soups. This one looks so good right now! Nice post, Mely.

  6. I am thinking about making this for my boys and I this Christmas along with some of your other recipes...something new and delicious!

    1. Hello Lila,

      I only updated the picture and added a note saying that you can also add one pasilla pepper to the sauce. The whole recipe hasn't changed. You can even see the spanish version. it is the same recipe.

  7. Hello! I tried to comment on my phone but not sure if it worked. Can you please send or post the original recipe? It seems you have updated this one. I think you added chile guajillo to the broth in the previous one? I know for a fact it was not just pasilla that was used. I personally think it tastes much better with the other chile cooked into the broth. I have been making your soup for 2 years ( I should know it by heart by now huh? haha). This is definitely not the original recipe. Would really appreciate the name of the other chile used in past one. Thanks!


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