Classic Tortilla Soup


You know that feeling when you look at food and you think, “Food, I don’t even want to think about eating you unless you’re going to warm me up because it’s freaking cold out.”  Oh yeah, welcome to eating in Minnesota between the months of November and April pretty much.  It’s the season for simmering, tummy-warming soup in my neck of the woods so better start racking up some good recipes!

I’d have no problem practicing making homemade soup more often if it always turned out as delicious as this Classic Tortilla Soup did this past weekend.

My Mom made this soup for us a lot growing up so I fell in love with the flavor a long time ago.  I remember being in awe at how perfectly all of the flavors blend together in this recipe, thinking my mom was some sort of soup wizard… and she is! But now that I’ve grown up and become a decent cook myself, I’m realizing that yes, a lot of her recipes require a lot of advanced culinary skill… but this actually isn’t one of them!

Imagine.  A light, tomato-based broth with a hint of chili flavoring, corn, beans, onions… top it off with some fresh avocado, tangy cheese, tomato, cilantro and some salty tortilla strips! Amen.  Oh and I almost forgot!  You can make this vegetarian, or you can buy a rotisserie chicken and add that in towards the end if you want some extra protein.

The point I am trying to get at here is that you can make it!  Don’t be intimidated at all by how complicated it might seem at first glance.


What will you need?

For the soup (makes a huge pot of about 8 servings):

2 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp chili powder

4 tbsp tomato paste

1 large white onion, finely diced

2 quarts of chicken or vegetable stock

6 fresh cilantro stems

1 can corn kernals

1 can black beans

1 large fresh tomato, diced

OPTIONAL: Rotisserie chicken breast

For the garnish:

Tortilla strips

1 ripe avocado

1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled

1 tomato, diced

Fresh cilantro & lime wedges

How do you make it?

In a large cast-iron pan, bring 2 tbsp of olive oil to a simmer and cook your diced onion, allowing it to sweat for about 3 minutes.  Stir in the tomato paste and chili powder.   Add in your stock, cilantro stems, corn, beans, fresh tomato and reduce to a simmer.  Cook for about 25 minutes, allowing the stock to reduce by about 1/3 and all of the flavors to combine.



If you want to get a little fancy, buy some corn tortillas and crisp them up yourself.  Cut them into strips and toss them around in a pan with some olive oil, but pay attention!  These burn really easily.  Put the strips on top of a paper towel when they’re done to allow the excess oil to drain off while they cool.



While all of this is happening, you can be preparing the fresh toppings to add on top of your bowl of soup.  Chop up a fresh tomato, crumble the feta cheese, tear the cilantro leaves and dice up some avocado.  Arrange everything in bowls so everyone can add in their own quantities of toppings!


Once the soup has been simmering for about 25 minutes, your toppings are all prepared and the tortilla strips are ready to go, it is time to serve the soup nice and hot.

I think this soup looks best in a clean, white bowl.  It really allows you to focus on all of the vibrant colors as you sip it slowly!



Mmmmm.  Slightly spicy, juicy and crunchy at the same time.  I hope you all find some time to make it at home this winter!





  1. Tortilla soup is one of our favorite foods – like, of all time. In fact, my little one recently told someone that her very favorite food was “my mom’s chicken tor-tilla soup” (yes, at my house, we are silly and pronounce the L sound. I don’t know why!). I was shocked – and also really excited. It’s one of my favorite things to make!
    My recipe is quite different than yours – I’ll have to try this! :) Thanks!!

Leave a Reply