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Easy and Delicious Homemade Tortilla Soup

Updated on August 20, 2014

Make it with leftovers or buy your ingredients ready to go

Tortilla soup is a traditional soup in Mexico that everyone makes a little differently. This recipe fits the criteria of easy (meaning simple and fast!) and delicious (better results than effort expended!). The basic recipe is great but there are a few extra garnishes you can add if you're in the mood for experimenting.

And as all my recipe lens do, this one delivers even more as you find out how to make tortillas in the easy and delicious way.

Too Lazy To Cook?

Don't watch the movie on an empty stomach!

Tortilla Soup
Tortilla Soup

Hector Elizondo and Raquel Welch star in this fun movie that features a father chef, his 3 rather out-of-control, grown hispanic daughters...and lots of mouth-watering recipes. Strangely this same script was made in an Asian version by director Ang Lee (Brokeback Mountain) and titled "Eat, Drink, Man, Woman."


A Little Tortilla Soup Trivia

  • It's made with chicken broth and tomato pure.
  • In Mexican Spanish, "caldo" means soup, while "sopa" means casserole.
  • This version of Tortilla Soup uses Jack Cheese as a substitution for Mexico's Manchego Cheese, which is often used in this soup.

How and Where I learned To Cook

When I was 22, I had lined up a summer job for myself as the chef's assistant at my family's guest ranch so I could learn to cook. Shortly before the chef arrived she broke her leg! My mom informed me that I had been promoted to the chef's position. All I knew how to make was chocolate chip cookies. She said not to worry she would teach me. And she did! All of her recipes are easy and delicious.

Thanks, Mom! Of course I can only cook for 50 people at a time and not my family of 3.

Singing with Antonio Banderas in the Kitchen!

Tortilla Soup Ingredients

2 Cups diced chicken (leftover or from a roasted chicken)

4 Cups Chicken Broth (get organic and non MSG)

1 Small Can Tomato Sauce

1 Medium Yellow Onion, diced

Simmer together broth, sauce and onions about 20 minutes until onions are transparent. Last five minutes add the chicken.

The Extras

While the broth is simmering, heat oil in a pan. Using clean scissors, cut flour tortillas into thin strips and fry. How many? You can never have too many, but count on at least 1/2 tortilla per soup bowl. Drain on a paper towel.

Grate (or use grated) 1 Cup Jack Cheese.

Just before serving, place both ingredients into 4 bowls, chips first. Ladle hot soup over tortillas and cheese and serve immediately or add additional ingredients (see below).


Quicker (in a pinch only): Substitute Fritos for the tortilla strips. Add them VERY last minute on top of soup or they will get soggy. If you're going to cheat with Fritos, the cheese also has to get sprinkled on top.

It is possible to use corn tortillas instead of flour tortillas, but when fried they tend to get hard instead of crispy. Nevetheless, try it, if you have an allergy to wheat.

Extra Extras

You can add sliced avacadoes, chopped cilantro, and chopped radishes to this dish (any or all of them).

Be sure to have a lemon or lime wedge for squeezing into the soup.

The Most Important Mexican Ingredient Is...

The lime or lemon that's squeezed in just before eating. It transforms any chicken-stock soup into something extra delicious.

Soup for Dinner?

Is soup enough for dinner?

See results

A Completely Different Version of Tortilla Soup - This one uses chile rellenos already made from Costco

4 Cups of organic chicken broth

2 Cups of diced chicken

1 medium yellow or white onion, diced

1/2 package of Stuffed Chile Rellenos (Costco sells them), sliced

Homemade tortilla chips (see above).

Simmer the onions in the chicken broth for about 20 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients (except the tortilla chips) and simmer for another 5-10 minutes. The chili rellenos add chilis, cheese, tomato sauce and egg batter!

Serve with lemon or lime wedge and tortilla chips.

Making Your Own Tortillas - If you're going to make your own, don't use them in Tortilla Soup!

Buy Corn Flour for Corn Tortillas

Corn flour can not be used in place of corn meal such as is used in corn bread. I know...cause I tried!

Maseca Instant Yellow Corn Masa Flour 4.84lb | Masa Instantanea de Maiz Amarillo 2.2kg
Maseca Instant Yellow Corn Masa Flour 4.84lb | Masa Instantanea de Maiz Amarillo 2.2kg

Just add warm water and knead a little bit! Dough should not be sticky. Too dry? Add a little more water. Too sticky, add a little more flour. Roll into golf ball size balls. Flatten slightly by hand in the tortilla press, then press down. Make sure you use plastic in your tortilla press.


A Demo With A Handmade Tortilla Press

Not Up To Making Your Own Tortilla Press?

Buy one of these. The important things to remember is that the dough isn't sticky on your hands, you don't press too hard, and always press between two sheets of heavy plastic.

Even My Mexican Husband Loves These

Flour tortillas are harder to make unless you happen to be trained by a Mexican mother-in-law. My skills with a rolling pin, however, are horrible so we rely on these when we're far away from Mexican mom. We found these in Costco but you can also order them here.

Uncooked Flour Tortillas Fresca 8 Inch 44 Count In Pack
Uncooked Flour Tortillas Fresca 8 Inch 44 Count In Pack

You can freeze them until you're ready to eat. Just peel one off and place on a heated griddle. When brown in a few places and starting to form air bubbles turn over. Flatten large air bubbles with a spatula for even cooking. Serve warm as a side dish or with butter and honey for a desert!


You'll Need This To Cook or Heat Your Tortillas

Lodge 10.5 Inch Cast Iron Griddle. Pre-seasoned Round Cast Iron Pan Perfect for Pancakes, Pizzas, and Quesadillas.
Lodge 10.5 Inch Cast Iron Griddle. Pre-seasoned Round Cast Iron Pan Perfect for Pancakes, Pizzas, and Quesadillas.

You don't need to add oil or anything to this skillet when cooking or heating tortillas. Our skillet never leaves the stove top.


Oh, Those Latin Lovers...I Mean Singers!

Some many men, so little time.

A Classic Read With Your Dinner

I love John Steinbeck. Reading his books informs you like a cultural anthropologist would...yet they're a lot more entertaining.

Tortilla Flat [VHS]
Tortilla Flat [VHS]

The misadventures of a band of young men who inherit just enough to get into trouble.


Food, glorious food! What's your favorite?

Let me know you were here: I love feedback!

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    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Homemade Tortilla Soup is one of my favorite dishes to order when we go out to a restaurant, I have never tried making it myself, maybe I will for the holidays.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I love all types of foods.

    • LisaAuch1 profile image

      Lisa Auch 

      7 years ago from Scotland

      i just know when I show my daughter this, she will want this for dinner!!! love it!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      How wonderful it is to eat.

    • Gerald McConway profile image

      Gerald McConway 

      7 years ago

      I don't think people realize how easy homemade recipes are to make. Great lens!

    • ajgodinho profile image

      Anthony Godinho 

      7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Wonderful lens on easy to make and delicious soups. **Blessed by a Squid-Angel**

    • LouisaDembul profile image


      7 years ago

      This sounds so good! Easy to make as well. I love soup, it is great for a light evening meal.

    • nightbear lm profile image

      nightbear lm 

      7 years ago

      This soup looks fantastic, and I loved all the color on your beautiful page.

    • clouda9 lm profile image

      clouda9 lm 

      7 years ago

      My Angel Blessing is SWAH :)

    • delia-delia profile image


      8 years ago

      Ahhh man I'm hungry after looking at this lens! I think I will make tortilla soup tonight...great recipes.

    • clouda9 lm profile image

      clouda9 lm 

      8 years ago

      This tortilla soup recipe is so easy to make - just my kind of recipe!

      This lens is an upcoming feature (02-21-2010) on my blog : and is on my new site right now ;)

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Wonderful, wonderful lens! Tortilla Soup is one of my favorites, and your recipe makes it look easy and delicious to make at home. 5 Stars and Favorited!

    • momto4 lm profile image

      momto4 lm 

      9 years ago

      I'll have to make this for my husband. He love tortilla soup! Great lens!

    • Linda BookLady profile image

      Linda Jo Martin 

      9 years ago from Post Falls, Idaho, USA

      I will have to come up with a vegetarian alternative. This looks delicious! I've made tortillas for years but don't use a press. I'd like to try it.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      First off - I love tortilla soup, especially in the summer here in Arizona. It's too hot to eat a huge meal for either lunch or dinner and so I'll have tortilla soup for several lunches a week. I never tire of the taste. Second - after 11 years here in Arizona, I need to cave and try making my own tortillas AND my own tortilla soup. Have got to give your directions a try. Great, helpful lens!

    • Charlino99 profile image

      Tonie Cook 

      9 years ago from USA

      One of the best soups I ever had was home made tortilla soup while the spouse and I were in Mexico. It was outstanding. USA tortilla soups are made differently than what I had, and it is great that you shared your recipe. It is now bookmarked among my favorite recipes. Thank you for sharing.

    • KimGiancaterino profile image


      9 years ago

      This lens is featured on A Day of 100 Squid Angel Blessings.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      I love Tortilla soup too! Frontier Soups has a great tortilla soup mix that I use:

    • greenerme profile image


      9 years ago

      This looks awesome! I'm lensrolling it to my chicken fajitas lens. Congratulations on your new Giant Squid status, the badge looks great!

    • GypsyPirate LM profile image

      GypsyPirate LM 

      9 years ago

      You've reminded me of the first place I had tortilla soup. While living in Mesa, I took a "touristy" drive to the east side of town to find the Trail Of Tears and to drive into the mountains. There was a small cafe there where the paved road ended with the best tortilla soup I'd ever had (okay, it was the first at the time - but it remains the best!). Thanks for reminding me of that drive and for the great recipe.

    • ZenandChic profile image


      9 years ago

      My ex used to make Tortilla soup all the time.

    • gbenton789 profile image


      9 years ago

      Yummmmm! Love Tortilla Soup - it's what for dinner! Thanks and good luck with the Giant Squid challenge! 5*, faved and lensrolled

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Great lens made me hungry 5 stars


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