Tortilla Soup

Tortilla Soup

Despite its somewhat lengthy ingredient list, this recipe is very easy to prepare. If you desire a soup with mild spiciness, trim the ribs and seeds from the jalapeño and use the minimum amount of chipotle in adobo sauce. This is a favorite in our house. 

Tortilla Soup


  • Tortilla Strips
  • 8 corn tortillas (6-inch), cut into 1/2-inch-wide strips

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

  • Soup
  • 2 split bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds) or 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 1 1/4 pounds), skin removed and well trimmed of excess fat

  • 8 cups low-sodium chicken broth

  • 1 very large white onion (about 1 pound), trimmed of root end, quartered, and peeled

  • 4 medium cloves garlic, peeled

  • 1 ⅛ teaspoon Table salt, divided

  • 2 sprigs epazote, fresh, or 8 to 10 sprigs fresh cilantro plus 1 sprig fresh oregano

  • 2 medium tomatoes, cored and quartered

  • ½ medium jalapeño chile

  • 1 chipotle chile en adobo, plus up to 1 tablespoon adobo sauce

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

  • Garnishes
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges

  • 1 Hass avocado, diced fine

  • 8 ounces cotija cheese, crumbled, or Monterey Jack cheese, diced fine

  • Fresh cilantro leaves

  • Minced jalapeño pepepr

  • Mexican crema or sour cream


  • Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 425 degrees.
  • Spread tortilla strips on rimmed baking sheet; drizzle with oil and toss until evenly coated.
  • Bake until strips are deep golden brown and crisped, about 14 minutes, rotating pan and shaking strips (to redistribute) halfway through baking time.
  • Season strips lightly with salt; transfer to plate lined with several layers paper towels.
  • While tortilla strips bake, bring chicken, broth, 2 onion quarters, 2 garlic cloves, epazote, and 1/2 teaspoon salt to boil over medium-high heat in large saucepan; reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until chicken is just cooked through, about 20 minutes.
  • Using tongs, transfer chicken to large plate.
  • Pour broth through fine-mesh strainer; discard solids in strainer.
  • When cool enough to handle, shred chicken into bite-sized pieces; discard bones.
  • Puree tomatoes, 2 remaining onion quarters, 2 remaining garlic cloves, jalapeño, chipotle chile, and 1 teaspoon adobo sauce in food processor until smooth.
  • Heat oil in Dutch oven over high heat until shimmering; add tomato/onion puree and 1/8 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring frequently, until mixture has darkened in color, about 10 minutes.
  • Stir strained broth into tomato mixture, bring to boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer to blend flavors, about 15 minutes.
  • Taste soup; if desired, add up to 2 teaspoons additional adobo sauce.
  • Add shredded chicken and simmer until heated through, about 5 minutes.
  • To serve, place portions of tortilla strips in bottom of individual bowls and ladle soup into bowls; pass garnishes separately.

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