The Very Best Tortilla Soup Recipe
My neighbor gave me this tortilla soup recipe with shredded chicken after she served it at an ice skating party at their house.
Her husband, a pilot, builds a skating ring every year in their backyard with two by fours and a huge sheet of plastic. (there may be many sheets of plastic, I just never asked)
He then spends days filling this thing up with water and is out there every night working on the ice to get it smooth. And I thought I spent a lot of time on my hobby.
As soon as I tasted this soup, I had to have the recipe. I made a few changes to the ingredients and rewrote the directions to my style.
Normally, I would say this is an easy to prepare recipe, but I challenged myself today by making it with a cast on my right hand (see above). This is one of those recipes you want to have all the ingredients in place and ready to go before you start (mise en place).
Also, I am giving you a range on the spices. I would start out with the lesser amount and then add more according to how hot you like your foods. I made this with the greater amounts and although I liked the hotness, my wife thought it was a little too spicy.
You can make this all in one large soup pot or fry the tortilla strips in one and make the soup in another. I like to clean as few pots as possible especially when I'm working one handed.
What to Serve With?
My neighbor served this soup with the fried tortillas, freshly diced avocado, grated cheddar cheese, and sour cream. The sour cream really helped mellow out some of the spices and gave the soup a wonderful creamy appearance.
This soup is a meal. It's great for a party or a dinner, and the leftovers are perfect for the baby-sitter if you decide to go out later in the week.
Update - 5/3/05 - I made this soup for a party and by mistake defrosted chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts and it made no difference. I take that back, I think it was better.
Not only did it make the recipe more economical, I think the thighs gave it more flavor.
Tortilla Soup Recipe
- 8 tablespoons Canola oil
- 5 corn tortillas 10 -12 inch
- 1 onion
- 6 cloves garlic
- 1 bunch cilantro
- 29 ounces diced tomatoes 2 - 14.5 ounce cans
- 8 cups chicken stock
- 14 ounces corn canned or frozen
- 1 tablespoons ground cumin
- ¾ tablespoon chili powder
- 4 bay leaves
- 4 chicken breast halves boneless-skinless, or try thighs
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 lime juice from
- Cut up 2 of the tortillas into ¼inch strips and fry them in 3 tablespoons of Canola oil. You want them to be a golden brown but be careful not to burn them, they cook quickly. Depending on the size of your pot, you may have to cook several at at a time.
- Remove the strips from pot and transfer to some paper towels to drain. Season with a little salt.
- Heat the remaining oil over medium high heat and sauté the onions for a couple of minutes. Then add garlic and sauté for another minute or two.
- Tear the remaining 3 corn tortillas into bite size pieces and add to the pot.
- Now add the cilantro, stir, and cook for a minute more.
- Add the canned tomatoes with their juice and the chicken stock, cumin, chili powder, and bay leaves and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, add the corn, whole chicken breasts, and cayenne. Simmer the chicken breasts for 15 to 20 minutes until cooked throughout. Remove the chicken breasts and put aside to cool. Turn off the soup at this point.
- Once the chicken breasts are cool, shred them with your hands and return to the pot. Add your lime juice and taste for spiciness. If you like it hotter, add more of the spices. Reheat, and serve with the fried tortilla strips..
This is fantastic soup! I made 1-1/2 recipes for a potluck, and it was all gone. Everyone asked for the recipe. I also use the higher amounts of the spices. Delicious! Thank you!
For shame. Gourmets do not open cans.
The Reluctant Gourmet
This Reluctant Gourmet does Joseph.
I make this all the time. I double or triple the recipe, as the left overs are fantastic and it freezes well. The recipe is perfect as is, but I add extra spices to mine as we love the heat. I have used frozen tomatoes and homemade chicken stock and it that made this soup over the top delicious, but its sill amazing with canned tomatoes and stock.
I've seen other chicken tortilla soup recipes, I think this one is the best.
When you freeze it, do you do so with the tortilla strips already in it? Preparing freezer meals for when baby arrives and would love to add this to my list. 🙂
Thanks so much!
I'm about to try this recipe and confused on one note. The ingredients call for 10-12 tortillas, but the recipe only calls for 5 (fry 2 and then tear the remaining 3). Am I missing something? I have all the ingredients ready. Any help would be appreciated!
G. Stephen Jones
Hi Jocelyn, the ingredients say 5 - 10" to 12" tortillas but I can see where you are confused. I'll change that to 5 - 10 inch to 12 inch tortillas.
oh, answered my own question. just a misread. 5 10-12 inch tortillas. oops 🙂
and I should also have said. love the soup! thanks for the recipe!