Tortilla Soup (with or without chicken)

I forgot to garnish with cilantro! Aagh.

Let me just begin by saying that I ♥ tortilla soup.  And I was craving it something fierce the other night.  There’s a restaurant, La Torta, near us that makes the best chicken tortilla soup I’ve ever had. Tony and I go for lunch a couple times a month and usually split soup and a Carnitas Torta (the number 32T – Tio Cayos Carnitas Torta). Carnitas…that’s a whole other story.  But I just didn’t feel like getting in the car and going out for dinner.

Okay, back to the soup. I’ve had tortilla soup in a lot of restaurants and I’ve tried different recipes at home, but nothing comes close to La Torta’s. It’s just a little spicy and not too tomato-y. And I really like that it has pinto beans in it.  So, I figured it was time to do some experimenting in the kitchen. I played around with three different recipes and came up with a version that I think takes a pretty close second to La Torta’s. And it’s pretty easy.

Tony says this recipe is a keeper. We both really liked it and will definitely make it again. Of course, it absolutely won’t stop us from going to La Torta for a cup of soup and a 32T.

Note: after making this soup last night, I realized I hadn’t proofread the recipe very well and have made some changes – directions now use just already cooked chicken; I left out the chilies in adobo (what was I thinking?  Way tooo spicy!).  

Tortilla Soup (with or without chicken)


4  5-to 6-inch-diameter corn tortillas

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 tablespoon olive oil

½ cup finely chopped onion

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon each cumin, oregano, chili powder

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1  14-1/2 oz. can chopped fire-roasted tomatoes w/green chilies

1  14-1/2 oz. can pinto beans, drained

4 cups chicken or veggie broth

Bay leaf

juice of one lime

2 cups shredded cooked chicken


Monterey Jack, aged white cheddar cheese or Cotija cheese

Diced avocado


Preheat oven to 350°. Brush 1 side of tortillas with oil; cut in half. Stack halves and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-wide strips. Spread strips on baking sheet. Bake until light golden, about 15 minutes. Cool on baking sheet.

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Sauté the onions, garlic and spices until the onions are translucent and softened, about 4 minutes. Add the tomatoes, broth and bay leaf and bring to a boil.  Simmer for about 20 minutes.

Add the lime juice and about a cup of the tortilla strips. Puree broth (w/a hand blender, in a food processor or in batches in a blender) until almost smooth, but with some chunks remaining.

Add beans and shredded chicken (if using) and heat through.

Ladle the soup into bowls.

Garnish with additional tortilla strips, cilantro, cheese and avocado.


2 thoughts on “Tortilla Soup (with or without chicken)

  1. Do you by any chance have the nutritional break down – how many servings etc. This is a GREAT recipe btw. I tried it – my husband and I also discovered La Torta’s tortilla soup and that’s how I came upon yours. I figure I can make anything a restaurant can make if i can find a recipe. Yours was fabulous!

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