Eat like an Aztec: Tortilla Soup Recipe

Tortilla soup / (Sopa azteca)

Sopa Azteca topped with avocado at Vitamina T in Puerto Escondido, MexicoThis soup contains many ingredients that were a gift from Mexico to the world: tomatoes, chiles, avocado and corn in the form of tortillas. The recipe comes from a Mexican cookbook that I purchased eons ago.


• 4-8 leftover corn tortillas (NOTE: you can also use the dregs of nacho chips, those broken ones left in the bottom of a package, but add less salt if they are salted.)

The original recipe called for slicing them finely and deep frying until golden in 1/4 cup of oil. This way the strips were really crunchy even after putting them in the soup. deep-fried tortilla stripsI brushed them lightly with corn oil, sliced them into strips and then toasted them in the oven until crispy. These didn’t maintain their crunchiness nearly as well and went soggy once they were in the soup.

 tortillas brushed with corn oil  sliced tortillas  baked tortilla strips
brushed lightly with corn oil sliced into strips baked in a 350° oven until crispy


• 1 medium onion, chopped and fried lightly in 1 tbsp. corn oil in a deep pan
• 2 garlic cloves mashed
• 4 or 5 ripe Roma or Plum tomatoes, blanched, skinned and ground (OR a tin of stewed tomatoes)
• 6 cups chicken broth (OR  add 3 tbsp. of Chicken-in-a-Mug to 6 cups water)
• 2 sprigs of epazote (I couldn’t find epazote anywhere so I left it out).
• salt to taste

 plum tomatoes  blanch tomatoes  tortilla soup base
plum tomatoes blanch tomatoes soup base


In México, these garnishes are sometimes mixed into the soup, and other times served on the side. Tortilla soup wouldn’t be tortilla soup without the tortilla strips, avocado, pasilla chiles and queso fresco; all other garnishes are optional.

• toasted tortilla strips from Step I above
• 1-2 avocados, the flesh cut into squares

avocado cut into squares

cut the avocado into squares while still in its skin, then scoop out with a spoon

• 1 or 2 dried pasilla chiles – broken into pieces and soaked

 pasilla chile  pasilla chiles soaking
pasilla chiles are a ‘secret’ ingredient for tortilla soup soak the chiles and serve on the side

Queso Fresco, cut into cubes (another option would be Monterey Jack cheese, which is melty and results in a ‘California-style’ tortilla soup)

queso fresco

• cream
• extra chopped onions
• cilantro
• cut-up fresh limes

Tortilla soup with all the extras, as served in Guadalajara. tortilla soup in Guadalajara

¡Bien provecho!

4 responses to “Eat like an Aztec: Tortilla Soup Recipe

  1. Pingback: from the Yucatan in Mexico: Sopa de Lima | Albatz Gallery & Blog·

  2. Pingback: One Word Challenge: Feel the Burn – Cooking with Chiles | Albatz Travel Adventures·

  3. Pingback: Start with a Tortilla… | Albatz Travel Adventures·

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