Tortilla Soup

Tortilla Soup

Sopa de Tortilla
6 servings
Pati Jinich
Course: Soup
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: ancho chiles, Avocado, chicken broth, guajillo chiles, mexican crema, onion, pasilla, pati's mexican table, queso fresco, Tomatoes, tortilla chips
Author:Pati Jinich
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Tortilla Soup recipe from Pati's Mexican Table Season 3, Episode 4 “Meals in a Minute”


  • 3 guajillo chiles, stemmed and seeded
  • 1 pound ripe tomatoes
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped white onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt, or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1 sprig fresh parsley
  • 12 corn tortillas, cut into 1- to 2-inch strips
  • 1 ancho or pasilla chile, stemmed, seeded, cut into 1-inch strips and quickly fried (optional, for garnish)
  • vegetable oil, for frying
  • 8 ounces queso fresco, diced
  • 1/2 cup Mexican style cream, crème fraiche or sour cream
  • 1 ripe Mexican avocado, halved, pitted, meat scooped out and diced

To Prepare

  • Set a comal or skillet over medium heat. Once it is hot, toast the guajillo chiles for about a minute per side.
  • In a medium saucepan, place the toasted guajillos, tomatoes, and garlic clove and cover with water. Place over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer anywhere from 12 to 15 minutes, until tomatoes are fully cooked and mushy, and the guajillos have rehydrated and plumped up.
  • Place the guajillos, tomatoes, garlic and onion in a blender, along with 1 cup of the simmering liquid and salt. Puree until completely smooth.
  • In a large soup pot, heat the 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat. Once hot, but not smoking, pour in the tomato puree. It will sizzle, make noise and smoke. Partially cover with a lid, if you need to. Let the puree cook, season and thicken, changing from a bright red to a darker red and thicker consistency, for about 12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour in the chicken broth, add the parsley sprig and once it comes to a simmer, continue simmering for another 10 minutes. Before serving, remove the parsley sprig.
  • To prepare the garnishes: Fry or bake the tortilla strips. Flash fry the ancho or pasilla chile strips, literally 5 seconds in already hot oil in a skillet set over medium heat, drain in a paper towel.
  • Serve in soup bowls. Add a handful of tortilla crisps, and let people decide how much cream, queso fresco, chile crisps and avocado to add to their bowls. Or, if you don’t want to give anyone a choice, place all the garnishes in the soup plates, and pour the hot soup into the bowls at the table.

116 comments on “Tortilla Soup

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  1. I tried this recipe. I thought I had guajillo chiles in the cupboard, but didn’t. So I substituted 2 ancho and 2 New Mexico chiles. The only other thing that I substituted was several sprigs of cilantro for the parsley during cooking. It was delicious. I will certainly make this again. Thanks!

  2. Hola Pati, We really enjoyed the chile-tomato based soup. Nice depth. As a Tex-Mex home cook I did add a little comino, corriander, mex oregano, and chile tepin (for a kick of picante). Added deboned roasted chicken thigh meat and served as main dish. After tasting the base I would have added hominy but none in the pantry. Thank you for your great flavor ideas and preparation techniques. Love your attitude. Muchísimas gracias! Jesús es el Salvador!!! Adios!

  3. Thank You Pati, this soup is one of my favorites. It is soooo yummy, I will make it even In the summer soup is my favorite meal. love to your family, God bless…. Ingrid from NJ

  4. Hi Pati,
    I have heard that heirloom corn tortillas have much more flavor than the ones you usually find in stores. Do you happen to know where I can buy them?

    1. Hey Merrill, heirloom corn is definitely delicious for preparing tortillas! I know they sell blue corn tortillas in grocery stores like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s in case you want to give them a try 😉

  5. I can’t wait to try it. The ingredients are a little different than the recipe in your book.
    Do you favor one over the other?
    Thank you

      1. I’ve made both and I really like the use of Guajillo in this one as opposed to the chipotles in the book for what it’s worth.

  6. Making the soup today! I can’t wait to try it❤️…love your shows Pati….we love to travel especially to Mexico. In these tough times your show lets us travel from our living room. I think there is a marathon of your shows this weekend on create….can’t wait…

  7. Hi Pati. I lovelovelove all your soup recipes. I’ve tried many of them. They’re easy to make, and packed with flavor. I can’t pass the dry chili aisle in my market (in mask and gloves) without putting something in my cart. The bags, however, are so big, and it’s just me, so how best to store the chilies? Freezer, fridge, or pantry? Thank you, Pati.

    1. I know Ellen, the same happens to me every time! Just store your dry chiles in the pantry in air tight bags or containers. Have fun!

  8. This is literally my favorite all time recipe. Now that we’re a bit in quarantine and getting fresh vegetables has become difficult in my area, can I substitute canned tomatoes or tomato sauce in place of the fresh tomatoes?

  9. We love tortilla soup and it has been a staple in our house for years. However, recent dietary changes require us to avoid tomatoes. I know, heart breaking!!

    We can have tomatillos though! Could this recipe substitute tomatoes for tomatillos and how might that affect the taste?

    1. Hi Jenn, sorry to hear about the tomatoes! I think going for tomatillos would be way to risky because those have a really tart flavor. Why don’t you consider it doing all the toppings on chicken broth?

  10. Happy Easter Pati!
    I am making this soup today. Thank you for introducing me to your recipes. The thing I love about This cooking is the colors and the freshness of the ingredients. It always makes me happy to try your recipes. I especially enjoy making the sauces with the dried chili’s. They look and taste so good and remind me of the beauty of the earth. Thanks.

  11. Would Ancho chilis be milder than quajillos? ( I am sensitive to too much heat)
    Can they be substituted for the quajillos, in the soup, and, if so, are they toasted the same way?

    Thank you for your great recipes!

    1. Absolutely Mary, anchos are milder than guajillos and they have a very peculiar sweetness to them; perfect substitute for guajillos, go for it!

  12. Pati do you have other recipes to cite for us that use the rest of the dried guahillo chili’s that were in my bag from the market?

    The whole chili’s are just gorgeous!!!

    Anne in Chicago

  13. Hi Pati! My husband and I watch your show every night and we love it! I’ve always wanted to try homemade tortilla soup so I knew your recipe would be the one!! It was so delicious! Amazingly flavourful yet simple to make. Thank you so much Pati!

  14. Made this delectable soup last weekend…added a few Chiles Arbol, for some added ‘Ting-Tang’ and half shelf chicken broth and half homemade . I now have the wife Unit saying, “Mmmmmmmmmm”. (claimed it was better then a recent restaurant visit to ‘Mexican town’, SW Detroit.

    Going to use this base, and char the tomatoes, add some chicken, for the first Pozole of the season.

    Thanks for the inspiration, Pati!!!

    el caldo tiene todas las vitaminas!

  15. Delicious!! I wasn’t so sure because there were no added spices and since it was all blended till smooth, I was afraid it would just taste like broth. Because of that, I cooked tomatillos with the tomatoes, a few extra cloves of garlic, and then along with the chicken broth, added some corn, black beans and some jarred chopped jalapeño. Served with the tortilla strips, avocado and crema. SOOOO good! Thank you Pati! LOVE your show!

  16. Made this tonight with some tacos , delicious soup and simple to make! Can’t wait to try some of your other recipes.

  17. The first time I had tortilla soup was in Cabo San Lucas in Baja California. They thicken the broth with the fried tortillas strips. It was so yummy.

  18. Hi Pati I’m making this soup as we speak! Super excited! How do you cut the ancho Chile into strips? While it’s dry or rehydrate?

  19. Pati! Voy a intentar esta receta esta tarde para nuestra “Sunday evening dinner” en casa. Estoy segura que va salir ricissimo. El ano pasado estuvimos en CDMX y comimos una sopa de tortilla fuera de este mundo en un restaurant en a Roma, sobre Alvaro Obregon (ahorita no recuerdo el nombre). Intente replicarlo pero sin exito, haci que creo que tu receta nos va conquistar!

    Pati! I’m going to try out this recipe this evening for our “Sunday evening dinner” at home. I’m sure it will turn out deicious! Last year we were in Mexico City and we had a fabulous tortialla soup at a restaurant in the borrough of La Roma on Alvaro Obregon Blvd. (I don’t recall the name at this momen). I tried to replicate the recipe without much luck, think your recipe will win them over!

  20. I will be trying this very soon. I love your show and how passionate you are about cooking. You have a beautiful family and home. Can’t wait to try this recipe and many more!!

  21. Hi Pati, I love your show. My first attempt at one of your recipes was tortilla soup. It was utterly delicious. But, I’m a native Texan, so I like things hot. What peppers would you add or change to give the soup a little hotter twist?
    PS I understand that your broader audience may not like the hotter recipes, but those of us in Texas and Mexico really do relish the heat. Maybe include a “hot version” in the recipes?

  22. This is a delicious soup. I used leftover broth to make a gravy for roasted chicken. Thank you Patti for your PBS show. I watch every episode at least 2 times.

  23. Hi Pati, one question, can I use guajillo powder if I cannot get the whole chile? ASO how many tea/tablespoons? Thanks again

  24. Hi Pati,
    I am making this for Dinner tonight and am so excited! You inspire me and I love watching your Tv series, they are great. X

  25. Hello from Houston Pati,
    I’ve been craving Tortilla Soup for a while so I had to try your recipe, let me tell you… it was awesome!!! that guajillo sauce mix was a hit, also the pasilla crisps were just the cherry on top. Bottom line, is the new family soup and “ojo” I am the only Mexican in the family 🙂
    Thank you for Sharing!!!

  26. Hi Pati. Thanks for sharing your recipes! I haven’t made this soup yet but I read the comments and may add more heat. Since I began watching your program, I have learned how to cook the peppers on a comal or over the flame. And how to use the dried peppers. You have expanded my knowledge in ways pleasing to the palate. Gracias!

  27. Pati,
    I’m really looking forward to making the Tortilla soup. I would like to make some to serve for dinner, and some to freeze for a rainy day. Would you recommend I freeze some of the puree before cooking or complete the recipe and then freeze? Thanks so much for sharing your recipes. They look so tasty!

    Best regards,

    1. Hello Crystal! I would ho ahead and complete the recipe and refrigerate or freeze after it is ready (and you let it cool). The only thing you do after you reheat is garnish!

  28. Pati, I am your biggest fan. I have a question. Tonight I made the tortilla soup and added chicken. But I must have done something wrong because it just tasted watered down. I looked back through the recipe and I am wondering if maybe the tomatoes were not supposed to be cut up before cooking? What else could cause this? I followed everything closely. I’ll also rewatch the show. I record all of them. Thanks, Teija

  29. This tortilla soup recipe is a huge hit I our house! I substitute cilantro for the parsley and it works great! Patti watching you cook is entertaining because you can definatly see your passion for cooking! You are an inspiration!

  30. Pati,
    My family and I have been fans for a year now. Thank you for your love of food and cooking, you have made me a great cook and for that my family thanks you! One question though, every time I blend tomato, garlic and onion then cook it in oil all of eyes burn. Any ideas why that happens? Please help.

  31. Pati,
    Thank you for your show. Here in New England most people think that TexMex is all there is to Mexican food. My mother was Pennsylvania-German and not fond of cooking, so I grew up with a very limited number of items of Mexican food that she learned from my grandmother when living in Mexico City for a short time. You have been my go-to for good recipes to make. Unfortunately, I am my best taste-tester as my waistline tells me, but such is the price of pleasure. Thanks for your show and for your evident pleasure in sharing the cuisines of Mexico.

  32. Hi Pati!

    I really enjoy watching your show on my PBS Station on Saturday afternoons. I love how you take us on a tour of Mexico and tell in detail about all these spices and chili’s and about the Mexican Cuisine.

    Your Lime Pound Cake looked awesome! I am going to have to try that recipe.

    Take Care,


  33. I am trying to understand how to use piloncillo. I understand that it is natural sugar with all the vitamins and minerals that come with it naturally, and it is made into granuals. And can be used in place of white sugar cup for cup in a receipe. If your receipe calls for white sugar and brown sugar, how would I use piloncillo in that receipe? Can you help me understand how to best use piloncillo?


  34. Hi Pati;
    Thank you for sharing all of your wonderful culture and recipes. It has made me to learn and how to cook my own culture food from my Mom and Friends who are all great cooks. They are great teachers. I live around the Boston area and I am having a hard time finding the Chilies that you use. I am Persian and was wondering if there was any connection between our two culutes? If there is what’s the connection and how? Thank you again for everything.

    1. Thank you Shiva! You can also search for the chiles, if they are dried, online. Of course there are connections between our cultures, many of the ingredients that Mexican cuisine, came from the Spanish (through the conquest and the colonial era) and they brought the influences they had gotten from the almost 800 years of arab rule, including plenty of ingredients and cooking techniques from Persia. Connections: everywhere!

      1. Hi Pati,

        What needs to be adjusted in the recipe if we are using dried peppers? Thanks! So excited to try this!

  35. Fell in love with you when you were on Paula Deen’s show putting your blenders to “bed” – lol
    You seem so genuine & so real. You are so much fun to watch. I smile thru every episode I watch 🙂
    I loved the comments from your son’s journal about the love you share with your food, (don’t remember it exactly 😉 ), but so sweet 🙂
    I plan to use your Tortilla Soup Recipe, (+ chicken), to challenge my brother’s Tortilla Soup Recipe.
    I think I will poach the chicken. Any suggestions of what to add to the poaching liquid to bump up the flavor of the chicken?
    Thank for sharing your table & so much more with us.
    Love & Hugs to you & yours
    BE Well my BEautiful friend………..

    1. Thank you for your message, Grams! You’ll have to let me know how the tortilla soup fares against your brother. Maybe poach the chicken in chicken stock or broth to punch up the flavor…

  36. Hi Pati I made this soup for my family and it was a big hit! I have a question. If you want to make this spicer can I add more guajillos? My hubby said it could have been hotter.

  37. Hola, Pati!

    I watched your show for the first time recently and this episode was playing. I knew I just had to try the tortilla soup recipe. I did so tonight for some friends and my family and I have to tell you, I was so impressed by it! I was astounded by it’s simplicity but also how flavorful it was.

    Tonight we discussed other options for replacements to tortillas – in case I don’t feel like frying the tortillas. We thought maybe white rice would be good. Do you use this soup over anything else? Granted the tortillas really MAKE this soup come together, but how do you switch it up?

    Your show is so much fun to watch and your energy and enthusiasm reminds me of my cousins in Spain!

    1. Thanks Laura! Of course you can switch it around. First of all, you can bake, and not fry the tortillas. Also, you can add rice as you suggest, either white or brown. Another option, that would make it more hearty, is to add cooked shredded chicken. So many ways to go! You can even skip the tortilla, and add more of the other garnishes… And call it: formerly known as Tortilla Soup.

  38. Hi saw you on tv the other day, your dynamite personality would not let me change the channel. Happy to know that I have a mexican friend in the kitchen, que rica la comida mexicana!

  39. Pati,

    Loved your show with the tortilla soup! Could you please let me know how spicy/hot the chilies are that are in the recipe? Many thanks,

    1. Hi Karen,
      The guajillos are barely spicy and the anchos are mildly hot… So the heat profile in this recipe is really mild…

  40. I saw your show for the first time a couple of weeks ago and just had to TAPE it! You make cooking for your family look like such a pleasure~ I wanted to immediately make the soup and pound cake, but didn’t have the ingredients handy. SO glad for your website. Thanks for all the happiness you exude on your show. Love it~

  41. Hola Ms. Pati,
    I am so engulfed in your show and love to watch you shine in the kitchen. You make everything look so easy and beautiful. I absolutely adore the way you interact with your sons in the kitchen.
    I have two twin 8 year old boys and all i hear is ‘Mom, im hungry’. They have a bottomless stomach. I enjoyed your sons expression when he was eating the Shredded Flank Steak in Green Salsa. I need to keep my little men’s stomache full.
    You are a very beautiful person inside and out and I wish you much success in all of your endeavors. 🙂

    -Gloria (Houston, Texas)

  42. Hello Pati! Your recipes look great! I plan to try several of them within the next couple of weeks. Thanks for sharing. Much success!

  43. Saw your show for the first time today and plan to try your tortilla soup and lime pound cake soon. Think it will be nice to make some authentic mexican food

    1. Hi Pamela, So happy you found the show! Thank you for watching. I hope you do try the tortilla soup & lime pound cake. Let me know what you think of them…

  44. Hi Pati,
    I made your tortilla soup for dinner tonight and the whole family loved it!! I have tried many of your recipes now and have Never been disappointed! Thanks for sharing:)

      1. Hola Pati,

        I just wanted to say how much my husband Ruben and I enjoy your show. This season is amazing, I love seeing you with your family. Your spunky attitude is a joy! We are really loving your recipes.