My Favorite Tortilla Soup Recipe

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A tomato-based warming tortilla soup spiced with green chilies, cumin, and chili powder. This meatless soup packs a flavor punch that will warm you up from the inside out! Top it with shredded cheese and tortilla strips before serving.
When I was little we had some neighbors that lived across the street.  They were stationed at Offutt Air Force Base and had been stationed all over the world. One thing I remember about the Mom was that she was a fabulous cook! My Mom got this recipe for tortilla soup from her, and this is the tortilla soup that I grew up on.
I thought all tortilla soup tasted like this one until I grew up and had the more creamy-based ones with chicken.
This tortilla soup recipe is more of a spicy tomato-based soup, seasoned with green chilies, chili powder, and cumin. It’ll warm you up from the inside out, making it perfect for a blustery day.

Tortilla Soup Is Truly A Classic

Tortilla soup isn’t a newfangled recipe invented by some so-called Mexican restaurant chain to appeal to fans of tortillas. This style of soup goes back to the time of the Aztecs, so it is a certified classic. While this recipe is a bit different since it doesn’t include that funky herb called “epazote”, it is still pretty close. If you can find dried epazote then feel free to use some too. It would be like adding an herb such as parsley.

tortilla soup ingredients

Ingredients For Tortilla Soup

This tortilla soup recipe is closer to the style of tortilla soup you might find in Central Mexico and it is popular in Mexico City. It has a bit of spicy bite, but not too much. You can easily dial the heat up or down if you want.

Here is what you will need:

  • onions
  • green chilies
  • garlic
  • vegetable oil
  • tomatoes
  • beef and chicken bouillon
  • water
  • tomato juice
  • cumin
  • chili powder
  • salt
  • white pepper
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • steak sauce
  • corn tortillas



How To Make Tortilla Soup

sauté onions for tortilla soup

Start by sauteing your onions, garlic, and green chilis.

tortilla soup broth

Add the rest of your “wet” seasonings to enrich the flavor of your broth.

tomotoes and broth for tortilla soup

Next, mix the dry seasonings into your soup’s broth, stir well. 

chopped veggies and corn tortilla strips for tortilla soup

Add your herbs and tortilla strips in last so they don’t break down too quickly prior to serving. I like those salad bar-style baked corn tortillas but you can also use your own corn or flour tortillas by cutting them in strips and toasting them briefly to add some crunch.


tortilla soup with cheddar cheese and herbs

Add the cheese and a few extra herbs on top to serve! 

A Crock Pot Is Perfect For Tortilla Soup

Want to let the flavors simmer all day? You can make this tortilla soup recipe in your crockpot. After sautéing, add this mixture to others in your crockpot
 and cook on low all day. Before serving add corn tortilla strips and 1/2 cup of cheese, simmer 10 minutes more.


tortilla soup

Love it? Pin It!

If you can’t wait to make this warming tortilla soup, make sure you can find the recipe when you need it! Pin it to your favorite Pinterest recipe board to find it easily! 


Why Should I Grate my Own Cheese? Read MORE.


What To Serve With Tortilla Soup

I like some grated cheddar tossed in to melt right before serving. It melts into the soup and adds creaminess and we all know how well tortillas and cheese go together. From there, the soup has such a great layer of seasonings that you don’t need anything else. But in Mexico, tortilla soup typically comes with some lime wedges. 

I also suggest saving a few tortilla chips to crunch over the top too, just like you would add soda crackers to a chowder. A few wedges of avocado add some creaminess to it too. 


serving tortilla soup in a ceramic bowl

Using Corn Tortillas Vs Crunchy Tortilla Strips

My Mom’s recipe calls for corn tortillas cut into strips. That was the way that I grew up eating this soup. However, I will tell you that they do get a little soggy if you let them sit in your bowl a bit. More like a noodle, I guess?

These days, I prefer using the crunchy tortilla strips you find by the salad toppings in your grocery store.  For my tastes, I just prefer the way the tortilla strips stay crunchier longer.

If you can’t find them packaged and ready to go, you can easily cut corn tortillas into strips then give them a few minutes under high heat in the oven or your air fryer.

Air Fryer Taco Salad Bowls stacked close up

Leftover Tortillas? Make these Recipes!

Leftover tortillas? No matter if they are corn or flour – I have lots of great recipes to use them in!



Overhead of White chicken Chili
White Chicken Chili

More Soup Recipes To Try

tortilla soup

It’s not your normal Tortilla soup – it’s BETTER! Let’s make some!  M. logo An Affair from the Heart

5 from 6 votes
Print Recipe

Not your Normal Tortilla Soup

A tomato-based warming tortilla soup spiced with green chilies, cumin, and chili powder. This meatless soup packs a flavor punch that will warm you up from the inside out! Top it with shredded cheese and tortilla strips before serving.
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time1 hour 20 minutes
Total Time1 hour 25 minutes
Course: Soup
Cuisine: American/ Mexican
Keyword: chili powder, cumin, green chilies, meatless, tomatoes, tortilla soup, traditional
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 254kcal
Author: Michaela Kenkel


  • 2 small onions chopped
  • 2 small cans of diced green chilies
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 4 T vegetable oil
  • 2, 14.5 ounce cans diced tomatoes
  • 3 beef and 3 chicken bouillon cubes
  • 3 cups of water
  • 3 cups of tomato juice
  • 2 t. ground cumin
  • 2 t. chili powder
  • 2 t. salt
  • 1/4 t. white pepper
  • 4 t. Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 T. bottled steak sauce
  • 6 corn tortillas cut in strips (*see notes)
  • shredded cheddar cheese


  • Saute onion, chilies and garlic in oil until soft. (about 5 minutes)
  • Add tomatoes, bouillon, water, juice, spices and sauces.
  • Bring soup to a boil, lower heat and simmer covered for one hour.
  • Top with cheese and tortilla strips before serving. Sometimes I like to add green onion, too!


To prepare this in your crockpot.: After sauteing the onion, chilies, and garlic, add everything except the tortilla strips to your slow cooker and cook on low for 6 hours.
* My Mom always made this and used corn tortillas cut into strips. I find they get soggy too quickly, and now I use the crunchy tortilla strips you can purchase in the salad toppings section in the store.


Serving: 1g | Calories: 254kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 31mg | Sodium: 1232mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 6g
This recipe was originally posted on November 2, 2011. It has been updated to improve user experience and reposted on December 13, 2021.
tortilla soup in a white bowl

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  1. Wow! This is such a tasty tortilla soup and perfect for those chilly days when only a hot bowl of soup would do!

  2. Great suggestion for finding tortilla strips in the salad aisle. Would have never thought of that but you’re right, making your own results in the tortillas getting soggy quickly in the soup. Thank you for that suggestion and this recipe!

  3. I love tortilla soup. I will add some chicken to this to get in some protein. This is perfect to take the chill off a cold winter night!

  4. So delish! I went heavy on the cheddar on top and did not regret it. 😉 I loved the spicy flavor and will definitely be making this again. Thanks!

  5. Such a delicious soup! Made extra tortilla strips because can’t get enough of those! Made a great leftover lunch too.

  6. Enjoyed this for dinner tonight and it was a hit all around the table! So bold and delicious; easily, a new favorite recipe! My whole family loved it!

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