Culinary Institute of America Recipe
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Tortilla Soup

It’s almost Cinco de Mayo, a day to celebrate the culture, heritage, and foods of Mexico. Start your party with Tortilla Soup, which brings together traditional flavors like cilantro, cumin, and chili powder. Our delicious take on this favorite features toasted strips of corn tortillas that are crushed and simmered right into the chicken broth—and also sprinkled on top to add a delightful crunch.

Watch Chef Bill Briwa's video on how to make chicken broth >

Tortilla Soup recipe by The Culinary Institute of America



Makes 6 Servings

  • 4 six-inch corn tortillas
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup finely minced onion
  • 1 garlic clove, finely minced (about 1/2 teaspoon)
  • 3/4 cup canned diced tomatoes, drained
  • 2 teaspoons mild chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt, as needed
  • Freshly ground black pepper, as needed
  • 1/2 cup shredded cooked chicken breast (from about ½ breast)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro leaves
  • 2 tablespoons queso fresco
  • 1/2 cup diced fresh tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup diced avocado
  • 1 lime, cut into 6 wedges


  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Cut the tortillas into matchsticks. Place them in an even layer on a baking sheet and toast in the oven, about 15 minutes. Reserve about 1/2 cup of the strips for garnish. Crush the remainder in a food processor or blender.
  2. Heat the oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until they have a sweet aroma, 5 to 6 minutes.
  3. Add the diced tomatoes and continue to cook for 3 minutes. Add the chili powder and cumin, and cook another 2 minutes.
  4. Add the broth, crushed tortillas, and bay leaf. Stir well, bring the soup to a simmer, and cook for 25 to 30 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Strain the soup through a sieve.
  5. Serve the soup in heated bowls. Garnish with the shredded chicken, chopped cilantro, queso fresco, reserved tortilla strips, diced fresh tomato, diced avocado, and lime.
 Per serving: 149 CALORIES, 10 g PROTEIN, 16.5 g CARBOHYDRATES, 2 g FIBER, 5 g TOTAL FAT (0.5 g saturated fat), 467 mg SODIUM, 8 mg CHOLESTEROL

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