Get the newsletter.

Sopa de Tortilla (Authentic Tortilla Soup)

This post may contain affiliate links; please see our privacy policy for details.

The best tomato soup of all.

This authentic sopa de tortilla recipe (also called sopa Azteca or tortilla soup) makes a light but warming pot of tomato-based Mexican soup that’s ready in about 45 minutes. Plus, learn how to make your own tortilla chips right in the oven!

sopa de tortilla topped with tortilla strips, cilantro, avocado, and cheese
Be sure to put a handful of crisp tortilla strips on the bottom of the bowl, and then more on the top with other toppings.

Meet this authentic sopa de tortilla (tortilla soup) recipe

Last spring, I had the great pleasure of visiting the UNESCO World Heritage town of San Miguel de Allende, a beautifully-preserved town in central Mexico, northwest of Mexico City. Streets of centuries-old, indigenous-style buildings painted in earthy reds, yellows, browns, and white mix with grand Spanish colonial architecture — all of it wrapped up in cobblestone streets, blooming trees, and flowers.

photo of San Miguel de Allende sunset
San Miguel de Allende sunset. Not bad!

The food is also excellent. Between the bakeries (panaderias), wine bars, tequila and mezcal bars, and restaurants of all styles and price ranges, eating well in San Miguel is not hard.

Amid all of the wonderful and varied food I ate, one dish became my favorite: the sopa de tortilla, unassuming, simple, and served throughout the city.

Sopa de tortilla, also known as tortilla soup or sopa Azteca, is a bright purée of tomatoes, onion, spice, chiles, stock, and garlic. This smooth tomato soup then gets topped with crisp corn tortilla chips, lime, avocado, cilantro, and maybe a little cheese or crema.

Soup recipes can vary in style. Many adapted recipes load the tomato broth up with pulled or diced chicken, which I have made optional here, as opposed to essential. Why?

sopa de tortilla recipe (sopa Azteca or tortilla soup)

This style of soup hews closely to the authentic style served in this old-world town and throughout the regions surrounding Mexico City.

It’s a flavorful, bright, light, and spicy blend of tomatoes, onion, garlic, chipotle, and chicken stock, served with a handful of fresh tortilla chip strips and topped with more strips and optional diced avocado, cilantro, crema, and lime.

Sopa de tortilla is one of my favorite bowls to warm up winter, yet also goes so well with sunny summer weather. Enjoy.

sopa de tortilla ingredients for soup

Ingredients: What is sopa de tortilla (sopa Azteca) made of?

This sopa de tortilla recipe stays simple, authentic, and flavorful. You will need the following ingredients:

  • A 28-ounce can (or so) crushed or diced tomatoes
  • 4 Tbsp. neutral vegetable oil (I recommend avocado oil), divided
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 4 chipotle peppers in adobo, roughly chopped (or dried pasilla chile, if you can find it)
  • 1 quart unsalted chicken stock or chicken broth
  • 6 corn tortillas for tortilla strips. I strongly recommend Mi Rancho brand corn tortillas if you can find them. Trader Joe’s also sells a good corn tortilla.
  • Garnishes and toppings: cilantro, crumbled queso fresco or cotija cheese, Mexican crema, diced ripe avocado, lime wedges
  • Salt and pepper

Does authentic Mexican sopa de tortilla contain chicken?

A note about chicken: Many tortilla soup recipes add pulled or diced cooked chicken to the tomato broth. That is a great adaptation if you want a more filling soup with a good boost of protein.

However, chicken should only be considered optional here. The authentic sopa de tortilla I ate and experienced throughout San Miguel de Allende contained no chicken beyond, perhaps, the broth. Instead, the bulk came from layering a handful of crispy tortilla strips in the bottom, and again on top with additional toppings.

making homemade corn tortilla strips for tortilla soup
Slice corn tortilla lengthwise before tossing with oil and salt and baking briefly for homemade tortilla strips for the soup.

Directions: How to make this soup recipe

Sopa de tortilla follows a basic recipe with simple ingredients, but the combination of flavors creates a beautiful, and just a bit spicy, soup brightened and enriched with simple toppings.

Though you could use store-bought tortilla chips in a pinch, a strongly encourage you to make your own. Cutting soft tortillas into strips and then crisping them up is not only more authentic, it tastes delicious. And it’s easy!

Here’s how to make this sopa de tortilla recipe:

  1. Heat the oil over medium heat in a large pot. Add the diced onions and cook, stirring frequently, until translucent.
  2. Add the garlic, chipotle peppers, canned tomatoes, chicken broth or stock, and two teaspoons of kosher salt. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer and cook, partially covered, for 30 to 40 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  3. Meanwhile, make the tortilla chips: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Slice the corn tortillas into strips about a half-inch wide. Toss with the remaining oil, and a generous pinch of salt. Bake in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet for 10 to 15 minutes, or until crispy. Stir once during the baking time to make sure they bake evenly. I like to bake tortilla chips, but you could fry them as well if you wanted.
  4. Blend the soup until very smooth. (I love an immersion blender for this, but you can puree it in batches into a blender.) Taste for seasoning.
  5. Place a small handful of tortilla strips into the bottom of the bowl. Ladle the sopa de tortilla into the bowl and top with your desired toppings.

finished pot of sopa Azteca with toppings on the side

What goes well with tortilla soup?

This is, at heart, a bright and spicy tomato soup. The toppings should complement that. You need the fresh tortilla chip strips, of course. Beyond that, some combination of the following will be great:

  • Cilantro sprig or some torn cilantro leaves
  • Diced ripe avocado
  • Crumbled cotija cheese or queso fresco
  • Lime wedges

Again, a note about chicken: Diced or pulled cooked chicken breast is a great adaptation if you want a more filling soup with a good boost of protein. However, the authentic sopa de tortilla I ate and experienced throughout San Miguel de Allende contained no chicken beyond broth. Instead, the bulk came from layering a handful of crispy tortilla strips in the bottom, and again on top with additional toppings.

bowl of sopa de tortilla with toppings

Love this authentic sopa de tortilla recipe? You’ll also love these Mexican-inspired recipes:

recipe sopa de tortilla

Sopa de Tortilla (Tortilla Soup)

This authentic Mexican sopa de tortilla recipe, or tortilla soup, will brighten your kitchen year 'round with its spiced tomato broth, homemade corn tortilla strips, and all the best toppings.
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time45 minutes
Course: dinner, lunch, Soup
Cuisine: Mexican
Keywords:: chicken soup, easy, green tomatoes, mexican, sopa azteca, sopa de tortilla, tortilla soup
Servings: 4 to 6 people
Print

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons neutral vegetable oil or olive oil, divided
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 4 chipotle peppers in adobo, rough chopped
  • 28 ounce can unsalted crushed or diced tomatoes
  • 1 quart unsalted chicken broth or stock
  • Salt and pepper
  • 6 corn tortillas (see notes for my favorite brands)
  • Toppings: Lime wedges, diced ripe avocado, fresh cilantro sprigs or leaves, and crumbled cotija cheese or queso fresco

Instructions

  • Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium heat in a large pot. Add the diced onions and cook, stirring frequently, until translucent.
  • Add the garlic, chipotle peppers, canned tomatoes, chicken broth or stock, and two teaspoons of kosher salt. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer and cook, partially covered, for 30 to 40 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  • Meanwhile, make the tortilla chips: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Slice the corn tortillas into strips about a half-inch wide. Toss with the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and a generous pinch of salt. Bake in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet for 10 to 15 minutes, or until crispy.
    TIP: Stir once during the baking time to make sure they bake evenly.
  • Blend the soup until very smooth. (I love an immersion blender for this, but you can puree it in batches into a blender.) Taste for seasoning.
  • Place a small handful of tortilla strips into the bottom of the bowl. Ladle the sopa de tortilla into the bowl and top with more tortilla chip strips and your desired toppings.

Notes

This soup will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days, and freezes well. Don't add the tortilla chips or toppings until you're about to serve the soup. 
Store the tortilla chips at room temperature in a sealed container.
My favorite store-bought brands of corn tortilla chips are Mi Rancho or Trader Joe's. 
A note about chicken: Diced or pulled cooked chicken breast is a great adaptation if you want a more filling soup with a good boost of protein. However, the authentic sopa de tortilla I ate and experienced throughout San Miguel de Allende contained no chicken beyond broth. Instead, the bulk came from layering a handful of crispy tortilla strips in the bottom, and again on top with additional toppings.

4 comments

  • 5 stars
    Easy and very flavorful.

  • 5 stars
    Enjoyed this very much and thought it was such a nice way to brighten up the winter weather.

  • lowandslow

    5 stars
    Delicious and easy.Served the soup with shrimp fajitas so no chicken was used.Home made torts are great as well.One thing, recipe states 4 Tbs oil divided but does not say how much so 2 Tbs were used for soup the 2 Tbs for chips.What would you say to using fire roasted tomatoes? Thanks for this recipe.

    • Unpeeled

      Thanks for trying the recipe, and I’m so glad you enjoyed it! And thanks for pointing out the detail about the oil — it is now corrected. You did the right thing, though, so great instincts 🙂 As for fire-roasted tomatoes, I think that would add a fantastic flavor that goes well with the spices and other flavor elements. If you try it, I’d love to know how it goes!

3.83 from 17 votes (14 ratings without comment)

Add a note

Recipe Rating




Never miss a recipe.

Sign Up for the Weekly Newsletter
Green leaves

You have great taste.

Get the weekly newsletter of recipes and more.

Popular Recipes

See all recipes
Let's Connect
PinterestInstagramFacebook

You have great taste!

Get the weekly newsletter of recipes and more.
Salmon and quinoa dish