Sopa de Tortilla – Tortilla Soup Recipe. San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. Copyright © 2023 Terence Carter / Grantourismo. All Rights Reserved.

Sopa de Tortilla or Tortilla Soup Recipe from San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

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This authentic sopa de tortilla recipe or tortilla soup recipe makes the most delicious tortilla soup we’ve ever tried. It’s a combination of a tortilla soup I’ve been making for many years, since our first trip to Mexico in the Nineties, and a tortilla soup I recently learnt from the lovely Marilau at her cooking school here in San Miguel de Allende in Mexico.

I know we ate sopa de tortilla or tortilla soup many times on our first trip to Mexico City in the Nineties although I can’t remember exactly where, and I can’t recall whether there is even a sopa de tortilla recipe in Diana Kennedy’s tome on Mexican cuisine, The Art of Mexican Cooking, which I used for many years. What I do know is that I’ve been making this soup for longer than I can remember.

Sopa de tortilla is very simple to make, although it’s also easy to make a bad version of it. Trust me, I’ve had plenty of horrid versions of it: too weak, too many tomatoes, under-seasoned. And that was just on this trip to Mexico.

So why is it so hard to find – even in Mexico – someone who can follow a good sopa de tortilla recipe? Even Marilau, whose excellent cooking class we just did here in San Miguel de Allende, couldn’t understand why and shook her head.

I made this tortilla soup for lunch today in the kitchen of the colourful casita that is our home away from home in San Miguel de Allende for two weeks while Lara made an authentic guacamole recipe and we washed it all down with classic margaritas and the micheladas we’ve been enjoying over the last month in Mexico City and Austin, Texas. This is the life.

Sopa de Tortilla Recipe or Tortilla Soup Recipe from San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

When I attended Marilau’s excellent cooking class here in San Miguel de Allende, I told her that I wanted to learn her version of sopa de tortilla. Thankfully, my tortilla soup was very similar to her broth. Phew.

I’ve combined a few tips from Marilau’s recipe with my old recipe that I’ve been using for years. I’ve used Marilau’s amount of chillies in the recipe below, but I actually prefer a spicier tortilla soup so have used two Ancho chillies in mine.

Sopa de Tortilla – Tortilla Soup Recipe. San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. Copyright © 2023 Terence Carter / Grantourismo. All Rights Reserved.

But try this sopa de tortilla recipe first – as you can always add toasted and sliced chillies to the bowl of soup later if it’s not hot enough for you.

Update: if you’re planning a full Mexican food feast, also see our recipes for an easy red tomato salsa, tacos al pastor inspired by the tacos at Salón Corona in Mexico City, the Mexican char-grilled corn on the cob street food snack elotes and grilled corn salad, along with chili con carne, quesadillas, and Lara’s ultimate nachos. Of course, a couple of those are Tex-Mex rather than Mexican recipes, but they’re all muy deliciosa.

Tips to Making this Sopa de Tortilla Recipe or Tortilla Soup Recipe

Firstly, it’s very important to get the stock right for this sopa de tortilla recipe. Most stock-based soups were invented to extend the yield from meats that are used in a kitchen. But the quality of the stock made is as important as the quality of meat purchased.

Even if you only make stock as a home cook a few times in your life, at least try it. Only then can you judge other stocks and compare them to the store-bought varieties – most of which I find way too salty – the saltiness is there to disguise the lack of depth of flavour in the actual stock.

Sopa de Tortilla – Tortilla Soup Recipe. San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. Copyright © 2023 Terence Carter / Grantourismo. All Rights Reserved.

How important is stock to cooking? I’ve never been in a Michelin-star kitchen during prep and not seen an apprentice chef dutifully clarifying stocks. It’s that important.

After the stock, the next ingredient of importance to this sopa de tortilla recipe are the chillies. You have to use the right chillies and you have to treat them well.

If you can’t get the chillies listed in this recipe, honestly, don’t bother making it. It has an incredible bearing on the flavour.

Lastly, let people garnish their own tortilla soup at the table. Some people don’t like certain garnishes, some people like more fried tortilla strips than others. Whatever you do, don’t deliver a tortilla soup with soggy tortilla chips. Ever.

Mexican Sopa de Tortilla or Tortilla Soup Recipe

Sopa de Tortilla – Tortilla Soup Recipe. San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. Copyright © 2023 Terence Carter / Grantourismo. All Rights Reserved.

Sopa de Tortilla (Tortilla Soup) Recipe

AuthorTerence Carter (with thanks to Marilau Ricaud)
This soup is very simple to make, but you need excellent quality ingredients, particularly the chilis and the stock.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Course Appetiser
Cuisine Mexican
Servings made with recipe4
Calories 506 kcal


  • 1 Chile Ancho or 2 Chiles Guajillos
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil or lard
  • 1 medium white onion - chopped
  • 1 clove garlic - crushed
  • 1 cup chopped fresh tomato
  • 8 white corn tortillas - one day old
  • 4 cups hearty chicken stock - I’ll look the other way if you want to use store-bought stock
  • Quality freshly-ground salt and pepper to taste
  • Garnish:
  • Tortilla strips
  • ½ large avocado or one whole small - diced just before serving
  • 3 tbsp chopped coriander/cilantro
  • Sour cream
  • Mexican Manchego cheese - cow’s cheese
  • 1 lime wedge per serving


  • In a pan over medium heat, toast the chile(s) a little, turning constantly, until you can detect a whiff of strong chile.
  • In a pan of water just off the boil, place the chile(s) in the water; you can cut the corner of the chile(s) to help them stay under the water. Soak for 15–20 minutes.
  • Carefully de-vein and de-seed the chile(s) and chop roughly.
  • Place the chile(s), onion, garlic, tomatoes and one cup of stock in a blender.
  • Puree the ingredients and strain through a sieve into a large pot.
  • Add the rest of the chicken stock, season to taste and keep on a low simmer.
  • Cut two of the tortillas into thin strips and the rest into small squares. Heat the oil on a pan and over high heat fry the tortilla strips until they’re coloured and crispy. Do the same with the squares and place them on paper towels to soak up any oil.
  • When you’re ready to serve, prepare the garnishes.
  • Serve the soup in the bowls and add some tortilla strips to add a little texture and sprinkle with a little coriander/cilantro to make it pretty. If you’re feeling creative you can also finish with a little flourish of sour cream.
  • Serve with plenty of cold beer or a spicy, icy Michelada.


Serving: 1gCalories: 506kcalCarbohydrates: 36.8gProtein: 16.4gFat: 34.1gSaturated Fat: 10.1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 24gTrans Fat: 0gCholesterol: 25mgSodium: 689mgFiber: 6.9gSugar: 6g

Do let us know if you make our sopa de tortilla (tortilla soup) recipe from San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. We’d love to know how it turns out for you.


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Terence Carter is an editorial food and travel photographer and infrequent travel writer with a love of photographing people, places and plates of food. After living in the Middle East for a dozen years, he settled in South-East Asia a dozen years ago with his wife, travel and food writer and sometime magazine editor Lara Dunston.

6 thoughts on “Sopa de Tortilla or Tortilla Soup Recipe from San Miguel de Allende, Mexico”

  1. I’ve recently been asked by a friend for terrific soup recipes. This was one of the first ones I recommended because I love it so much. Amazing.5 stars

  2. This was so good. Just wanted to let you guys know how much we appreciated all your Mexican recipes. We made half a dozen and had a fiesta last night which continued through brekkie and lunch today. Muchas gracias!5 stars

  3. We appreciate all your comments, Trevor – as well as the fact that our recipes brought you and your family or friends so much pleasure during these challenging times. Once again, thanks so much for taking time to drop by and leave comments and ratings! They’re so important to our recipe rankings – I don’t think a lot of readers realise. So thank you again from the bottom of our hearts.

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