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Chicken Tortilla Soup

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes


Love Mexican? Then you are sure to fall in love with this delicious Chicken Tortilla Soup recipe slightly adapted from Rick Bayless.



12 medium dried pasilla (negro) chiles, stemmed and seeded**
1 (15-ounce) can diced fire-roasted tomatoes in juice
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 medium white onion, sliced 1/4-inch thick
5 garlic cloves, peeled
2 quarts good-quality chicken broth
1 large epazote sprig (optional)
4 (about 1 1/4 pounds total) boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 large ripe avocado, pitted, flesh scooped from the skin and cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded Mexican melting cheese (like Chihuahua, quesadilla or asadero) or Monterrey Jack
4 cups roughly-broken tortilla chips
1/2 cup Mexican crema, sour cream or creme fraîche for garnish
1 large lime, cut into 6 wedges, for serving
1/2 cup fresh chopped cilantro, for serving
1/2 cup cotija cheese, for serving (optional)


  1. Quickly toast a chile by turning it an inch or two above an open flame for a few seconds until its aroma fills the kitchen. (Lacking an open flame, toast it in a dry pan over medium heat, pressing it flat for a few seconds, then flipping it over and pressing it again.) Repeat with second chile if desired. Break the chile into pieces and put in a blender jar along with the tomatoes with their juice. (A food processor will work, though it won’t completely puree the chile.)
  2. Heat the oil in a medium (4-quart) saucepan over medium-high. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until golden, about 7 minutes. Scoop up the onion and garlic with a slotted spoon, pressing them against the side of the pan to leave behind as much oil as possible, and transfer to the blender. Process until smooth.
  3. Return the pan to medium-high heat. When quite hot, add the puree and stir nearly constantly, until thickened to the consistency of tomato paste, about 6 minutes. Add the broth and epazote, if using. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes. Taste and season with salt, usually about a generous teaspoon (depending on the saltiness of the broth).
  4. Just before serving, add the chicken to the simmering broth. Divide the avocado, cheese and tortilla chips between serving bowls. When the chicken is done, usually about 5 minutes, ladle the soup into the bowls. Garnish with the crema, cilantro, and extra cotija cheese and tortilla chips if desired. Pass the lime separately.


**If you choose to substitute ancho chile powder for the actual chiles, add in about 1 tablespoon of ancho chile powder halfway through cooking the onion.

Slightly adapted from Rick Bayless.