Creamy Tortilla Soup

Blended corn tortillas thicken this creamy vegan tortilla soup. It's boldly flavored with cumin, oregano, chipotle powder & a splash of sherry vinegar.

Vegetarian tortilla soup in a bowl

I have this tortilla rotation: I buy (or make) fresh tortillas, and I freeze the ones I don’t use within a day or two. I’ll use those frozen tortillas for a while reheated directly on the gas stovetop. But before that batch is gone, I’ll inevitably acquire new ones. Soon enough, I have a random assortment of tortillas filling my freezer, all at various stages of pre-freezer burn.

And then I make this vegetarian tortilla soup.

Crispy tortilla strips for vegan tortilla soup

About this vegetarian tortilla soup

There are two types of tortilla soup: the thin brothy kind, which is usually made with chicken, and this creamy style. In the creamy kind, and in this recipe, corn tortillas are cooked into the base of the soup as a thickener. They bring a nice earthy flavor that works especially well with the bold spicy flavors that are in this vegan tortilla soup.

Those bold, spicy flavors come from fire-roasted tomatoes, jalapeño, garlic, and onion. I use dried spices to flavor it further, adding oregano, cumin, and chipotle powder to bring real depth to this soup.

And if you’re not tortilla-d out by now, I suggest topping the soup with crispy tortilla strips and serving it with warm tortillas (fresher ones) on the side. Enjoy!

4.7 from 13 reviews

Creamy Tortilla Soup

Recipe type: Soup
Serves: 4 as a side dish
  • 1 small white or yellow onion, cut into 6 wedges
  • 3 garlic cloves (still in the paper)
  • 1 jalapeño
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt & fresh black pepper
  • 1 can (14-oz.) fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • (or about 4-5 fresh roma tomatoes, roast them with the onions & peel skins)
  • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon dried cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ancho or chipotle chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon agave syrup (or a pinch of sugar)
  • 1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
  • 3 cups veggie broth
  • 3-4 corn tortillas, chopped (plus one extra for crispy topping)
  • Juice of 1 lime
Serve with your choice of:
  • Crispy tortilla strips (sliced from 1 tortilla, toss in olive oil & salt, bake 10 or so minutes)
  • Crumbled queso fresco (or feta)
  • Cilantro
  • Lime wedges, on the side
  • More tortillas on the side
  • Avocado slices
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. On a large baking sheet, spread out the onion slices, the jalapeno (still whole), garlic cloves and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast for about 20-30 minutes until the edges of the onions blacken, tossing them about halfway through. Remove the garlic after about 5 minutes, so it doesn’t burn. Remove the jalapeno when the skin is blackened and blistering.
  3. Place the roasted jalapeno in a small glass bowl with plastic wrap over it (but not touching it). Let it cool for 15 minutes and carefully peel off the skin and remove the stem and seeds. (use utensils if you can, and don’t touch your eye afterward).
  4. In a medium pot, heat a few tablespoons of olive oil, add the onions, garlic (remove the paper), jalapeno, tomatoes, oregano, cumin, chile powder, a splash of agave or a pinch of sugar, and some salt and pepper. Cook for 4-5 minutes until the tomatoes start to sizzle.
  5. Add a splash of sherry vinegar and cook for 30 seconds more. Add the broth and chopped tortilla pieces and let simmer for 20-30 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
  6. Transfer to a high speed blender and puree. If your soup is too thick, add some water or broth to thin it to your desired consistency. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding in a squeeze of lime.
  7. Serve with an extra drizzle of olive oil and the suggested toppings.
On using frozen tortillas: If you freeze yours, just let them sit out and thaw before using.



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Rate this recipe (after making it):  

  1. Cait

    This is my favorite soup ever. I live in Mexico so I am used to the heat. My New Years resolution is to MAKE THIS SOUP MORE OFTEN!

  2. Beth

    WOW, game-changer! Full disclosure, I am not a veggie, and had 3/4 C of Herdez green salsa-sauced shredded chicken from taco night last night to use up.

    I needed a new interpretation to springboard from, and was hoping to emulate a creamy (but not dairy) favorite tortilla soup from a local deli. I roasted the tomatoes / onion / garlic / jalapeno myself as instructed (some firsts in there!), and at the end stick-blended before adding chicken.

    So perfect! The corn tortillas cooked in make all the difference for me. I’ll be making a double or triple batch next time to vac-pak for freezer soups!

  3. Mary

    This was the first Love and Lemons recipe that turned out to be a dud for me.

    The original recipe is so incredibly spicy as to be inedible.

    I was only able to salvage it by dumping in a can of coconut cream, tablespoons of honey and also adding crema and sour cream on top.

    I would try adding canned green chilis instead of the jalapeno and substituting diced tomatoes for the fire roasted tomatoes.

  4. Joni

    My husband and I stayed at a resort in Cancun. They served a creamy tortilla soup that we adored. They poured it table side into a bowl with little cubes of cheese, crunchy tortilla soup, and cilantro all beautifully arranged like a piece of art.

    This recipe is perfect and I’m so glad to have found it! The only thing I had to substitute was chili powder instead of chipotle chili powder and a splash of rice vinegar instead of sherry vinegar.

    I hate when people review recipes when they change it, but I don’t think those two substitutions would make a huge difference.

    Thank you so much sharing!

  5. Ashley C.

    My soup turned out delicious but spicy!!! It was almost inedible. I guess I picked a potent jalapeño! I recommend maybe cutting the pepper in half and then add more piece by piece until you reach your desired heat level! I also added black beans, corn and vegAn sour cream to my soup. Delicious!!

    • Tara

      I also just made this and could not eat it, it was so spicy. I think I’ll cut it down to half or even a quarter of the jalapeno! I was really bummed I couldn’t eat it because it tasted so good except for the heat!!

  6. Hailey

    I keep coming back to this soup. It’s so comforting and not as acidic as some tomato soups. I usually save most for leftovers but it’s tempting to eat it all in one sitting!

  7. Elizabeth

    Made this today for cinco de Mayo. Easy and delicious!! I enjoyed mine completely plain. Company had it with some shredded cheese and tortilla chips. It’s a keeper. Spiced just right – there’s heat but not too much. Thanks!

  8. Marilyn

    We had a smooth thick tortilla soup at an upscale Mexican restaurant & really loved it! Hope this recipe is similar. The tortillas blended in was the difference. A different flavor….delicious!

  9. Angie

    I’m wanting to make this in the crockpot and I’m terrible at converting recipes. Any suggestions? Either way, we will be trying this- I have been dreaming of a creamy vegan tortilla soup for YEARS! Thank you so much!!!!

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Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.