Creamy Tortilla Soup


I have this tortilla rotation… I buy (or make) fresh tortillas, and freeze the ones I don’t use within a day or two. I’ll use those frozen tortillas for awhile (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 filling my freezer, all at various stages of pre-freezerburn.

And then I make this soup.


There are two types of tortilla soup: the thin brothy kind (usually with chicken), and this creamy version where 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 here. 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.

creamy tortilla soup
Serves: about 4 as a side dish
  • 1 small white or yellow onion, cut into 6 wedges
  • 3 cloves of garlic (still in the paper)
  • 1 jalapeño
  • olive oil
  • salt & 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.
I mentioned that I use frozen tortillas… if you freeze yours, just let them sit out and thaw before using.

If you make this, let us see! Tag your photo with #loveandlemons on Instagram.


  1. Such a easy but warming dish. I love on southern hemisphere and it is cold out right now. This looks like to could fill and warm up my body this winter with some Mexican spice.

  2. Kathryne from on said:

    Tortilla soup is one of the few meals that I’ve missed since giving up chicken. I love that yours is vegetarian! I’ve never tried a creamy version like this. Sounds perfect.

    • jeanine from on said:

      I know, it always bothers me how I can’t order it in restaurants!

  3. I’m all about soup lately. I love that I have all the ingredients on hand, too… hmmmm, I think you know what needs to happen!

    • jeanine from on said:

      Love it when that happens, hope you like it!

  4. Meryl on said:

    This soup looks amazing! I live down the street from a tortilleria so I’m always up to my knees in them…this looks like a tasty way to do something new with my tortilla stash 🙂

    • jeanine from on said:

      ooh lucky you!

  5. Lauren from on said:

    This looks amazing!

    Side note: Why have I never thought to freeze fresh tortillas before? Brilliant.

    • jeanine from on said:

      thanks! Freezing them works really well, I just char them on the gas stovetop and they reheat great

  6. Cookin Canuck from on said:

    My husband absolutely adores tortilla soup, but I don’t have a really good recipe in my repertoire. I’ll be making this and reporting back. Thanks for the inspiration, Lindsay.

  7. Cookin Canuck from on said:

    Um, I just called you by the wrong name. Apparently I need more coffee. I’m sorry, Jeanine!

    • jeanine from on said:

      ha, no problem, I’m name challenged too 🙂

  8. Ashley from on said:

    Ahhh, yes!!! Making this next week and will definitely be utilizing frozen homemade tortillas! 🙂 I have never heard of making tortilla soup with corn tortillas to help thicken. Super cool.

  9. Becky from on said:

    Love hearing about your random assortment of frozen tortillas!! It reminds me of my collection of stale bread for soups. This soup is just perfect for all of the random tortillas plus is sounds delicious!!

    • jeanine from on said:

      Ha, I have a random assortment of stale bread too 🙂

  10. Kasey from on said:

    Even though it’s ridiculously (and unusually) hot in SF right now, I could totally use a bowl of this soup!

  11. Miss McBooty from on said:

    Yum! This looks muy bueno!

  12. Willow from on said:

    Ooh, I’ve only ever had the thin brothy kind of tortilla soup before, but this looks so, so good! With warmer weather here I’ve been craving salads, salads, salads, but now I have a serious hankering for this soup. A bit of spice would do me good!

  13. Tieghan from on said:

    I LOVE this thicker version! I have never seen one like these. I have to make this. Thank you for sharing!

  14. Wow…this is SO gorgeous! Again, what stunning photography! Its sounds seriously delicious too. MUST make! Perfect for Cinco de Mayo weekend! 🙂 In fact, I added it not only to our soup Pinterest board, but also to our Cinco de Mayo board: Creating and adding to these boards SO gets me in the spirit. What great ideas and recipes everyone has….so fun!

  15. Loretta from on said:

    I adore all of your shots, but your soups are always my favorite! You have a way with them that makes them so incredibly appealing!

    • jeanine from on said:

      thanks Loretta, I just love soups so much 🙂

  16. vanessa on said:

    I just made this and it was so fantastic I want to eat the whole pot of it! I love that it’s vegetarian too.

    • jeanine from on said:

      ha! So glad to hear 🙂

  17. Dinner-Pal from on said:

    Thanks for sharing! Anything “creamy” usually works for me but this really makes my mouth watering. I think it’s the combination of spicy and creamy!

  18. kaity @ IC from on said:

    YUM – this looks absolutely amazing

  19. Megan on said:

    Delicious recipe! I made it yesterday for cinco de mayo! Added some grilled shrimp, queso fresco & avocado on top for protein & packed it for lunch today.

    • jeanine from on said:

      sounds great with grilled shrimp, so glad you liked it!

  20. Jess from on said:

    I have the tortilla rotation constantly happening in my refrigerator as well. Somehow they seem to hide in the back so when I get to the grocery store, I can never remember if I have them or not. This is a fantastic way to put them to use though – and the freezing is brilliant – don’t know why I’ve never done that before!

  21. Francesca from lagattacolpiattochescotta.blogspot on said:

    Your web site is a wonderful place! I love your kitchen, the white around all, your photos and the light, your recipes… everything!
    Congrats, so much! 🙂

    • jeanine from on said:

      thanks so much Francesca!

  22. Alanna from on said:

    I LOVE creamy tortilla soup and have been searching for a solid recipe. Can’t wait to make this!

  23. Emma on said:

    Made this last night, it was amazing (and easy to make)! Will now be my go-to soup. Thankyou!!!!!!!!!!!!

  24. Rae from on said:

    SUCH a delicious recipe. Changed a few small things to suit my kitchen, and doubled it to make it a main meal for four adults. We couldn’t get enough of it. Will definitely be searching your blog for more vegan lovliness. Thanks for sharing x

    • jeanine from on said:

      Thanks! Glad you (all) liked it and were able sub in ingredients you had on hand…

  25. Madrigal on said:

    My mother-in-law creates a similar creaminess and tortilla based taste by using about 1/4 cup masa harina (the flour used to make homemade tortillas) mixed with some water and then stirred into soup and simmered. It kind of works like corn starch, but more grainy like the tortillas. This method can be used in all types of soup when the earthy corn flavor matches the ingredients. i.e. squash soups.

  26. Oh, I will have to make this for my husband. He loves tortilla soup! Thanks for sharing. Your photos are simple lovely, as always!

  27. Just had to let you know that I made this soup recently and it was delicious! I’ve never had a creamy tortilla soup and I loved it. I served it over rice with tortilla chips on the side and it was so filling and yummy. Thanks for sharing the recipe! 🙂

  28. Lori on said:

    Just made this soup tonight and it’s delicious! First time making homemade tortillas too…not sure what took me so long. Great recipe!

  29. Sabrina on said:

    Can you modify this for a slow cooker?

    • jeanine from on said:

      Hi Sabrina, I’m not sure, I’ve never really cooked with slow cookers so I’m not sure what changes to suggest, sorry!

  30. jillian on said:

    Just curious if you could/should/shouldn’t add beans to this recipe? There are so many variations online and another creamy recipe I found has refried beans, black beans and corn whereas this one only has tomatoes and tortillas! What do you think? Good/bad idea?

  31. Nikky on said:

    This was phenomenal, just the right amount of spicy! I had never made anything like this before, but this recipe came out amazing! I added about half a can of chickpeas in with the tomatoes to add a little extra protein so I could have it as an entree instead of a side soup – highly recommend it!

  32. Raquel on said:

    I have been browsing your site for 10 minutes and have already fallen in love!

    I’m so excited to try this and so many of the other soup recipes you have!!

  33. nancy dungai on said:

    I would love to try this recipe of yours, however I got stuck with one item. What is that jalapeno, and how it looks like?

    • it’s a small spicy pepper, you can skip it if you want!

  34. Gray on said:

    Wow this was great! Just the right amount of heat. I added 5 tortillas and it was really creamy.

  35. Angie on said:

    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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