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!


5.0 from 2 reviews

Creamy Tortilla Soup

 
Author:
Recipe type: Soup
Serves: 4 as a side dish
Ingredients
  • 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
Instructions
  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.
Notes
On using frozen tortillas: If you freeze yours, just let them sit out and thaw before using.

57 comments

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Rate this recipe (after making it):  

  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 cookieandkate.com
    05.03.2013

    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
      05.04.2013

      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
      05.04.2013

      Love it when that happens, hope you like it!

  4. Meryl
    05.03.2013

    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 🙂

  5. Lauren from gourmetveggiemama.com
    05.03.2013

    This looks amazing!

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

    • jeanine
      05.04.2013

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

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

    • jeanine
      05.03.2013

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

  8. Ashley from edibleperspective.com
    05.03.2013

    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 thevintagemixer.com
    05.03.2013

    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
      05.04.2013

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

  10. Kasey from turntablekitchen.com
    05.03.2013

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

  11. Willow from willcookforfriends.com
    05.03.2013

    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!

  12. Tieghan from halfbakedharvest.com
    05.03.2013

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

  13. 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: http://pinterest.com/deliciouskarma/cinco-de-mayo. Creating and adding to these boards SO gets me in the spirit. What great ideas and recipes everyone has….so fun!

  14. Loretta from afinninthekitchen.com
    05.04.2013

    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
      05.04.2013

      thanks Loretta, I just love soups so much 🙂

  15. vanessa
    05.04.2013

    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
      05.06.2013

      ha! So glad to hear 🙂

  16. 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!

  17. kaity @ IC from blog.invitationconsultants.com
    05.06.2013

    YUM – this looks absolutely amazing

  18. Megan
    05.06.2013

    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
      05.06.2013

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

  19. Jess from inquiringchef.com
    05.07.2013

    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!

  20. Francesca from lagattacolpiattochescotta.blogspot
    05.07.2013

    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
      05.08.2013

      thanks so much Francesca!

  21. Alanna from bojongourmet.com
    05.10.2013

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

  22. Emma
    06.04.2013

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

  23. Rae from butterflyjoys.wordpress.com
    07.14.2013

    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
      07.15.2013

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

  24. Madrigal
    08.21.2013

    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.

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

  26. 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! 🙂

  27. Lori
    11.03.2013

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

  28. Sabrina
    05.28.2014

    Can you modify this for a slow cooker?

    • jeanine
      05.31.2014

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

  29. jillian
    08.20.2015

    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?

  30. Nikky
    01.11.2016

    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!

  31. Raquel
    01.25.2016

    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!!

  32. nancy dungai
    04.25.2016

    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?

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      04.28.2016

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

  33. Gray
    12.12.2016

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

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      12.13.2016

      Hi Grey – I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

  34. Angie
    09.16.2018

    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!!!!

  35. Marilyn
    04.04.2019

    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!

  36. Elizabeth
    05.05.2019

    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!

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
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.