Sopa Azteca (Mexican Tortilla Soup)

A shot of Sopa Azteca, a Mexican soup with fried tortilla chips, herbs, avocado
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
45 min
4 servings

Can you believe this soup dates back over 500 years? Sopa Azteca is a spicy and hearty soup that predates Spain’s colonization of Mexico. Though it’s exact origins are clouded in mystery, the ingredients used in Sopa Azteca are quite common in pre-Hispanic and modern day Mexican cuisine. This soup consists of dried chilies, tomatoes, beans and chicken. This is the ideal soup to make as the weather turns from hot and sunny to cold and damp.

Related: The Perfect Spiced Mexican Mole for Winter



Tomato Mixture

dried pasillo chili peppers
cup water, boiled
Tbsp olive oil
sweet or Spanish onion, peeled and chopped
cloves of garlic, minced
1 500ml
can diced tomatoes
1 500ml
can black beans, rinsed
tsp dried oregano
cups vegetable, beef or chicken broth

Seasoned Chicken

chicken breasts
Tbsp paprika
Tbsp smoked paprika
Tbsp olive oil
Salt to taste

Fried Tortillas

cups neutral oil
corn tortillas

To Garnish

Tbsp heavy fat sour cream
Tbsp queso fresco or panela cheese, crumbled
avocado, sliced
Cilantro to taste, chopped
limes, sliced


A flat lay of the ingredients needed for sopa azteca including tortillas, chicken breast, beans, canned tomatoes, and veggies
Step 1

In a small bowl, combine the chilies with boiling water and let soak for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, in a medium pan, sauté onions and garlic in olive oil for 3 minutes or until slightly caramelized.

A pot on a stovetop with minced onions and butters frying
Step 2

In a blender, add the canned tomatoes, black beans, onions and garlic mixture, excess chile water and dried oregano. Blend for 2 minutes or until velvety smooth.

Step 3

In a bowl, marinate chicken breasts with paprika, smoked paprika, olive oil and salt. Set aside in refrigerator until step 5.

Step 4

In a Dutch oven, combine broth and tomato mixture. Bring to a boil then simmer for 30 minutes on medium-low. Add salt to taste. Stir periodically to ensure velvet consistency.

Overhead shot of an Azteca soup in a blue cast iron soup pot
Step 5

While the soup continues to simmer, place chicken breasts in a medium-sized pan with olive oil. Fry over medium heat for 10 minutes, or until crispy and cooked all the way through. Remove from pan and set aside to cool slightly.

Two pan-fried chicken breasts in a pan
Step 6

In a small saucepan, heat neutral oil over medium-high. On a cutting board, slice corn tortillas into long strips. Add corn tortillas into oil and fry for 30 seconds or until light golden brown. Place corn tortillas on a plate lined with paper towels.

Homemade fried tortila chips on a round plate
Step 7

Shred chicken into fine thread-like pieces. Set aside.

A white bowl with shredded spiced chicken
Step 8

To assemble the soup, add a dollop of shredded chicken to a soup bowl, followed by soup mixture (amount to your liking). Top with sour cream, cheese, fried tortilla strips, avocado and cilantro. Squeeze fresh lime for some added zing. Serve immediately with leftover tortilla strips on the side.

A bowl of Sopa Azteca with fried tortillas, fresh herbs, avocado and cheese

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