Turkey Tortilla Soup

Turkey Tortilla Soup
  • Yield:Serves 4 to 6
  • Active time:30 minutes
  • Total time:30 minutes
This recipe appears in:
Thanksgiving Leftovers: Turkey Tortilla Soup

[Photographs: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Note: You can use store-bought tortilla strips or crumbled tortilla chips if desired. For a milder flavor, remove one ancho and one pasilla chili and replace 1 cup chicken stock in step three with 1 (14.4-ounce) can of diced tomatoes with their juice or Ro*Tel tomatoes.

About the author: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt is the Managing Editor of Serious Eats where he likes to explore the science of home cooking in his weekly column The Food Lab. You can follow him at @thefoodlab on Twitter, or at The Food Lab on Facebook.


  • 2 cups peanut oil for frying tortilla strips (see note)
  • 4 corn tortillas, cut in half, then sliced crosswise into 1/2-inch strips (see note)
  • Kosher Salt
  • 2 pasilla chilies
  • 2 ancho chilies
  • 2 whole chipotle chilies canned in adobo sauce plus 1 tablespoon sauce
  • 2 quarts low sodium canned or homemade chicken or turkey broth
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 1 whole poblano pepper, seeds and stem removed, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated on a microplane grater
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 pound leftover turkey meat, shredded by hand into rough 10-inch pieces
  • sliced scallions, sliced cilantro, diced avocado, diced jalapeño and lime slices for serving


  1. 1.

    Heat peanut oil to 350°F in a dutch oven or wok over high heat. Add tortilla strips and fry, agitating with a metal spider or slotted spatula until strips are crisp, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate, season with salt, and set aside.

  2. 2.

    Combine all chilis in a medium saucepan and add half of the chicken broth. Simmer over medium-high heat until the chilies are completely tender, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a blender or hand blender cup and blend until completely smooth.

  3. 3.

    While chilies are simmering, heat vegetable oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over high heat until shimmering. Add the onions and poblano pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until softened but not browned, about 2 minutes. Add garlic and cumin and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add remaining chicken broth. Add chili purée from step 2 as soon as it is ready.

  4. 4.

    Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce to a simmer, add turkey meat, and cook until flavors have blended, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt. Serve hot, passing tortilla strips, scallions, cilantro, avocado, jalapeños, and lime wedges at the table.

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