Real-Deal Tortilla Soup Recipe

J. Kenji Lopez-Alt

The mild heat of this hearty ancho chili-based soup is balanced by sweet corn and black beans.

Recipe Facts



Active: 30 mins
Total: 60 mins
Serves: 4 to 6 servings

Rate & Comment


  • 2 quarts low-sodium canned or homemade chicken stock

  • 2 bone-in, skin-on chicken breast halves, about 1 pound total

  • 1 large onion, split in half, plus 1 large onion, finely diced (about 1 1/2 cups)

  • 2 ears of corn, shucked, kernels removed from cobs, milk scraped from empty cobs

  • 2 medium garlic cloves, whole, plus 2 medium cloves garlic, minced (about 1 tablespoon)

  • 3 whole dried ancho chiles, seeds and stems removed, flesh roughly torn into strips

  • 1 1/2 pounds ripe tomatoes, split in half

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 1 poblano pepper, seeded and finely diced (about 1 cup)

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin

  • 2 teapoons dried oregano

  • 1 (15-ouncecan black beans drained and rinsed

  • 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves

  • 1 tablespoon corn flour

To Serve:

  • Diced avocado

  • Fried tortilla strips or chips

  • Chopped scallions

  • Lime wedges


  1. Place stock, chicken, split onion, empty corn cobs and scraped corn milk, 2 whole garlic cloves, and chilies in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to a simmer. Cook for 30 minutes, turning chicken occasionally, and topping up with water as necessary. Discard onion, corn cobs, and garlic cloves, and transfer chicken to a large plate. Set aside. When cool enough to handle, shred chicken into strips.

  2. Meanwhile, adjust rack to 4 inches below broiler element and preheat broiler to high. Place tomatoes cut side-up on a foil-lined broiler pan and broil until charred on top surface and completely softened, about 15 minutes.

  3. Combine roasted tomatoes, stock, and re-hydrated chilies in the bowl of a blender. Blend on high speed until completely smooth and set aside.

  4. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onions, poblanos, and corn kernels. Season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring frequently, until onions are softened but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add minced garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add cumin and oregano and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 30 seconds longer. Add beans and half of cilantro and stir to combine. Pour tomato-chili stock into the pot through a fine mesh strainer.

  5. Whisk corn flour into soup. Bring to a simmer, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Let cook, stirring frequently, until onions and poblanos are totally softened, 5 to 10 minutes.

  6. Serve soup, garnished with chicken, avocado, fried tortilla strips, scallions, lime wedges, and remaining cilantro.

This Recipe Appears In

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
426 Calories
16g Fat
43g Carbs
31g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 426
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 16g 21%
Saturated Fat 3g 13%
Cholesterol 50mg 17%
Sodium 1448mg 63%
Total Carbohydrate 43g 16%
Dietary Fiber 13g 46%
Total Sugars 7g
Protein 31g
Vitamin C 40mg 201%
Calcium 115mg 9%
Iron 5mg 30%
Potassium 1404mg 30%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)