Corn Tortilla Soup/photo by Donna Turner Ruhlman

Donna and I spent half the day yesterday shooting the promotional video for our new book, out next month, and I figured I should ask our videographer, Cynthia Albanese, to shoot as much video as possible.  So in addition to describing the book, I also roasted a chicken, made stock and made a soup from the stock to demonstrate The Generosity of a Chicken.  We had fresh corn, tomatoes from the garden and everyone loves the dynamic flavor the lime juice gives this soup, the richness of the avocado, and fresh crunchy tortillas, so that’s what I made. When you’ve got delicious stock on hand, you’re five minutes away from dozens of possible meals.  I could have used left over chicken and some noodles, I could have cooked potatoes in it, pureed it, finished it with cream for vichyssoise, I could have added whatever vegetables I had on hand, or legumes. But corn tortilla it was, a delicious and easy soup.

Here’s the post on easy chicken stock from the carcass of the roast chicken—a technique that should be a regular part of your kitchen routine. If you have the time, add the corn cobs to the stock and simmer them for 30 minutes for additional corn flavor.

Corn Tortilla Soup Recipe

Serves 4 to 6

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large onion, small dice
  • 1 tablespoon canola or olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked hot paprika or ground chipotle, or more to taste
  • salt to taste
  • 1 quart/1 liter chicken stock
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • kernals from 2 ears of corn
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • lime juice to taste
  • 2 avocados, large dice
  • 8 t0 12 corn tortillas, fried crispy
  • cilantro to taste
  1. In a pan big enough for all the ingredients, sweat the garlic and onion in the oil over medium high heat. Add the chilli powder and also hit the onions with two 4-finger pinches of salt.
  2. When the onion is translucent, add the stock.  Bring it to a simmer, then add the tomatoes and corn.  When the soup returns to a simmer it’s ready to serve, but it can be kept warm till you need it.  Taste it to make sure it’s perfectly seasoned—add more salt if it needs it.  Add plenty of freshly ground black pepper if you wish.
  3. Ladle the soup into bowls. Give each bowl a squeeze of lime. Garnish each bowl with diced avocado, tortilla, and cilantro. Serve extra tortillas on the side.

If you liked this post corn tortilla soup, check out these other links:

© 2011 Michael Ruhlman. Photo © 2011 Donna Turner-Ruhlman. All rights reserved.


20 Wonderful responses to “Corn Tortilla Soup”

  • ruhlman

    yes, exactly, the textures are huge part of the pleasures of this soup, the creamy avocado and crispy tortillas.

  • Jessica

    I have never wanted to even try Tortilla Soup before in my life, it always sounded, I don’t know, weird I guess. But after reading this, and the intoxicating picture (seriously awesome Donna), my dinner plans for this week (and my attitude about the soup) have changed. Thanks Ruhlman! You ROCK! 🙂

  • Tags

    Peeked at the book on Amazon “Look Inside,” very impressive. That doesn’t surprise me, though. I expect to be impressed with a Michael Ruhlman book.

  • Patrick R

    Very nice! I often also use pasilla chiles that I soak and puree, and later puree the chile/onion/tomato before adding the stock and other solid veggies/legumes (corn, black beans, etc.). It’s kind of like Rick Bayless’s Sopa Azteca. One of my favourite dishes.

    Also correction: “…this post on roasted cauliflower…”

  • B. Doyle

    Just made a huge batch of stock today. I like to reduce and store in smaller containers and treat it as a ‘base’ Saves room and if I choose to use it as a sauce base I’m already half way there with a nice meaty flavor from the redux. Say hi to Cynthia for me. She’s a great videographer. Her sister is also wonderful. She was my son’s 1st speech therapist.

  • Andrew

    Beautiful looking soup. Still trying to figure out what to do with the roasted cauliflower though!…

    “If you liked this post on roasted cauliflower, check out these other links:”

  • twoshoes

    I just ordered the book and can’t wait to check it out. should be interesting.

    someone got there’s today? must be an advance copy. mine’s not scheduled for delivery until the 16th of september. isn’t that mexican independence day? I believe so.

  • Natalie Luffer Sztern

    Wow this book looks fantastic I hope it will also be in download form. There isn’t a time I am in Chicago where I don’t eat at one of Rick’s two restaurants. I used to visit 3 times a year. Montreal has a huge Mexican influence in the past few years and across the bridge in the Kanesatake Indian Reserve is a store that brings in all of Rick Bayless’s Frontera foods. BTW another book i am having so much fun with is your friend Matt’s ‘On a Stick’…

  • Anne @ Modern Mrs Darcy

    Wow, that soup looks amazing! I never think to do soups in the summertime, but tortilla soup is one of my faves! The awesome fresh corn at the market sure couldn’t hurt it, either.

    The book looks pretty amazing, too. Looking forward to the release…

  • Tucker Keene

    I’ll be making this soon….but with veggie stock, of course. It feels perfect in my new Texas home!

  • Mike

    In my version of this soup i julienne fresh corn tortillas and stir them into the soup, they dissolve and really give a great corn flavor. I also add between 1/2-1 t of freshly toasted and ground coriander and cumin seeds (tt)- this, in my opinion is what sets my soup apart from others–i HIGHLY recommend that you all try the addition of the tortillas and spices to this great looking recipe- thanks for the continued inspiration Michael.

  • Carri

    mmm, beautiful soup! Thanks for the reminder, I completely forget about it when deciding on a soup of the day. It’s a great one for summer, so colorful and a good use of garden ingredients to boot. Also, great job on the book to both you and Donna… from the few pages up on amazon, it looks very well done!

  • s

    this is an absolutely amazing soup .. i am so glad i have stumbled across this ! I added some cheddar cheese and sour cream on top sooo yummmy


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