With layers of fabulous flavor, this Turkey Tortilla Soup is perfect for leftover turkey (or chicken).
Got turkey? We've gotcha covered! This Turkey Tortilla Soup is one of our favorite soups, ever! And it's a wonderful "south of the border" depart from traditional Thanksgiving flavors.
I originally posted this recipe as Chicken Tortilla Soup, but it also works so well with turkey I thought I'd send it out again for you to try with your leftover Thanksgiving turkey. If you didn't cook the bird this year or if yours got all gobbled up, no problem. The recipe is wonderful with rotisserie (or leftover) chicken as well.
My husband, Scott enjoys soup, but after a couple meals of it, he's ready to go on to something else. Not with this soup! I'm quite certain, if I served this one for breakfast, lunch and dinner, he would be thrilled! For as many days as it lasted!
There are lots of layers of flavor in this soup and one of the things that makes it stand out is the corn tortillas. In the pictures, they're shown as a wonderful crispy topping, but what you don't see is even more delicious. Diced tortillas are sautéed with onions and garlic in the base of this soup. They "melt" into the chicken broth as it simmers, and add that delicious and authentic south of the border flavor.
The soup's easy to throw together, but don't let the ingredient list scare you. It consists mostly of spices, canned tomatoes, chicken broth, onions, garlic - stuff you probably already have in your pantry. You've got the turkey, right? So pick up corn tortillas, green onions, a couple limes and a bunch of cilantro and you'll be good to go.
Skip the cilantro?
Oh, and speaking of cilantro, don't skip it! Even if you normally have an aversion to cilantro, it's totally different when it's simmered in a soup like this. Don't take my word for it though. I shared this "don't skip the cilantro" advice in the Chicken Tortilla Soup post and shortly afterwards, I got this comment:
Made this for dinner last night, followed the recipe exactly, and it was fabulous! I heartily second Chris’s note about the cilantro — our oldest daughter cannot stand it and she didn’t even notice it was in the soup. An essential flavor, so definitely don’t skip it. This one goes in the keeper file!
Here are just a few of the comments from other readers who have loved this soup:
I made this today since there is a slightest bit of chill in the air and wanted an excuse to make something “cozy”. We all love it! I’m lucky to live near a place that has some awesome Mexican rotisserie chicken and home made corn and flour tortillas. They give you enough for a army so I had plenty of them for the soup and to crisp in the oven. And you were totally right about not skimping on the cilantro. With all the spices in the soup it doesn’t come out tasting harsh. Just a nice little background flavor. My tortillas were very thin and melted right into the soup and gave it an extra texture that just made the whole experience more,,, satisfying, I guess is the right word?. Either way thank you for such a great recipe!
I made this last night and it was amazing!! I actually added jalepenos with the onions and spices (my family orders the atomic wings at wing joints so they’re always asking for my spice) and it was perfectly spicy. Also added a bit of cheese at the end with the avacado and fresh cilantro. Will have to save this recipe because I made a whole pot last night and it’s almost gone already!!
One more, this one from a Suzie, who actually has a Hispanic heritage:
Made this for dinner last night, and it was SO good. Not like the tortilla soup I grew up eating in my Mexican household, and I mean that in a good way. Will definitely make again.
See what I mean? It truly is amazing! So, pull out that leftover turkey and get the soup pot simmering. Your house will smell fantastic. Just one request, please. Scott would be eternally grateful if you saved a bowl (a big one!) for him!
P.S. This makes a large pot of soup. Feel free to cut the recipe in half (although you might be sorry you did as it warms up beautifully and makes great lunches and meals on the run).
- 6 small corn tortillas
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large onion finely diced
- ¾ cup green spring onions, finely sliced
- 1 ¼ cups finely chopped cilantro about 1 medium size bunch*
- 6 medium cloves garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar
- 2 14½- ounce cans diced fire-roasted tomatoes If you can't find the fire-roasted tomatoes, just use regular, canned diced tomatoes.
- 10 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 6 cups diced or shredded leftover turkey or chicken
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- Optional toppings: crispy tortilla strips** thinly sliced green (spring) onions, coarsely chopped cilantro, diced avocado
For the soup, stack the corn tortillas on top of each other. Cut pile in half. Cut each stack into ¼-inch thick strips, widthwise.
In a large Dutch oven or heavy-duty soup pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, green onions, cilantro, garlic, oregano, cumin, chili powder, paprika salt, pepper and brown sugar. Sauté for 8-10 minutes or until onions are translucent and tender. Add corn tortilla strips and sauté for another two minutes or until softened.
Add tomatoes and broth, then bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for 45 minutes, maintaining a steady simmer. (Tortilla strips should be melted into the broth by this point.) Add chicken and cook for another 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add lime juice. Taste and more salt and peppe,r if needed.
Optional toppings for soup: crispy tortilla strips**, sliced green onion, chopped, fresh cilantro, diced avocado and/or lime wedges.
**For the crispy tortilla strips, preheat oven to 400˚F. Line a sheet pan with foil for easy clean up. Stack and cut 6 small tortillas in the same way as directed above in the soup recipe. Place strips on prepared sheet pan and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Sprinkle with ½ teaspoon kosher salt and toss lightly with your hands until all strips are coated with oil. Spread out, as much as possible, to a single layer. Bake for 10 minutes then remove from oven and toss with a spatula. Redistribute to an even layer and return to oven. Repeat until golden and crisp, a total baking time of 20-30 minutes.
**Even if you don't like cilantro, don't skip it here. When it's sautéed, then simmered, it looses all the fresh cilantro taste but adds amazing flavor to the soup!