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Chicken or turkey tortilla soup

Chicken or turkey tortilla soup recipe

This spicy tortilla soup recipe is made with chicken or turkey, cilantro, onions, garlic, jalapeños, tomatoes, spices, poultry stock, and lime juice. This soup is served topped with monterrey jack cheese or queso fresco, tortilla chips, and avocado. 

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Tortilla soup is usually made with chicken; however it’s very easy to also make it with turkey, and especially during the holiday season it’s a great way to use any Thanksgiving turkey leftovers. My uncle Clarence makes the best chicken tortilla soup. This is his family recipe – which I’ve slightly adapted using leftover cooked turkey or chicken.

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Turkey tortilla soup with avocado

In his original recipe, he has a regular version and a “wild stuff” version of tortilla soup. The “wild stuff” version doubles the amount of cayenne pepper and uses the jalapeños with seeds/membranes included. I’ll let you decide which version you prefer, the regular one is spicy enough to make you feel it, without bringing tears to your eyes. Also, you can always add additional lime juice to help lower the spiciness level.

Turkey or chicken tortilla soup

I used store-bought chicken stock for this recipe, however you can also make turkey stock from the turkey bones if you want extra turkey flavor. The base for this soup is what it gives it flavor: onions, cilantro, garlic, jalapenos, spices and tomatoes.

Spicy turkey or chicken tortilla soup

It’s best if the tomatoes are peeled, this way you won’t end up with pieces of tomato skin in the soup. An easy way to peel the tomatoes for this soup – or for any other recipe where you need peeled tomatoes – is to make a cross cut on the top the tomato.

Bring a pot of water to boil, add the tomatoes to the boiling water, remove them from the hot water as soon as you see the skin start to peel off where you made the cut, and put them in cold water. Then you can easily peel the tomato skin off. Ripe tomatoes will peel very quickly, while the firmer ones might take up to a minute or two in the boiling water before they start peeling.

Must-have garnishes for tortilla soup include grated or shredded monterrey jack cheese (or queso fresco), tortilla chips, and avocado. I also like to add some additional fresh cilantro, green onions and lime.

Chicken or turkey tortilla soup recipe

Chicken or turkey tortilla soup

Tortilla soup recipe made with chicken or turkey, cilantro, onions, garlic, jalapeños, tomatoes, spices, stock, lime juice and served with monterrey jack cheese, tortilla chips, and avocado.
4.80 from 173 votes
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Course: Soup
Cuisine: Latin, Tex-Mex
Keyword: Chicken tortilla soup, Tortilla soup, Turkey leftovers, Turkey tortilla soup
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 8 servings


  • 2 tbs oil light olive oil, peanut or sunflower oil
  • 1 ½ cup diced white or yellow onion
  • 1 bunch of green onions finely chopped
  • 1 bunch of cilantro finely chopped
  • 2 jalapeños seeds removed (or not if you want the wild stuff version), diced
  • 4 garlic cloves crushed
  • 1 tbs paprika
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper double for wild stuff version
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 6 roma tomatoes peeled and diced, about 2 cups
  • 2 cups of turkey or chicken stock
  • 2 cups of tomato juice
  • 4 cups of shredded cooked turkey or chicken
  • Juice from1 to 2 limes about 1/4 to ½ cup- adjust to taste or just serve with lime on the side
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • Grated monterrey jack cheese or queso fresco tortilla chips, avocado, cilantro, green onions and lime slices


  • Heat the oil in large pot, add the onions, green onions, cilantro, jalapeños, crushed garlic, paprika, cayenne pepper, oregano, sugar, salt and pepper. Mix well and cook on low heat for about 10 minutes.
  • Add the diced tomatoes and cook for another 10 minutes.
  • Add the turkey or chicken stock, tomato juice and shredded turkey. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Add the lime juice and remove from the heat.
  • Serve garnished with the grated cheese, tortilla chips, avocado, cilantro, green onions and lime slices.

Step by step preparation photos for turkey or chicken tortilla soup

Tortilla soup
Tortilla soup recipe
Turkey or chicken tortilla soup recipe

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  1. I stumbled across this recipe when seeking out new recipes for using turkey leftovers. Wow! So delicious! Just the right amount of heat and full of flavour. Will definitely make again!

  2. I made this last night. It was really good but thought that half a cup of lime juice was too much as the lime flavor overpowered the soup. Any advice to cut the lime flavor in my leftovers?

  3. Hi, I just wanted to say this recipe has to be one of my favorite soup recipes to date! Exceptional work and thank you for sharing!

  4. Made this tonight. Awesome taste and delicious! Definitely will make again.
    Pretty much followed recipe to a T. It is so good!

  5. In searching for ways to use the remainder of my turkey, I stumbled upon this recipe. WOW, this is some of the best soup I have EVER tasted/made. Thank you for such a wonderful recipe! This will become one of my staples!

  6. Laylita hermosa, algún queso europeo que pueda usar en lugar de aquel que recomiendas? Y a qué tipo de cebolla te refieres cuando dices amarilla y verde? Serán la perla y la de hoja o blanca (como se llama en Loja?)
    Gracias :)

    1. Hola Iva – Si tienes alguno que se parezca al quesillo seria perfecto o tipo mozzarella pero no el super fresco. La cebolla amarilla es como la perla, pero un poco amarilla (es mas dulce cuando se cocina), y la verde es la de hoja. Saludos!

      1. Pues acabo de servir tu sopa y recibí muchos cumplidos. Me olvidé de la carne y la puse en el último segundo jajaja pero quedó deliciosa!

  7. I made this tonight and my family loved it! I added corn and used rotel instead of tomatoes. I also used Swanson Mexican tortilla broth. This was a simple recipe that I look forward to trying again.

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