The Best Way to Warm Up on a Chilly Day: A Sizzling Bowl of Mom’s Mexican Chicken Tortilla Soup


Published: October 7, 2010

When I was three years old, my family lived in Tijuana, Mexico. Back then my mom hated cooking. She despised even the thought of being in a kitchen, so she would try to come up with recipes that required minimal effort and time on her behalf while still being healthy for her kids. This is a classic soup recipe that my mom picked up in Mexico, and although it’s really easy to make, it’s also delicious and jam-packed with vitamin C from all the tomatoes. While her cooking skills have improved to the point where she no longer tries to give us spaghetti with ketchup, this recipe is a family favorite and I’m constantly begging her to make it. If you want it spicier, add more chili flakes, and the quantity of tortilla chips you add in is up to you-I like mine with a lot!

Mom’s Mexican Chicken Tortilla Soup


  • Blender
  • Large pot
  • Cutting board


  • 8 plum tomatoes
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • ½ tbsp salt
  • ½ tsp red chili pepper flakes
  • ½ tbsp olive oil
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • Corn tortilla chips
  • Sour cream, optional


  1. Begin by poaching the chicken breasts in a pot filled with boiling water. Once they are done cooking thoroughly, about 13-15 minutes, take them out and pull the meat apart with two forks or cut them into small pieces with a knife. Set aside.
  2. Slice each of the tomatoes into quarters and place in the blender with the chicken stock. Blend until there are no huge pieces of tomato left. The mixture will have a gritty consistency and a light pink color.
  3. In an empty pot, heat the olive oil and chili flakes for a minute or two, just to extract the heat from the flakes into the oil. You can then strain these out or leave them in. It’s totally up to you!
  4. Transfer the tomato mixture from the blender to the pot and begin to heat it until it has a simmer.
  5. Add the cumin and salt and keep heating until the mixture goes from light pink to bright red, about 10 minutes.
  6. Very carefully, pour the mixture back into the blender and blend it again until it becomes much smoother. The hot air trapped in the blender will blow the lid off and scorch you if you’re not careful, so start blending it by pulsating it for short bursts of time.
  7. When the mixture is smooth, transfer it back to the pot and continue to heat. Add in some corn tortilla chips and let simmer for another minute.
  8. When plating it, add some more tortilla chips to the individual bowls so that you will have some crunchier chips than the ones previously added. Also pile some chicken in and mix in a tablespoon of sour cream if you like. Enjoy!