Chicken Tortilla Soup

Two recipes in one: Savory chicken soup with Memphis-made tortilla strips!


  • 4-5 C cooked chicken
  • ½ bunch celery
  • ½ pound carrots
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1 ½ Tbsp chili powder
  • ½ Tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp cayenne
  • 1 ½-2 quarts chicken broth
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can corn
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 2 C cheddar cheese
  • Cilantro, diced (for garnish)
  • Lime wedges (for garnish)
  • Tortilla Ingredients list
  • ½ C masa harina
  • 1/3 C warm water


  1. To make the tortillas, mix the masa harina and warm water together in a bowl using your hands. Note: this mixture will start off crumbly, but keep mixing and it should start to combine.
  2. After the mixture begins to stick together, knead for about 2 minutes.
  3. Form the dough into a ball, cover and let chill in the fridge for approximately 1 hour.
  4. After chilling, break off a piece and roll it into a ball. If the dough cracks, knead in a bit more water. If the dough sticks to your hands, add a bit more masa harina.
  5. Preheat Memphis to a medium heat (around 350 degrees F).
  6. Once the tortilla dough has reached the correct consistency, roll into balls, then flatten using a oiled bowl or pan. Make the balls small if you prefer tiny tortillas, or larger if you want more substantial ones.
  7. Oil your grill grates and place the tortillas directly onto the grill, cooking on one side only for about 1 minute. Note: the tortillas should not be browned, only lightly cooked. Put the cooked tortillas in pot with a lid and save until later. Because we want the tortillas to add a crispy element to the soup, the moisture level of the dough is important, but not vital.
  8. Moving onto the soup, add all ingredients together in a pot except cheese and cilantro.
  9. Simmer until the soup has reached a desired consistency. If you prefer your soup more on the soupy side, simmer for a shorter time (10 minutes), but if a thicker soup is desired, 15-20 minutes is best. Note: if you ever over-reduce your soup, fix by adding more chicken stock or water. Chicken stock will up the salt content and water will simply add more liquid to the mix.
  10. Be sure to stir soup periodically while simmering.
  11. While soup is simmering, finish cooking your tortillas by placing the uncooked side down on your grill grates.
  12. Press down on the tortillas using a spatula. Continue to do this until there are a few brown spots on one side, then flip and repeat. The tortillas should begin to poof up and will deflate after removed from the grill.
  13. Remove soup and tortillas from heat. Serve immediately, adding cheese and cilantro to the top along with the tortillas, which you can cut into smaller “chips” or strips if you wish.
  14. If you want to save the soup for later, skip all the tortilla steps. These need to be made the same day you wish you eat the soup, otherwise they will dry out and become too crusty.

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