Tortilla Soup (30-Minute Vegan Recipe)

I’ve made this one-pot tortilla soup so many times I’ve lost track. This is a tried and true recipe that I know will go on rotation in your house and become one of your family’s favorite soups. The toppings in this Mexican soup are everything, so don’t skip them. 

A white bowl on top of a blue plate that's filled with Mexican tortilla soup and garnishes.

What is Tortilla Soup

Sopa means soup and tortillas are flat unleavened bread from Mexico that are typically made of corn or wheat flour

Tortilla soup is a traditional Mexican soup made with a light tomato and dried chile broth.

It’s topped with crispy tortilla strips, crumbled or cubed queso, a drizzle of sour cream, chopped avocado, and crumbled dried chili peppers that’s been fried in oil. Some people also like to add crumbled chicharron or pork rinds.

Also we can’t forget the lime wedges that Mexican soups typically are served with. 

The origins of this flavorful soup are claimed by different regions of Mexico. But what we all can agree on is that this is a delicious soup made with simple ingredients that’s easy to make and a perfect meal for just about any occasion.

Amigos, let me tell you that this soup can be called tortilla soup (sopa de tortilla) or sopa Azteca. And there are countless variations to the delicious recipe.

Everything from the dried chiles used, choosing to blend them with the other ingredients or not, and even including animal protein or not. 

The easy recipe you see here is what I call sopa de tortilla, when I make what I call sopa Azteca I do it a bit differently. Another time I’ll share the sopa Azteca version, but for now enjoy my vegan version of tortilla soup. 

View of a white and blue blue on top a white tablecloth. The bowl is filled with vegan tortilla soup and garnishes have been mixed in.

Why You’ll Love Mexican Tortilla Soup

Made with simple ingredients that are pantry staples and easy to get.
Can be made in about 30 minutes.
This Mexican sopa can be served as an appetizer or main dish.
It’s packed with nutrients, delicious flavor, and it’s not spicy so perfect for the whole family.
You can easily make this either a vegan or vegetarian version (more on that below).

View from above of wood table and on top are roma tomatoes, half a white onion, a garlic clove, dried Mexican chile, vegetable oil, epazote herb and salt.

Authentic Ingredients

Corn Tortillas: We need these to make our own tortilla strips. While you could just buy tortilla chips at the grocery store, the soup will not taste the same.

Oil: I use vegetable oil for frying and making the crunchy tortilla strips. Then for sauteing the sauce I use olive oil.

Roma Tomatoes: Authentic Mexican cuisine uses fresh tomatoes – and it’s what will give your soup the authentic flavor. In a pinch you could use canned fire-roasted tomatoes just don’t use tomato paste.

Onion and Garlic: Use white not red onion for this recipe.

Dried Chile: I like to use pasilla chiles for this soup version. But you could also use ancho chiles or some people like to use guajillo or a mix of both. It’s up to you.

Vegetable Broth: In the traditional tortilla soup they use chicken broth, but we are sticking with the veggie one here.


Epazote: This pungent herb is completely optional. I stated using it because I saw it on a Mexican cultural website recipe and was intrigued about how it would taste. You can omit if you’d like.

Garnishes: Corn tortilla strips, chopped avocado, vegan cheese, vegan sour cream, crispy crumbled chili pepper, and vegan chicharron if using. 

Ingredient Variations

If you don’t have pasilla or ancho chile peppers you could give your soup a smoky flavor by using chipotle peppers. Just know that the soup will become spicy and also have a different flavor. I don’t suggest replacing these chiles with chili powder.

Instead of epazote you could use fresh cilantro.

Two small blue and with plates on a wood table and white tablecloth. On bowl is filled with chopped avocado and cheese. The other has thin tortilla chips and some dried chili pepper.

How to Make Vegan Tortilla Soup

Step One: Prep the Crispy Homemade Tortilla Strips & Fried Chile Topping
Stack a couple tortillas at a time and slice into long thin strips. Remove the stems and seeds from the pasilla and slice into thin strips.

On one side there's a frying pan full of hot oil and frying tortilla strips. On the opposite side is a plate lined with paper towels and the fried tortilla strips and chile pepper.

Heat the vegetable oil and once hot add the tortilla strips in a single layer. Fry for a few minutes until crispy and turn a golden brown color. Remove from the hot oil and place on a paper towel lined plate to drain excess oil.

Next add the chile pieces and fry for a minute. Careful not to burn them. Remove from oil and place on the same plate with the long strips of tortilla you just dried.

A glass blender cup and a woman's hand placing chopped tomato, onion, garlic, dried chile and vegetable broth into it.

Step Two: Blend The Veggies
Place the chopped tomatoes, onion, garlic, about half the fried pasilla chile, and vegetable broth into the cup of a blender. Blend until completely smooth. 

Mexican tortilla soup cooking inside a white pot and a spoon mixing it.

Step Three: Make The Soup
Heat the olive oil in a pot (I used my small Dutch oven) over medium heat. Once warm pour in the tomato mixture – be very careful because it could splash up. Add the salt and cook for 5 minutes. Now add the remaining vegetable broth, salt, and epazote and cook another 10 minutes. Then remove the epazote. Taste and adjust the salt if desired. 

A white bowl filled with tortilla soup and a woman's hand adding tortilla chips, avocado, cheese and crema.

Step Four: Serve Your Tortilla Soup
You can either pour in the broth first or add the garnishes then pour in the broth. I like to add the garnishes last so the tortilla strips don’t get too soggy. 

Pour a few ladles of the soup into a bowl. Then in the center of the bowl add some tortilla strips, creamy avocado chunks, crumbled or cubed queso, a good drizzle of crema, and a sprinkle of crumbled fried chile pieces. If you’re using the vegan chicharron add it now too. Squeeze some fresh lime juice over the bowl. 

View from above of a white bowl filled with tortilla soup and small decorative bowls.

And now the best part, dig in and enjoy! 

Nancy’s Tips & Notes

This vegan tortilla soup recipe is a great way to use ripe and soft tomatoes. They will yield more depth of flavor than firmer tomatoes.

Tortillas that are a few days old actually fry better and crispier since they are drier.

Add garnishes right before serving and you can allow everyone to add their own favorite toppings.

If you are the only vegan in your family you could easy convert this into a vegetarian tortilla soup and still only have to cook one meal. Simply swap the vegan cheese for cubed or crumbled queso fresco or panela cheese. For the sour cream use dairy-based instead of the dairy free. 

What Does Tortilla Soup Taste Like

This Mexican soup has a light taste of tomato and a bit smoky tones due to the pasilla pepper.

It’s not a super hearty soup on it’s own but the toppings help make it a more filling dish.

Close up view of a spoon filled with tortilla soup, tortilla strips, avocado and cheese chunks.

How to Serve

You can serve this soup as an appetizer, as a side dish or as a main meal. 

​It pairs wonderfully with tacos de papa, refried bean tacos, vegan picadillo, vegan tacos de bistec, vegan tortas, and even enchiladas or enfrijoladas

To drink watermelon agua fresca compliments quite well. 

​How to Store and Reheat

Allow leftovers to come to room temperature then pour into an airtight container and store in the refrigerator. The soup will keep fresh for about a week. Store garnishes separately.

You can also freeze in a freezer safe container for up to 3 months. Defrost in the fridge overnight. 

To reheat you can do so in a large pot on the stove for 10 minutes. Or in a microwave safe bowl for 2 minutes, be careful when removing it. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you make this soup ahead of time? Yes, in fact it will taste even better the next day.

Isn’t this normally made with chicken? There are many variations and yes there are chicken tortilla soup versions, but I’ve never made it with chicken.

Are beans added to tortilla soup? No amigos, the traditional soup recipe doesn’t add pinto beans or kidney beans or bell peppers or fresh corn or other fresh vegetables. When you see recipes that use those ingredients they a Mexican inspired soup but shouldn’t be called tortilla soup.

Is this soup spicy? No it’s not spicy. But if you’d like you can always drizzle it with your favorite salsa or hot sauce. 

More Vegan Mexican Soup Recipes

Nancy Lopez author of Mexican Made Meatless


I’m so happy you stopped by. If you have any questions or want to let me know how you liked this recipe, do leave a comment. Muchas gracias, I appreciate you!

A white bowl on top of a blue plate that's filled with Mexican tortilla soup and garnishes.

Authentic Mexican Tortilla Soup (30-Minute Vegan Recipe)

Nancy Lopez &
You won't believe how flavorful this chickenless tortilla soup is! Full of authentic Mexican flavors and ready in 30 minutes. Serve as an appetizer, side dish or main dish with all the garnishes.
5 from 1 vote
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Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Appetizer, Main Dish, Side Dish
Cuisine Mexican, Vegan Mexican Recipe
Servings 4 servings
Calories 926 kcal



Soup Ingredients

  • 8 corn tortillas
  • 2 whole dried pasilla peppers
  • 1 cup vegetable oil or your favorite for frying
  • 1 lb ripe roma tomatoes roughly chopped, it's about 6 small ones
  • 1/2 small white onion roughly chopped
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 6 cups vegetable broth low sodium if possible
  • 1 teaspoon salt adjust to taste
  • 3 leaves fresh epazote optional
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil


  • 1 large avocado cut into small chunks
  • 1 cup vegan cheese cubed or crumbled
  • 1/2 cup vegan crema
  • 1 large lime quartered


Make Crispy Tortilla Strips & Fried Chile Topping

  • Slice tortillas into thin long strips. Stem and deseed the chiles then cut into even-size pieces. Line a plate with paper towels.
  • Heat the vegetable oil and once hot carefully add a single layer of the tortilla slices. Fry until crispy and golden brown then remove and put on the paper-line plate to drain off excess oil.
  • Fry the pepper pieces for one minute and carefully but quickly remove before they burn. Place on the side of fried tortilla strips.

Blend The Veggies

  • Into the cup of a blender add the tomatoes, onion, garlic, half the fried chile pieces, and 1 cup of the vegetable broth.
  • Blend until completely smooth. Add more broth if necessary.

Cook The Soup

  • Heat the olive oil in a pot and once warm carefully pour in tomato mixture. Simmer for 5 minutes then pour in the remaining vegetable broth, salt and epazote if using.
  • Simmer for another 10 minutes. Carefully taste for salt and adjust if needed. Remove the epazote leaves.

How to Serve Tortilla Soup

  • Pour some soup into a bowl then add some crispy tortilla strips, add the avocado and cheese, then drizzle with crema, sprinkle with crumbled fried chile pieces and vegan chicharron if using.
  • Lastly squeeze some lime juice over the soup and enjoy!


* PLEASE be aware that the nutritional information are just rough estimates. The actual calories will be much lower and highly depend on the brand of vegan cheese as well as the vegan sour cream you use. * 


Serving: 4servingsCalories: 926kcalCarbohydrates: 55gProtein: 7gFat: 78gSaturated Fat: 14gPolyunsaturated Fat: 36gMonounsaturated Fat: 20gTrans Fat: 0.4gSodium: 2447mgPotassium: 656mgFiber: 10gSugar: 10gVitamin A: 1911IUVitamin C: 27mgCalcium: 91mgIron: 2mg
Tried this recipe?Leave me a ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ review and tag me on social media @MexicanMadeMeatless or tag #mexicanmademeatless!

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