Bowl of chicken tortilla soup topped with fried tortillas, cheese, and herbs
12 Mistakes Everybody Makes With Chicken Tortilla Soup
Using Old Spices
Chicken tortilla soup is known for its spiced, flavorful broth, but if you’re using old spices, your broth can quickly turn into a pasty, dusty, bitter mess.
To ensure a great broth, ditch old, expired spices and use potent, newer spices. Ground spices are best used within two years, while whole spices can last up to four years.
Too Much Tomato
Chicken tortilla soup has a red broth due to spices, not because it's a tomato-based broth, so go light on tomato additions and taste along the way.
Tomatoes are an important element of the soup, which can include fresh or canned tomatoes to add acidity and umami. However, heavy, concentrated tomato paste should be avoided.
Forgetting The Tortilla
As the name says, chicken tortilla soup isn’t complete without its crispy fried tortilla garnish, which adds a much-needed textural balance to the soup.
For the best tortilla garnish, slice corn tortillas into strips and fry until crispy and brown. Then, season them with salt and use a paper towel to remove excess oil.
Skimping On Toppings
Toppings not only offer each diner the ability to customize their meal but also offer various textural and flavorful contrasts to the soup.
While crispy tortillas are a given, additional toppings can include cheese, crema, sour cream, avocado, radish, jalapeños, onion, and fresh herbs like cilantro.
Forgetting Lime
The sour acidity of lime juice is an essential part of tortilla soup because it adds a fresh flavor that brightens and balances the deep spices of the broth.
For the best flavor, use fresh lime juice instead of concentrate and add it to the soup at the end of cooking. You can also serve the soup with fresh lime wedges on the side.