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Turkey Tortilla Soup

Scott Phillips

Servings: 2 as a main course; may be doubled.

Soup isn’t an unusual destination for leftover roast turkey, but this soup is anything but ordinary. Based on a recipe for Chicken & Tortilla Soup by Fine Cooking’s former editor in chief and publisher, Martha Holmberg, this Mexican-style soup is bursting with all sorts of interesting flavors and textures. It’s light yet satisfying, and it tastes completely different from the traditional Thanksgiving flavors, so it’s a perfect encore to the big feast.

Looking for more recipes for your turkey encore? Browse our Guide to Thanksgiving for recipes that do more than just make great use of your Thanksgiving leftovers.


  • 1 Tbs. vegetable oil, plus 1-1/2 to 2 cups for frying the tortillas
  • 1/2 cup finely diced yellow onion
  • 1-1/2 Tbs. chili powder
  • 1 Tbs. tomato paste
  • 1 quart homemade turkey or chicken broth, or low-salt canned chicken broth
  • 6 cilantro sprigs
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 6-inch corn tortillas, cut into 1/4-inch-wide strips
  • 1 cup shredded or medium-diced leftover roast turkey
  • 3/4 cup medium-diced fresh tomato
  • 1/2 cup cooked fresh corn kernels (or substitute thawed frozen corn)
  • 1/2 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained


  • 1/2 to 1 ripe avocado, medium-diced
  • 1/4 cup crumbled queso fresco or feta cheese
  • 3 Tbs. chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 Tbs. sour cream, or to taste (optional)
  • 1/2 lime, cut into wedges

Nutritional Information

  • Nutritional Sample Size based on two servings
  • Calories (kcal) : 740
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 360
  • Fat (g): 41
  • Saturated Fat (g): 9
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 12
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 17
  • Cholesterol (mg): 75
  • Sodium (mg): 740
  • Carbohydrates (g): 59
  • Fiber (g): 13
  • Protein (g): 44


  • Heat the 1 Tbs. oil in a medium (3-quart) saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until softened and just beginning to brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the chili powder and tomato paste and cook, stirring, for 15 to 30 seconds; don’t let the chili powder scorch. Pour in the broth and scrape the bottom of the pan with the spoon to loosen any cooked-on bits. Add the cilantro sprigs and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer, uncovered, until the broth has reduced by about a third and is very flavorful, 20 to 30 minutes. Discard the cilantro sprigs and season to taste with salt.

While the broth reduces, fry the tortilla strips:

  • Line a plate or tray with two layers of paper towels. Pour 1 inch of vegetable oil into a small, high-sided saucepan (a 6-inch-diameter pan needs about 1-1/2 cups of oil). If you have a candy thermometer, attach it to the pot. Heat the oil over medium heat until it reaches 350°F, or until a tortilla strip sizzles immediately when dipped into the oil. Add 8 to 10 tortilla strips and scrunch them with tongs for a few seconds to give them a wavy shape. Fry until the bubbling subsides and the strips are crisp and very lightly browned, about 1 minute. Transfer to the paper towels to drain, and sprinkle with a little salt while they’re still hot. Repeat with the remaining strips.
  • Divide the turkey, tomato, corn, beans, and tortilla strips between two large soup bowls. If necessary, reheat the broth until it’s piping hot. Pour the broth over the ingredients in the bowls. Garnish with the avocado, cheese, cilantro, dollops of sour cream (if using), and big squeezes of lime juice. Serve immediately.


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Reviews (13 reviews)

  • miss88 | 01/05/2019

    I look forward to making this soup after those big turkey meals. I've made it at least a dozen time. I usually follow recipe as written and will add more beans and turkey as needed to make it a meal.

  • domenic_a | 10/20/2017

    I like my soups to have a lot in them - this one just seemed “thin” to me.

  • butta211 | 04/13/2015

    Sounds like I'm in the minority but I thought this was pretty bland. I used good quality stock and followed the recipe exactly. Maybe the lime juice would have helped although I don't think I'll make again.

  • MelissaRE | 12/28/2013

    This is an EXCELLENT soup. Healthy and incredibly tasty. I don't make the tortilla strips. I crush Doritos and sprinkle some on top of each bowl as a garnish (a little more control on the amount). I also use the entire 6 oz can of tomato paste and add diced fresh tomatoes as part of the garnish. We prefer the turkey to be shredded (I make the turkey breast in the crock pot and shred). Huge hit in our house!!!!The lime amazingly adds the perfect flavor!We also make a Southwest Caesar Salad to go with it.

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