Azteca Soup

Azteca Soup


This mildly spicy Mexican soup is made with delicious ancho and guajillo chilies, chicken and corn, and is finished with fresh cilantro salsa, avocados, and corn tortillas.
  • Serves: 6 to 8
  • Active Time: 1 hr
  • Total Time: 1 hr 30 mins
  • Views: 35,830
  • Success Rating: 100% (?)
    0% - I fed it to the dog


Step 1: Soaking the Chilies

• 2 large, dried guajillo chilies (about 1 oz)
• 2 large, dried ancho chilies (about 1 oz)


Remove seeds and stems from chilies.(1) Place the chilies into a bowl and cover with hot water. Let soak for about 20 minutes.

For added flavor and smokiness, toast the chilies before soaking. To do this, heat a dry cast iron pan to medium-high heat. Once hot place a few chilies in the pan and toast for a minute or two. As they cook press them into the pan, using tongs. Then proceed with de-stemming and soaking.

Meanwhile, place the oven rack to 2 to 3 inches below the broiler of your oven. Then preheat the broiler, while you move onto the next step.

Step 2: Roasting the Vegetables

• 1/2 white onion
• 1 lb ripe tomatoes (preferably plum)
• 6 cloves garlic


To roast the vegetables, place them into a dry, cast-iron skillet or any other heavy-bottomed, oven-proof fry pan. Place under the broiler and let cook until they start to char a bit. Using tongs, turn occasionally until all sides are lightly charred, about 20 to 30 minutes.

Once done, remove from the oven and let cool slightly. Just be sure to place an oven mitt on the handle of the pan so you don’t forget and burn yourself.

Step 3: Pureeing the Chilies and Vegetables


Drain the chilies (discard liquid) and place into a blender. Add the cooled, roasted vegetables and purée until smooth.

Step 4: Cooking the Soup

• 8 cups chicken stock


Using a large, heavy-bottomed pot, add the stock and chili purée. Stir over medium-low heat and bring to a simmer. Cook for 45 minutes to an hour over medium to medium-low heat.

Meanwhile, fry the tortillas.

Step 5: Frying the Corn Tortillas

• 1 to 2 cups peanut or vegetable oil (for deep-frying)
• 10 to 12 white corn tortillas (5 to 6 inches)


Using a heavy-bottomed pot or pan, add enough oil to fill the bottom by about 1 to 2 inches. Turn the heat to medium and let heat to 375° degrees Fahrenheit.

Meanwhile, cut half of the tortillas into thin strips, about 1/4" -inch wide. Set aside.

Cut the remaining tortillas into quarters and fry in a few batches. Cook for about 1 minute, turning occasionally, until light-golden and crispy.

Remove the quartered tortillas from the oil using a slotted spoon or tongs. Place onto paper towels and let drain. Once cool, place the quartered and fried tortillas into a plastic bag and crush them with your hands or use a rolling pin. Add the crushed chips to the soup.

For the tortilla strips, also fry them in batches and drain on paper towels. For added flavor, season the strips with creole seasoning (2) while they are still hot. (3) Set aside to garnish the soup later.

Step 6: Adding the Chicken

• 2 cups cooked chicken (either 2 breasts, or 1/2 roasted chicken)


Shred the chicken into pieces and add to the soup. The chicken is optional, but it adds nice texture and makes the soup more like a meal.

Step 7: Adding the Corn

• 2 to 3 ears fresh white corn (or 1 1/2 cups frozen)


Remove the corn from the ear and add to soup. Frozen or canned corn can easily be substituted, but fresh corn just adds that extra touch.

Step 8: Making the Salsa

• 1/2 white onion (about 3/4 cup)
• 1 to 2 serrano peppers (or jalapeno)
• 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
• 1 to 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
• 1 tsp kosher salt (to taste)
• 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
• 2 ripe tomatoes
• 1 fresh lime


To make the salsa, finely dice the onions and add to a bowl. Then finely mince the serrano peppers, using gloves. (1)

Roughly chop the cilantro and add to the onion and serrano mixture. Squeeze the lime into the salsa and add the seasonings. Mix to combine and set aside.

Dice the tomato into 1/2" -inch cubes, place into a bowl and set aside.

Cut the whole lime into fancy citrus wedges and set aside.

Step 9: Finishing the Soup

• kosher salt (to taste)
• freshly ground black pepper (to taste)


To finish the soup, check for seasoning and adjust as needed.

Set yourself up for serving the soup. Place the tortilla strips into a bowl. Gather the tomatoes and salsa and set aside.

Step 10: Cutting the Avocados

• 2 ripe avocados
• 1 cup fresh Mexican crema (crème fraîche)


Just before you are ready to serve, cut the avocados and add a few tablespoons to each serving bowl (or you can add the avocado directly to the salsa; just mix gently to combine).

To serve the soup, place a few tablespoons of tomato into each bowl, along with a tablespoon of the onion salsa. Top with a small handful of tortilla strips (or you can place them on last as a garnish).

Ladle in some soup and top with Mexican crema. Serve each bowl with a wedge of lime, to squeeze in and enjoy!

Chef's Notes


Ancho Chilies are dried, poblano chilies. They have a somewhat sweet, almost raisin-like taste which have medium heat. For added heat you can leave in the seeds.

Guajillo chilies are thick, leathery, dark/reddish-brown chilies. Because of their thicker skin, they generally need to be soaked a bit longer. Guajillo peppers have a mild to moderate amount of heat.

These chilies are available in most Latino or Mexican markets. They can also be ordered online. For less heat use only one guajillo chili.

When working with chilies, it’s best to wear rubber gloves so your skin doesn’t get irritated.

(2) CREOLE SEASONING MIX: This spice mix will keep for months in a sealed container. It’s nice on grilled fish, chicken, meats and vegetables.

2 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
2 tbsp. salt
2 tbsp. garlic powder
1 tbsp. black pepper
1 tbsp. cayenne pepper
1 tbsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
1/8 tsp. ground coriander

In a small bowl, combine the spices and mix together.

(3) CORN TORTILLAS: In a pinch, you can use store-bought corn tortilla chips. The end result with not be the same though, as the fresh, crushed chips add really nice texture to the soup. They also add a more authentic taste to the soup.


  • Jose P
    Jose P
    Hi, but I have to find out what is a Mexican Crema.. I might have had it all of my life but.. I see that it is not sour cream nor cream itself, and that is has a french name (crème fraîche) So, were do I buy in mexico mexican crema? Or I might wait and try your recipe to identify the flavor. Is this "crema" something available at stores or its a part of a chefs creation?
  • Dawn T Rouxbe Staff
    Dawn T
    Making your own is very easy, but you can also buy it. It is usually fairly expensive ($5 to $7 dollars for a container). I am lucky enough to have a great Mexican store near me, and they sell one that is pretty cheap and delicious. I believe in Mexico you should be able to buy it. We have a few people here at Rouxbe that are from Mexico (not Mexico city) and they use it all of the time as well. Try following the recipe though, so you can see how easy it is to make yourself. Mexican crema, crème fraîche...whatever you call it, is deliciously tart and creamy. - see step 2 for making crème fraîche.
  • Judi G
    Judi G
    I just tried this, but was a bit nervous about putting 2 of each of the dried chilies in the soup, as I am still experimenting with the HEAT of these when cooked. I used only one of each and the soup was fairly bland, and I think maybe I had too much stock added; didn't measure. Anyway, with a bit of tweaking (more corn - the Mexican elote I bought was very woody - I will use canned next time as it's easier and more reliable) it is pretty good. The toppings and tortillas (I just use the bought ones) with crema really make it a meal. Will go 'full out' next time. Thanks.
  • Jaime S
    Jaime S
    Made the Azteca Soup today. It was very good and fairly easy to make. Roasting the vegetables really adds a depth of flavor. I am always looking for new dishes to use at my restaurant that require ingredients I already have in stock. I recommend passing the chilli puree through a strainer as little bits of the guajillo escape from being blended.
  • Michael M
    Michael M
    I'm in the process of making this dish and the timing is a bit ambiguous. When should I add the crushed fried tortillas? I know the strips go in at the end; do we cook the crushed tortilas in the soup?
  • Dawn T Rouxbe Staff
    Dawn T
    The crushed tortillas are added to the soup after you fry them and crush them - Step 5. Hope this helps!
  • Tony A
    Tony A
    I made this soup, and it turned out very well. My only comment is that the soup base doesn't quite stand on its own, and its the garnishing really makes the soup delicious. The cilantro, citrus, and tortilla complement the soup very well and help to bring out the flavor of the vegetables and chilies. So don't skimp on the finishing stuff.....
  • Rylla R
    Rylla R
    I haven't made this exact recipe, but certainly made similar versions and used this as my inspiration once. I always add cumin, preferably toasted. To me that tastes of Mexico. Is it a Mexican spice? Or just one I associate with Mexican food? Thoughts about adding it?
  • Dawn T Rouxbe Staff
    Dawn T
    Cumin is used in many cuisines throughout the world. Here is a link to more on cumin. As for adding it to this recipe, give it a try and see how you like it. Cumin and Mexican food are totally friends! Cheers.
  • Rylla R
    Rylla R
    Thanks Dawn - I so appreciate Rouxbe's always quick response time. Upon reading the wiki page on cumin it does say that it isn't so traditional in Mexican cooking; good to know as we are doing a Mexican cooking night next week and it will be good to let people know. Also I found it interesting that many languages don't differentiate between cumin and caraway. When we first moved to (the German speaking part of) Switzerland I bough a bottle of Kümmel/Cumin/Cumino (German, French, Italian) and thought it would be cumin. It is caraway, of which I now have an abundance. I guess I get to search for recipes using caraway now!
  • Leigh S
    Leigh S
    I understand from my spice supplier (The Silk Road) that Ancho Chilis are dried Poblano peppers. I have both Poblano peppers (fresh) and Ancho Chili Powder on hand. Since this recipe essentially reconstitutes and blends the dried chili, can I achieve the same, or close to the same, result by making a blend of roasted Poblano pepper, and maybe a little Ancho Chili Powder? Are there flavour notes in the dried Ancho Chili that I would be missing? Can I achieve the same flavour by simply using Ancho Chili Powder?
  • Leigh S
    Leigh S
    Duh! I just found the notes at the bottom of the text recipe which pretty much makes me look like an idiot, since had I read the notes first, I would not have needed to ask the questions above. Sorry for wasting your time.
  • Ken R Rouxbe Staff
    Ken R
    Thanks Leigh - Glad you found the info. ~Ken

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