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close up of spicy tortilla soup With shrimp

Spicy Tortilla Soup

My favorite tortilla soup recipe kicked up with added dried chile morita! Smoky, spicy and delicious!
Course Soup
Cuisine Mexican
Prep Time 35 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Soak Chiles 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 6 Servings


  • 6 Roma tomatoes
  • 2 chile serrano stems removed
  • 1/2 onion sliced into thick rings
  • 4 cloves of garlic leave skins on
  • 4 dried chile pasilla or chile negro
  • 2 dried chile morita
  • 6-7 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • small handful epazote leaves
  • 2-4 bay leaves
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 3 1/2 tbsp avocado or olive oil

For Shrimp

  • 18 extra large shrimp peeled and deveined
  • 1 teaspoon each of salt, pepper, granulated garlic and smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp chile de arbol powder

For Garnish

  • 10-12 oz fried tortilla strips previously fried
  • 10 oz panela cheese cubed
  • 1/2 cup Mexican crema
  • 1 Avocado sliced or diced
  • 1/4 cup Cilantro chopped fine
  • 2 Limes sliced into wedges


  • On a griddle(comal) at medium heat, dry roast the tomatoes, serranos, onion and garlic. Begin to flip and turn ingredients when they become aromatic and start to char slightly. Remove the garlic after 15 minutes. Leave the other ingredients on for another 8-10 minutes.
  • Remove the stems and seeds from the chile pasilla. Slice 2 of them into thin rings and set aside. Take the other 2, along with the chile morita and drop them into a pot of simmering water. Let them simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let them sit for another 10 minutes.
  • Add the sliced dried chile pasilla to a skillet and heat to medium. When it becomes aromatic and begins to toast, stir the chiles often. Toast for 1 minute and remove from heat. You can leave as is or you can crush it more using a molcajete or mini chopper.
  • To the blender, add the dry roasted tomatoes, 2 serrano peppers, onion and peeled garlic. Drain the softened dried chile pasilla and morita. Pour in 2 cups of chicken broth to the blender. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Blend on high until very smooth. Set aside.
  • In a large pot preheat 2 tbsps of oil at medium heat for a few minutes.
  • After a few minutes, pour in the salsa soup base from the blender into pot with hot oil. Fry and cook the salsa/sauce for 10 minutes. Taste for salt as it reduces.
  • After 10 minutes, pour in the remaining 4 cups of broth. If you like to thin out the soup a little more, you could add more broth at this time. Add the fresh epazote, bay leaves and crushed oregano. Stir to combine and bring up to a boil. Once it comes up to a boil, reduce to a simmer and continue cooking for 10 minutes.
  • While you wait, mix the spices in a small bowl listed for the shrimp. Season the shrimp all over. Preheat 1 1/2 tbsps oil in a skillet at medium heat for 5 minutes. Cook the shrimp for 4-6 minutes, turning as needed. Cover and remove from heat.
  • To serve, add some fried tortilla strips to the bottom of each bowl. Ladle in the hot soup. Garnish with more tortilla strips, panela cheese, avocado, toasted chile pasilla, crema, lime and SHRIMP! Of course.


If you cannot find chile pasilla, you can replace that chile with chile ancho. If they are pretty big in size, use your judgement. If big, use one for the soup base and one for garnish.
To finish this recipe in a timely manner, you will have to multi task cooking ingredients for the different steps at the same time. Otherwise it will take a more time to get done.