Season 12 Recipes: Bayless' Best Ever/

Classic Tortilla Soup

Sopa de Tortilla
Servings: 10cups, serving 6


  • 1large dried pasilla (negro) chile, stemmed and seeded
  • 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice (preferably fire-roasted)
  • 2tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
  • 1medium white onion, sliced ¼-inch thick
  • 3large garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2quart chicken broth
  • 1large epazote sprig, if you have it
  • 4(about 1 1/4 pounds total) boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut into ½ inch cubes
  • Salt
  • 1large ripe avocado, peeled, seeded and cut into ¼-inch cubes
  • 1 1/2cups (6 ounces)crumbled Mexican queso fresco,
  • 1/2cupMexican crema
  • A generous quart (about 6 ounces) roughly broken tortilla chips
  • 1large lime, cut into 6 wedges


Quickly toast the chile by turning it an inch or two above an open flame for a few seconds until its aroma fills the kitchen.  (Lacking an open flame, toast it in a dry pan over medium heat, pressing it flat for a few seconds, then flipping it over and pressing it again.)  Break the chile into pieces and put in a blender jar along with the tomatoes with their juice.  (A food processor will work, though it won’t completely puree the chile.)

Heat the oil in a medium (3- to 4-quart) saucepan over medium-high.  Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until golden, about 7 minutes.  Scoop up the onion and garlic with a slotted spoon, pressing them against the side of the pan to leave behind as much oil as possible, and transfer to the blender.  Process until smooth.

Raise the heat under the pan to medium-high.  When quite hot, add the puree and stir nearly constantly, until thickened to the consistency of tomato paste, about 6 minutes. Add the broth and epazote.  Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes.  Taste and season with salt, usually about a generous teaspoon (depending on the saltiness of the broth).

Just before serving, add the chicken to the simmering broth.  Divide the avocado, cheese, crema and tortilla chips between serving bowls.  When the chicken is done, usually about 5 minutes, ladle the soup into the bowls.


  1. I just watched this episode, but Rick made his own broth with chicken thighs and legs in a pressure cooker (Instpot), made his own cheeses, tortilla strips, and quickly cooked the dried chili pieces (seeded and deveined) in a little oil. And more. It all looked wonderful! That’s the recipe I want please!

    1. If you look through the recipes you will find the recipe for Fresh Cheese and Mexican-Style Thick Cream. I am hoping these are the right recipes anyway, they looked very similar.

    2. I recently saw this show last week 12/2020 and wanted the exact recipe and can not find it. If you find it or get a reply please post.
      Thanks a million.

  2. Rick,
    Thank you so much for keeping you TV series going. Please never retire. I will miss them greatly. If it wasn’t for your travels to Mexico, I would not master my Mexican cooking skills and the wife sure loves the cooking…..
    I have a request. The next time your epazote plant starts seeding. Could you send me some seeds? In my area of the world, I cannot find a garden center that sell plants or seeds.
    Thank you.
    David R…

  3. I want to try this soup since I cannot enjoy it in your wonderful Frontera Grill while sheltering in place. What can I try if I cannot find a pasilo negro chili??

    1. I watched his Facebook live video recipe of this soup yesterday and he said you could use either an ancho chile or canned chipotle chiles.

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