This turkey tortilla soup is made with ground turkey, vegetables, spices and topped off with crunchy corn tortilla chips. It’s a delicious soup that comes together in about an hour, making it an easy addition to the weeknight dinner rotation.
Maybe you’re trying to cut down on red meat or save a few calories, either way, ground turkey recipes are a delicious and simple swap to make.
Lean ground turkey is a great alternative to ground beef. Use it in just about any recipe that calls for ground beef for a lean, affordable substitute. Comfort food favorites like shepherd’s pie and classic appetizers like loaded nachos can be updated, and if you’re looking for more ground turkey soup recipes, try this turkey taco soup.
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What type of turkey to use for this recipe?
Use lean ground turkey, but not turkey breast to make this soup. With turkey breast we won’t get any fat (which provides both flavor and moisture). Use 93/7 (which is 93 percent lean and 7 percent fat) or 85/15 (which is 85 percent lean and 15 percent fat). As a reference we used 85/15 for ours.
Ingredients for the turkey soup
- Oil – We need a little bit of oil to sauté the onions and garlic and to brown the ground meat. We use olive oil but you can use vegetable oil or your favorite variety.
- Vegetables – Onions and garlic add plenty of flavor to this tortilla soup, then corn adds color and a little texture.
- Meat – Use a lean turkey but not turkey breast, 85/15 (what we used) or 93/7 will work well.
- Spices – Chili powder, salt, cumin, black pepper and a little bit of crushed red pepper add plenty of flavor to this soup.
- Liquid – We stick with chicken broth for the soup, it’s more accessible than turkey broth. For the tomatoes we use fire roasted tomatoes for flavor and visual interest, use them if you can.
- Garnishes – Corn tortilla chips are must for serving with this soup. Everything else is optional, good topping choices include: chopped cilantro, lime wedges, sour cream, hot sauce, sliced avocado, jalapenos or other sliced pepper.
The prep work for this soup is quick and easy. There’s just a little bit of knife work required, the rest is gathering and measuring ingredients.
Dice the onions. Do a small dice so they all but disappear into the soup, then mince the garlic.
Prepare a seasoning mix: add the chili powder, salt, cumin, black pepper and crushed red pepper (if using) to a small bowl. Stir to combine.
If desired, destroy the pattern on the meat so you don’t end up with stringy pieces in your soup. Use a fork to gently press and fold the turkey to destroy the pattern. Don’t overwork the meat, combine it just enough to get rid of the strings.
Chop the cilantro and slice the lime wedges (if using). That’s it for the prep work; all that remains is gathering and measuring the remaining ingredients.
How to make turkey tortilla soup
- Sauté the vegetables
- Add the ground turkey
- Sprinkle with the seasonings
- Brown the turkey
- Add the tomatoes and broth
- Simmer to develop the flavor
- Add the corn
- Simmer to reduce and let the flavors combine
Serve the ground turkey tortilla soup into individual bowls and garnish with the chopped cilantro. Just before serving add the tortilla chips to the soup, or serve them separately so everyone can get their own.
Storing and freezing
Store the soup in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. If freezing the soup allow it to cool and place it into freezer safe containers. Freeze up to 3 months. Don’t add tortilla chips to the soup when storing.
Ground Turkey Tortilla Soup
- 2 tablespoons Oil we used extra virgin olive oil
- 1 Medium Onion finely diced
- 2-3 Garlic Cloves minced
- 1 pound Ground Turkey use lean but not turkey breast (we used 85/15)
- ½ tablespoon Chili Powder
- ½ teaspoon Salt plus extra at the end if needed (we use kosher salt)
- ½ teaspoon Cumin
- ¼ teaspoon Black Pepper
- Pinch of Crushed Red Pepper optional, leave it out if you don’t like spicy
- 1 (14 ounce can) Diced Tomatoes (use fire roasted if available)
- 4 cups Chicken Broth
- 2 cups Frozen Corn cooked just enough to defrost, and drained
- 4 ounces Corn Tortilla Chips broken into bit sized pieces
- 2-3 teaspoons Chopped Cilantro for garnish
- Lime Wedges for serving (optional)
- Add the chili powder, salt, cumin black pepper and crushed red pepper (if using) to a small bowl. Stir to combine and set aside.
- Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat, add the onions and cook for 3-4 minutes or until they become translucent. Stir frequently.
- Add the garlic to the pot and cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently.
- Next, raise the heat to medium-high and immediately add the ground turkey.
- Sprinkle the turkey with the prepared seasoning mix (the chili powder, salt, cumin, black pepper and crushed red pepper (if using). Stir well to combine.
- Cook the turkey for approximately 5-7 minutes until browned, stir occasionally and break up any large pieces with a wooden spoon or spatula.
- Add the chopped tomatoes and chicken broth to the pot, stir. Raise the heat to high, bring to a boil, lower heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- While the soup simmers, cook the corn just enough to defrost. Follow the instructions on the package but cook it only for half of the recommended time.
- Add the corn to the pot, raise the heat to medium and stir. Cook the soup uncovered for another 10-15 minutes to let it thicken a bit and allow the flavors to come together. Stir occasionally.
- Taste the tortilla soup and add salt if needed. As a reference we did not add extra salt to ours. Before adding extra salt taste the soup with a tortilla chip, keep in mind that they’re usually salty.
- Serve the soup into individual bowls, garnish with chopped cilantro and add the corn tortilla chips right before serving. Include a few lime wedges on the side, if desired.