This rich and flavorful meatball tortilla soup is loaded with seasoned chicken or turkey meatballs and simmered in a smoky chipotle pepper broth. Topped off with crunchy tortilla chips and all your favorite toppings for a delicious, satisfying meal in under an hour.
How to Make Meatball Tortilla Soup
Something that I love about this meatball tortilla soup (aside from the taste) is how the meatballs bake in the oven while the sauce comes together over the stove. Many other meatball soup recipes I’ve tried always call for pan frying the meatballs in loads of oil. Not only is this difficult with a low fat protein like chicken or turkey, it takes longer and makes a mess. It may not be a one-pot meal, but I think dirtying a sheet pan is definitely worth it.
To make the meatball mixture, start by chopping up your aromatics really small. Heat some oil in a pan and toss in that onion, jalapeño garlic and spices to sauté for a few minutes. Cooking these ingredients before adding them to the meatballs is going to concentrate their flavor and get rid of any excess moisture that would make the meatballs watery.
Now here’s the trick: transfer half of that sautéed mixture to a plate and put it in the fridge to chill. The rest that’s still in the pan is going to become the base for our broth once the meatballs go in the oven.
It’s important to let the aromatics cool completely before mixing them in with the ground turkey or they will begin to cook meat in the bowl! After five or so minutes of refrigeration they should be good to go. Combine the sautéed veggies with the ground meat, chopped cilantro and some crushed corn tortilla chips. Similar to breadcrumbs in traditional meatballs, these will act as a binder.
Shape the meatballs into balls, I ended up with about 12. The mixture will be quite sticky, so I like to oil my hands. You could also use water, but oil will give the meatballs a nice crisp outside. Send those in the oven to bake until they’re just cooked. It’s totally fine if they’re even a little raw in the center, they will continue cooking in the broth.
While the meatballs are in the oven, make the broth. Super simple, just return to those sautéed veggies still in the skillet and add some fire roasted tomatoes, chipotles in adobo (plus some of that smoky sauce), a little sugar and chicken broth. Bring that up to a boil and add in your meatballs once they come out of the oven. Simmer everything together for another 10 or so minutes to allow the meatballs finish cooking and the flavors to meld.
What to Serve with Meatball Tortilla Soup
While the meatballs and broth are delicious, this meatball tortilla soup is all about the toppings. Tortilla chips are a given, but feel free to play around with your favorites. Here are some ideas:
- Tortilla chips (Store-bought works, but homemade is even better!)
- Chopped cilantro
- Fresh lime juice
- Sour cream or yogurt
- Brown or white rice
- Sliced radishes or jalapeños
- Cotija, shredded cheese or dairy free alternative
More Mexican Inspired Recipes to Try
- Poblano pumpkin seed enchiladas
- Cilantro lime rice and black bean stuffed peppers
- Three bean turkey chili with honey jalapeño grits
- Chipotle chicken stuffed poblano peppers