Sopa Azteca

Happy Tuesday! Taco Tuesday? Not exactly… but close πŸ™‚ 

Today I’m bringing you guys a true comfort food for me. Since I’m from the Midwest I guess an Aztecan Mexican dish probably isn’t exactly what comes to mind, but let me explain. I first moved out at 20 years old and lived right in the heart of the East Side of Milwaukee. Since I couldn’t go out yet, I often found myself joining friends at restaurants. To give you a little context, I moved from a super tiny town in Southeastern Wisconsin to a bustling city. I gave up my car and was a true city girl. Just to age myself a bit, I remember changing my MySpace theme to a super sweet black and white cityscape and my song to “Downtown” by Petula Clark.

*sigh* can we get a moment of silence for MySpace? Back when we were young enough to spend all day changing our themes with broken html and css on dial up internet. Also…it was before “old” people were on social media.. and awesome selfies on point and shoot cameras! LOL XD

Ok.. moving on! πŸ™‚ 

So….. one of the first restaurants I discovered was Cempazuchi (which much to my dismay closed nearly a year ago … *tear*). It was this great Mexican place but it wasn’t the same as most Mexican restaurants, as the cuisine was Aztec Mexican which OMG! AMAZING! 

Here is what the inside looked like and this was my spot.. I loved it. I could spend hours and hours in this place. Catching up with friends, eating dinner with parents, trying to get drinks underage, etc. πŸ™‚ 

Okay.. I’m rambling.

The point is they had this soup that was to DIE for. It was called Sopa Azteca and it changed my life. I’ve taken everyone I’ve known to this restaurant to try this soup. If I was on death row.. this would be my meal. Whenever I visited home.. this was my first stop. I usually would order a few bowls to take on the plane with me to wherever I was calling “home” at the time. I was lucky enough to keep a clipping from the newspaper in which the owner gave the reporter his recipe for Sopa Azteca! 


O-M-G I just remembered my other favorite thing of this place. They always had a fresh fruit margarita. Basically they would blend some amazing fruit which wasn’t really accessible in Milwaukee into your margarita (i.e. dragonfruit, prickly pear, etc) . YUM! RIP Cempazuchi. Honestly my eyes filled with tears when I found out this place closed. It was open for nearly two decades.. I thought it was safe. πŸ™ 

Okay.. well to make our own Sopa Azteca! It’s actually pretty simple. I now must hunt for an Aztecan Mexican restaurant here in Oregon to replace my beloved restaurant.

It’s certainly nothing fancy. Just some spicy chili soup with amazing garnishes. I recommend garnishing with one avocado per serving, an ounce or so of the Oaxaca cheese, a handful of tortilla strips, squirt of lime, cilantro, green onion, and a dollop of sour cream. Stir it all up and enjoy! 

This is super easy to make vegetarian or vegan. Just leave out the chicken and use veggie stock. 

To make vegan – leave out the chicken, chicken stock, and cheese. I would recommend adding a little extra avocado to replace the cheese factor if you’re vegan. 

 Also… please make your own tortilla strips. πŸ˜€ It’s so easy and they are so much better fresh. I like to pick up the corn tortillas from Trader Joes. I’ll cut up three tortillas for two servings of soup. Toss about 2-3 tablespoons of canola oil in a pan on medium heat and let those babies fry up. Sprinkle with salt and enjoy! So much better than that crap in the salad aisle. 


5 from 1 vote

Sopa Azteca

Though the name of this soup implies an Aztec origin, it owes much more of its origin to the Tarascan people from the MichoacΓ‘n area. Dozens of variations of this soup exist, often featuring a spicy tomato broth with different chillies as the garnish. One much-loved addition is chicharrΓ³n, or pork crackling, which works wonderfully well, though in Mexico it can be bought prepared to save one the trouble of the preparation!

Course Soup
Cuisine Mexican
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes


  • 2 large Pasilla Chile
  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 2 15 oz Canned Diced Tomatoes
  • 4 cloves Garlic
  • 1 medium White Onion
  • 8 Cups Stock Chicken or Veggie
  • 1 lb Shredded Chicken (optional)
  • Salt (as needed)
  • Oaxaca Cheese (optional)
  • Avocado
  • Sour Cream
  • Lime
  • Tortilla Chips


  1. 1) Toast the chile in a large saucepan over high heat, turning, until fragrant. Remove from saucepan and let cool. Once cool, remove the stem and seeds and break the chile into pieces.

    2) Add chile piece and tomatoes to blender and blend until smooth. 

    3) After removing chiles from saucepan, add oil, garlic and onion. Cook for 8-10 minutes on medium heat. Once golden take garlic and onion and add to blender to puree. 

    4) Pour puree into saucepan and cook over medium heat until thick, 8-10 minutes. 

    5) Add chicken or veggie stock, salt and shredded chicken and simmer for 15 minutes to 1 hour on medium-low heat.

    6) Prior to serving, garnish with tortilla chips, avocado, cheese, lime, sour cream, etc. 

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