How to Make the Cafe Rio Tortilla Soup Recipe at Home

Cafe Rio Tortilla Soup

Winter has once again made its annual appearance. For many of us, that means being cold, having to go out in the cold, and getting colds. Regardless of what type of cold you’re being forced to endure this year, there’s a soup guaranteed to warm you up and put some pro back in that step.

The soup comes to us from the deliciously well known, Cafe Rio, a casual chain with 150 locations sprinkled throughout the United States. Founded in 1997, the recipes are inspired from authentic, traditional Rio Grande-style cooking.

Made fresh each day in each kitchen, every dish is held to the highest of standards. From tostadas and salads to enchiladas and soups. One soup in particular, the soup that will help you be less cold this winter, is the mouthwatering tortilla soup. But don’t worry, we won’t make you go out in the cold to get it. Here’s how to make a tasty pot right at home.

How To Make The Cafe Rio Tortilla Soup Recipe At Home

  • Serves: 6
  • Prep: 20-25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 2-1/2 hours

Here’s what you’ll need for this delicious bowl of spicy goodness.


  • 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 40 ounces (5 cups) chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons of fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh lime juice
  • freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 can of pinto beans (drained)
  • 2 boneless chicken breasts
  • 2-1/2 tablespoons of taco seasoning
  • 1 teaspoons of paprika
  • pico de gallo (fresh salsa- store bought is fine, here’s the recipe for homemade)
  • 3 avacados (ripe)
  • 2 cups grated pepperjack cheese
  • tortilla strips
  • lime wedges for garnish
  • cilantro for garnish

Broth Directions

  1. Add 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil to a small skillet.
  2. Place over a medium heat.
  3. When the oil is hot, add the onion and sauté until soft.
  4. Add cumin, cayenne pepper, and chili powder. Stir, mix well for about 1 to 2 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and put the seasoned mix into a medium saucepan or crockpot.
  6. Add chicken broth, cilantro, lime juice, pepper, and pinto beans. Simmer at low heat for about 2-1/2 hours.
  7. Keep warm until ready to serve.

Grilled Chicken Directions

  1. Preheat grill to medium heat.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the taco seasoning, and paprika.
  3. Brush the chicken with some oil, then rub the chicken all over with the mixture.
  4. Place the chicken on the grill on a medium heat. Cook through and turn as needed.
  5. When cooked, remove from the grill and allow to cool.
  6. Shred and set aside until ready to serve.

Avocados Directions

  1. Prepare avacados just before serving.
  2. Starting at the top, cut down into each avacado until you hit the pit. Cut all the way around the avocado.
  3. Pull the 2 halves of the avacado apart and remove the pit with a spoon.
  4. Use the spoon to scoop the avacado out of the skin.
  5. Cut into small pieces and save some to slice thin for garnish.


In individual bowls put:

  • 1/4 cup of chicken
  • 1/4 pico de gallo
  • 1 cup of broth
  • a few sprinkles of pepperjack cheese
  • top with tortilla strips
  • garnish with cilantro, lime, and avacado

Nutritional Information

  • calories: 606
  • fat: 31 grams
  • carbohydrates: 62 grams
  • cholestetol: 47 milligrams
  • sodium: 578 milligrams
  • fiber: 5 milligrams
  • sugars: 3 grams
  • protein: 23 grams

Are There Health Benefits To Eating Cafe Rio Tortilla Soup?

Cafe Rio Tortilla soup is loaded with protein, and vitamins and minerals like iron and vitamins A and C. But it is a higher calorie, high fat soup. So if your concerned about weight, cholesterol, and the health effects of those things, you may want to make this soup a treat rather than a regular part of your diet.

However, if you are fighting one of those colds mentioned earlier, there are few soups better to have on hand than this tortilla soup. While it will not cure your illness, the potent spices are sure to loosen up mucus and open up your airways. The broth will help keep you hydrated and the shreds of chicken and tortilla will fill you up and make you sleepy so you can get the rest you need.

Does Cafe Rio Tortilla Soup Recipe Freeze Well?

This soup freezes very well. It is recommended that you not freeze the soup with any of the toppings (avacado, cheese, etc), especially the tortilla strips. The tortillas can soak up the broth and become very soggy. They will in turn fall apart and make the soup grainy. It’s best to just freeze the broth in a plastic freezer bag or airtight container. You can add the fresh condiments to the defrosted soup.

What Goes Well With Tortilla Soup?

The Cafe Rio Tortilla Soup Recipe is great on its own for lunch, a light dinner, or snack. If you want something more, or your family is like mine and needs something to go with the soup, here are a few ideas. A little top, add sour cream or guacamole when you can. They will balance out the acidity of the soup, making it even more delicious.

1. Quesadillas

Cheesy goodness that’s just a delightful addition to the soup. The best part is, you can add whatever you like: tomato, onion, bacon, ham. The list is endless.

2. Mexican Rice

Use any long grain rice, add in some garlic, cilantro, cumin, and chili pepper. When it’s cooked, toss in the condiments from the soup.

3. Chips and Guacamole

Classic, filling, and easy. This side will also help take the sting out if you are sensitive to spices.

4. Black Beans

A great side for soup. You can keep it as simple or make it as fancy as you like.

5. Mexican Cornbread

Not much is better for dipping than cornbread and nothing makes cornbread taste better than being dipped in some yummy soup. Now add the jalapeños to the cornbread and you have got yourself some fiery goodness.

6. Air Fryer Avacado Fries

Slice up some avacado, bread them in some panko crumbs and toss them in the air fryer for a few minutes.

7. Rio Grande Casserole

This easy to make single dish calls for yummy ingredients like ground beef, peppers, onions, and the cheese of your choice. Mix it all together with some sour cream and you’ve got a great complement to your soup.

8. Tacos

Soft shell or hard, almost everyone loves a taco. It can be beef, chicken, fish, even shrimp. Your taco, your business.

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