How To Make The California Pizza Kitchen Sedona Tortilla Soup Recipe

Tortilla soup is a flavorful taste of Mexico and California Pizza Kitchen is a legendary restaurant chain that started in California in 1985. The combination of the two are legendary. California Pizza Kitchen opened its first location in Beverly Hills, CA, the brainchild of lawyers Rick Rosenfield and Larry Flax.

At the height of its popularity in 2007, the restaurant had over 250 locations. It’s known for daring pizza combinations like pesto, avocado and pepperoni, and equally daring soups and other appetizers and second plates, like their tortilla and farmer’s market vegetable soups.

California Pizza Kitchen Sedona Tortilla Soup Recipe

Tortilla soup is a traditional Mexican soup thickened with Mexican corn flour. This flour gives it a thick consistency and a hearty flavor that made it a classic in the north as well as in central Mexico where it originated.

This delicious soup is filled with roasted tomatoes, onion, chiles, garlic and tinga de pollo, shredded spiced chicken, and served with additional fried tortilla strips in the place that an American soup would use saltines.

Unlike its American counterpart, taco soup, tortilla soup is known for its warm spice blend and its flavors which center chicken broth, corn and black beans. Let’s make CPK’s Sedona Tortilla Soup recipe!


  • ¼ cup Olive Oil
  • 4-8 cloves garlic, smashed and minced
  • ½ white onion, minced
  • 2 jalapeño peppers charred (see below) and diced. Seeds should be removed if you prefer a mild soup or retained if you feel you can take the heat
  • 1 cup white corn kernels
  • 1 can black beans, drained
  • 4 cups (1 quart) Water
  • 4 cups (1 quart) Chicken stock
  • 1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon Tomato Paste
  • 4 Corn tortillas, not fried, cut into strips.
  • OPTIONAL: 1-2 cups of tinga de pollo
  • 1 teaspoon Cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon Ground White Pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Chili Powder
  • Garnish: Blue corn tortilla chips
  • Garnish: Sliced black olives
  • Garnish: Sour cream
  • Garnish: Shredded cheddar cheese
  • Garnish: Cilantro


  • Cast iron dutch oven
  • Uncoated wire rack


If you have a gas stove, char the jalapeño peppers by putting the wire rack over a burner and lighting the burner. Use a pair of metal tipped tongs (barbecue grill tongs or kitchen tongs) to place the jalapeños on the rack and turn them periodically until the entire surface is blackened. Plunge the jalapeños into ice water and rub until the skin comes off, taking care not to bruise or tear the flesh.


DO NOT use plastic or rubber utensils in this step. The gas flame will melt them and could cause a fire.

If you have an electric stove, you can’t char the jalapeños the same way. Instead, heat up a cast-iron pan under the broiler and put the jalapeños into it, turning periodically until all sides are blistered and dark. Repeat the other steps above.

  1. Into the Dutch oven over medium high heat, add the olive oil, garlic, tomato paste, and onions and stir for 30 seconds to 2 minutes or until fragrant, taking care not to burn any of them. Once fragrant, add the jalapeños, corn, beans, water, stock, tomatoes, salt, and pepper.
  2. Heat to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Add the corn tortillas and stir until they break up and disperse into the liquid.
  3. Add cumin and chili powder and simmer for 1 hour.
  4. Return the heat to medium high and add the tinga de pollo if you want to include it. Bring back to a boil and then reduce to a simmer again for 15 minutes or until chicken is heated through and dispersed into the broth.
  5. Once soup has simmered to your liking, spoon into bowls and garnish with tortilla chips, olives, sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, and/or cilantro, to your taste.

This soup has a thick and sensuous texture when finished, different from Northern counterparts like taco soup. This soup gets better in the refrigerator overnight and freezes beautifully; frozen it keeps for 1-3 months before becoming freezer burned. But let’s be realistic, you’re not going to let a soup like this sit in your freezer for three months.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is CPK Tortilla Soup good for me?

Tortilla soup is quite healthy as a food. Its primary ingredients are corn flour, chicken (mostly in the form of stock), and corn. Backing ingredients include hot peppers, whole-kernel corn, and beans. With these ingredients, CPK tortilla soup contains 480 calories. It does contain 32 grams of fat and 44 grams of carbohydrates. This soup is considerably lower in sodium than the original, and the addition of beans gives it more dietary fiber.

Where does Tortilla Soup originate?

Tortilla soup came from the Mexican state of Tlaxcala (“Soil of Maize”), adjacent to the Distrito Federal, the Mexican federal district in which Mexico City is located. In Mexico it’s also sometimes called sopa Azteca (Aztec soup), hinting at its possible origins as rooted in pre-Hispanic history. Tortilla is a diminutive of the Spanish word torta.

This word comes from the same root as the French torte, and that the English meaning of tortilla is “small cake,” though for the specific tortillas of Mexico, English-speaking people simply took tortilla as a loanword.

On California Pizza Kitchen’s menu, their own interpretation of tortilla soup is inspired by the city of Sedona, Arizona, and its majestic red-rock formations, a truly inspiring sight of the American southwest. The history of this region reaches back to the earliest human habitation of North America and it once belonged to Mexico before its conquest by the United States in the Mexican-American War (1846-1848).

What happened to California Pizza Kitchen?

During the early part of the COVID-19 pandemic, the California Pizza Kitchen was still struggling from debt problems incurred during the 2000s and 2010s to dig the company out of earlier financial mismanagement by the managing partners. Because of this, many CPK locations that had been open prior to the pandemic closed.

On July 30, 2020, the California Pizza Kitchen restaurant chain declared bankruptcy, seeking to cut back on its debt load and close unprofitable locations. By the end of November, the company had already completed its restructuring and was ready to exit bankruptcy. However, appropriately, it was a much more cautious CPK company that emerged, a company less willing to take risks to expand quickly.

CPK’s bankruptcy was the continuation of trends that began before the COVID-19 pandemic. CPK faced growing competition of fast-casual restaurants like Colorado-based Chipotle. The continued decline of the American mall was a factor. Also, the acceleration of third-party delivery services like Bite Squad were major factors.

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