vegan Mexican tortilla soup in a white bowl topped with tortilla chips, cilantro, red print napkin to the side, sliced cutting board of jalapeno peppers, sliced avocado with pit

Vegan Mexican Tortilla Soup is an easy recipe for making authentic, healthy, vegetarian nacho, taco, or tortilla soup using an Instant Pot or stovetop.

Even more importantly, this soup is ‘super’ simple, lol, naturally gluten-free, and tastes fantastic!  

And yes, corn tortillas are almost always gluten-free instead of flour tortillas, which are almost always not gluten-free. So while tortillas, in general, are not a gluten-free food, corn tortillas are usually gluten-free. 

If you meal prep, this tortilla soup recipe is super hearty, so you’ll love how well it reheats.  And if you’re thinking you’d possibly had this vegan soup before, this dish goes by many names. It’s called everything from nacho soup, to taco soup, to Mexican soup, to finally, tortilla soup!

And most everyone will appreciate the simple, shelf-stable ingredients. Most of the ingredient are items that many cooks tend to keep on hand.  

Thanks to the common ingredients, it’s easy to remember what goes into this soup without referring back to this recipe. But by all means, do come back to see what else we’ve got cooking!  

Can Vegan Soup Satisfy Hearty Meat-Eating Appetites?

This authentic tasting, vegetarian, and whole-food plant-based vegan tortilla soup makes the perfect quick and easy, healthy weeknight dinner. Thanks to the ease of using an Instant Pot, this vegan soup is ideal for busy cooks. And all sort of eaters, including meat-eaters, will adore this simple, satisfying, flavor-packed dish.

The ingredients in this authentic nacho, taco, or tortilla soup recipe only take about ten minutes to throw together. And since it uses shelf-stable pantry ingredients that happen to be extremely satisfying, such as chickpeas which are protein-packed beans, this vegan soup is incredibly gratifying.

So, this is not only a healthy vegan tortilla soup, but it’s also super hearty. The meat-eaters at your table won’t even realize that they’re not only enjoying vegetarian soup, and they’ll find themselves loving every vegetarian and vegan bite!

Additionally, when appetites are especially ravenous, this soup tastes especially lovely, served with a scoop of rice or quinoa.

colorful, festive cooking or plating scene on marble counter with vegan nacho soup in a white bowl, measuring spoons, colorful red print napkin, cilantro leaves and green pepper on cutting board, tortilla chips on top of soup

Are Tortillas Vegan?

Yes. Most tortillas are vegan. But not all tortillas are gluten-free, so take a glance at the label. Most corn tortillas are both vegan and gluten-free, but still check the label.

Basic Ingredients to Make Simple Tortilla Soup

In addition to a pack of tortillas, you’ll only need a handful of shelf-stable ingredients and a few fresh vegetables to make this healthy, meatless, vegetarian, nacho, taco, or tortilla soup recipe.

And to be sure that your super-simple vegan tortilla soup tastes authentic and wonderfully Mexican, you’ll need the following ingredients:

Dried Chickpeas: We adore chickpeas almost as much as we love kale and avocado, but feel free to add whatever dried legume you happen to have on hand. 

Vegetable Broth: Starting your nacho soup with vegetable broth gives the base layer instant depth. However, if you do not have vegetable broth, go ahead and use water instead. This soup has plenty of flavor-packed ingredients that contribute terrific flavors to this savory soup.

Onion – Use any onion you have on hand in this recipe to add a level of comforting flavor that nothing else can duplicate. Onion is a vegan soup stock staple.

Garlic – I prefer using fresh garlic most of the time, but for this recipe, I almost always use garlic powder. We’ve used fresh garlic in this recipe, and most sincerely, this vegan tortilla soup tastes just as wonderful using garlic powder.

Potatoes – Potatoes add a satisfying heartiness to this Mexican soup, and the starch from the potatoes also thickens the soup just the right amount.

Corn – You may opt to use fresh or canned corn in the recipe, but we usually use frozen corn.

white bowl of red vegan tortilla soup in white bowl topped with strips of corn tortilla chips, cilantro leaves, green lime wedges

Spices and Seasonings in Tortilla Soup

Cumin – Cumin powder adds an earthy, warm flavor to this vegan Mexican tortilla soup.  We like to keep cumin seeds on hand and grind our cumin seeds as needed using a small grinder.

Chili Powder: Using chili powder in this recipe is one of the main ingredients that provide classic Mexican flavor. In our experience, cumin and chili powder play well together, so we wouldn’t pick one above the other; both are vital seasoning.

Your Favorite Salsa: Including your favorite salsa in this easy tortilla soup adds such a lovely depth of flavor. If you don’t have salsa, use a well-seasoned can of tomatoes, such as fire-roasted tomatoes.  We often make this soup, and every single time, I get a little giddy when I pour in the medium-hot salsa because it’s such an easy way to add significant flavor!

Lime juice – When you’re looking for authentic Mexican flair, think lime rather than lemon.  

Toppings To Serve with Authentic Tortilla Soup

Corn Tortillas:  Crisp tortillas are not really a topping since they’re not optional, but they do go on top—so. We use corn tortillas to keep this recipe gluten-free. We use an air fryer to crisp up our tortilla strips for this recipe, but an oven also does the trick.  Remember that not all tortillas are gluten-free. Not even the corn ones are always gluten-free. Be sure to check the label if you are concerned that the tortillas be gluten-free.

Cilantro: We’re not sure it’s authentic taco soup if you skip the cilantro—we’re nuts about the stuff!

Sour Cream: Sometimes we use this vegan sour cream or a dollop of plain plant-based yogurt to top our soup like chili!

Guacamole: We like to serve our favorite guac alongside this delicious vegetarian and vegan nacho or tortilla soup.

bowl of vegetarian tortilla soup recipe topped in long tortilla chips with fresh cilantro below the bowl on a marble looking counter or table

How to Make Tortilla Soup

Traditionally, you make an authentic tortilla soup recipe with chicken, chicken broth, roasted tomatoes, onion, garlic, chiles, and tortillas.  

Our plant-based Instant Pot vegetarian and vegan tortilla soup recipe gives you satisfying protein and fiber from chickpeas rather than chicken. And while using beans in the place of chicken is not entirely traditional, wow, does it ever taste delicious! 

By the way, if you don’t have chickpeas or prefer to cook with a different variety of legumes, by all means—make this vegan soup your way!

We’ve made this recipe using pinto, black, northern beans, and lentils, and they’re all good!

This vegan soup base is vegetable broth, a couple of fresh veggies, and salsa—it’s super quick and easy to make. Make it in either an Instant Pot, Crock-pot, or on the stovetop. 

You will find all of the instructions for cooking this tortilla soup using an Instant Pot in the recipe portion below.  

If you want to cook your vegan soup in a Crock-Pot, follow the low and slow manufacturers instructions.  

hand holding a spoon full of soup over a bowl of vegetarian tortilla soup recipe topped in long tortilla chips with fresh cilantro below the bowl on a marble looking counter or table

How to Make Authentic Tortilla Soup on the Stovetop

First, with a splash of water or broth in the pan to keep things from sticking, cook the onion and garlic in a large pot or big Dutch oven; then add the fresh veggies, canned ingredients, corn, salsa, broth, chickpeas, and seasonings except for the salt and lime.

Then, bring everything to a boil, and then simmer, low and slow, until the chickpeas are tender.

Next, follow these instructions to prepare the oil-free tortilla chips.

And finally, once the chickpeas are tender, taste and season with salt and lime. 

Serve your homemade vegan tortilla soup topped with oil-free tortilla chips. You can also add optional toppings such as sliced avocado or guac. An extra squeeze of lime, cilantro, vegan sour cream, and spicy peppers also make excellent toppings!

How to Cook Tortilla Soup in a Crock-Pot Slow Cooker

Combine all of the ingredients except the salt and lime juice in your slow cooker. Cook on high for 3-4 hours or on low for about 6-8 hours.

Once the chickpeas are tender, season the vegan tortilla soup with the salt and stir in the lime juice—taste and adjust the salt and lime to your liking.

Serve with tortilla chips and fresh cilantro on top and garnish with the additional optional toppings as desired.

strips of oil free tortilla chips sit  on top of vegan tortilla soup with chickpeas with leaves of cilantro on top of the chips

How to Make Crispy Vegan Corn Tortilla Chips

Making oil-free tortilla chips to pair with this vegetarian tortilla soup recipe is super easy. And since it’s something we often do, we wrote this recipe sharing how to make crispy oil-free tortilla chips.

Once you try making oil-free tortilla chips, you’ll be hooked! They’ve become our go-to for adding crunch and interest to all sorts of Mexican-inspired dishes—not to mention how fantastic they taste as a low-fat snack dipped into french onion dip or salsa.

Layering these crisped chips as the finishing touch for this healthy soup is vital in bringing all of the Mexican flavors together!

7-More Flavor-Packed Recipes For You

If you enjoy bold and spicy flavors, you’ll love these plant-based, vegan, oil-free and gluten-free recipes!

Thank you for Your Interest in Vegan Mexican Tortilla Soup!

After your first batch of this deliciously hearty, plant-based Instant Pot authentic tortilla soup from scratch, you’ll feel like a professional chef, which is pretty cool considering how easy this recipe is to make.

And since Mike and I can’t invite everyone over for a bowl of tortilla soup, though that’d be fun, if you’d like to find tortilla soup near you to sample, you may want to stop by your local Qdoba Mexican Eats for a bowl of Loaded Tortilla Soup.

Qdoba allows you to build your own vegetarian or vegan meal. It’s similar to Chipotle Mexican Grill; only Qdoba offers tortilla soup.

Happy Eating!

white bowl of authentic tortilla soup recipe topped with strips of corn tortilla chips and cilantro, lime wedges, green herbs, and jalapeno peppers and avocado scattered around the soup, red napkin
white bowl of vegan Mexican tortilla soup surrounded by scattered green cilantro leaves with red patterend napkin to the side of the bowl, portion of avocado in upper corner of image

Vegan Mexican Tortilla Soup | Instant Pot

  • 10
  • 20
    Cook Time:
  • Yield: 8 Servings

Savory, satisfying, vegan tortilla soup is a 1-pot meal where chickpeas stand-in for traditional chicken. Layers of exquisite flavor come from simple ingredients like onion, garlic, corn, and a squeeze of fresh lime—this soup is perfect as a hearty side or entrée to change things up on Taco Tuesday.  Be sure to allow an additional 20 to 40 minutes for the Instant Pot pressure valve to naturally release.



  1. First, place all of the ingredients except the salt and lime juice in an Instant Pot and stir everything to combine. Secure the lid, ensure that the steam valve is closed, and set to pressure cook for 20 minutes using a natural steam release.
  2. Allow about 20 to 40 additional minutes for the steam valve to drop on its own. And at that time, remove the lid and add the salt and lime juice to season the soup. Taste and adjust the seasonings to your preference. Serve your soup topped with tortilla strips, a sprinkling of fresh cilantro, and the listed optional toppings, to preference.


  • Beans or Legumes: We use chickpeas in this tortilla soup recipe, but if you can easily make this dish with nearly any variety of legumes. So, in other words, use the beans you enjoy eating! Since lentils are small, you'll need to reduce the cooking time a bit to accommodate the size difference.
  • Extra Heat:  When you're craving some heat, slice a fresh jalapeno pepper and add as much or as little as you like before cooking.  If you'd like a bit extra heat but not that much, make sure you remove the pepper's veins and seeds before adding it to the pot.
  • Cooking Method Alternatives: Instructions for stovetop cooking and slow cooking are in the article above the recipe.
  • Serving as a Meal:  This soup tastes especially lovely, served with a scoop of rice or quinoa.
  • Time Saver: To cut the cooking time in half, use three 15.5-oz cans of chickpeas drained and rinsed in place of the soaked chickpeas. To save more time, you could use store-bought tortilla chips, however, they will not likely be oil-free.


% DV

Calories Per Serving: 342
  • Total Fat 4 g 6 %
  • Saturated Fat 0 g 0 %
  • Cholesterol 0 mg 0 %
  • Sodium 864.6 mg 36 %
  • Carbohydrates 64.8 g 22 %
  • Fiber 9.9 g 39 %
  • Sugar 10.8 g ---
  • Protein 13.3 g 27 %
  • Vitamin A 7 %
  • Vitamin C 17 %
  • Iron 21 %
  • Calcium 6 %

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