Luby’s Beef Tortilla Soup

Luby’s is a cafeteria-style restaurant known for their home cooking. You can make their famous beef tortilla soup at home with this easy copycat recipe.

bowl of copycat Luby's beef tortilla soup.

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What Makes Luby’s Beef Tortilla Soup

Beef Tortilla Soup is an all-around crowd-pleaser. It has a kid-friendly spice level but still enough flavor to keep things interesting for adults.

This soup is perfect for taking along to a potluck or church dinner. Serving with a few extra garnishes on the side will allow folks to customize the soup to suit their taste. 

Why You Should Try This Recipe

Most recipes for Tortilla Soup contain chicken, but using ground beef in combination with the chicken stock in this recipe creates deeper, more complex flavors that are still not too heavy.

Stop spending all day simmering soup on the back burner when you can prepare Luby’s Beef Tortilla Soup in about 20 minutes!

Ingredients For Tortilla Soup With Ground Beef

For this recipe, you’ll need:

  • Chicken stock
  • Whole peeled tomatoes, canned
  • Ground cumin
  • Garlic, minced
  • Salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • Cream-style corn
  • American cheese, shredded
  • Cornstarch
  • Water, slightly below room temperature
  • Ground beef
  • White onion, chopped
  • Tortilla chips

Use cream-style corn in this recipe. Canned or homemade cream-style corn will taste great, but make sure you don’t pick up creamed corn by mistake. Creamed corn contains dairy, while cream-style corn does not. 

Luby's beef tortilla soup ingredients.

How To Make Easy Tortilla Soup With Ground Beef

To make this Beef Tortilla Soup recipe:

  1. Pour the chicken broth into a large stockpot and bring it to a boil.
  2. Dump the whole canned tomatoes and the juice from the cans into a mixing bowl. Use your hands to crush the tomatoes into small pieces.
  3. Add the hand-crushed tomatoes to the chicken stock.
  4. Season the soup with cumin, garlic, and ground black pepper. Add the cream-style corn and shredded American cheese.
  5. Stir well and return the soup to a boil.
  6. Dissolve the cornstarch in a bowl of slightly below room temperature water to make a slurry.
cornstarch and water slurry in a bowl.
  1. Stir the slurry into the soup.
  2. Reduce the heat until the soup is at a slow simmer, and cook uncovered for ten minutes. 
Luby's tortilla soup in a Dutch oven.
  1. While the soup simmers, you have time to brown the ground beef and cook the onions in a pan over medium-high heat. Make sure to fully cook the meat before draining. 
raw ground beef and chopped onions in a skillet.
browned ground beef and onions in a skillet.
  1. Add the drained ground beef and onions to the soup.
  2. Stir well. Top with tortilla chips and serve immediately.
overhead view of copycat Luby's beef tortilla soup and tortillas in bowls.

Recipe Variations

Feel free to make a few changes to the recipe. Here are a few suggestions you may want to try:

  • Double the amount of ground beef for a heartier soup. You can also use other ground meat such as turkey, chicken, or bulk sausage. 
  • Toss in a can of strained pinto beans before simmering the soup. If you mash half of the beans, you won’t have to add the cornstarch.
  • Use beef stock for a meatier flavor. 

What Can You Top Beef Tortilla Soup With? 

This soup will go great with just about any of your favorite burrito or taco toppings. In addition to tortilla chips or tortilla strips, try garnishing your soup with chopped onions, shredded cheese, pickled jalapeno slices, salsa, sour cream, sliced avocado, and guacamole.

Add a dash or two of hot sauce for a bit of heat. Of course, you can’t forget a squeeze of fresh lime juice to really bring out the flavors of the soup. 

a spoonful of copycat Luby's beef tortilla soup.

What To Serve Beef Tortilla Soup With? 

While this soup is light enough to get away with serving a cup as a starter, you can quickly turn this recipe into the main course by serving a bowl of it with crusty bread and maybe a side salad. 

How To Store Leftovers

Cool the soup down as quickly as possible and then transfer it to a clean storage container with a lid. You can refrigerate the soup for up to three days or try freezing it for up to two months. Thaw frozen soup overnight in the fridge before reheating. 

What’s the Best Way to Reheat Tortilla Soup?

The best way to reheat easy tortilla soup with ground beef is in a saucepan on the stovetop over medium-low heat. Reheat the soup slowly while stirring. You can thin out the soup by adding a little more chicken stock. 

two bowls of copycat Luby's beef tortilla soup.

Love Soup? Try These Recipes!

Favorite Mexican Recipes

Check out more of my easy restaurant soup recipes and the best Mexican food recipes on CopyKat!

bowl of copycat Luby's beef tortilla soup.

Luby’s Beef Tortilla Soup

Luby’s Beef Tortilla Soup is a flavorful soup you have to try. 
4.86 from 7 votes
Print Pin Rate Add to Collection
Course: Soup
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: Luby’s Tortilla Soup
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 12
Calories: 343kcal


  • 3 quarts chicken stock
  • 22 ounces canned whole peeled tomatoes
  • 2 3/4 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons ground pepper
  • 12 ounces cream style corn
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded American cheese
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion
  • sour cream to serve
  • shredded cheddar cheese to serve
  • tortilla chips to serve


  • Bring the chicken stock to a boil in a large pot.
  • Crush the tomatoes by hand and add them to the pot along with their juices. Add the cumin, garlic, salt, pepper, corn, and cheese and return to a boil.
  • In a small bowl, dissolve the cornstarch in 1 cup of cool water. Slowly add the cornstarch slurry to the boiling soup, stirring constantly. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  • While the soup simmers, sauté the ground beef with the chopped onion in a skillet over medium-high heat. Drain off any grease.
  • Remove the soup from the heat, add the sautéed beef and onions to the pot, and stir.
  • Serve with sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, and tortilla chips.


Calories: 343kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 63mg | Sodium: 1590mg | Potassium: 544mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 370IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 343mg | Iron: 2.4mg

About Stephanie Manley

I recreate your favorite restaurant recipes, so you can prepare these dishes at home. I help you cook dinner, and serve up dishes you know your family will love. You can find most of the ingredients for all of the recipes in your local grocery store.

Stephanie is the author of's Dining Out in the Home, and's Dining Out in the Home 2.

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Reader Interactions


  1. KAt

    4 stars
    This is very close to the actual recipe. I have it from the cookbooks and also when it was printed in the San Antonio Express-News. The only thing this recipe is missing is the thickener. While the original appears to be half this recipe it has most of the same ingredients. The original calls for making your own tortilla strips from corn tortillas. It’s worth it as they are so fresh and flavorful. The thickener is 1/3 cup corn starch and 1/4 cup water. Also top with 1/4 cup chopped cilantro. It also has uncooked corn tortillas in the soup.

    Luby’s Tortilla Soup

    Vegetable oil 1 ½ cups shredded American cheese*
    4 corn tortillas, cut in 1×3” strips 2 tsp. cumin
    ½ pound lean ground beef 2 tsp. salt
    1/3 cup finely chopped onion 1 tsp. pepper
    6 cups chicken broth 1 small clove of garlic, minced
    1 (14 ½ oz.) can whole peeled tomatoes, 1/3 cup corn starch
    Undrained and chopped ¼ cup water
    1 can (12 oz.) cream style corn ¼ cup chopped cilantro (optional)

    In small skillet, heat about ½” oil. Add half the tortilla strips and cook until crisp. Drain on paper towels.

    In small skillet, brown ground beef with onion, drain.

    In large saucepan or dutch oven, combine broth, tomatoes, corn, cumin, salt, pepper, and garlic. Bring to a boil.

    In small bowl, mix cornstarch and water until cornstarch is completely dissolved. Gradually add to boiling soup, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in ground beef mixture, cheese and uncooked tortillas.

    Ladle into bowls. Garnish with fried tortilla strips and, if desired, cilantro.

    8 servings

    * in place of American cheese you can use shredded cheddar or fiesta style shredded cheese.

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