Homemade Sopes

published Feb 28, 2023
Sopes Recipe

Made from fresh masa, water, oil, and salt, sopes are the perfect vessel for stuffing with an array of cooked and raw ingredients.

Serves8

Makes8 sopes

Prep20 minutes

Cook15 minutes to 20 minutes

Jump to Recipe
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Sopes prepared and topped with beans and avocado
Credit: Photo: Ghazalle Badiozamani; Food Stylist: Micah Morton

Categorized as antojitos (little cravings), sopes are very tasty vessels that can be eaten as a snack, appetizer, or your main meal. They’re delicious and endlessly versatile.

Sopes are typically found in smaller restaurants or with street vendors, especially in the southern part of Mexico. To make one, a 4-inch-thick pancake-like tortilla is removed from the heat midway through cooking and, while it’s still soft, the edges get pinched in a similar fashion to the crust of a pie. Traditionally, after it cools, it’s fried right before serving.

I have so many memories of getting sopes with my parents at a fonda located in someone’s home. The tables were set up in their garage and garden, while the cooking was done in their home kitchen. The sopes were simple — filled with refried beans and topped with potatoes and chorizo mix or chicharron en salsa verde, sprinkled with cotija and drizzled with red salsa. 

Credit: Photo: Ghazalle Badiozamani; Food Stylist: Micah Morton

What Is the Difference Between a Sope and a Tostada?

Sope is thick and doughy, while a tostada is thin and crunchy. Both can use similar toppings such as beans, avocados, lettuce, sour cream, and salsa.

What Can I Put in My Sopes?

Sopes are historically a humble food, so most of the time you will see them with beans and a little chorizo or chicharron, lettuce, cheese crumbles, and drizzle of salsa. For a vegetarian-friendly recipe, try warm mashed pinto beans, topped with sautéed potatoes, avocado slices, finely chopped cilantro and chives, queso panela crumbles, and a drizzle of salsa macha.

How Do I Eat Sopes?

Most of the time you will see people eating sopes with their hands, although if you are in a nicer restaurant, it’s totally fine to use your fork and knife. 

While a tortilla press is nice to have, I usually don’t get it out to make sopes. If you do decide to use a press, make sure you don’t press too hard. The objective is to have a thicker disc, like a pancake. 

There are specific sope presses that also work to make gorditas and pupusas. I do have one and it’s quite helpful when I am making a lot of them. It makes the sope look more “finished” — especially if you are out of practice.

Sopes Recipe

Made from fresh masa, water, oil, and salt, sopes are the perfect vessel for stuffing with an array of cooked and raw ingredients.

Prep time 20 minutes

Cook time 15 minutes to 20 minutes

Makes 8 sopes

Serves 8

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 2 cups

    fresh masa (not preparada, about 14 ounces), or 2 cups masa harina (about 8.8 ounces)

  • 1 1/2 cups

    hot water, if using masa harina

  • 2 cups

    plus 2 tablespoons grapeseed or vegetable oil, divided, plus more for the pan

  • 1 teaspoon

    kosher salt

Instructions

Option 1: Fresh masa

  1. If the masa has been refrigerated, let 2 cups sit covered at room temperature for 1 hour. Place in a medium bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil and 1 teaspoon kosher salt and knead until no longer oily, soft, smooth, and pliable like Play-Doh, 2 to 5 minutes.

Option 2: Masa harina

  1. Place 2 cups masa harina and 1 1/2 cups hot water in a medium bowl and mix until combined with no dry spots. Add 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil and 1 teaspoon kosher salt and knead until no longer oily, soft, smooth, and pliable like Play-Doh, 2 to 5 minutes.

  1. Divide the masa into 8 pieces (about 64 grams each for fresh masa and about 77 grams each for masa harina). Shape each piece into a smooth ball. Place on a work surface in a single layer and cover with a damp paper towel.

  2. Cut out 2 (10-inch) square pieces of parchment paper. Heat a cast iron comal, nonstick frying pan, or griddle to medium heat. The pan is ready when a drop of water dropped into the pan sizzles.

  3. Meanwhile, shape and cook as many sopes will fit in the pan in a single layer: Place 1 piece of the parchment on a work surface. Place 1 masa ball on the center of the parchment and top with the second sheet of parchment. Press and flatten the ball with the bottom of a large plate. Flip the flattened ball, still sandwiched between the parchment. Press and flatten with the plate again until the masa disc is about 4-inches wide.

  4. Grease the pan with a paper towel dipped in vegetable oil. Remove both sheets of parchment from the masa disc and place in the pan. Cook for 1 minute. Flip and cook for 1 minute more; the sope will not be browned. (This is a good time to press the next masa ball.)

  5. Transfer to a baking sheet. Let cool for a few seconds. While it is still hot, carefully pinch and pull up the sides as you would for the edge of a pie crust to create a raised edge about 1/4-inch higher than the inside of the sope.

  6. Repeat flattening, cooking, and pinching the remaining masa balls. (At this point, they can be cooled and refrigerated in a plastic zip-top bag for up to 7 days.)

  7. Heat the remaining 2 cups grapeseed or vegetable oil in a large saucepan over medium heat until 350ºF. Line a second baking sheet with paper towels. Place 1 sope in the hot oil and fry until golden brown in spots, flipping halfway through, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes total. Transfer to the paper towels. Repeat frying the remaining sopes. Fill the sopes as desired.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days. Reheat in a 350ºF oven until warmed through and crisp again on the outside.