Mexican Sopes: A Step-By-Step Recipe

Mexican sopes are an easy dish to make. They consist of a corn tortilla, and then you add beans, meat, or other ingredients. We'll show you how!
Mexican Sopes: A Step-By-Step Recipe
Florencia Villafañe

Written and verified by the nutritionist Florencia Villafañe.

Last update: 27 May, 2022

Have you ever had Mexican sopes? These appetizers are one of the most popular foods in Mexico. They’re small, thick corn tortillas that are pinched along the edges to have a little wall, then fried in butter.

In general, you add different ingredients. For example, cheese, refried beans, pork rinds, and meat are the most common. Of course, like all Mexican dishes, they also have hot sauce!

According to various articles, sopes, like other recipes made with corn (like enchiladas, quesadillas, tortilla chips, and tacos) are common in small gatherings and even large celebrations.

Traditional Mexican sopes recipe

Making sopes takes some time, so it’s best to do them when you already have some food to add on top. 

For example, leftover beans, stewed meat, or cooked chicken. On the other hand, you can also divide this recipe into two parts and prepare the sopes the day before.

Now, you’ll need a sturdy plastic freezer bag, a comal or griddle for cooking, and a tortillera (tortilla press) or a glass mold if you don’t have a press.

Also, keep in mind that the cornmeal you use to make them is nixtamalized. This means that it’s pre-cooked, so you make it with just water. So, to make it, you need to do an alkaline treatment by cooking the corn in water with lime.

Corn flour in a bowl.

Check this out: Corn Grits: Learn about this Great Dish

Ingredients for the dough

  • One and a half cups of nixtamalized cornmeal
  • One and a quarter cups of warm water

Ingredients for the fillings

  • 1/2 cup of Mexican cream or spiced cheese spread
  • Half a cup of fresh cheese
  • 1/4 cup of chopped onion
  • Red or green sauce to taste
  • 4 tablespoons of vegetable oil or 2 of butter
  • A cup of refried beans (boiled beans that are then cooked in oil or butter)
  • One and a half cups of minced beef or chicken
  • 2 cups of chopped lettuce
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Optional garnishes

  • 1 avocado, diced or sliced
  • Half a cup of chopped tomato
  • 1/3 cup of finely sliced radishes
  • Pickled peppers and carrots

Steps to assemble sopes

  1. First, in a bowl, mix the cornmeal with the warm water. Knead until fully integrated. If necessary, add more water, but be careful because it can be sticky. The goal is for the dough to be smooth and manageable.
  2. Then, cover it with a damp cloth towel to prevent it from drying out.
  3. Next, divide the dough into balls. Try to make them the same size. When you’re done, cover them again with the cloth napkin.
  4. Now, cut a plastic bag into two squares of the same size.
  5. Place a piece of plastic on the tortillera, put a ball of dough on top, cover with the other piece of plastic and close the tortillera with gentle pressure. Then, remove the dough, remove the plastic sheets and repeat the process. Use this technique to make all the tortillas.
  6. If you don’t have this tool to make tortillas, use a glass mold. In this case, put the plastic on the counter and do the same process.
  7. When you’re done, heat a hot plate to medium heat, place the tortillas one by one on the stove and, after one minute, flip the dough to coo it on the other side. Keep in mind that if you let it cook for too long, the dough will dry out.
  8. Finally, remove the soup from the hot plate with a spatula and leave it in a container so it stays warm. Now, it’s time to form the border by pinching the edges with your fingers.

Pre-made Mexican sopes

  1. Heat the oil or butter in a frying pan. Place the sopes in it and lightly fry for 30 seconds on each side. This is enough time for them to brown and heat up. Then, remove them from the pan and place them on a plate on top of paper towels to absorb excess grease.
  2. Now, it’s time to fill them up! You can add beef or chicken, lettuce, cheese, or whatever ingredients you like. Then, add the hot sauce on top of everything.

Discover: Make Delicious Mexican Cauliflower Rice with this Great Recipe

Nopal sope recipe

Another type of Mexican sopes you can make is with fresh nopal instead of the famous corn tortillas. In this recipe, the nopales will serve as the base.

Also, according to various studiesthis food has nutraceutical characteristics that have piqued interest in Europe and Asia. They are beneficial to treat several diseases since they’re a source of vitamin C, minerals, and soluble and insoluble fiber.


  • 10 pieces of medium nopal
  • 1/2 piece of lettuce
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of pepper
  • 1 cup of refried beans
  • Cream cheese
Mexican sopes on a plate.


  1. First, you have to shape the nopales. To do this, use a cup, a lid, or some round element that you can put on the nopal.
  2. Then, using a knife, start cutting them until they’re a round shape.
  3. Next, chop the lettuce, add salt, and set aside.
  4. Meanwhile, heat a griddle or hot plate over medium heat, add a pinch of pepper to each nopal that you cut, and place them on the hot griddle. Let them cook on both sides until they change color.
  5. Once ready, remove them from the heat, place them on a wooden board or a plate, and spread the refried beans.
  6. Finally, spread the cream cheese, add the lettuce and enjoy!

Nopal sopes are usually lighter than traditional ones because they have no cornflour. However, just like the previous recipe, you can also add meats, sauces, or other ingredients that you like.

Prepare some delicious Mexican sopes

As you can see, Mexican sopes are easy appetizers to prepare. Also, if you don’t have the typical tools or ingredients that you need to make them like Mexican cream, tortillera, or hot plate, you can still make them.

Remember, you can add beef, chicken, vegetables, legumes, or whatever else you prefer. Be sure to try these exquisite recipes!

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Calleja Pinedo, M., & Valenzuela, M. B. (2016). La tortilla como identidad culinaria y producto de consumo global. Región y sociedad28(66), 161-194.
  • Maki-Díaz, G., Peña-Valdivia, C. B., García-Nava, R., Arévalo-Galarza, M. L., Calderón-Zavala, G., & Anaya-Rosales, S. (2015). Características físicas y químicas de nopal verdura (Opuntia ficus-indica) para exportación y consumo nacional. Agrociencia49(1), 31-51.
  • Cuevas Mejía, J. D. J. (2014). Maíz: Alimento fundamental en las tradiciones y costumbres mexicanas.
  • Acle, R. S., & Montiel, A. V. (2018). Influencia de la gastronomía mexicana en el consumo étnico en España. Revista interamericana de ambiente y turismo14(2), 89-101.
  • Luna Montaño, R. (2020). Asociación entre la inseguridad alimentaria y la doble carga de malnutrición: revisión sistemática (Master’s thesis, Universidad Iberoamericana Ciudad de México. Departamento de Salud).

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.