Mexican Sopes
This sopes recipe creates the best sopes bursting with corn flavor, crispy on the outside, soft on the inside and the perfect vehicle for all your favorite toppings! If you aren’t familiar with sopes, they are one of the post popular antojitos in Mexico, (which is a catch-all word for Mexican street food), which translates to “little cravings;” and you will crave these Mexican sopes! These handheld heroes are first smothered in refried beans then piled with any of your favorite shredded Mexican proteins, fresh shredded lettuce, punchy onions, bright tomatoes, creamy avocados, salty queso fresco and spicy salsa – does it get any better?! This sopes recipe tutorial includes step by step instructions on how to make the best sopes, different sopes protein options, how to prep ahead, how to store and how to freeze.
Servings Prep Time
12sopes 40minutes
Cook Time
15minutes
Servings Prep Time
12sopes 40minutes
Cook Time
15minutes
a hand picking up a sope
Ingredients
DOUGH
  • 2cups masa harina
  • 1teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2cups water
  • 1/3cup lard or vegetable shortening, meltedor 1/3 vegetable oil (Optional, may sub water. See notes)
  • 2cups vegetable oil for frying
TOPPINGS
  • 1cup refried beanswarmed
  • 1 1/2cups shredded protein of choicesee post for tons of options
  • 1 1/2cups finely shredded lettuce
  • 1/4cup diced white onion
  • 1 avocadochopped
  • 1/2cup Homemade Salsamore or less to taste
  • 1/2cup Mexican creammay sub sour cream
  • 1/2cup crumbled queso fresco
OPTIONAL TOPPINGS:
Instructions
  1. Make the dough. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the masa harina and salt together. Stir in the water and melted lard (cooled to lukewarm) or vegetable oil. Knead by hand for about 3 minutes until the dough is smooth and pliable but not sticky. It should be the consistency of Play-Doh. After the dough is kneaded, form it into a ball and cover it with a damp dish towel and let rest for 5 minutes.
  2. Troubleshoot the dough. If the dough feels dry and crumbly or there’s cracking on the surface after you form it into a rough ball, add more water, little by little, kneading after each addition. The amount of water can vary depending on humidity levels. If you live in humid area, you may want to reduce the water to begin with.
  3. Separate the dough. After 5 minutes, transfer the dough to cutting board and flatten into an even disc. Using a knife, cut the dough into 12 equal pieces (like cutting a pizza). Keep the dough covered with a damp dish towel at all times while not working with it.
  4. Shape the dough. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside. Working with one piece of dough at a time, roll the dough into a ball, and place it in between two sheets of plastic wrap. Press down with a clear dish (I use a glass pie plate) to create a 3 ½ inch wide disk. Transfer sope to the prepared baking sheet, and cover with damp dish towel. Repeat with remaining dough. Alternatively, flatten sopes using a tortilla press.
  5. Cook the sopes. Preheat a comal or well-seasoned cast-iron skillet to medium heat (350 degrees), about 2-3 minutes. If you don’t have a well-seasoned cast iron skillet, use a nonstick skillet. Once hot, carefully add 4 sopes in a single layer. Cook just until the bottoms feel dry and light golden spots appear, about 60 seconds. Flip and cook another 30 seconds. Don’t be tempted to cook any longer or the dough will be too tough to form the rimmed edges and will dry out and crack.
  6. Pinch the sopes. Transfer the sopes to a clean, flat surface and let them cool 45 seconds then proceed to quickly pinch the dough around the edges to create a ½-inch rim. You may want to use a clean kitchen towel or gloves to protect your fingers from the heat. Repeat with remaining sopes.
  7. Shallow-fry the sopes. Line a baking sheet with paper towels. Carefully add 2 cups vegetable oil to the now empty cast iron skillet and heat to 350 degrees F. Add 4-6 sopes, and fry until golden, about 1-2 minutes per side, adjusting heat as need to maintain temperature. Transfer sopes to prepared baking sheet and dab off excess oil with paper towels. Repeat with remaining sopes.
  8. Assemble the sopes. Spread a layer of refried beans on each sope. Top with meat, lettuce, onions, avocado, salsa, crema, cheese and any other desired toppings. Serve warm.
Recipe Notes

Tips and Tricks

  • Masa harina should be easy to find at your grocery store in the flour aisle or Latin aisle. Look for finely ground as opposed to coarse ground which is used in tamales.  You may or may not see “instant” on the label – both will work great.

  • Do I have to use lard/vegetable shortening/vegetable oil?  Sopes can be made with just masa harina, water and salt, or they can be made with the addition of melted lard, melted vegetable shortening or vegetable oil.  I have tried making them both with and without the shortening, and the are way better with, in my opinion.  The shortening helps bind the dough together so it’s easier to work with, doesn’t fall apart, doesn’t crack, is more pliable and of course, is more flavorful.   In short, it adds the oomph.
  • How to make without lard/vegetable shortening/vegetable oil:  If you still want to omit the fat, you’ll make an equal swap of 1/3 cup shortening with 1/3 cup water. 
  • Prep protein toppings first.  Mexican sopes are best served warm so make sure to cook your protein and prep all of your toppings before you begin making the sopes. 
  • Don’t let dough dry out.  Keep the dough covered at all times with a clean, damp kitchen towel or paper towels.  Also, keep a small bowl of water next to your working station to keep your hands moist when working with the dough.
  • Don’t stack the sopes after frying or if they are at all warm or they will steam and you will lose that coveted crispiness. Line the sopes in a single layer with a little breathing room in between each one.
  • Don’t pre-assemble.  Only assemble the Mexican sopes once you are ready to serve for maximum crunchiness.  
  • Serve Chipotle style:  Create a toppings bar like they do at Chipotle and let everyone top their own sopes for zero lag time.

How to keep sopes warm

If you aren’t serving your sopes immediately, you can keep them warm in the oven. Adjust the oven rack to the middle position and oven to 200 degrees F.   After you fry the sopes, transfer them to paper towels, dab of excess oil, then transfer to a baking sheet (without paper towels).  Place the baking sheet in the preheated oven to keep warm.

HOW TO STORE & Reheat

  • Sopes:  store cooled sopes in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to seven days. Sopes should not be assembled before storing, rather store all of the components separately.
  • Microwave:  you’ll lose some crispiness, but the microwave is handy for a quick reheat and eat.  Microwave sopes on high for 20-30 seconds. You can even add the refried beans and protein and microwave all together.
  • Stove:  heat a cast iron skillet over low heat.  Add sopes and heat for about one minute per side or until warm.
  • Oven:  transfer sopes to a baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees F for 5 minutes or until warmed through.
  • Air fryer:  air fry sopes at 400 degrees F for 3-5 minutes.

HOW TO FREEZE SOPES

  • Let sopes cool completely.
  • Line sopes in a single layer on a baking sheet so they aren’t touching.
  • Transfer baking sheet to the freezer to flash freeze (this prevents them from sticking together when stored).  
  • Transfer sopes to a freezer bag and squeeze out excess air.
  • Freeze for one month. 
  • Let defrost at room temperature before reheating.