Sopa de fideo

Quick, simple and delicious sopa de fideo (a Mexican noodle soup) is the ultimate easy Mexican comfort food made with pantry friendly ingredients in less than 30 minutes!

Sopa de fideo is one of the easiest and tastiest dinners you’ll ever make! Fideo is a robust, savory soup made with thin fideo pasta (like short vermicelli), simmered in a robust, rich, smoky, tomato-based broth dressed with cilantro and lime juice.   The whole meal cooks up quickly making it a perfect weeknight dinner or satisfying Sunday lunch.  You can keep the fideo recipe extremely simple or use it as a springboard for any add-ins such as corn, zucchini, leftover rotisserie chicken, etc. Dress up your big bowl of comforting, hearty fideo with crumbled cotija, Mexican crema and jalapenos and you have a quick Mexican soup that you will make again and again!

Mexican Soup recipes are some of our favorite fall/winter dinners around here.   If you’re looking for more easy, comforting, Mexican soups, you’ll love Pozole Rojo, Chicken Tortilla Soup, Crockpot Verde Chicken Tortilla Soup, Cheesy Taco Soup, Chicken Enchilada SoupChicken Fajita Soup, Albondigas Soup, and Caldo de Pollo.

top view of sopa de fideo with a ladle

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What Is Fideo? 

Fideo means “noodle” in Spanish, but when people talk about fideo, they’re typically referring to a specific type of noodle. Fideo pasta is a very thin, short, golden pasta similar to vermicelli and it’s the star ingredient in sopa de fideo (fideo soup).

Fideo soup boasts a tomato-based broth and is packed with fresh flavor from the cilantro and lime.  It’s made by sautéing fideo noodles until golden then blending tomatoes, onions, garlic, broth and sometimes jalapenos together and pouring it over the noodles then simmering everything together in one pot until the noodles are tender and much of the sauce is absorbed.

Fideo is then brightened with fresh lime juice and cilantro then garnished with assorted toppings such as cheese, jalapenos, avocados, tortilla chips, and Mexican crema.  Sopa de fideo is popular in Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisine, but other countries around the world make similar dishes – it’s comfort food at its easiest! 

Sopa de fideo has numerous variations and can vary even from neighbor to neighbor.  Authentic fideo uses fresh tomatoes (often roasted), shortcut fideo uses canned tomatoes, some cooks add cilantro, some cooks add chipotle or jalapeños. There are also several well known variations of sopa de fideo that have earned their own name such as sopa de fideo con frijoles (with beans), sopa de fideo with albondigas (with meatballs), and sopa seca de fideo. 

In this fideo recipe, we are focusing on simple fideo soup but you are welcome to get as fun and flirty as you like with the add-ins!

Fideo Recipe

If fideo soup isn’t a part of your easy dinner repertoire, it will be! Sopa de fideo is a comforting classic that combines simple ingredients in a simple way to create a cozy dinner the whole family love. This fideo recipe is not only delicious, it’s:

  • Inexpensive
  • Made with pantry friendly ingredients
  • On your table in less than 30 minutes
  • Versatile

One of the best things about this fideo recipe is that it can be made at a moment’s notice because it uses pantry friendly ingredients – you literally can keep everything stocked!  And if you can’t find fideo noodles, no problem!  You can use alternate noodles and just break the pasta into 1” pieces and cook as directed.

Secondly, this fideo recipe is a simple recipe that tastes complex but can be made in no time at by utilizing these smart shortcuts:

  • Shortcut 1: Some fideo recipes call for roasting the tomatoes, but instead we’re going to use fire roasted diced tomatoes which instantly infuses our broth with smoky flavor AKA all the work has already been done for us!  And bonus, you can keep canned fire roasted tomatoes stocked at all times.    
  • Shortcut 2: Instead of using homemade chicken broth, we’re going to enhance the store-bought broth with chicken bouillon.  This is a common practice in Mexico and something I do all the time.  Chicken bouillon, or better than bouillon, adds the concentrated, complex flavor as if you had been simmering broth all day.
  • Shortcut 3:  Some of my favorite sopa de fideo variations add dried peppers to the blender along with the tomatoes.  Instead, we’re adding chili powder, but just enough to add subtle earthy notes because fideo is supposed to be tomato based and not chili based.

Armed with these shortcuts, you’re ready to make sopa de fideo in less than 30 miinutes!

a bowl of fideo soup garnished with cilantro and chopped avocados

Fideo Recipe Ingredients 

This fideo recipe calls for just a handful of ingredients, and you likely have most of them on hand already. The only special ingredient is the fideo pasta, but you should be able to find it in the Mexican section of your grocery store, otherwise, there are great options I’ve detailed below. 

Here’s what you’ll need to make sopa de fideo: 

  • Fired roasted diced tomatoes: Boast a wonderful smoky flavor and are sweeter with less acidity than regular diced tomatoes. Most grocery stores carry them next to the traditional diced tomatoes but if you can’t find them, then substitute regular diced tomatoes with a pinch of sugar and possibly a dash of liquid smoke if you keep it stocked (use a light hand!).
  • Onion: Half of a large onion builds the base of the soup or substitute with ½ teaspoon onion powder.
  • Garlic: Fresh is best but you may substitute with 1 teaspoon garlic powder.
  • Jalapeño: Leave the seeds and ribs in for a spicier soup, or omit them for a milder flavor. It’s better to separate the seeds and add them to taste in my opinion.
  • Spices: I used a mixture of chili powder, oregano, and cumin to flavor this fideo recipe. These spices aren’t traditionally added to fideo, but they create a more complex profile, so I highly recommend added them.
  • Chicken broth: Adds more flavor than just water. Use reduced sodium chicken broth so you can control the amount of salt in this dish. 
  • Chicken bouillon: Adds a depth of flavor you won’t get by using just chicken broth.  You can use granulated chicken bouillon, chicken bouillon cubes or better than bouillon. If using cubes, crush them up first then add directly to the broth, don’t dissolve in water first.
  • Olive oil: Use extra virgin olive oil for the best flavor. 
  • Fideo pasta: Short, thin noodles that can be found in the Mexican section of your grocery store. I’ve detailed alternatives below.
  • Lime juice: Freshly squeezed is best, but bottled works in a pinch. 
  • Cilantro: Fresh cilantro is a must. It brightens up the soup and pairs well with the rich broth. If you’re not a cilantro fan, just skip it.

Where can I Find Fideo Pasta? 

Fideo pasta used in sopa de fideo are round and thin like spaghetti noodles, but short and bite-sized, about 1-inch long. You should be able to find them in the pasta aisle of your grocery store labeled as either “fideo” or “cut spaghetti.”  If you can’t find fideo noodles in your grocery store you can order them online.  Here is the exact pasta I used.

showing what fideo pasta looks like in a package

Can I Substitute the Fideo Noodles? 

Yes!  The great news about fideo pasta is they are easy to replicate.  The best option is to purchase thin spaghetti/vermicelli and break them into short 1-inch pieces.  The second-best option is use regular spaghetti (broken up).  You’ll want to stay away from angel hair—it’s so thin that it will cook too quickly.

Can I Use Any Other Pasta?

Fideo isn’t fideo without the sleek, thin noodles, whether that’s actual fideo noodles or spaghetti. They boast a delightful comforting yet light mouthfeel characteristic of fideo soup. Still, you can use whatever pasta you love such as ditalini, small shells or elbow pasta, just don’t call it sopa de fideo! 

Is This Fideo Recipe Gluten Free?

No, this fideo recipe is not gluten free as written.  To make gluten free fideo soup, use your favorite gluten free spaghetti or thin Asian rice noodles often called rice vermicelli.  Rice vermicelli can be found in the Asian section of your grocery store or online here.  They can be difficult to nicely cut before cooking, so it’s probably less messy to cut them into 1-inch pieces with kitchen shears after they’ve cooked in the sauce. 

Is This Fideo Recipe Vegan?

This fideo recipe is not vegan due to the chicken broth and chicken bouillon. To make vegan sopa de fideo, swap the chicken broth for vegetable broth and omit the chicken bouillon.  You will need to add additional salt to taste.   

showing the consistency of fideo recipe by scooping up the soup in a ladle

How to Make Fideo 

Now it’s time to make fideo in five easy steps. Here’s how:

Step 1: Make sauce. Add the fire roasted tomatoes, onion, garlic, jalapeño, and spices to a blender. Blend until smooth. 

a collage showing how to make fideo by adding tomatoes, onions, garlic to a blender then blending until smooth

Step 2: Toast noodles. Heat a Dutch oven or stockpot over medium heat. Add the oil followed by the pasta. Sauté until the fideo pasta is lightly browned. 

showing how to make fideo by browning fideo pasta in a sillet

Step 3: Simmer noodles. Add the tomato mixture from the blender to the Dutch oven. Then, add the chicken broth. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook until the noodles are tender. 

showing how to make fideo by adding fideo pasta to tomato sauce in skillet

Step 4: Jazz it up. Stir in the lime juice and cilantro. Season with salt and pepper, if needed. 

showing how to make fideo by adding cilantro and lime juice

Step 5: Garnish with toppings. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish as desired.

a ladle scooping in fideo recipe

How to Serve Fideo Soup

Topping your sopa de fideo with your favorite garnishes is half of the fun and the most important part for adding texture and flavor. You can create a toppings bar and let everyone pile on their favorites of:

  • Lime juice:  Although lime juice is already added directly to the fideo soup, feel free to add more to taste. Lime juice awakens the flavors of the entire soup and cuts through the robust tomato flavor.
  • Cilantro: Additional cilantro adds a fresh, zesty flair. 
  • Jalapenos:  Sliced jalapenos bring the heat!
  • Hot sauce: Pass around the hot sauce so individuals can customize the heat.
  • Avocado:  Chopped or sliced avocados add a wonderful creaminess. 
  • Cotija cheese: Is Mexican cheese made from cow’s milk that’s salty and crumbly, similar to Parmesan. You may sub freshly grated Parmesan in a pinch.
  • Mexican cheese blend or sharp cheddar:  Think the comforting combo of tomato soup and grilled cheese.
  • Mexican crema or sour cream:  A must in my book! Adds a wonderful creaminess and its refreshing tanginess compliments the robust, rich flavors.  You can also use fat free sour cream or Greek yogurt.  
  • Tortilla chips:  You can’t beat the CRUNCH of salty, chips or strips! You can use store bought or homemade tortilla strips or crushed tortilla chips.
  • Radishes:  Add a delightful spicy, peppery, zesty crunch.
  • Cabbage:  Thinly sliced cabbage adds a fresh, contrasting crunch.

Tips for Making Fideo Soup

This sopa de fideo is pretty straightforward, but here are some helpful tips for cooking one-pot pasta soups:

  • Use a large enough pot: The fideo pasta and sauce all combine in one dish so you’ll need a pot with plenty of wiggle room.  I used this 4 quart cat iron pan.  If you don’t have a medium pot like this, then use a larger one.
  • Use a quality pot:  Cast iron is ideal for one pot pasta dishes because it’s thick and transfers heat evenly.  Thin cookware will cook the pasta unevenly, leaving some pasta cooked and some undercooked.
  • Toast the noodles: I know toasting the noodles might sound a little odd, but it helps develop the wonderfully nutty flavor and texture, so don’t skip!
  • Use a strong simmer.  Keep an eye on the strength of the simmer throughout the entire cooking process, adjusting if needed.  You want to maintain a strong simmer otherwise the pasta will become mushy.
  • Cooking times will vary:  Whenever pasta dishes are cooked in one pot, there are several variables such as the type of pot, size of pot, actual simmer temperature and actual pasta shape used.  Due to these variables, the fideo noodles may take more or less cooking time so be prepared to pay attention and be flexible. Monitor the fideo for doneness, relying on YOUR tasting skills. 
  • Stir often:  Be diligent about stirring the fideo while simmering so the pasta will cook evenly.
  • Adjust to taste: If you feel like your finished fideo soup is missing something, it is likely salt and heat. Once you season to taste with salt and a little cayenne pepper, then all the flavors will come alive. 
  • Don’t skimp the garnishes! The garnishes are especially important in sopa de fideo because the soup itself is rich and brothy without many textural components other than the fideo noodles. The soup needs the brightness and contrasting crunch the toppings provide.

Recipe Variations to Try 

Sopa de fideo is tasty in it’s simplicity or is the ideal base to jazz up. I particularly like adding rotisserie chicken, zucchini and corn. Here are some recipe variations to try:

  • Use fresh tomatoes:  You may substitute the fire roasted diced tomatoes with 4 Roma or plum tomatoes, quartered and preferably roasted.
  • Add vegetables: Traditional fideo soup isn’t loaded with veggies, but you’re welcome to add anything your belly desires!  Chayote, zucchini, corn, green beans, asparagus, and bell peppers would be great additions.
  • Add protein:  You can throw in any leftover protein such as shredded chicken for a heartier soup .You can also sauté bite size pieces of chicken or brown ground beef or ground turkey before adding the sauce and fideo noodles to simmer.
  • Make it vegetarian: On the opposite end of the spectrum, you can easily make this fideo recipe vegetarian by using veggie broth and omitting the bouillon.  You will need to add additional salt to taste.
  • Make sopa de fideo con frijoles: Swap 2 cups of chicken broth for black bean broth hand add 1 ½ cups black beans.
  • Make sopa con albondigas: Add your favorite meatballs like the ones used in my albondigas soup recipe.
  • Make sopa de letras: You can also make this soup using alphabet pasta to make sopa de letras.
  • Make it brothy: Don’t be scared to add more chicken broth if would like a thinner, more brothy sopa de fideo (it’s typically on the thicker side).
  • Make it spicy: For a spicier soup, leave the seeds inside the jalapeño pepper. You can also add cayenne pepper to the soup after it’s simmered -but as always, taste first!
top view fideo soup in a bowl with cilantro and jalapenos

Can I Prep This Recipe in Advance? 

This fideo recipe is so simple and cooks so quickly that there’s not much point in preparing the individual components beforehand. However, you can certainly make the sauce ahead of time and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to add to the fideo pasta.

How to Store Fideo 

This fideo soup can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to five days. 

How to Freeze Fideo Soup

This fideo recipe is best enjoyed fresh, as the noodles tend to change texture once frozen. However, the soup can be frozen for up to three months so long as you don’t mind the slight textural changes. 

To freeze: 

  • Cool fideo completely before freezing.
  • Package soup in a freezer-safe container. You can use sandwich-size plastic bags for individual soup portions, quart size bags or freezer bags. To easily fill these bags, place them in a container that you can wrap the top around the edge of – for example, place a sandwich size bag in a mug then cuff the edges around the mug. This keeps the bag open and prevents it from collapsing when you are pouring in your fideo soup.   Final packaging tip, make sure to let out any excess air before you seal.
  • Label your bags so the fideo doesn’t become a freezer mystery.
  • Freeze the soup for up to three months. Once the bag is solid, you can lay it flat in a single layer so it’s stackable to save space.
  • Thaw in the refrigerator overnight then reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave. If you forget to thaw your soup beforehand, then you can thaw the soup in the microwave. Transfer frozen soup into a microwave-safe container, partially cover and microwave until the soup has become slushy, stirring in between so it thaws evenly.

How to Reheat Fideo Soup 

  • Microwave: Heat at for 60 seconds, then at 30-second intervals until warmed through, stirring often. 
  • Stove: Add the fideo soup to a saucepan and heat over medium heat until warmed through, stirring often. 

What to Serve with Fideo 

This fideo recipe is delicious with what I call “little bites” like tostadas and empanadas or go as simple as side salad or veggies. If you need more ideas of what to serve with this fideo recipe, here are some of my favorites: 

tasty bites with fideo

Looking for More Mexican Soup Recipes? 

up close of fideo recipe in a bowl with fideo pasta

Sopa de Fideo

Quick, simple and delicious sopa de fideo (a Mexican noodle soup) is the ultimate easy Mexican comfort food made with pantry friendly ingredients in less than 30 minutes! Fideo is a robust, savory soup made with thin fideo pasta (like short vermicelli), simmered in a robust, rich, smoky, tomato-based broth dressed with cilantro and lime juice. You can keep the fideo recipe extremely simple or use it as a springboard for any add-ins such as corn, zucchini, leftover rotisserie chicken, etc. Dress up your big bowl of comforting, hearty fideo with crumbled cotija, Mexican crema and jalapenos and you have a quick Mexican soup that you will make again and again!
Servings: 4 -6 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 14.5 ounce cans fire roasted diced tomatoes with juices
  • 1/2 onion, roughly chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 jalapeno or 1 chipotle pepper in adobo
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon granulated chicken bouillon
  • 1 tsp EACH dried oregano, ground cumin, salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 7-8 ounces fideo pasta (may sub thin spaghetti or vermicelli noodles broken into 1 in. pieces)
  • 4 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • ¼ cup packed fresh cilantro minced

Instructions

  • Add tomatoes, onions, garlic, jalapeno and all seasonings to your blender and blend until completely smooth; set aside.
    a collage showing how to make fideo by adding tomatoes, onions, garlic to a blender then blending until smooth
  • Heat oil in a 4-quart or larger Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the fideo pasta and sauté, stirring constantly, until lightly browned about 3-5 minutes.
    showing how to make fideo by browning fideo pasta in a sillet
  • Add the blender tomato sauce and chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer for 8-10 minutes or until noodles are tender.
    showing how to make fideo by adding fideo pasta to tomato sauce in skillet
  • Stir in lime juice and chopped cilantro. Season to taste with salt, pepper and/or cayenne pepper.
    showing how to make fideo by adding cilantro and lime juice
  • Serve with your favorite toppings such as cheese, jalapenos, avocados, tortilla chips, Mexican crema/sour cream, crushed chips, etc.

Notes

Tip for Success

  • Fideo pasta: Is round and thin like spaghetti noodles, but short and bite-sized, about 1-inch long. You should be able to find fideo in the pasta aisle of your grocery store labeled as either “fideo” or “cut spaghetti.”  If you can’t find fideo noodles in your grocery store you can order them online, here is the exact pasta I used.  The best substitute is thin spaghetti/vermicelli broken into short 1-inch pieces.  The second-best option is use regular spaghetti (broken up).  You’ll want to stay away from angel hair—it’s so thin that it will cook too quickly.
  • Fired roasted diced tomatoes: Boast a wonderful smoky flavor and are sweeter with less acidity than regular diced tomatoes. Most grocery stores carry them next to the traditional diced tomatoes but if you can’t find them, then substitute regular diced tomatoes with a pinch of sugar and possibly a dash of liquid smoke if you keep it stocked (use a light hand!).
  • Chicken bouillon: Adds a depth of flavor you won’t get by using just chicken broth.  You can use granulated chicken bouillon, chicken bouillon cubes or better than bouillon. If using cubes, crush them up first then add directly to the broth, don’t dissolve in water first.
  • Cooking times will vary:  Whenever pasta dishes are cooked in one pot, there are several variables such as the type of pot, size of pot, actual simmer temperature and actual pasta shape used.  Due to these variables, the fideo noodles may take more or less cooking time so be prepared to pay attention and be flexible. Monitor the fideo for doneness, relying on YOUR tasting skills. 
  • Adjust to taste: If you feel like your finished fideo soup is missing something, it is likely salt and heat. Once you season to taste with salt and a little cayenne pepper, then all the flavors will come alive. 
  • Don’t skimp the garnishes! The garnishes are especially important in sopa de fideo because the soup itself is rich and brothy without many textural components other than the fideo noodles. The soup needs the brightness and contrasting crunch the toppings provide.
  • Recipe variations:  See post for lots of recipe variation ideas such as adding shredded chicken, beans, corn, zucchini, etc. 

How to Store and Reheat Fideo 

  • Storage: Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to five days. 
  • Microwave: Heat at for 60 seconds, then at 30-second intervals until warmed through, stirring often. 
  • Stove: Add the fideo soup to a saucepan and heat over medium heat until warmed through, stirring often. 

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10 Comments

  1. Sarah says

    Wow does this ever look good! Simple, accessible, and I’m sure delicious. I always enjoy your recipes and I love learning about a new dish I’ve not heard of before. Your beautiful photography is a bonus.

    • Jen says

      Thank you for your super thoughtful comment Sarah, you made my day! I’m so happy you enjoy exploring new cuisine – I hope this fideo is a new favorite!

  2. Ramya says

    will be making this soon with few subs as am a vegan perfect for hot and raining days in SIngapore pl i love your new website Thanks Ramya

    • Jen says

      I’m so happy you love the new site, it was past due! I hope you love this fideo and that it warms you right up!

  3. Diana says

    I make sopa de fideo every once in awhile based on recipes I already have, but I’m bookmarking yours because you always have the best versions of recipes. Glad I came and saw your new format. Lovely!

    • Jen says

      Thanks Diana, the new design was a long time in the making, I’m so happy you like it! I hope this fideo recipe is your new favorite version!

  4. Jennifer Fulk says

    Oh this looks so good! I would like to add your albondigas meatballs to this. Would I add them straight into the soup to cook or bake them first? I am assuming I would need to add more chicken broth? Thanks for your advice on this. Love your new format!

    • Jen says

      Hi Jennifer, I’m so happy you love the new design! As far as the meatballs, this fideo doesn’t make as much as the albondigas soup so you would probably want to use half the quantity of meatballs and add more broth. I would cook the meatballs separately for this soup. Good luck, sounds delicious!

      • Jennifer Fulk says

        Thanks Jen! I think I will just double this fideo soup recipe so I can use all the meatballs! 🙂 I will bake the meatballs first . We are big eaters, esp when it comes to big pots of soup! Do you think for doubling it, I should just double all the ingredients, including using 4 cans of the fire roasted tomatoes?

        • Jen says

          I would just triple the diced tomatoes and add additional broth as needed. Good luck!

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