How to make sopes

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Are you looking for tips on how to make sopes from scratch? Then check out this comprehensive tutorial on how to make sopes. In this tutorial we tell you everything you need to know about how to make sope shells with nothing but water, salt, masa harina, and vegetable oil. After that, we provide links to some of our favorite sope recipes that you can make with these homemade sope shells.

We will start out this tutorial by answering some of the most frequently asked questions about sopes then we will provide step by step instructions on how to make sope shells. We also discuss some of our favorite sope toppings in case you want to create your own combinations!

homemade vegetarian sopes

Q&A

How to make sopes

What are sopes made of?

What are sopes made of? Sopes are made of masa harina. Masa harina is a corn based flour that is made from corn that has been processed to break down the germ and lining then dried and ground down to a fine powder. Masa harina is the same flour that is used to make corn tortillas, chalupas, gorditas, tostadas, and tortilla chips. Other than masa harina, all you need to make sope shells is some water and a little bit of salt.

How do you make sopes from scratch?  

How do you make sopes from scratch? Sopes are relatively easy to make from scratch. Here are all the steps you have to take to make sopes from scratch. 

  • Make the masa dough. The first step in making sopes is to make a masa dough with equal parts masa harina and warm water plus a little bit of salt. Keep reading for tips on how to make sure your masa dough has reached the right consistency.
  • Separate the dough into individual balls. Separate the sope dough into small balls that are 11/2 – 2 inches in size. You should be able to make about 6 dough balls for each cup of masa harina you use. 
  • Shape the sopes. Grab one of the dough balls then flatten it between the palms of your hands so that it is about 1 cm thick. Pinch the dough around the edges to form a rim around the edge of the sope. Once you have built up a little bit of a rim, press the dough on the inside of the sopse outward to fill in the gaps you made when you pinched the dough. 
  • Cook the sopes. Once the sopes are shaped they can be fried on the stovetop over medium heat for 2-3 minutes per side in vegetable oil.

How do you know when masa dough is the right consistency?

How do you know when masa dough is the right consistency? Masa dough should be dry enough that it does not stick to your hands when you try to shape it but wet enough that you can easily shape it without it crumbling. If you use a 1:1 ratio of water to masa harina your dough should have this consistency. Adding a little bit of neutral oil to your dough can help to make it a little more malleable.

How thick are sopes?

How thick are sopes? A sope should be between 1/2 cm and 1 cm thick at its thinnest point, which should be the bottom of the sope. The rim around the edge of the sope should be around double the thickness of the bottom of the sope.

What shape are sopes?

What shape are sopes? Sopes should be round with a rim around the edges that helps to hold toppings in. Sopes are thicker than other round masa based shells such as tostadas.

How do you cook sopes?

How do you cook sopes? Sopes should be fried on the stove top in vegetable oil. Sopes should be fried for 2-3 minutes per side until the sopes start to lightly brown. You should cook the flat side of the sope first then flip it over to cook the side with a rim around the edge.

How do you warm up sopes?

How do you warm up sopes? The best way to warm up sopes is by putting them in the oven at 350 degrees for around 10 minutes or by refrying them on the stove for 1-2 minutes. You can also heat up sopes in the microwave but you should be aware that sopes that are reheated in the microwave will be a little softer on the outside and more chewy on the outside.

How to eat sopes

How do you eat sopes?

How are sopes eaten? Sopes are eaten with your hands as a finger food. Sopes are topped with toppings such as refried beans, salsa, onions, and shredded lettuce before they are eaten. Sopes are generally eaten for lunch or for dinner as a main course. 

What do sopes taste like?

What do sopes taste like? The sope shells themselves taste similar to other masa based products such as corn tortillas, pupusas, gorditas, and chalupas. Most of the flavors for sopes come from the toppings that are added to the sopes. 

What toppings go on sopes?

What toppings go on sopes? Here are some of the most common toppings that go on sopes. 

  • Beans. Refried black beans, refried pinto beans.
  • Veggies. Shredded cabbage, shredded lettuce, green onions, white onions, red onions, jalapeños, tomatoes, lime.
  • Dairy. Queso fresco, sour cream, Mexican crema, cotija cheese. 
  • Sauces. Salsa verde, salsa rojo, pico de gallo.  

Other questions about sopes

What is the difference between sopes and gorditas

What is the difference between sopes and gorditas? Sopes and gorditas are both fried dishes that are made from masa harina. The most obvious difference between sopes and gorditas in the way toppings are added. Gorditas are sliced down the middle and filled with toppings like a pita pocket. Sopes, on the other hand, are piled with toppings like a flatbread. 

What is the difference between sopes and tostadas

What is the difference between sopes and tostadas? Sopes and tostadas are both fried round shells that are made from masa harina. Sopes are thicker than tostadas and have a rim around the edges that helps to hold in toppings. Sopes are crunchy on the outside but tender on the inside. Tostadas, on the other hand, are very thin and crunchy all the way through. Tostadas also tend to be a little wider than sopes. 

Are sopes gluten free?

Are sopes gluten free? Sopes are gluten free as long as they are made entirely of masa harina and they are not made with equipment that has been contaminated with gluten containing grains. If you have any questions about sopes and gluten see our article entitled are sopes gluten free

Cooking Tutorial

How to make sopes

These delicious sopes are naturally gluten free and so easy to make!
Prep Time15 mins
Cooking time10 mins
Total Time25 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Diet: Gluten Free, Low Lactose, Vegan, Vegetarian
Keyword: vegan, vegetarian
Servings: 6 sopes

Ingredients

  • 1 heaping cup masa harina
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil (for frying)

Instructions

  • Mix the ingredients for the masa dough then separate the dough into 6 balls
    rolled sough for chalupa shells
  • Flatten one of the dough balls between your hands until it is 1-2 cm thick. Pinch the dough around the edges to build up a rim around the edge of the sope.
    How to use your fingers to shape sopes
  • Press down on the floor of the sope with your sope to flatten the floor of the sope. Spread some of the dough from the center of the sope towards the outer edges to fill in the gaps left from pinching the dough.
    How to use your fingers to shape sopes
  • Repeat this process to form the other dough balls into sopes.
    How a fully shaped sope should look
  • Preheat the vegetable oil in a pan over medium high heat. Cook the sopes for 2-3 minutes per side until they turn golden brown. You should cook the flat side of the sope first then flip it over and cook the rimmed side.
    Fully cooked sopes

Our favorite sope recipe


homemade vegetarian sopes

These delicious vegetarian sopes with refried pinto beans are topped with flavorful refried beans, a refreshing roasted poblano crema, and lots of fresh veggies.  


Vegan black bean sopes

These vegan black bean sopes are a great option for all of you vegan foodies out there. These delicious sopes feature vegan refried black beans, fajita style vegetables, avocado, and green onions. 


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