Homemade vegetarian sopes

Are you looking for a tasty Mexican dish that is easy to customize to your preferences? Then you should check out this recipe for vegetarian sopes! Sopes are even easier to make than similar Mexican dishes like chalupas and gorditas. Sopes are also made entirely from a corn-based masa dough so they are naturally gluten free!

Sopes are a great option for anyone who likes to meal prep. The fact that sopes are so easily customizable means that you can prepare an assortment of toppings ahead of time then combine them in different ways each day of the week. 

homemade vegetarian sopes

What is a Mexican sope?

Sopes are small round boats made of masa dough that are topped with a variety of tasty toppings. Sopes are made from masa harina much like corn tortillas, tostadas, gorditas, and chalupas. Sopes are thicker than most of these other masa products. This thickness is the main difference between sopes and tostadas, which are both flat masa-based shells that are piled high with toppings. 

How do you make sopes from scratch?

It is easy to make sopes from scratch! All you need to make sopes from scratch is a bag of masa harina, a pan to fry the sopes in, and some oil to fry the sopes in. Sopes are even easier to shape and cook than other Mexican dishes like chalupas, gorditas, and tortillas. All you have to do is flatten a ball of dough until it is about 1 cm then press outward from the center of the dough to build up walls around the edges of the sopes. The walls around the edges of the sopes help to hold the sope toppings in.

After you shape the sopes you need to cook them. I recommend cooking the sopes in a pan over medium heat with the flat side down for 2 minutes. After that, you should flip the sope so that the walls you have built are on the bottom and cook the sopes for another 1-2 minutes. The sopes should lightly brown and become firm when they are done cooking.

Are sopes crunchy

Sopes have a crunchy outer shell but they are more tender on the inside than similar Mexican dishes like tostadas, taquitos, and gorditas. Part of the reason that sopes are a little more tender on the inside is that they tend to be a little thicker than the shells of other dishes such as tostadas.

homemade sopes - fried masa boats

Are sopes gluten free?

Are sopes naturally gluten free? The answer to that question is yes! Sopes are made entirely from masa harina. Masa harina is a corn based flour that is entirely gluten free. Of course, if you are eating out at a restaurant you should always check with the chef to make sure that the sopes are gluten free. 

If you are looking for any more information on sopes and gluten check out our article entitled are sopes gluten free?  

What toppings go on sopes?

Let’s talk sope toppings! Sopes are a great meal to make for guests because they are highly customizable in terms of the toppings that you can put on them. The most common toppings to find on a sope are lettuce, onions, refried beans, salsa, and a crumbly cheese like queso fresco.

Here is a list of common toppings you might find on sopes.

  • white onion, green onion, tomatoes, lettuce, cabbage, diced chiles, potatoes, cilantro
  • queso fresco, Mexican crema, cojita cheese
  • carnitas, carne asada, ground beef, pulled chicken
  • salsa rojo, salas verde, mango salsa, pico de gallo, guacamole 

How to reheat sopes

Sope shells are supposed to be crispy on the outside. Like most crispy dishes, sopes maintain their crunch better when they are reheated in the oven or on the stove top. I recommend reheating leftover sopes in the oven for 10 minutes at 350 degrees. 

If you are going to make a large batch of sopes so that you have leftovers, I recommend storing the refried beans separately from the sopes. The refried beans contain a decent amount of liquid and if they are left on top of the sopes for multiple days the liquid will soak into the sopes. This will make the sopes lose their crunch.

homemade vegetarian sopes

Making refried beans for sopes

Whenever we make sopes with refried beans we use this recipe for vegetarian refried beans. These flavor packed refried beans take this simple dish to the next level! These refried beans are super easy to make and they need to simmer for 20-30 minutes so they can be made at the same time as your sope shells. Simply put the beans on to simmer then start shaping your masa dough.

Vegetarian sopes

Sopes are made with flat corn-based shells that you can pile high with all of your favorite Mexican-inspired toppings. These delicious vegetarian sopes are topped with refried beans, Mexican crema, crumbled queso fresco, green onion, and white onion. These sopes are vegetarian, egg free, and gluten free.
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Total Time30 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegetarian
Keyword: egg free, gluten free, vegetarian
Servings: 6 sopes


  • 1 1/2 cups Vegetarian refried beans (see our recipe for vegetarian refried beans)
  • 2/3 cup Mexican crema (see our recipe for poblano crema)
  • 1/2 cup crumbled queso fresco
  • 1/4 onion
  • 2 stalks green onion

Homemade sopes

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


Making sopes from masa dough

  • Combine the masa harina, warm water, and 1 tsp of vegetable oil. Roll the dough into 6 equally sized balls.
  • Shape your sopes flattening the masa balls into disks that are 1/2 - 1 cm thick. Pinch the dough around the edges to create walls around the side of your sopes. Flatten the middle of the dish so that the sopes have uniform thickness.
  • Fry the sopes in vegetable oil over medium heat for 2 minutes with the flat side on the bottom. You should fry your sopes in batches rather than one at a time.
  • Flip the sopes over and fry them on the other side for about 2 minutes. The sopes will be firm and lightly browned when they are done.

Assembling the vegetarian sopes

  • Chop the tomatoes, onions, and green onions then add all of the toppings to the sopes. You should put the beans on the sopes first, followed by the crema. The rest of the toppings can be added in any order.


The timing for this recipe assumes that you already have refried beans prepared. If you are going to prepare your own refried beans make sure to plan for the time it will make to cook the beans. 

Adding meat to your sopes

If you are not a vegetarian and you want to add some meat to your sopes, check out this recipe for pork carnitas or this recipe for carne asada. 

Refried beans & roasted poblano crema

Roasted poblano crema (poblano cream sauce)

If you want to make your sopes a little extra flavorful then you should check out our recipe for roasted poblano crema! This cream is light, fresh, and of course – creamy!

Do you want to make your own refried beans to put on your sopes? Check out our recipe for vegetarian friendly refried beans!

Other delicious sope recipes

How a fully shaped sope should look

If you have any questions about how to make sopes you should check out our comprehensive guide on how to make sopes. This article includes a step-by-step tutorial (with photos) on how to make sopes. 

Vegan black bean sopes

If you have any vegan eaters in your household you should check out this recipe for vegan sopes with refried black beans. This recipe feature lots of tips on how to make vegan refried black beans that are bold and flavorful!

Three gluten free bean and cheese gorditas laid out on a gray plate. There is a bowl of lime sour cream and a bowl of guacamole next to the bean and cheese gorditas.

Are you looking for a simple recipe for gorditas? These bean and cheese gorditas are simple but delicious. These tasty gorditas are filled with cheese, beans, zesty lime sour cream, and homemade guacamole. That’s a lot of flavor for a filling that doesn’t need to be pre-cooked at all!

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