Sopa de Lima

This Sopa de Lima recipe is a vibrant and tangy Mexican lime soup that combines the refreshing flavors of citrus with aromatic spices and a rich and nourishing broth. This beloved dish offers a comforting and invigorating experience with tender chicken, crispy tortilla strips, and vibrant garnishes.

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freshly made sopa de lima in a bowl.

Mexican cuisine is a treasure trove of flavor. We love this sopa and also this Mexican street corn. Want more? Try some of these air fryer Mexican food recipes! So quick and convenient.

Why we love this recipe

  • The fresh lime juice adds a tangy and citrusy flavor profile, which gives this soup a zesty and distinctive taste.  It incorporates aromatic ingredients such as onions, garlic, and spices like cinnamon, and oregano giving this soup a delightful fragrance. The warmth and depth of flavor in the rich homemade broth make it a comforting option for a delicious meal.
  • Sopa de lima is considered a quintessential dish in the Yucatan Peninsula, home to North America’s largest indigenous population, the Mayans. Its cultural significance adds to its appeal, as people appreciate the opportunity to explore the diverse flavors and heritage of Mexico.
  • We enjoy it with this authentic Quesabirria recipe. These tacos pair perfectly with this savory soup.
overhead image of a bowl of sopa de lima.

Key Ingredients

  • chicken piecesbone-in and skin on – the skin adds rich collagen which gives a luscious silky, texture and the bones are nutrient-dense in calcium and magnesium. You could also substitute a turkey leg.
  • fresh lime juice – if you can find them, use Mexican limes! They are commonly found throughout Mexico and widely available in the United States. They are larger than key limes, with a bright green color and smooth, thick skin.
  • Mexican oregano – differs from regular oregano with a more citrusy and less woodsy flavor. It can be found online or locally at a Mexican grocery/specialty store. The citrus undertones in the oregano compliments the lime juice.
  • bell peppers – if you like more heat you can use a habanero pepper instead of bell pepper.
  • fire-roasted tomatoes – the charred flavor from the fire-roasted tomatoes ad a lot of depth ad flavor. You could also use regular diced tomatoes or even salsa. 
  • corn tortillas – the crunchy tortilla chip topping is a must!
A bag of Mexican oregano.

Equipment

  • soup pot – based on my first-hand experience, a 4-quart soup pot works perfectly.
  • mesh sieve – this is crucial for straining your broth

Instructions

Step 1

First, get your pollo in the pot.

You want the chicken to have bones and skin to bring all that oily goodness to your broth. I use chicken breasts, a full leg with thigh meat, and a few wings. Season the protein with sea salt and cracked black peppercorns.

chicken pieces in a large pot.

Step 2

Then, add in the whole vegetables and bring the pot to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce to a simmer until the chicken is cooked through. 

Step 3

Remove the chicken to a plate and strain the broth into another pot, reserving the liquid. Shred the chicken and set it aside.

shredded chicken on a plate.

Step 4

Wipe out the soup pot and warm a bit of olive oil over medium heat. Saute the chopped veggies and cook them until soft. Add the broth back in and simmer.

a pot simmering on the stove.

Step 5

Finally, add the shredded chicken, lime juice, and chopped cilantro to the pot.

Serve warm with the toppings of your choice.

a bowl of freshly made sopa de lima.

Expert tip

The best way to garnish your bowls of soup is with homemade crispy tortilla strips. They are way easier than you think and add a nice bit of crunch to the soup. They crisp up quickly with a bit of vegetable oil in a pan then transfer them to a paper towel. The towels help to blot out any excess oil leaving you with the crunch!

fresh made tortilla chips draining on a paper towel.

Recipe variations

  • Make a vegetarian version by replacing the meat with beans or tofu.
  • Add a few splashes of cream or coconut milk to the broth to create a creamier version.
  • Swap the chicken out for seafood or fish such as shrimp or cod or both and make a seafood version.

Serving suggestions

Toppings include tortilla chips, fresh avocado slices, lime wedges, chopped cilantro, fresh salsa, crumbled queso, or shredded cheese.

Serve with tortillas or crusty bread on the side, to sop up some of that beautiful broth.

Sopa de lima can be served alongside other Mexican-inspired dishes, such as tamales. We also love it alongside these Birria Quesadillas from Keesha’s Kitchen.

freshly made sopa de lima in a bowl.

FAQS

What does Sopa de Lima mean?

Sopa de lima, in Spanish, refers to lime soup, which uses lime as the key ingredient.

Can I make this soup ahead of time?

Yes! The soup itself can be made ahead of time, but the garnishes must be prepared fresh.

Storing and reheating 

To store the soup, let it cool to room temperature, then transfer to an airtight container. Store in the fridge for 2-3 days.

To reheat, pour the soup into a large pot and bring it to a gentle simmer. Let it simmer over medium-low until it is heated through. Meanwhile, prepare the garnishes.

image of sopa de lima with garnishes of fresh lime and tortilla chips.

More healthy chicken soup recipes

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Three Bean Chicken Soup

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Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

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Healthy Chicken Vegetable Soup

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Chicken Vegetable Quinoa Soup

**This recipe was originally posted on February 18, 2020, updated on April 27, 2022, and updated again on May 2, 2023, with recipe notes, writing, and new photos.**

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a bowl of sopa de lima.

Sopa de Lima

Sharon Rhodes
This Sopa de Lima recipe is a vibrant and tangy Mexican lime soup that combines the refreshing flavors of citrus with aromatic spices, and a rich and nourishing broth. This beloved dish offers a comforting and invigorating culinary experience, with tender chicken, crispy tortilla strips, and vibrant garnishes.
5 from 54 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
0 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Course Dinner, Soup
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 4
Calories 204 kcal

Ingredients
  

FOR THE SOUP

  • 2 lbs chicken pieces – bone-in and skin on
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1 large onion, cut in half – keep 1 half intact and finely dice the other half.
  • 8 cloves garlic – keep 4 whole and finely mince the other 4.
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • ¼ tsp Mexican oregano
  • ½ cup fire-roasted tomatoes
  • ¼ cup finely chopped green peppers
  • ¼ cup fresh lime juice – plus extra sliced limes for garnish
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro

FOR THE CRISPY TORTILLA STRIPS

MORE GARNISH IDEAS

  • lime wedges
  • chopped avocado
  • sliced jalapenos
  • fresh salsa
  • crumbled queso or shredded cheese
  • sour cream

Instructions
 

  • Add the pieces of chicken to a large pot and sprinkle with sea salt and fresh pepper. Add the broth, ½ of the onion, 4 cloves of garlic, bay leaves, cinnamon stick, and oregano.
  • Bring it to a boil over high heat. Reduce to medium and simmer until chicken is cooked through – approximately 20 minutes.
  • Remove the chicken pieces to a plate and set aside. when it is cool enough to handle remove the skin and bones and shred the meat.
  • Strain the broth into another pot or large bowl. Reserve the broth and set aside.
  • Wipe out the soup pot and add 1 tbsp of olive oil. Set over medium heat. Add the diced onion and green pepper, sprinkle with sea salt and fresh pepper, and stir well.
  • Let cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes or until softened. Add the minced garlic and stir for 1 more minute.
  • Add the broth back to the pot along with the fire-roasted tomatoes, stir, and simmer over medium heat for 5 minutes.
  • Add the shredded chicken back to the pot along with the fresh lime juice and chopped cilantro. Taste and adjust seasonings for more salt or pepper as desired.

FOR THE TORTILLA STRIPS

  • Warm the vegetable oil in a frying pan over medium heat. When it is hot, the tortilla strips, and fry for 3 minutes, stirring frequently, until the tortilla strips are mostly crisp all over. Transfer the strips to a plate lined with a paper towel to drain. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt.
  • Ladle the soup into bowls and serve with crispy tortilla strips and other desired garnishes.

Video

Notes

Serving suggestions

Toppings include tortilla chips, fresh avocado slices, lime wedges, chopped cilantro, fresh salsa, crumbled queso, or shredded cheese.
Serve with tortillas or crusty bread on the side so sop up some of that beautiful broth.

Storing and reheating 

To store the soup, let it cool to room temperature then transfer to an airtight container. Store in the fridge for 2-3 days.
To reheat, pour the soup into a large pot and bring it to a gentle simmer. Let it simmer over medium-low until it is heated through. Meanwhile, prepare the garnishes.

Nutrition

Calories: 204kcalCarbohydrates: 17gProtein: 4gFat: 15gSaturated Fat: 11gSodium: 1351mgPotassium: 445mgFiber: 3gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 458IUVitamin C: 43mgCalcium: 78mgIron: 1mg
Keyword sopa de lima
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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25 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This was delicious! I subbed some home-grown jalapeño for the green pepper otherwise pretty much followed the ingredient list. The broth was exquisite and complex in taste. Perfect soup for a rainy day in late summer 😋

  2. 5 stars
    I love Mexican food and I love lime so obviously this sounded amazing to me! But holy cow guys, go make this soup now, it is sooo yummy!

  3. 5 stars
    Lime really gives this soup a bright fresh flavor. This delicious soup will be in my menu rotation for sure!

  4. 5 stars
    Wow, this soup looks and sounds incredible. Love the flavors. I can’t wait to make this for my family.

  5. 5 stars
    I wish I had a bowl of this for dinner this evening! Definitely saving this recipe to make soon. 🙂

  6. 5 stars
    I’ve never had this soup before but it sure looks delicious! Love the fact that there are many layers of flavor in it. That’s definitely my thing!

  7. 5 stars
    We always have Mexican oregano in our pantry since we make a variation of this soup! I’m always on the look out for new versions of it so we can try something new. Bookmarking to make this weekend!

  8. 5 stars
    There are so many bright flavours in this soup Sharon. I was at the Latin store the other day and I should have picked up some Mexican oregano. I’ve always been curious about how different it is from the more common variety.

  9. 5 stars
    This was just what we needed for a cold, cold weekend! Great soup recipe and we took your tip about using Mexican oregano. We happen to have both and out of curiosity we tasted/smelled them side by side – you can totally pick up on the differences. Great tips, thanks!

  10. 5 stars
    This is a top soup recipe the flavours are fantastic and the chicken just gives it that great meaty texture 🙂
    They say you learn something every day and I did from this blog, Aztec word “Yokatlān,” meaning “place of richness.”
    Thanks for sharing, a great recipe!!

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