Lilia’s Sopa de Fideo, Easy & Delicioso Mexican Noodle Soup

sopa de fideo

Sopa de fideo or Mexican noodle soup has so many good things going for it, says Lilia Arroyo Flores of Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood, known for its multi-generational Mexican heritage.

For starters, sopa de fideo is comfort food at its abuela-cooking best for so many Mexican families, including hers. “I chose this recipe because it goes far back to my great-grandfather’s generation in Chupicaro, which  is in Morelia in the state of Michoacan in Mexico. My mother and my father are from there,” says Lilia.

Watch how this comforting Mexican sopa de fideo is made: So easy, filling and delicioso.

It is also one of her all-time favorite meals, a dinner Lilia grew up eating all the time — usually on Sundays nights, she remembers: When her mom needed a break before work the next morning.

When she was thinking of a recipe to share with the Familia Kitchen community, “I chose sopa de fideo because: 1) It is absolutely delicious, 2) There is a story behind it that as a little kid I really didn’t understand, and 3) It is super, super easy and comes together so quickly. If you don’t think you can cook, this is something you can cook. When I come home and I am starving, I can whip this up really quick and feel satiated by it.”

sopa de fideo ingredients
One of Lilia Arroyo Flores’ favorite things about this soup is the simplicity of its five essential ingredients: fideos or noodles, tomato sauce, onion (powdered or fresh), garlic (powdered or fresh), and olive oil. Water is the sixth must-have ingredient, not pictured here.

Sopa de Fideo: Affordably Delicioso

Feeling satiated is the point of this dish, so hearty it is usually eaten as a complete dinner, with warm tortillas, says Lilia. This humble sopa has just five ingredients (six if you count water), making it an affordable way to fill hungry bellies. That is the thing about this dish that Lilia didn’t realize until she was grown up. People with limited means can just add more noodles and water, and this sopita easily stretches to feed a large family.

After eating this soup, no one leaves the table hungry. And, just as important, “no one left the table feeling like this is a poor person’s food,” remembers Lilia. “Honestly, as a kid, when you ate this, you didn’t think you didn’t have enough. You felt like: Oh, this is delicious. It is so good. And it fills me up.”

What Is Sopa de Fideo?

Sopa de fideo is a cozy-caliente bowl of vermicelli-like skinny pasta, broken into short pieces, pan-browned with onion and garlic, and then simmered for about 20 minutes to creamy goodness in a tomato-and-water broth.

For those of you wondering: How did noodles even make their way into this traditional soup from Mexico, land of corn and tortillas? Turns out fideos traveled with the Spanish conquistadores, alongside the garlic and onion that are also essential to this dish. As writer Jae Taurina Thomas reports in the installment on this sopa in her ongoing series of Historias de la Cocina “The history of fideos unfolds alongside the history of trade and colonialism between Italy, Spain and Mexico, or ‘New Spain’ as Spanish settlers called Mexico City and surrounding areas. Some historians believe that noodles were brought to both Italy and Spain by Arab nomads. Likely introduced to Spain between the eighth and ninth centuries, these noodles are said to have become known as the fine, thin fideos known today, which were then eventually taken to Mexico during Spanish colonization.”

Lilia Arroyo Flores and her mother
Lilia Arroyo Flores and her mother, Martina Calderon, who taught her to make sopa de fideo, one of her all-time favorite Mexican meals.

How to Garnish Sopa de Fideo

More than 500 years later, sopa de fideo remains one of Lilia’s forever-favorite comidas. So much so, that it was one of the first recipes Lilia asked her mother to show her how to make after she got married. “I didn’t even realize how simple it was until she taught me. And I was like: “Oh my gosh. It’s so easy.”

How is their family’s version of this soup different from others? “My mom always says it’s all about: La Mano, meaning according to whose hand is making it. I have had other versions and they are fine, but you get used to your mom’s. Some people’s sopitas look more red than others, and that is because they like to have more tomato sauce. My mom taught me to add more water so that it comes out almost an orangey color. That is how I like it, and how I make it for my family today.”

How did her mother teach her to garnish their version of this traditional dish? “Once the sopa is done, the ingredients my family adds to make it special are: Mexican sour cream or crema, slices of lime to squeeze into it, shredded queso fresco, and tortillas, of course.” Lilia smiles. “You always have tortillas.”

Ready to Make Mexican Sopa de Fideo?

Lilia’s Sopa de Fideo, Easy & Delicioso Mexican Noodle Soup

Recipe by Lilia Arroyo Flores
5.0 from 1 vote
Cuisine: Mexican


Prep time


Cooking time




  • 10 oz fideos (Fidelini noodles)

  • 4 oz tomato sauce

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (or 1 tsp granulated garlic, to taste)

  • ¼ large onion, diced (or 1 tsp granulated onion, to taste)

  • 1/4 cup olive oil

  • 1 tsp salt

  • 4 to 5 cups water, or to taste

  • Garnishes
  • 1/2 cup queso fresco, crumbled, or to taste

  • 1/3 cup crema, Mexican sour cream, or to taste

  • 1 to 2 limes, quartered

  • 4 to 8 corn tortillas, warmed


  • Gently break the Mexican fideos into smaller, uniform-size pieces to ensure even cooking.
  • Warm the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat until it shimmers.
  • Lower the heat to low. Gently toast the noodles in the warm oil, stirring constantly. Watch closely as they can quickly go from perfectly golden to burnt and unusable.
  • Stir in the minced garlic and finely diced onion. Continue to stir and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. (Alternately, if using granulated onion and garlic, stir in the powdered aromatics into the noodles.)
  • Add salt, adjusting to your taste as needed.
  • Pour in the tomato sauce, stirring to coat the noodles evenly.
  • Gradually add water, keeping in mind the sauce’s consistency will change with the amount. Add a smaller quantity for a robust, thick tomatoey sauce. Add more water for a silkier, orange-tinted one, which is Lilia’s family’s preference. Lilia says she generally adds about 4 to 5 cups.
  • Cover the skillet and let the mixture simmer on low heat for about 20 minutes. It’s ready when the noodles have fully absorbed the flavors and have softened into a creamy, hearty soup.
  • Top with a drizzle of Mexican crema and a sprinkling of crumbled queso fresco. Serve with freshly quartered limes (for squeezing into the soup) and warm corn tortillas.


  • Lilia uses La Preferida Fidelini noodles.

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