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Mexican Alphabet Soup (Sopa de Letras), is a childhood favorite. This Mexican kid-friendly recipe makes an easy meal that’s delicious and educational.
When I was kid, my brother and I would get home from school, throw our backpacks down, and eat a big bowl of this soup. We thought it was a fun way for us to spell our names. We joke that all Mexican kids learned the letters of the alphabet. lol.
Table of Contents
- Roma tomatoes chopped
- White onion
- Garlic clove
- olive oil
- package of alphabet pasta
- chicken bouillon cube
This classic Mexican soup involves very few ingredients and very little prep.
You will need alphabet noodles (sometimes called “ABC pasta”) from the pasta aisle at the grocery store. They come in tiny packages. Sometimes at the Mexican grocery store, you can find 2 small packages for $1. If you can’t find it, look for it in the Hispanic aisle next to the fideo, the tiny star pasta, and the conchas.
- Blend tomatoes, onion, garlic, and water in the blender until smooth.
- Then set the tomato sauce aside until ready to use.
You can also use a can of tomato sauce, canned tomato puree, or tomato paste and skip this step, but I wanted to give you the “from scratch” recipe.
See how vibrant red it is? That’s because the tomatoes have not yet been cooked.
To make this a complete meal, add some shredded chicken or cooked ground beef.
- Add oil to a large stock pot or a very large saucepan.
- Then add the pasta.
Grab the biggest pot you have! Also, don’t go far away, or they will burn.
Toast the alphabet pasta well on medium heat stirring the bottom of the pot. It will only take a few minutes. Toasty is tasty.
If the pasta burns, you need to throw away the small pasta. Wash the pot and start all over again. I repeat: Don’t go far from the pot when toasting the pasta!
- Pour in the tomato mixture, water, and chicken bouillon to the pot with the toasted pasta.
Stand back! This will splatter, and no one likes to get burned. The letters may look small, but the letters expand with the liquid… and so will your smarts.
Water goes in next. For more depth and flavor use vegetable stock or chicken stock. For a thinner soup, add more liquid right before you’re about to serve.
- Give everything a good stir. Cover with a lid.
- Let this cook for 8-10 minutes, or until the pasta is tender.
Chicken bouillon gives this hearty tomato-based soup a lot of flavor to this simple alphabet soup. It also salts the liquid. If you are not interested in using chicken bouillon, you can use chicken broth instead and omit the water.
Reserve one cup of liquid until right before serving the sopa de letras. That way, the soup will not be as thick and more soup-y.
Frequently Asked Questions
- How long can I store the leftover soup? You can store it in the fridge for 3-4 days in an airtight container.
- Can I add my own fresh vegetables to this “ABC soup”? Sure thing! I always love throwing some green beans or other veggies into this homemade alphabet soup.
- Can I use a dutch oven to make this soup? Yes, you can. Just follow the instructions above.
Hungry for More?
Sopa de Letras
- To a blender, add tomatoes, onion, garlic clove and 1 cup of water.
- Blend until smooth.
- Set aside until ready to use.
- Heat oil in a large stock pot.
- Add package of alphabet pasta.
- Stir frequently until golden brown.
- About 4-5 minutes.
- Do not let this burn, or you will have to start all over again.
- Add 4 cups of water, tomato mixture, and chicken bouillon.
- Stir to combine.
- Cover and bring to a low simmer.
- Cook for 20 minutes, or until pasta is soft and the conchas have puffed up.
- Serve and enjoy
Maggie Unzueta is the writer/blogger, photographer, recipe developer, videographer, and creator of In Mama Maggie's Kitchen. She has been developing easy and authentic Mexican food, Mexican-inspired recipes, and traveling tips since 2010. From family recipes to her extensive travels throughout Mexico, she brings traditional Mexican flavors from South of the Border and into your kitchen. Maggie has been featured in notable culinary websites and other media outlets. For more details, check out her About page.