Alphabet Soup

Alphabet Soup

Sopa de Letras

Recipe Yield

6 servings

Cooking time

23 minutes

Rate this recipe

4 from 8 votes


  • 1 1/2 pounds fresh ripe tomatoes quartered, or whole canned tomatoes, drained
  • 1 garlic clove peeled
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped white onion
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 cups alphabet-shaped pasta or any other small-shaped pasta, 12 ounces
  • 1 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt or to taste
  • 8 cups chicken or vegetable broth

To Prepare

  • Place the tomatoes, garlic, onion and water in a blender or food processor. Puree until smooth.
  • Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, but not smoking, add the pasta, stirring continuously. As you fry the pasta, it will change in color from a deep white to a deep brown. Take care not to burn it! You want to cook it until it smells toasty, but not bitter like burned toast, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Pour the tomato puree over the pasta, sprinkle in the salt, and stir. Be careful, as the puree will want to jump all over your burners, it’s a good idea to cover it partially with a lid. Let the tomato base cook and thicken for about 6 minutes, stirring often, until it becomes a deeper red and has thickened to the consistency of a thick puree. Keep on stirring, so the pasta doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot. You will see the base of the pot as you stir, but the sauce will not be dried out. Cooking the tomato puree to this point will give the soup a really nice depth of flavor.
  • Pour in the broth, stir, and when it comes to a boil, reduce the heat to medium and simmer for another 10 minutes. Taste for seasoning and serve.


124comments inAlphabet Soup

  1. KUV

    Apr 26

    My preschool-aged daughter asked me to make “alphabet pasta in orange soup that’s not clear” that is served for lunch at her school. Her school’s teacher and staff are from Mexico, so I searched online for “Mexican alphabet soup” (because I didn’t imagine it was the Vietnamese alphabet soup I grew up eating!). I came across your recipe that fit my daughter’s description and made it as a surprise for her. She was delighted to see it and loved it! I was worried the pasta would overcook during the last 10 minutes of simmering, but they didn’t. The soup was delicious and I will add it to my recipe rotation. Thank you for the recipe!

    1. Pati Jinich

      Jun 06

      So happy you and your daughter love this soup, thanks!

  2. Claudette Granata

    Jan 13

    Dear Pati, made this soup especially for my grandkids! Everyone loved it. I love trying your recipes! Thank you so much for them so all can see the diverse Mexican kitchen! Love your show too! I have learned so much about the regions of Mexico, butchery, dairy farms & more! Thank you!

    1. Pati Jinich

      Jan 29

      My pleasure Claudette, thanks to you for following!

  3. Anonymous

    Jan 12

    Hi Pati! I’m going to try to make this soup. It sounds delicious! I have a question, the recipe calls for toasting the pasta. My abuelita taught me how to make spanish rice, which also calls for toasting. I never asked her why, I just did it and to this day, I still do. What is the purpose my friend?
    Thank you,

    1. Pati Jinich

      Jan 29

      Toasting the paste brings out another layer of flavor honestly, the same with the rice, you do not want to miss it!

  4. Diana

    Jan 12

    I’m a beginner at cooking soup, so … how do I get together a good chicken broth? I don’t want to open a can.

    1. Pati Jinich

      Jan 30

      Here is my recipe for you Diana 🙂

  5. Ana

    Oct 25

    Thank you so much for sharing wonderful alphabet soup memories Pati. My mother used to make this soup when I was a kid and I absolutely loved it!

    1. Pati Jinich

      Oct 26

      So glad you enjoyed it Ana!

  6. Eleanor

    Jul 25

    I love your recipes I made your soup everything from my garden I served it topped with sliced avacodo

    1. Pati Jinich

      Sep 05

      Mmmm, great idea, thanks for sharing Eleanor!

  7. Anonymous

    Jun 30

    I wish i had alphabet soup :,(

    1. Pati Jinich

      Jul 18

      We all do I think 😉

  8. Jenise

    Feb 20

    Me and my kiddo, Miliah (7) just made this for the first time and it’s in instant hit! We love watching your show together. Sending you love from Missouri!!

    1. Pati Jinich

      Feb 23

      Love back at you guys, abrazos all the way to Missouri 😉

  9. Jan Mcleod

    Apr 03

    We love the show and your beautiful family.
    Going to try the alphabet soup soon.
    Thank you sharing such great recipes.

    1. Pati Jinich

      Apr 04

      Thanks so much for the kind words Jan, let me know how you like the Sopa de Letras 😉

  10. Jan Robertson

    Mar 27

    This is my favorite soup. I like to eat it the next day because it brings out more is the tomorrow flavor. It reminds me of canned Spaghettios I used to have at my Grandma’s house. It brings good memories to me whenever I make it and it’s such an easy recipe.

    1. Pati Jinich

      Apr 11

      So glad you like it and it brings memories of your Grandma Jan 🙂

  11. Jeron Ezekiel C. Mula

    Jan 31

    mommy will cook it

  12. Jenna

    Jan 15

    I just got finished watching this episode. Those boys are so lucky to have you as their mom! I love simple easy recipes so I will definitely be trying this one out. I hope my boys love it as much as yours do!

    1. Pati Jinich

      Jan 16

      Thanks for the sweet words Jenna, hope your boys enjoy la Sopa de Letras 🙂

    2. Lisa from Kentucky

      Jan 21

      Oh Pati, my daughter Holly (10) and I have seen every episode that Prime has to offer! Thank you for a program that is decent and pure! We find our selves saying “super juicy” when we eat anything that we think you might enjoy!
      This episode was one of our favorites! I can’t wait to (try) make the alphabet soup with Holly!
      Thank you!!!

      1. Pati Jinich

        Jan 22

        Hi Lisa and Holly, thanks so much for tuning in and for giving my recipes a chance. Keep cooking and having fun together in the kitchen 🙂

  13. Amy F Engel

    Jan 12

    I make this soup once a week for my teenage daughter who loves it!!! Thank you:)

    1. Pati Jinich

      Jan 16

      Aw, so glad she loves it Amy! Hugs to both of you 🙂

  14. Alice G

    Jun 25

    I just subscribed to your newsletter ! Can’t wait for ANY of your recipes , love you and your show !

    1. Pati Jinich

      Jun 27

      Thanks so much Alice!

  15. Amy Pendry

    Jun 14

    First off I love your show. I watch it all of the time. I love to see your travel videos, your time with your boys cooking. I just saw your show when you made this soup. I’m making some today for our lunches next week. It sounds do good.

    Amy P.

    1. Pati Jinich

      Jun 18

      Thank you Amy for the kind words, hope you enjoy this soup as much as I and my kids do 🙂

  16. Lorenzo Dominguez

    May 14

    Muchisimas gracias Pati! Thank you to you, your boys and husband for your show and pride in our mutual Mexican heritage. We have long taught all our five children (ages 6 – 21) to cook and love the culinary art. We have added your show to our nightly watch schedule and we will be making this recipe esta noche. Abrazos y esperamos que todos andan bien durante la cuarentena.

    1. Pati Jinich

      May 16

      Gracias a ti Lorenzo y a la familia! Esta sopita de letras les va a encantar, abrazos a todos 😉

  17. Peter

    Mar 19

    First of all I want to tell you how much I enjoy watching your program. You are the queen of Mexican cooking! Outstanding recipes and entertaining destinations. I love that you taste your food and your family is beautiful! All your recipes are excellent … this is a simple and delicious weekday recipe that quick to make. Thank you for all you do!

    1. Pati Jinich

      Mar 20

      Awww, thanks so much for the sweet words Peter, you made my day! Thanks to you for tuning in 😉

  18. Julie

    Jan 04

    I’m a mom of three boys and this is their absolute favorite meal. I use ditalini and less broth so it’s thicker. My boys adore it!! Thank you!

    1. Pati Jinich

      Jan 06

      Say hi to your boys for me, Julie!

  19. Sarah

    Jun 10

    My wife finally saw this episode and asked if I could turn it into the base for a vegetable soup. To make it more hearty, I marinated stew meat with cumin and cayenne and browned it. I used vegetable stock instead of chicken broth and added the stew meat and corn during the simmering process at the end. Turned out amazing!! Thank you! I did use dinosaur shaped pasta to keep it fun 🙂

    1. Pati Jinich

      Jun 19

      Oh that sounds great…and I love the dinosaur shaped pasta.

  20. Melinda Hayes

    Feb 07

    My soup came out very bland. I made sure to get the tomato puree to a dark red paste… but I needed to add a lot more salt and pepper and oregano and parsley and basil … and red pepper flakes and tomato paste. I guess this is for children’s palates. I was hoping though the Browning of the pasta and getting the tomato puree to the paste would add the tomato flavor that I’m missing. I also felt as if the chicken broth was a lot and may have overpowered the tomato flavors. Do you think its the broth I used?

    1. Pati

      Feb 26

      I’m sorry to hear this, Melinda. Some pre-made chicken broths have more flavor than others. Here’s how I make my own chicken broth:

  21. Marie Watt

    Jan 14

    Thank you Pati for sharing your recipe! I do have a question I hope you will answer. I wanted to know if I could add a diced dried ancho chili to this recipe. If I can, should I add it when I’m sauteing the pasta or when I add the tomatoes? Please let me know. Thanks!!

    1. Pati

      Jan 21

      Oh great idea… I would add it when adding the tomatoes.

  22. Lupe

    Jan 12

    Love this!
    Do you have a recipe for Albondigas? I would love one!

  23. Lynette Morse

    Jan 08

    I watched an episode last night that had this soup but with different pasta, sandwiches and some cheese cake. I want to find the recipes for all three. Everything looked so good it made me hungry.

  24. Gabriella

    Dec 05

    My son refuses to eat soup, he says it takes a long time to eat… yea he is only 5 so I get his point..I made this soup and now it is his favorite soup ever! or so he says, I know that it is a winner for me so thank you for this recipe and for all your books which have made our lives better!

    1. Pati

      Dec 05

      Aww thank you so much Gabriella! And say hi to your son for me.

  25. Natalie

    Jul 02

    Hi Pati!
    I have a son that has to eat gluten free. Do you think this recipe can be made with gluten free brown rice pasta? I’m hoping it will turn out relatively close to the original! Thanks! P.S. We love your show!!

    1. Pati

      Jul 02

      Sure! And say hi to your son for me 🙂

  26. Bruce

    May 30

    Thank you for allowing us to print your recipes. Will definitely be making alphabet soup. Reminds me of 1 my father made way back in the 60s. Would cilantro be appropriate in this soup?

    1. Pati

      May 31

      Cilantro would be a great garnish. Enjoy the soup, Bruce.

  27. alisha and Damo.

    Apr 27

    My wife and I love your show being vegetarians there’s a lot on offer. Just making the alphabet tomato soup now, can’t wait, looking great! Cheers

    1. Pati

      Apr 27

      Thank you for tuning in, Alisha and Damo!

  28. Eva

    Feb 14

    This was really easy, and super delicious. I really recommend this recipe

    1. Pati

      Feb 15

      Oh thank you Eva!

  29. Tammy

    Jan 09

    Will you post the link for the molested again as I must have missed it. Love your recipes!

    1. Pati

      Jan 10

  30. Lee Anne

    Jan 06

    Hi Pati!
    My husband and I and our 3 kids love watching your show. We are making this a second time tonight. My kids love it along with your molettes. We love to see your kids on the show eating and trying new things. Its a great way for kids watching to be enthusiastic about trying them as well!

    1. Pati

      Jan 08

      Oh thank you so much Lee Anne! I hope your kids continue to love many more recipes and trying new foods!

  31. HM

    Dec 16

    Hey Pati,
    I love watching your shows with my Daughter. I plan on making this wonderful soup for my three kids. What a Wonderful way to warm up right after school!
    Thank you so much Pati.

    1. Pati

      Dec 18

      It’s a great after school snack! Say hello to your daughters for me!

  32. Kendra Swilling

    Dec 06

    This was an easy variation on my usual tomato-based alphabet soup. I added some soup veggies and a BIG spoonful of chipotle adobo sauce. Delicious! Thanks Pati!!

    1. Pati

      Dec 07



    Nov 04

    Made today, delish. Could not find my blender base so I used 1 cup of puree and grated onion and garlic. I halved the recipe as it was just for 2 people.

    1. Pati

      Nov 07

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Wendy!

  34. Sarah D.

    May 14

    This is my new favorite soup! Love your recipes, Pati.

    1. Pati

      May 15


  35. Diosdado Montemayor

    May 01

    Hola Pati!! I’m so happy I caught the episode for the alphabet soup. I just finished preparing it using no sodium veggie broth and it came out super good! I’m always trying to find new food that I can enjoy as well as healthy meals I can cook for my mami. We were going to go out and eat but after my madre tasted the soup she said lets stay home and eat soup! I’m so happy. Thank you for this recipe and for representing Mexico and our people in such a positive light. Viva Pati!

    1. Pati

      May 05

      Diosdado thank you so much!!!

  36. Carol L.

    Apr 30

    HI Pati,
    I made this today and it was very good. Very simple too!
    Love your show and all the recipes. You have a beautiful family.
    I will try to make the enchiladas next time.
    Muchas gracias

    1. Pati

      May 05

      Thank you Carol!

  37. Mary Penedo

    Mar 12

    Definitely making this with the Grilled Cheese sandwich. My husband is a vegetarian and I just convert the recipes using vegetable broth or stock. He loves a lot of heat so I don’t scrimp on the chipotle or jalapeño.

    1. Pati

      Mar 13

      A grilled cheese is a perfect companion for this soup! Yum

  38. Christine

    Feb 25

    This has become a standard at my home. My hubby who’s not a big tomato soup kinda guy loves it! It never lasts long…we gobble it right up! Thanks for the great recipe!!

    1. Pati

      Mar 02

      Super happy you found a new standard Christine!

  39. Kirsten Andersen

    Feb 05

    This is delicious! I don’t even LIKE tomato soup, but I can’t get enough of this! ¡Gracias, Pati!

    1. Pati

      Feb 06

      I’m so thrilled you like it, Kristen! Thank you for trying the recipe!

  40. Cathy

    Oct 01

    I watched the show for the first time love the recipes simple and not expensive due to very little budget thank you.

    1. Pati

      Oct 04


  41. Nelly

    Feb 11

    Hola Pati! Yo soy del Df y ya casi se me olvidaron algunas recetas de mi pais como el mole de olla y vi tu show y me gusto mucho y ya lo hice y a mi familia le encanto.A lo igual que el chesse cake con dulce de leche!!!!!Riiico!!!Gracias.

  42. Bridget

    Feb 10

    So amazing… I made this for my two kids who wouldn’t eat ANYTHING since they have been feeling under the weather 🙁
    They LOVED it, and gobbled it up 🙂
    Thank you thank you!!!
    (From one mother to another.)

    1. Pati

      Feb 10

      So thrilled to hear this, Bridget! I hope your kids are feeling better soon!!

  43. Shannon Wallace

    Sep 24

    Hi Pati! My son and I enjoyed watching this particular episode with your boys. 🙂 This soup is so simple yet so very delicious! I cannot wait to make it with the delicious sandwiches and dessert as well. Gotta run…making this soup as we speak! Blessings…Shannon in Texas

    1. Pati

      Sep 24


      1. Shannon Wallace

        Sep 24

        Hi Pati!

        My husband ended up LOVING the soup! 🙂 And I wanted to mention that if you have a Trader Joe’s near you, they usually carry alphabet noodles (it’s their own brand).

  44. Candace M

    Aug 08

    This soup is a big hit with my kids. I make it once a week by request.

    1. Pati

      Aug 08

      Yay! So happy they like it!! Big hit with my kids, too.

  45. Steve

    Jul 05

    I made this soup for my very picky 2 year old daughter and she loves it. I made it with the fresh tomatoes and the soup has a very light, refreshing taste. I was nervous toasting the pasta, but managed to get to a nice golden brown that adds a nice nutty flavor. A simple recipe that was easy to prepare but packs a ton of flavor. I will definitely be making this frequently in the future!

    1. Pati

      Jul 07

      Hola Steve, I’m SO happy to hear your daughter liked this soup! Thank you for trying the recipe!!

  46. Grisha Phillips

    Jun 23

    Pati, you’re darling as is your whole family. I watch a lot of cooking shows but I’m drawn to your show every episode. Each recipe looks wonderful. I want to make the alphabet soup but as I recall on your show, you only used 4 c broth. I thought , that’s perfect for us. Thery’re are only two of us, (seniors, small apetites) so am I wrong about as recipe says 8 C? Please clarify. Thank you. Can’t wait to try the soup, even though it’s so hot here as we live in NM.
    Continue with your shows, I will look foward to each and every one.

    1. Pati

      Jun 24

      Hi Grisha, Thanks for your message! You may make the soup with only 4 cups of broth – just reduce all the other ingredients by half as well.

  47. Marie

    Jun 08

    I am making this right now & am questioning the 8 cups of broth? I only used 4 so far, and there is so much liquid after simmering for 10 minutes. I did have to cook the tomato purée & pasta mixture a lot longer than 6 minutes to get to the “thick purée” state, but I made sure to do so. Not sure what I am doing wrong? It does smell wonderful though!

    1. Pati

      Jun 08

      Let me know how it turns out in the end!

  48. melody

    May 29

    My daughter and I watched your show a few nights ago and I have been thinking about the recipes ever since. I went to the store today and found everything I needed. The soup and molletes were easy to prepare, but the best part was the fact that my super pickey kids ate every bite. Normally they won’t eat anything that resembles a pepper or onion but when they are hidden under a layer of beans and cheese they are all about it. We will definitely make this again soon.

    1. Pati

      May 30

      I’m so happy your kids liked the molletes! Yay!! Thank you for watching.

  49. Emily

    May 26

    Thank you for this delicious recipe! I wanted to use up what I had in the cupboards, so for the pasta I substituted Israeli couscous, and for the tomato/garlic/onion I subbed a jar of canned tomato sauce I made last summer! So fresh and delicious and so soothing on a rainy day. Thanks again Pati!
    Your family is adorable, by the way!

    1. Pati

      May 27

      Thank you, Emily!

  50. Sue Hale Hayes

    May 12

    Miss.Pati~My Sweet Husband made the Alphabet Soup today & was the Best! The toasting of the Pasta made a huge difference & we will only use this recipe for Tomato Soup from now on because of Flavour,lots of lovely Flavour. Your Sweet Son knows good Foods!

    1. Pati

      May 12

      I will pass this on to Juju 🙂

  51. Pat Metcalf

    Apr 24

    Pati,my husband and I love watching your show. He said anybody that watches your show and doesn’t laugh there is something wrong with are making the soup the grilled cheese & bean sandwiches .can’t wait to make the cheesecake your boys are adorable.I hope you cook on TV for a long time. I want to get your cookbooks. Pat

    1. Pati

      Apr 25

      Thank you for your message, Pat! I hope you like the soup and the sandwiches, and I hope you try many more recipes too.

  52. Patty

    Apr 11

    I have a question regarding the Alphabet Soup. It may be a stupid question, but are the noodles uncooked when you brown them in the stock pan?

    1. Pati

      Apr 11


  53. Jennifer Dote

    Apr 10

    This looks delicious! My 11 year old daughter and I watched your show last night and the child who literally likes nothing, actually asked me to make the soup for her! And of course I will be making the rest of the recipe’s as well. Can’t wait to try them! I’m so excited to see my daughter interested in a new food 🙂

    1. Pati

      Apr 10

      Hi Jennifer, I’m so excited your daughter wants to try the soup! My boys love it! Let me know what she thinks of it. And thank you for watching!!

      1. Jennifer Dote

        Apr 11

        We made it together last night. She had a huge smile on her face after her first bite and announced it’s now her favorite. Thank You!!!!

  54. Kristina Marchionna

    Apr 09

    Today I watched this episode with my husband and son, who is 11. Needless to say, I will be going to the grocery store tomorrow so that we can make all 4 recipes for dinner tomorrow! My son loves to cook and cannot wait to help make the cheesecake. Thank you for a lovely show, and we really enjoyed watching you cook with your sons. You have a beautiful family! (And I like your accent and the way you say “fish”!!! LOL!!

    1. Pati

      Apr 09

      Haha! I will tell my boys!

      1. Kristina Marchionna

        Apr 25

        So, I have to tell you – my son and I made the soup and the sandwiches! Delicious! They were so good! My son asked two days later if we could make the same dinner again! Thankyou for the recipes. We are fans for life!

  55. Rhonda

    Apr 09

    Hi Pati, we just watched this episode on CreateTV. It was such an entertaining show, and your boys were so sweet.
    I want to cook this soup for my grand children as soon as I get the right kind of pasta.
    Thank you for your good recipes and fun show.

    1. Pati

      Apr 09

      Thank you for watching, Rhonda! You can make that soup with any kind of pasta, you can even use angel hair and break it into pieces…

  56. Jennifer Hernandez

    Apr 06

    Hello! I make this soup at least once a week. My family loves it. We add cumin to the recipe and will add chicken pieces for a more hardy dish. But this simple and quick recipe is my favorite!

    1. Pati

      Apr 06

      Oh, what great spins!

    2. AMora

      Jan 24

      I am going to make it tonight and add chicken pieces as well. I cant wait to try it.

      1. Pati

        Jan 28


  57. Maria Wetzel

    Feb 14

    I was watching your show on KPBS last Saturday and I ask my 9yr old daughter to join me and let me know if she would like to try the soup you were making. She paid attention to the show and liked the ingredients, so we made the soup together with the “molletes” Loved it!!! Easy, simple and delicious. Can’t wait to cook again with my daughter.
    Maria =-)

    1. Pati

      Feb 14

      It is one of my boys favorites! Hope you both try many more…

  58. Sara Coles

    Feb 11

    Hola Pati,
    I saw you make this on TV last week, and I found the recipe in your cookbook. It looks and sounds so delicious that I am going to make it tomorrow with fideos and home made turkey stock. Thank you for the recipe.

  59. Allison

    Jan 25

    Saw your show today for the first time, and these recipes look so delicious and easy. I’m looking forward to trying them!

    1. Pati

      Jan 26

      I look forward to you enjoying them!

  60. Kathy

    Jan 19

    I prepared the Alphabet Soup today,it was delicious! My family enjoyed this soup. It was easy and quick to prepare.

    1. Pati

      Jan 20

      Great to hear!

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