lima soup or sopa de lima


Lima Soup

Lima Soup

Sopa de Lima

Recipe Yield

6 servings

Cooking time

1 hour 25 minutes

Rate this recipe

4.50 from 8 votes


For the broth:

  • 5 cloves garlic unpeeled
  • 2 chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 12 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher or coarse sea salt or more to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For the sofrito:

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil plus more for frying tortilla strips
  • 1/2 red onion chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 green or yellow bell pepper stemmed, seeded and chopped
  • 1/2 pound ripe tomatoes chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt

To serve:

  • 6 to 8 Corn tortillas cut into 2"x1/2" strips
  • 1 thinly sliced lima (lemon or lime) for garnish
  • 2 to 3 limas (lemon or lime) to add right before serving
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves and upper stems chopped, for garnish
  • 1 habanero chile finely chopped (optional)

To Prepare

For the broth:

  • Place the unpeeled garlic cloves under the broiler, or on a pre-heated comal set over medium heat, and roast or char for 10 minutes, flipping a couple times in between, until completely blackened. Set aside.
  • Place chicken breasts in a soup pot and cover with 12 cups water. Add the charred garlic cloves, oregano, thyme, bay leaves, whole cloves, salt and pepper, and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Partially cover with a lid and cook for 40 minutes, until the chicken is completely cooked through yet still tender. Remove from the heat. Remove the chicken breasts and once cool enough to handle, shred into fine pieces. Strain the broth into a large bowl, incorporate the shredded chicken, and reserve.

For the sofrito:

  • Rinse and dry the soup pot. Heat the oil over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the onion, bell pepper, tomato and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring often, for about 10 minutes until the vegetables are completely cooked through and practically mashed and mushy.
  • Pour the reserved chicken broth and shredded chicken into the pot with the sofrito, bring back to a simmer, and cook partially covered for 8 to 10 minutes, until all the flavors have come together.
  • Heat about 1/4" of oil in a deep skillet or casserole and set over medium heat. Once hot, working in batches, flash fry the corn tortilla strips for 10 to 15 seconds until lightly golden, and remove with a slotted spoon or spider. Place on a plate covered with paper towels, drain and lightly season with salt. Alternatively, you spread the tortilla strips on a baking sheet and bake at 275 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 to 15 minutes, flipping once in between.

To serve:

  • Ladle the soup into bowls and add a couple very thin slices of lima. Top with tortilla strips, and give everyone a half a lima to squeeze into their soup right before they eat it. Additionally, you may set out chopped cilantro and habanero for everyone to garnish as they please.


30comments inLima Soup

  1. Suzanne

    Aug 05

    Hi Pati, I’m very curious about the cross between a lemon and lime. What is its actual spelling or the Latin name of Lima. On your show today (NHpbs) and I did read the recipe you said either or for a “lima” . But, your show showed across that you said that it is sweeter than a lime or a lemon on your show. Please explain more on this citrus fruit and where can you buy them. Thank you

    1. Pati Jinich

      Aug 20

      Hola Suzanne, Limas are a completely different citrus and you are going to love them. Check out my upcoming season from Yucatan premiering on September 15 and your will learn a lot about limas and how to cook with them 😉

  2. LaVonne

    Jan 18

    I love this soup, so refreshing.

    1. Pati Jinich

      Jan 28


  3. Ray

    Jan 14

    Super great recipe, takes the boring out of eating

    1. Pati Jinich

      Jan 29

      Glad you like it Ray!

  4. Anniegirl

    Feb 03

    wow…just made this soup, was very delicious and easy to make. Thank you Patt! I’ve been a fan for years and just received your new book at Christmas
    Look forward to making more delicious food.

    1. Pati Jinich

      Feb 07

      So glad you got the new book Annie, yay! Un abrazo 😉

  5. Linda

    Dec 01

    Hi Pati,
    Love this soup. Was looking to do something with leftover turkey. Work out well. Keep the recipes coming. My belly is happy. Take care ❤️🙏

    1. Pati Jinich

      Dec 28

      Great idea for leftover Turkey, yum!

  6. Kim Thomas

    Sep 06

    Just made this for me n my husband. We cook a lot, we really thought broth would be bland, but it was fabulous . Thank you so much for sharing. Make lots of your dishes . Watch all of your shows.
    Jeff n Kim

    1. Pati Jinich

      Oct 03

      Thanks so much Jeff and Kim, so glad you guys enjoyed the Sopa the Lima 🙂

  7. Jeanie Langham

    May 16

    Watched again your show on Sopa de Lima, which we enjoyed so much. I do wish you could print the names in Spanish for us as we don’t always understand how to spell. And, the Colonial Yucatan city you visited in that show we couldn’t understand so we could look it up. We always enjoy your show and the music ‘La Mer’ ~ any way you could translate for us? You do a great job! Also, I looked up Ensuputo and asked my Philapine (I always spell wrong) and she hadn’t heard of it.
    I look forward to making this soup and Lomitos.
    Jeanie in the mtns of Arizona

    1. Pati Jinich

      May 23

      Hola Jeanie, thanks so much for your suggestions, I’ll definitely pass them on to my team. The show’s musical theme is called “Dame” which translates to “Give me” and it goes:
      Dame, dame,
      Dame tu chocolate,
      Dame, dame,
      Dame tu piloncillo,
      Dame, dame,
      Dame cafe caliente,
      Dame, dame,
      Dame tu corazon…

      And in English:
      Give me, give me
      Give me your chocolate
      Give me, give me
      Give me your piloncillo
      Give me, give me
      Give me hot coffee
      Give me, give me
      Give me your heart…

  8. Theresa Rodriguez

    Mar 15

    I made this soup this week! The flavors were so warm and complex. Had scoured scoured grocery stores for months looking for limas and was finally clued in that they are called “sweet limes” in the States. Found them at Central Market in Houston. The flavor (to me) was closer to a delicate, faint orange than lemon or lime. Very unique.

    1. Pati Jinich

      Mar 19

      Oh I’m so glad you found some and enjoyed them…they are unique, Theresa.

  9. John and Kim Mills

    Jul 17

    Really enjoyed this episode. My wife and I are excited about this adventure.

    1. Pati

      Jul 17

      Oh thank you so much John and Kim! I hope you enjoy the soup 🙂

  10. Mary Lou

    Feb 01

    Where can I find limas in south Texas? I’m hooked and want more!

    1. Pati

      Feb 02

      Oh try your local latin or international super market…or some places sell them online like Melissa’s Produce.

  11. Maria L

    Oct 14

    esta sopa se ve deliciosa, la hare gracias Pati.

    1. Pati

      Oct 20

      Gracias Maria!

  12. Anonymous

    Jul 14

    How do I prepare this for a small family serving for 4 people instead of 6

    1. Pati

      Jul 14

      You can either reduce the amount of ingredients by a third, or enjoy the leftovers tomorrow…if there are any.

  13. Maria del Rosario Reyna Martinson

    Apr 08

    I love your show and recipes! I researched limas and found that using key limes or better yet, (for those of us far away from Florida), half lime and half lemon juices make an amazing substitution.

    1. Pati

      Apr 10

      Yes that is a great substitute too!

      1. Cathy

        Oct 10

        I have key lime and lemon juices. How much should I use?

        1. Pati

          Oct 12

          I use about half a lima per bowl.

  14. Fran s.

    Feb 11

    Where can I get limas?

    1. Pati

      Feb 20

      Fran, you can try online…try Melissa’s. Also ask your grocer so they may start sourcing for you! Or try international, Asian or latino stores. If you can’t find a lima, you can use lemon or lime. ​

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