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

4.8 from 5 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.


16comments inLima Soup

  1. 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.

  2. 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 🙂

  3. 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.

  4. Maria L

    Oct 14

    esta sopa se ve deliciosa, la hare gracias Pati.

    1. Pati

      Oct 20

      Gracias Maria!

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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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