Sopa recipe with shells

Welcome to the heart of Mexican comfort cuisine with our delightful Sopa de Conchas, also known as Mexican Shell Pasta Soup or sopita! This classic homemade dish is a go-to for busy moms seeking to satisfy their little ones. Picture this: comfort food magic in a bowl, effortlessly made and oh-so-delicious. Your picky eater is in for a treat, and the best part? It’s ready in a matter of minutes!

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Now, let me share my quick and easy take on this Mexican sopita recipe. But that’s not all—I’ll also dive into exciting variations, empowering you to craft your own signature version of this warm and comforting sopa. Let’s embark on a culinary adventure together!

Soup ingredients on a table

Sopa with shells ingredients:

Small shells: In making Sopa de Conchas, “Conchas” refer to shell-shaped pasta, typically small pasta shells resembling seashells. These pasta shells are a key ingredient in the soup and are used to add texture and substance. The shape of the pasta not only contributes to the visual appeal of the dish but also provides a delightful and satisfying eating experience.

Oil: For making Sopa de Conchas, it’s common to use a neutral-flavored cooking oil with a high smoke point. Vegetable oil or canola oil are popular choices for this Mexican soup. These oils have a mild taste and won’t overpower the flavors of the dish. Additionally, their high smoke points make them suitable for sautéing and cooking at higher temperatures without imparting a burnt taste to the ingredients.

Onion: White or yellow onions add a rich and savory flavor to the soup. When sautéed, they release natural sugars and compounds that contribute depth and complexity to the broth, enhancing the overall taste of the dish.

Garlic: Just like onions, garlic provides an aromatic base to the soup. The combination of sautéed garlic and onions creates a fragrant and inviting aroma that sets the stage for the other ingredients.

Tomato sauce: Tomato sauce adds a natural sweetness and acidity to the soup. The combination of the savory onions, garlic, and slightly tangy tomatoes creates a well-balanced flavor profile. The acidity helps cut through the richness of the broth, providing a refreshing taste.

Hey there! If you’re feeling a bit fancy (and have the time), whip up your own tasty tomato sauce! Just toss a cup of water, 3 or 4 Roma tomatoes, some onion, and garlic into your blender and give it a whirl until it’s all nice and liquid. Super easy, right? But hey, no judgment— if you’re in a hurry, tomato paste works like a charm too!

Liquid: Chicken broth is versatile and complements a variety of ingredients. It pairs well with the pasta shells, vegetables, and other components of Sopa de Conchas, creating a harmonious blend of flavors.

Seasoning: Salt, black pepper, and cumin are my basic seasoning. (under optional ingredients I will discuss a very popular seasoning).

Cheese: Queso Fresco, a fresh and mild Mexican cheese, provides a creamy and slightly crumbly texture to the soup when it’s added as a topping. This adds a pleasant contrast to the soft pasta shells and enriches the overall eating experience.

Cilantro: is known for its aromatic qualities. Chopped cilantro, when added just before serving, releases its aromatic compounds, enhancing the overall fragrance of the soup and making it more inviting.

For garnish: Let’s jazz up your Sopa de Conchas! Grab some friendly garnishes like lime wedges (or a splash of lemon juice), diced avocado, a sprinkle of chopped cilantro, a bit of onion, or why not throw in a dollop of creamy sour cream? The choice is yours, and the options are as fun as they are delicious!

Optional ingredients:

Ground beef: contributes a robust and meaty flavor to the soup. As it cooks, it releases savory juices that blend with the other ingredients, enhancing the overall taste of the dish.

Tomato or chicken bullion: Bouillon cubes or granules are convenient and easy to use. They dissolve quickly in hot liquid, saving time compared to preparing a homemade broth from scratch. This is especially handy for busy cooks or those looking for a quick and delicious meal. If you do use them (they do add more flavor) you will need to cut back on or cut out the salt.

Sopa de Fideo:

Package of shells pasta and a package of fido pasta on a table.

Hey there! Ever heard of Sopa de Fideo? It’s like a cousin to Sopa de Conchas, with just a pasta switcheroo! Same fantastic flavors, just a playful twist with the pasta. Try it out and let your taste buds decide the winner!

Pasta in a pot coated with oil.

Hey, cooking buddy! Let’s get the party started! Pop a pot on the stove, medium heat. Toss in a bit of oil, then add those pasta shells. Give ’em a good stir so each one gets a cozy oil hug—no lonely shells at the bottom, please! Crank up the heat to medium-high and let the toasting fiesta begin!

Toasted pasta in a pot with onion

Alright, pasta perfection is on its way! Once those shells start showing off some color, invite the diced onion and garlic to the sizzling party. Let the flavors mingle and dance—this is where the magic happens!

Pot with toasted pasta and cooked onion.

Let’s keep the pasta party going! Toast those shells until they’re rocking a golden brown vibe. Now, here comes the flavorful duo – tomato sauce and chicken broth. Crank up the heat, hit it with a high boil, and let the seasoning magic unfold. Cook that pasta till it’s just right for you—I like mine a tad more on the cooked side.

If things are feeling a bit thirsty, top it up with more liquid love. Now, the star of the show – queso fresco! Watch it add its magic, making things a bit more liquidy and oh-so-delicious. When it’s back to a boil, hit pause, toss in the cilantro, and voila!

Scoop that delightful shell soup into a bowl, and let the garnish game begin! Diced avocado, an extra cheese sprinkle, and lime wedges on standby. Time to savor this Mexican masterpiece, and who knows, it might just become a regular at your family fiestas!

Did this recipe tickle your taste buds? Well, then you’re in for a treat! Check out my mouthwatering pollo asado tacos recipe. Trust me, it’s another flavor-packed adventure you won’t want to miss!

A bowl of pasta shells soup on a table. This is a pin for pinterest.

Had a blast making this easy-peasy recipe? Spread the joy—share it with your pals! The more, the merrier in this flavor-filled feast!

Finished bowl of sopa with shells on a table with a small bowl of lime slices.

Sopa de Conchas

Sopa de Conchas, Mexican Shell Pasta Soup or sopita, is a classic Mexican dish. The recipe is popular among busy moms trying to feed their children. Comfort food at its finest, this soup of shells recipe is easy to make and delicious. Your fussy picky eater will love it and it will be ready in minutes.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Course: Soup
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: sopa
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 298kcal
Author: James Strange


  • 1.5 Tablespoons Oil
  • 198 grams Pasta Shells shape
  • 1/4 Cup Onion Chopped
  • 1 Cloves Garlic Finely minced
  • 8 oz Tomato sauce
  • 4 Cup Chicken broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon cumin ground
  • 5 of Queso fresco
  • 1/4 Cup Cilantro chopped


  • To a pot on medium heat add 1.5 Tablespoons of oil. Add your shells pasta and stir to coat the pasta with oil.
    1.5 Tablespoons Oil
  • Lightly toast the pasta and add 1/4 cup diced onion and 2 cloves of garlic that have been finely minced.
    198 grams Pasta
  • When all of the pasta is toasted and the onions are translucent add 1 8 oz can of tomato sauce. Stir to coat the pasta.
    1/4 Cup Onion, 1 Cloves Garlic, 8 oz Tomato sauce
  • Add 4 cups of chicken broth and bring the pot to a slow boil.
    4 Cup Chicken broth
  • Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, and 1/8 teaspoon of ground cumin.
    1/2 teaspoon Salt, 1/4 teaspoon Black pepper, 1/8 teaspoon cumin
  • Cook until the pasta is almost done (approximately 8 minutes) then add 5 ounces of diced queso fresco.
    5 of Queso fresco
  • Bring back to a slow boil and turn off the heat. Add the cilantro and stir into the soup.
    1/4 Cup Cilantro
  • The sopita is now ready to serve garnished with lime wedges and diced avocado.


Calories: 298kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 0.03g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 668mg | Potassium: 306mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 325IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 31mg | Iron: 1mg
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