Recipe by Pati Jinich

Think of a slightly thickened tortilla with a rim to contain copious amounts of delicious toppings: that’s sopes. This nicely portable treat can be baked then topped, or lightly fried before topping. Our thanks to Pati Jinich of PBS' Pati’s Mexican Table for sharing this recipe with us.

30 mins
30 to 40 mins
1 hr 30 mins
12 sopes


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  1. To make the dough: Weigh your masa harina; or measure it by gently spooning it into a cup, then sweeping off any excess. In a large, shallow bowl, whisk together the masa harina and salt. Gradually add the warm water, stirring with your hands to make a cohesive dough.

  2. Using your hands, mix and knead the dough in the bowl for a minute or so, until it’s smooth and somewhat firm; it should feel like Play-Doh.  If the dough sticks to your hands and feels wet, add more masa harina a teaspoon to a tablespoon at a time. If you roll a piece into a ball and squeeze it and the edges crack, add more water a teaspoon to a tablespoon at a time.

  3. Cut two round or square pieces of food-safe plastic — from a plastic produce or zip-top bag — to a size about 1/2" larger than the diameter of your tortilla press. Set aside.

  4. Divide the dough into 12 pieces (about 50g each) and roll each piece into a ball. Place the balls on a clean work surface and cover them with plastic or a damp kitchen towel to keep them moist.

  5. Preheat a comal, a cast iron or nonstick pan, or a griddle over medium heat for 5 minutes, or until evenly hot.

  6. To press the sopes: Working with one ball of dough at a time, sandwich it in the center of the plastic bag on the bottom plate of a tortilla press. Push down on the handle until the dough is about 1/4” thick and about 4” to 5” in diameter. You may need to press it a couple of times to reach the desired thinness.

  7. To cook sopes: Peel the top layer of plastic away from the sope, remove the sope, and set the plastic aside. Quickly but gently lay the sope on the hot surface.

  8. Cook the sope for about 2 minutes on each side, until opaque and speckled and you can flip it without it sticking to the pan.

  9. Remove the sope from the heat and place it on a flat surface or cutting board; at this point, it won’t be cooked all the way through. Using a kitchen towel or cloth napkin to protect your fingers from the heat, gently press and pinch the edge of the sope to make a rim 1/4" to 1/2" tall; the masa should still be soft enough to do this.

  10. Return the sope to the heat and cook it rim-side down for about a minute, to set the edge of the rim. Then flip it upright and cook the bottom for another minute or so, until it's freckled with brown spots and the sope is cooked through. 

  11. To serve immediately, remove the sope from the heat and top with a couple of tablespoons of refried beans, then shredded lettuce, crumbled cheese, chopped onion, and the salsa of your choice.

  12. Repeat with the remaining sope dough. To serve multiple sopes at once, place the finished ones, not yet topped, in a 200°F oven to stay warm until you’ve cooked as many as you want.

  13. Storage information: Wrap leftover sopes in a clean kitchen towel, seal airtight, and refrigerate for up to three days; sopes can also be frozen. Reheat on a hot surface (comal, pan, or griddle) for a few minutes before serving. If desired, reheat by frying in a bit of oil to crisp the crust.

Tips from our Bakers

  • Masa harina (translation: dough flour) is flour made from corn that’s been soaked in a solution of slaked lime (nixtamalized) to loosen its hull and soften it, which improves its texture and helps release its nutrients. The soaked corn is ground into a paste (masa), dried, and then ground again, this time into a fine flour. Due to the corn’s special treatment, neither cornmeal nor corn flour are good substitutes for masa harina.