Sopa de Lima – Isabel Eats

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This easy and flavorful Sopa de Lima, or Mexican Lime Soup, is unlike any other soup you’ve tasted. Juicy shredded chicken, aromatic spices like cinnamon and clove, onions, peppers, and plenty of lime juice come together in under an hour for a comforting dish with great depths of flavor. 

Sopa de lima served in a bowl with limes, diced avocados and tortilla strips.

Sopa de Lima may not have the fame of birria or pozole, but this bright, flavor-packed Mexican lime soup deserves to be just as buzzworthy.

It’s one of those uniquely delicious recipes that’s been a beloved classic in Mexico for ages. I first tried this zesty, citrusy soup a couple of years ago when I was looking for an authentic and traditional recipe that was satisfying but not heavy, and it was love at first spoonful.

The complex flavors from the tart lime juice, savory chicken broth, and the unique flavors from the cinnamon and clove make this simple soup one of the best I’ve ever had.

Now I make a big pot of Sopa de Lima ALL THE TIME. Whether you serve it with crunchy tortilla strips, avocado, or some fresh cilantro, this vibrant Mexican lime soup is guaranteed to become a new favorite. Here’s more about why I love it:

  • It’s perfectly balanced. While lime is the main flavor of this soup, it’s actually complemented really well with the addition of seasonings like cinnamon and clove along with sauteéd onions, an Anaheim pepper, tomatoes, and garlic. 
  • An easy one-pot meal. All the ingredients come together in one pot, making for an easy dinner with minimal cleanup. Dreams do come true!

What is Sopa de Lima?

Sopa de Lima, or Mexican Lime Soup, is a traditional soup from the southern coastal region of Mexico, primarily Yucatán. This soup actually has Mayan origins with its simple yet flavorful ingredients. 

At first glance, it seems similar to more Tex-Mex-inspired recipes like chicken tortilla soup or chicken enchilada soup with its chicken broth, shredded chicken, and toppings like tortilla strips and diced avocado.

What sets this Sopa de Lima distinctly apart from those recipes is its flavorful broth that has an addition of sauteéd vegetables, spices like cinnamon and clove, and of course, the freshness from plenty of lime juice.

Sopa de lima ingredients measured out and separated into bowls.


  • Anaheim pepper, onion, garlic, tomatoes: These vegetables are sauteéd in olive oil to give the broth more flavor. Anaheim peppers are very mild and don’t add much heat.
  • Seasonings: Cinnamon, cloves, and salt come together to add more depth to the broth and add richness and warmth that balances all the lime juice.
  • Chicken: I used boneless skinless chicken breasts, but feel free to use chicken thighs. 
  • Chicken broth: I recommend using chicken broth and not substituting vegetable or beef broth since this contributes to the soup’s distinct flavor. 
  • Lime juice: I used ½ cup fresh lime juice from 4 large limes. If you only have small limes, you may need around 6-8. 
  • Tortilla strips: This soup is traditionally topped with tortilla strips. I used a batch of my homemade tortilla strips, but you can use store-bought if you prefer.
  • Avocado: This is another traditional topping. It adds a creaminess that balances the citrus from the lime juice.

How to Make Sopa de Lima

Sauté the vegetables. In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Once heated, add the tomatoes, onions, and Anaheim pepper. Cook until they are tender and the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes, making sure to stir occasionally. Add the garlic and stir. Cook for an additional 1 minute until fragrant. 

Sauteed vegetables in a large pot.

Add the seasonings. Add the cinnamon, cloves, and kosher salt into the pot and stir to combine. Cook for an additional 5 minutes to combine the flavors together.

Adding in all seasonings to the pit of sautéed vegetables.

Add the chicken and broth into the pot and raise the heat to high. Bring to boil, reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook for 20 minutes. 

Chicken broth and chicken in a pot of sopa de lima before being cooked.

Remove impurities. Scoop off and discard any impurities or foam that have floated to the top of the soup.

Add chicken and lime juice. Transfer the cooked chicken to a bowl and shred it with two forks. Add it back into the pot and stir in the fresh lime juice. Taste and add more salt if needed.

Sopa de lima with shredded chicken in a pot before serving.

Garnish and serve. Serve in bowls with tortilla strips, diced avocado, and cilantro.

Sopa de lima served into bowls with tortillas trips, limes,, diced avocados 
 and cilantro.
  • To get the most juice out of your limes, roll them on the counter with your palm before cutting and juicing them. 
  • To enhance the flavor of your broth, use bone-in chicken thighs or even drumsticks instead of boneless chicken breasts.

What to Serve with Sopa de Lima

This simple soup is a great meal all on its own, but it also pairs well with some bolillo bread, corn tortillas, or flour tortillas to soak up some of the delicious broth.

You could also mix in some Mexican rice or cilantro lime rice into each bowl right before serving.

Storing, Freezing, and Reheating

Sopa de lima can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. 

To reheat, place on the stovetop over medium-high heat and heat until it reaches a gentle simmer. You can also reheat in the microwave in 30-second increments until warmed through.

More Mexican Recipes

Sopa de Lima

Prep: 10 minutes

Cook: 45 minutes

Total: 55 minutes

Sopa de Lima is a zesty Mexican lime soup made with shredded chicken, spices like cinnamon and clove, vegetables, and lots of lime juice.


  • Heat the olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the tomatoes, onion, and peppers and cook until tender, about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  • Stir in the ground cinnamon, cloves, and kosher salt. Cook for an additional 5 minutes.

  • Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

  • Add chicken broth and chicken breasts. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat.

  • Scoop off and discard any impurities or foam that have floated to the top of the soup. Transfer the cooked chicken to a bowl and shred it with two forks.

  • Add the shredded chicken back into the pot. Stir in the lime juice, taste, and season with more salt if needed.

  • Serve in bowls and garnish with tortilla strips and diced avocado.


  • To get the most juice out of your limes, roll them on the counter with your palm before cutting and juicing them.
  • To get even more flavor in your broth, you can use bone-in chicken thighs or drumsticks.

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1serving, Calories: 278kcal (14%), Carbohydrates: 7g (2%), Protein: 39g (78%), Fat: 11g (17%), Saturated Fat: 2g (10%), Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 5g, Trans Fat: 0.02g, Cholesterol: 97mg (32%), Sodium: 1047mg (44%), Potassium: 913mg (26%), Fiber: 1g (4%), Sugar: 2g (2%), Vitamin A: 218IU (4%), Vitamin C: 6mg (7%), Calcium: 31mg (3%), Iron: 1mg (6%)

Photography by Ashley McLaughlin.


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