A traditional soup from the Yucatán Peninsula, this Sopa de Lima (Lime Soup) is a bit like Tortilla Soup, but with a lot of lime and some delicious warm spice.
This authentic Mexican soup from the Yucatán Peninsula in southeastern Mexico has chicken, chicken broth, tomato, and a lot of lime. There’s a bit of heat from habanero pepper, and a touch of cinnamon and cloves for a round, rich flavor. Aromatics like onion and garlic are subtle in the background. Diced avocado and fresh cilantro are served on top, and you can also break up some tortilla chips over top for some crunch and corn flavor.
You can read more about this soup by scrolling down, or click here to jump straight down to the recipe.
What Is Sopa De Lima?
Mexican Lime Soup, also known as Sopa de Lima, is an authentic Mexican recipe from the Yucatán Peninsula in southeastern Mexico. It may sound like lime is the main ingredient, but there’s actually lots of chicken (or sometimes turkey) and tomatoes in it too.
Plenty of lime juice does get added at the end though, and I like to serve it with lime wedges so people can squeeze in extra if they’d like. There’s also great flavor from onion, garlic, and habanero pepper. You definitely want to top the soup with tortilla chips or crispy tortilla strips, and I like mine with avocado on top too.
What Kind Of Limes Do I Use?
Limas in Mexico are a little different from the Persian limes we get at the grocery stores here, but those work well too. The Yucatan limes are actually a little sweeter and more floral.
Some people prefer to use a combination of Persian limes along with either grapefruit or orange juice to closer replicate the flavors you would get for this soup in Mexico. I love the taste with just plenty of lime juice, but feel free to play with the flavor!
Spices In Mexican Soup
This soup also has cinnamon and cloves, which add a unique flavor. It’s round and rich, which tastes really wonderful with the lime.
More Delicious Soup Recipes
If you love this Sopa de Lima soup recipe, you may enjoy these other homemade soups too.
- Tortilla Soup – Use salsa to get tons of flavor in your soups in less time.
- Burrito Soup recipe – This is like a chicken burrito in a bowl and it’s soooo good.
- Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup – Delicious chicken noodle soup in about 15 minutes is possible!
Enjoy! – Christine xo
Podcast Episode On Making Mexican Lime Soup
Listen to learn how to make this recipe, along with some great tips from Christine:Print
A traditional soup from the Yucatán Peninsula, this recipe is a bit like Tortilla Soup, but with a lot of lime and some delicious warm spice.
Yield: 8 cups.
- 1 Tbsp. cooking oil
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 habanero pepper, seeded and minced*
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp. oregano
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
- Pinch of ground cloves
- 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 3/4 lb. tomatoes (about 2 medium), chopped
- 3/4 lb. boneless skinless chicken thighs (about 3), thinly sliced
- 3 limes, divided
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
- 1 avocado, chopped
- 8 tortilla chips
- Heat the oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and habanero. Cook until softened, 3-4 minutes.
- Add the garlic, oregano, salt, cinnamon, and cloves. Stir and cook for 30 seconds. Then stir in the broth. Cover and increase heat to high. When soup reaches a boil, reduce it to a simmer.
- Add the tomatoes and chicken to the soup. Cover and cook until the chicken is no longer pink inside, 3-4 minutes.
- While the chicken cooks, juice two of the limes. Cut the remaining lime into wedges and set aside.
- Once the chicken is cooked through, remove the soup from the heat. Stir in the lime juice.
- Ladle soup into bowls and top with the cilantro and avocado. Crush two tortilla chips over each bowl. Serve with a wedge of lime on the side.
*If you can’t find a habanero pepper, you can use a jalapeno pepper instead. If you’d prefer a pepper with no heat, use a bell pepper. I like going with an orange pepper here, but any color will work.
This post originally appeared in March 2015 and was revised and republished in March 2023.