These Sopes de Pollo bites start with a sope shell filled with an easy shredded chicken filling... Add fresh toppings (recommendations included!), and you'll have a perfect antojito (street food) for your next party, or a casual main dish. Sopes require only a few minutes to make, and you can make them while the chicken simmers. Buen provecho!
👩🏻🍳 What is a sope?
What is a sope? A sope (also known as picaditas in some regions) reminds me more of a tamale than a corn tortilla, though both are made with masa. Masa dough is formed into balls, then pressed and pinched to form a shallow cup about ⅓ to ½ inches thick; it is not uncommon to find other shapes.
My earliest recollection of sopes is as a child growing up in the San Gabriel Valley in southern California. My mom's "chili cheese cups" were a Sunday night favorite! She made the masa cups in muffin pans, and filled them with prepared (often homemade) chile and beans, topped them with sharp cheddar, and baked them.
The use of the muffin pans, and the chili filling are certainly not "authentic," but they were delicious! When I told my sister Corinne that I was working on a recipe for masa cups, she and I had a "sister moment" discussing how we loved those chili cheese cups.
I decided to stick with my mom's rendition of homemade masa sopes. The dough is a traditional masa, baking powder, warm water, oil, and salt recipe. Rather than forming and shaping the masa dough on a hot griddle or frying them in oil, they are pressed into muffin pans and pressed up the edges. A few minutes in the oven, and you're ready to fill them!
While this recipe/post specifies a shredded chicken filling, you'll enjoy my shredded pulled pork as well. See How to Serve Sopes de Pollo section for more options!
🧆 How to Serve Sopes de Pollo
Sopes make a perfect game day appetizer/finger food, a Latin-inspired New Year's Eve party food, and more. The combination of filling and toppings are endless. Today, we're starting with easy salsa verde shredded chicken, but there are many more options!
- A favorite salsa is a must. Here are a few of my favorites:
- fresh avocado - diced or sliced
- refried beans - black, pinto, mayacoba, etc.
- protein - salsa verde chicken from this post, pulled pork, chorizo and bison, or chorizo and ground lamb
- cheese - crumbled cotija, diced queso fresco, grated cheddar, asadero, colby jack, etc.
- veggies - shredded cabbage or lettuce, diced green chile, thin-sliced radishes
📋 Ingredients You'll Need
Here is a quick look at the ingredients in the recipe – it’s handy to use at the grocery store or as a summary of what you need. Skip to the recipe for quantities.
- masa - I use a widely available Maseca Instant Yellow Corn Masa Flour. While I live on the Mexican/US border, I believe it is widely available. Amazon has the same masa flour.
- baking powder
Salsa Verde Chicken Filling
- chicken - On photo day, I used chicken breast. It shreds very easily. You can also use thighs. A rotisserie chicken would be a great time-saving option!
- salsa verde - My preferred salsa is this Hatch chile and tomatillo salsa verde recipe. I make large batches, and often have some waiting to be thawed in my freezer.
- beer - You want a lager. You don't want a beer that competes with the other ingredients. I keep coronitas in my pantry for cooking with in recipes like this seafood soup.
- ground cumin
We're going to make the chicken filling first. You can adapt this easy salsa verde chicken filling to stove top, Instant Pot, or slow cooker. I have done all three. While the chicken cooks, make the sopes, and prepare your toppings.
How to Make Salsa Verde Chicken Filling
- Sear the chicken - In a little bit of canola or vegetable oil, brown the chicken. The browning (maillard reaction) boosts the flavor of the chicken mixture. The process is the same whether you're browning in the Instant Pot or on the stove. If you're using a slow cooker, please don't skip this step! When the chicken has some nice color, remove from the pot, and set aside.
- Add the aromatics - If the pot is dry, add a little bit of oil. Add the onion, garlic, and ground cumin to the pot. Sauté until onion begins to soften.
- Add the liquids - De-glaze the pot with the beer. Add the salsa verde, salt and pepper. Stir to combine.
- Cook the chicken - Add the browned chicken back to the pot. Press it down into the liquid. Cover, and simmer until very tender. This may be 10 minutes in the Instant Pot (quick pressure release), 3-4 hours in the slow cooker, 20-30 minutes stove top. With the liquid, the cooking time is forgiving!
How to Make Sopes
- Mix the masa dough - Preheat oven to 375°. Add masa flour, baking powder, salt to the mixing bowl. Stir to combine. Add the egg, and then add the warm water a little at a time.
- Finish the masa dough - Add warm water until the dough is pliable but quite stiff.
- Form dough balls - Form 22-24 balls. I divide the dough in half, each half into fourths, each fourth into eighths, etc. I end up with 22-24 walnut sized balls of masa dough.
- Finish the sopes cups - Add one dough ball to each muffin cup. Using your thumb or a spoon, press from the center and slightly up the side. Ideally, we want a lip of about ½".
- Bake the sopes - Bake sopes until they just begin to brown. This should take about 15 minutes.
A stand mixer makes quick work of shredding chicken! Use the paddle attachment, set it to low speed, and you'll have shredded chicken in about 15 seconds.
The shredded chicken is great for meal prep. I often make a large batch, and freeze extra portions to thaw for quick meals.
Yes. You can either make the dough, and store it in the refrigerator until ready to make the sopes, or you can go ahead and bake them. They reheat well.
Sopes are gluten free as masa flour is made from corn. If gluten is an important concern, but sure to check your brand/source to be sure it's "clean."
No. If you don't like to cook with alcohol, or don't have it on hand, substitute chicken broth for the beer.
Store in an airtight contain in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days, and in the freezer for up to 2 months.
Original 2017 Post and Photo
We entertain a lot, and I like to provide at least one vegetarian option when we entertain. In addition to the salsa verde shredded chicken, I quickly cooked some black beans (canned) with a chipotle chile in its adobo, orange juice, garlic and cumin. I smushed the black beans mixture with my potato masher. The mango salsa, crumbled cotija, avocado, and cilantro finished them off, and they were delicious!
Feel free to be creative with this recipe! Fill your sopes with pork and green chile, seasoned ground meat, etc. Top them with your favorite salsa. What fun fillings can you think up? I'd love to hear your ideas through my "comments" section at the bottom of the post!
Sopes de Pollo
Salsa Verde Chicken Filling
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 pounds boneless chicken breast or thigh meat
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 8 ounces beer see post for more information
- 1 ½ cups salsa verde see post for more information
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- a few grinds pepper
- 3 cups masa flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ⅓ cup oil vegetable, canola, coconut, grape seed
- 1 ½ to 2 cups warm water as needed
Salsa Verde Chicken Filling
- Brown the chicken on each side in a little bit of oil over medium-high heat. Remove from the pot, and set aside.
- Add the onion, garlic, and cumin to the pot, and cook until onion begins to soften, stirring often. Don't burn the garlic!
- De-glaze the pot with the beer, scraping the bottom of the pot to loosen browned bits. Stir in the salsa verde, salt, and pepper.
- Add the chicken back into the pot, bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, and cover. Simmer until just cooked through - 10 to 20 minutes depending on the size of your chicken breasts. While chicken simmers, prepare the sopes.
- You can use 2 forks or you can use a stand mixer to accomplish this task. Check for seasoning. Leave the chicken in its sauce until ready to serve.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees (350 convection).
- Combine dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.
- Add the oil and beaten egg. Stir to combine. Mixture will be very dry and crumbly.
- Begin to add water until you have a pliable but stiff ball of dough. It should not be crumbly, nor should it feel sticky.
- The dough will make 18-24 cups depending on size. Divide dough into walnut or golf ball size pieces. Press or pinch them into the muffin tins. (Refer to photo in the post).
- Bake 15 minutes (about 12 in a convection oven) until just beginning to brown. Remove from the muffin tins. You can add the fillings and pop them back in the oven for a maximum of 5 minutes to avoid drying them out. You don't want dry sopes!
- Add a scoop of salsa verde chicken filling to each sope.
- Add toppings as desired. Enjoy!
NOTE: Macronutrients are an approximation only using unbranded ingredients and MyFitnessPal.com. Please do your own research with the products you’re using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.