Sopapillas Recipe

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New Mexico Sopapillas

Sopapillas are one of many foods that New Mexico can call it’s own – The New Mexican Quick Bread.  People call them little pillows, but the name really means “holding soup.”  Their history is over 200 years old, originating in the Albuquerque, New Mexico area.  It is often as much a staple of many New Mexican meals as the tortilla.

Both sopapillas and tortillas are used as “sop” breads, either soaking up the liquids in a dish, or stuffing them with the foods so they can be eaten without the use of knife and fork.  The recipe for both the tortilla and the sopapillas are virtually the same, the difference is in the cooking method.  Like tortillas, I learned this recipe from watching friends and relatives make them.  So it is hard to say these are the exact measurements, as everyone I watched simply shook out some flour into a bowl and began adding the other ingredients just by putting them in their hands.  They would make alterations based on the way the dough felt to them, much the same way as many people measure ingredients for  biscuits after they had made them for many years.  In fact, you will mix these much the way you do biscuits.

This recipe, comments, and photos are courtesy of Cynthia Detterick-Pineda of Andrews, TX.

 

Sopapillas

 

 

Sopapillas – New Mexico Sopappilas Recipe:

Sopapillas Recipe - New Mexico Sopapillas

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 2 dozen

Ingredients:

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
4 to 6 tablespoons lard or vegetable shortening (your choice)
1 1/4 cups warm milk (approximate)
Vegetable Oil (for frying)

 

Instructions:

ISopapillasn a large bowl, blend together the flour baking powder, and salt.

With a pastry cutter (unless you are one of those, like my teachers, who always used their hands) cut in the lard or shortening.

Add the milk all at once, and mix the dough quickly with a fork or by hand until the dough forms a mass.

Turn the dough onto a well-floured board and begin to knead the dough by folding it in half, pushing it down, and folding again. It should take about a dozen folds to form a soft dough that is no longer sticky.

Cover the dough with a towel or plastic wrap to let it rest for approximately 10 to 15 minutes.

Divide the dough in 1/2, keeping the 1/2 you are not working with covered with plastic wrap or a towel so it does not dry out.

Add the milk all at once, and mix the dough quickly with a fork or by hand until the dough forms a mass.

Sopapillas


Roll the dough half you have chosen on a floured board with gentle strokes.  Roll the dough to 1/8-inch thickness.  The more you work the dough, the tougher your sopapilla will turn out.  However, to keep a sopapilla well puffed after cooking, you may want to work the dough a minute or so longer.

Cut the dough into rectangles that are about 10-inch by 5-inch.  Divide the triangle into a 5-inch squares, and then cut this into a triangle.  NOTE: If you find the dough beginning to dry as you work with the remainder, cover this loosely with a some plastic wrap.

Do not attempt to reform and roll the leftover dough scraps.  They do not roll out well on the second try. You can cook these dough scraps along with the others, and they taste just as good.

Sopapillas


Heat some vegetable oil in a large skillet or a deep fryer until the oil reaches about 400 degrees F. NOTE: Check the temperature of the oil with your digital cooking thermometer.

Carefully slide the first sopapilla into the hot oil. Submerge the sopapilla under the oil. It should begin to puff immediately. NOTE: Sopapillas - They either puff or they don’t puff. Their puff is what makes it a sopapilla - but don’t despair as both can be eaten.  If your sopapillas are not puffing properly, the temperature of the oil may need to be increased or decreased.  Environmental changes in temperature and altitude can make setting the temperature tricky at times.

Using a slotted spoon, turn the sopapilla over to brown the other side.  Sometimes this can be difficult, as the sopapilla will want to stay on the side it was on.  A little coaxing with your slotted spatula will help this.  Hold it for only a moment, and it will adjust to the side it is on.  Once both sides, approximately 2 minutes per side, are browned, remove the sopapilla to a surface to drain (paper towels or a draining rack will both work).

Sopapillas can be kept warm in a 200 degree F. oven for up to 1 hour.  They refrigerate well and can be reheated in a 350 degree F. oven for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

Makes approximately 2 dozen Sopapillas.

Sopapillas

 Sopapillas

https://whatscookingamerica.net/CynthiaPineda/Sopapillas/Sopapillas.htm

 

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Comments and Reviews

15 Responses to “Sopapillas Recipe”

  1. Sandra Carr

    This recipe is not the one my family uses. They have been in New Mexico for centuries. They should be made with yeast and puff up so the insides are actually empty and then outsides are a much lighter brown. You can’t stuff your version based on your pictures and lack of yeast.

    Reply
    • Linda Stradley

      There are two different ways of making Sopapillas – The baking powder method and the yeast method. This recipe is the family recipe of Cynthia Detterick-Pineda.

      Reply
    • Jeannie

      Our family recipe is not made with yeast and they are fabulous (and are used to hold food and look similar to the pics here). So, there are apparently 2 ways to make sopapillas. It’s strange that someone would get so worked up about a recipe.

      Reply
    • Mollie

      oh you should try them made with baking power, they are more authentic!

      Reply
    • Alex

      I have travelled the complete south of the Americas, including Argentina, Brasil, Peru etc – if ever you find sopapillas, they are made with baking powder. Why – for the simple reason it works just as well and a lot faster.

      Reply
    • Frank Gilbert

      I like your recipe with yeast best. Some may not like a yeast flavor but to me it’s like rolls, I don’t want them without yeast because you might as well eat biscuits. I also like them thicker and tougher. Everyone has their own preference and may be just because “that’s the way Mama made them”.

      Reply
  2. Patricia Scott

    Great Answer Linda. It’s always funny when someone thinks their way is the only was each family has their own treasured recipes even when living in the same place. I have eaten Sopapillas my entire life made by my Tia’s but have not attempted them to often on my own I made these today and found your recipe easy and the results great!

    Reply
  3. Shawna

    This is the same recipe that I used over
    20 years ago when I lived in Albuquerque.
    Thank you!!!!

    Reply
  4. KateLS

    Is it possible to bake these with a savory filling (meat & chilis) instead of frying them? I was in a restaurant and they had stuffed sopapillas filled with chili verde and smothered in green sauce. Would I need to pre-fry them a little first?

    Reply
    • Joy Bork

      Hey,
      I just had these recently at a Taco John’s and went back and they are no longer making them.
      I was so sad,
      but they were Awesome and I wanted more
      But they sold the last one an hour and a half before I got there

      Reply
  5. MaryR

    I grew up in NM eating alot of Mexican food [close to 60 yrs ago] and the traditional/original recipe used baking powder or baking soda [most households didn’t have yeast back then]. You’d fry them, then you can slit them and stuff with whatever you want [guacamole, meat, beans, cheese, etc]… The guy that I used to get the stuffed sopapillas from would make them about the size of half an 8″ circle so you can make them in circles, half-circles, squares, rectangles or triangles… top with powdered sugar, honey, cinnamon & sugar… no limit.

    Reply
  6. e.g.g.e.

    Of all the dozens of sopapilla recipes I have tried, this recipe is the most authentic, the the very best recipe! I was raised in the Southwest and ate authentic Mexican food my entire life. My mother had a coworker who made homemade tortillas, sopapillas, gorditos, posole, mole, etc for my mother’s birthday every year. These sopapillas taste just like the sopapillas my mother’s coworker made. Brings back many memories.
    Thank you for sharing the recipe.

    Reply
  7. Nancy

    Thank you very much for this recipe. I’m anxious to try this, as I love sopapillas with butter and honey, and also stuffed or with food on top like Indian frybread.

    Reply
  8. Laura Loretto

    Lol I am a New Mexican and this is how we do it

    Reply
  9. Stephanie

    I have always loved visiting my Dads mom whenever we were passing through Albuquerque, my Dad was in the Air Force, so we would be restationed from time to time. Anyways we were quite young but I loved her very old kitchen where she always had something cooking on the stove. She didn’t measure just hand and mix. The smells were always yummy. She would send us off with a big paper bag filled with sopapillas. Hot and YES we didn’t get far, ????

    Reply

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