Sopa Seca de Fideo

Our favorite way of preparing angel hair nests is a Mexican dish called “sopa seca de fideo”. It’s a lot like pilaf, but made with thin noodles instead of rice.

The name “sopa seca de fideo” translates to “dry soup with noodles”. It’s not soup, it’s called a “dry soup” because the noodles absorb all of the wonderful rich stock, making the noodles taste more delicious than you can possibly imagine. 

The dish is made with thin noodles, angel hair pasta or vermicelli. My mother makes this dish at least once a month and we were raised just calling it by the noodle name, vermicelli. All you have to do is say that word and the collective eyes of our family light up with glee.

Sopa Seca de Fideos

Although it can be made with straight noodles, we always make fideo with the twirled nests. It’s pretty, and easier to serve that way, one nest, one serving. The dish can be used as an alternative to Spanish Rice in accompanying a meal.

The trick to a great sopa seca de fideo is the chicken broth. Over the hundreds of times we’ve made this dish over the last fifty years we’ve used bouillon, boxed broth, and homemade chicken stock.

While bouillon and the boxes work in a pinch, nothing beats homemade stock for this recipe. It brings a richness that can’t be had any other way. So if you try it, I strongly urge you to use homemade stock!

Updated from the recipe archive. First posted 2005.

Sopa Seca de Fideo Recipe

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4

If you can't find angel hair nests at the market, you can make fideo with straight vermicelli pasta. Just break up the pasta in 3 to 4 inch long segments and cook the same way as you would the nests, browning them first in hot oil.



  • 1/2 lb angel hair nests or vemicelli. Vermicelli usually comes in 1 lb packages, so about 1/2 a package.
  • 1/4 cup olive or canola oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped (about 3/4 cup)
  • 2 fresh tomatoes, peeled and chopped, or 1/2 cup crushed canned tomatoes
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • Salt and pepper


1 Choose a frying pan with a lid in which the angel hair nests will all tightly fit in a single layer (about 9 or 10-inches wide, depending on the brand of angel hair nests you use). In the pan, heat the oil until shimmering hot. Working in batches, fry the vermicelli angel hair nests on both sides in the hot oil until golden brown in color. Remove from pan.

sopa-seca-fideo-method-1 sopa-seca-fideo-method-2

2 Add the chopped onions to the pan and sauté until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes. Add the chicken broth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

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Bring the broth mixture to a simmer. When broth is simmering, place the browned angel hair nests or vermicelli in a single layer in the pan, nestled into the broth. The nests should cover the whole pan. Turn them over in the broth so that they get moistened on all sides. Cover and cook until the vermicelli has soaked up the liquid, about 5 minutes.

If after 5 minutes the top of the vermicelli is dry, flip over the individual angel hair nests and cook a minute longer. Remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes before serving.

sopa-seca-fideo-method-5 sopa-seca-fideo-method-6

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Sopa Seca de Fideos

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Showing 4 of 44 Comments

  • Anonymous

    This is a dish that I ate a lot in my childhood, and your recipe looks like about what my grandmother uses. Except that she uses a lot of pepper. In my recent recipe work with her, I realized that she basically uses equal amounts of salt and pepper —

    I have finally figured out that “fideo” can mean a lot of things – and people have have varying opinions on how brothy this dish should be. Ours ends up dry like yours.

    Thanks for posting this!

  • Mandingo Jones

    Wow! I love your dish and your blog!

    Here’s anr eccentric comfort food style dish that I love a little bit like yours. It’s called Platillo, and I think it hails from Cuba. I don’t know how authentically Cuban it is, but my mother used to prepare it for me when I was a child and she states that it was eaten in the long lost idyllic Cuba of her past – B.C. – before Castro. It’s a poor person’s dish she said. The first time I ate this dish was in the mid 1970s and my mom prepared it as a late night supper dish.
    I think this dish has Iberian origins where it was cooked with pieces of ham or with seafood. Actually there is a Spanish dish which is called Fideua and it resembles a seafood paella with noodles sans the rice.

    Take some thin egg noodles. They usually come dried in little bundles the size of a palm and they are used in Spanish and Latin American cooking to put in soups. You can buy these in the supermarket and they are usually called fideos in Spanish. Drop the noodles in some boiling water that you have placed a bullion cube, beef or chicken. I prefer to use some good homemade or commercial stock rather than the bullion cube. The noodles cook very fast. When the noodles are done drain them. The noodles should not be too dry – and you should just leave enough stock to keep them moist. Into the noodles add a couple of tablespoons of butter which will melt and start top create a sauce. Finally add a several tablespoons of tomato puree and mix with the noodles, stock, and butter. Garnish with chopped parsley.

    You can also add pieces of crispy bacon or Prosciutto and a grating of parmesan or manchego cheese for an interesting combination. This last part is purely my invention, and it doesn’t really reflect the dish I used to eat as a child.

  • Elise

    Hi James – sounds good, do they fry the rice as well?

    Hi Mandingo – thanks for the recipe!

  • Donna

    There are so many wonderful family recipes from long ago which were never written down and no longer exist. My grandmother was from Jamaica and used to make something very much like this which she called Mock Chicken. She was a vegetarian and called the dish by this name, as the flavor was similar to a chicken casserole. But I think somewhere in the process the fideo may have been dipped in beaten egg and/or flour. I would love to recreate this one. Does it sound familiar to you?

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