Sopa Seca de Fideo

Sopa seca de fideo, angel hair nest pasta, first browned in olive oil, then cooked in a broth with tomatoes and onions.

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.

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


  • 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.

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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.

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  1. 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!

  2. 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.

  3. Elise

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

    Hi Mandingo – thanks for the recipe!

  4. 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?

  5. Andrea

    Thank you so much! My abuelita makes this for me because I love it so much! She lives 300 miles away from me so I don’t get it very often but now I can make it! Thanks again!

  6. Samantha

    I was looking for simple recipes with few ingredients and this vermicelli was perfect. This one must be impossible to mess up, because I substituted almost everything on the list with whatever I already had on hand, and it was still delicious! (college doesn’t leave much time for grocery-shopping) I used: straight vermicelli, dried minced onion, 1 can italian-style diced tomatoes, and 1 can vegetable broth (I live with a vegan). Even though this is by no means the authentic way of preparing it, I still enjoyed every bite. Thanks!

  7. Kate

    I made this recipe this week, with only one small alteration: I added boneless chopped chicken breast meat so it would have some protein. It was comfort food at its finest. Even the bubbling broth, prior to adding the noodles back in, was delicious, clean tasting and fresh. I’ll use it as a soup base or over pasta, for sure. But this was really really tasty, and so comforting to look at, on a big platter on a cold, cold rainy night in Sacramento. Thank you!

  8. Kate

    Hello Sacramento neighbor, again. Not to be intentionally macabre, but, I have to thank your mother for this recipe. My father died last week, and several days later we realized we really needed to stop and make something to eat. We needed comfort food, fast and easy. I thought of this recipe which I made on a rainy night in January, and came to get it again. It was perfect, just as it is. Even adding meat would have been too heavy. So from my family to yours, thanks again for the recipe, it was incredibly comforting during a horrible week.

  9. Daria

    Thank you for this recipe. My mother made something very similar (with the noodles fried) and I loved it. I haven’t had it since I was in middle school and since my mother passed away before I became interested in cooking, I never had a recipe.

    My mother was Tejana (Mexican-Texan) and we called this dish “fideos” or “fideitos” which, I think, was a kid-type nickname (like saying “sghetti” for “spaghetti”).

    I love your site…thank you!

  10. Lupe

    I made this recipe for dinner tonight, and it was a Hit!! with my husband and my 6 year old (she is a very picky eater). She loved it as much as her daddy.
    I made it with regular vermicelli not the bird’s nest. My mother use to make it when I was younger, but she would make it very soupy and added potatoes to it. I wasn’t a big fan but it was ok. Until I made it tonight, I will be making it again.I made it as a side dish for chicken tacos.

  11. nikki jo

    My mom used canned tomato sauce and a tad of garlic when cooking the onion, however she took the onion out because my brother hate them! I love this dish, and plan on making it tonight with some garlic bread and cucumbers!! I’m also from new mexico and we call this dish verm-i-sell-ee also…

  12. musi

    Where do you find the vermicelli in the US? I cannot find them anywhere… Vermicelli are supposed to be made of soy, and the ones I have found have potato starch, which I cannot have.

    If the broth dries out then I am not sure why anyone would call it “sopa de fideos” (noodle soup), but language does these weird things and if you and your family have been calling that all your life why change now :)

    As soon as I find the vermicelli I will try the recipe.

    Look for “angel hair pasta”. Never heard of vermicelli being made of soy. It’s just another wheat-based pasta. Regarding the sopa bit, weird eh? It’s not something particular to our family. This is just the name of the dish. It’s considered a dry soup. ~Elise

  13. Loli

    Fideo is delicious when mixed into a bowl of frijoles de la olla. (Cooked Pinto Beans from the pot) We also add cilantro and chopped green onion and red pepper flakes. It’s a meal in itself!

  14. Stacy

    My mother taught me to make this very similar fideo dish. I put crushed garlic, cumin and tomato sauce in the chicken broth, fry the vermicelli until golden brown but don’t remove it from the pan, add chopped onion and jalapeno and saute, add the chicken broth mixture and cook down until the vermicelli is tender but still soupy, add a fresh chopped tomato at the end and top with cilantro. You can also add salad shrimp, or regular prawns for protien. When I made this for my friends they loved it and now they ask for “Mexi Sghetti” all the time.

  15. Krista

    My mother’s side of the family is Spanish and Mexican so as a kid I ate this a lot. Your recipe is spot on with the way my Grandpa use to make it. Everyone’s recipe will vary, depending on if you like yours with more broth in which it’s called “sopa” or dry. Thank you so much for posting this though!

  16. Jennifer

    Jumping the gun, I followed this recipe using the Asian variety of ‘vermicelli’ (that is what it’s referred to in Vietnamese restaurants) before reading the comments. It actually turned out really well, but for next time I’ll to try it again with the wheat variety. Curious about how the tastes will compare…

  17. joe sciumbato

    My family is Italian and we pronounced like you did. But I live in Mexico now and even though have never seen vermicelli made here, the noodles are called fideo.
    My mom used a lot of garlic in oil to start with, then browned noodles then added tomatos onion and chicken broth and cooked slow till absorbed… mmmm good

  18. Tauni

    Elise, I made your vermicelli tonight, and it was fantastic. I followed your recipe exactly and used it as a bed for my roasted halibut with white wine & walnut pesto. (I also added some of the pesto to the broth as the noodles were cooking) Maybe inspired by your dad’s fish stew? Amazing dinner! thank you!

  19. Maricela

    I am from Guadalajara, Mexico. I love your recipe. My mom used to make “sopa de fideo” very often and I love it!

    In Mexico we have “dry” soup like rice, fideos or tortilla soup or “wet” soup like tortilla or fideos soup made with more broth. I guess this is just a cultural thing.

  20. Ana

    I started making this a few months back and my family LOVES it — we never have any leftovers! Very yummy.

  21. Lulu

    I just made this last night. Delicious!
    For some reason, I needed a lot more broth. I had defrosted 2 1/2 cups of homemade for this recipe, but ended up having to open my emergency boxed broth to add, as it was drying up fast. My pan was covered and my flame was low, so I don’t know why. The noodles were also cooked in just about 20 minutes.
    In any case, this is a great quick and easy recipe and I’ll definitely make it again. Love the toasty flavor of the fried noodles. I can see throwing some vegetables in too, so I think this would be a good one for using up veggies from the fridge.
    A definite keeper, thank you!

  22. Julie

    I tried this recipe exactly as written (several times) but I could never get it to work to my satisfaction. It was easy to get the nests too brown. Then once they were in the liquid stage, I never managed to get the tops of the nests to be properly cooked – they always stuck out of the liquid too much. I don’t know if my pam was too big or I just needed a lot more liquid. However, I did like the taste of the bits that were done. So I started making the recipe using little 7oz bags of broken vermicelli that I can get at my local market. Since I started doing this, it has made a steady rotation in my house.

  23. Lisa

    I’m not a big pasta fan, but I love this dish! Yummy!

  24. Linda

    I just purchased a case of 1 pound each of the ”Coil Vermicelli Fideo”…….this is the product I was introduced to originally by a gal who prepared this with rice (browing both together before adding any liquid) and she said it is a Lebanese way (?). I’ve loved it ever since and make it frequently.

    I purchased the case of this so I can make lots of Vermicelli recipes, love the site.

  25. James

    my father-in-law who is lebanese raised in cuba, makes a dish prepared similar called arroz con fideo. or rice with noodles in which the noodles are fried before they are boiled

  26. lola

    Italian pasta comes, naturally, from China as Marco Polo brought the recipe from his trips in the Silk Route. Venetians did not have rice but plenty of cereal so they adapted it.
    One of the traditional staples for family first course in Spain is: “sopa de fideos” wich is supossed to be made with chicken bones and vegetables boiled for a long time together and if you have at hand some jamon’s bone (Spanish prosciutto) much better ;-). The fideos (vermicelli) must be floating free and gaily on the broth.
    Another dish absolutely different is the “fideua”, typical from the east (Catalonia, Valencia, Alicante, the Islands of Mallorca, Menorca.. ). It’s done with special fat and short pasta and it’s not soupy but dry and when it’s well done it’s delicious

  27. Maria

    Hi! First time visiting your blog, but I will be back!

    This dish sounds delightful and I will definitely try it soon. It is winter where I am at (Uruguay, South America) and this sounds like a perfect Sunday dish.

    Fideo, in Spanish – in Uruguay at least- means any type of packaged dry pasta. So vermicelli could be fideos if bought packaged and dried, or “pasta” if bought fresh and soft. Other types of fideos: macaroni, rigatoni, spaghetti, penne, etc.

    Cheers to all! :-)


  28. Monica

    Ah, this is something I know from Catalunya, but there it’s made with fish soup in lieu of chicken broth, and topped with some grilled prawns and – sounds disgusting, but is in fact very yummy – aioli sauce… I’ve always loved it.

  29. Tania

    I announced: “I found this lovely recipe, just wait and see!”
    In our Middle European homeland this type of pasta (called ‘soup nodles’ and often homemade) is used exclusively in broths; and “dry soup” is a name for a totally different dish … so no wonder my husband looked slightly suspicious when noodles were frying, but held his tongue and grilled some pork chops (I decided to do the recipe as a side dish).
    The final verdict was, unanimously: we should do this again. And we will.

  30. Carrie

    You are AMAZING….

  31. Sandy S

    Yep, Carrie (above) is right! You are the goods, Elise! Coming up with something new and easy and sounding fun and quite delicious! And, you keep doing it again and again!?! All the while, waking everyone’s inspiration and imagination to share with others. With your dash of fun and that essential ingredient, true talent, I wouldn’t change a thing. The site just ROCKS! It’s an absolute essential for daily cooking!

  32. Cynthia

    Made this last night with sun-dried tomatoes and basil in my olive oil……….yummy! Thanks!

  33. Missy

    So, I can buy these pasta nests at the store??? Never seen them.

    • Elise

      Hi Missy, depends on the store. Ask your grocer if you can’t find it. Sometimes they are easy to find, sometimes not. You can also make this using straight angel hair pasta. If you use straight pasta, you will want to break it up into 3 to 4 inch long pieces. I find the nests easier to work with for this recipe.

  34. Amy

    This looks like the perfect recipe for back-to-school comfort food. A reason to celebrate but not get too crazy-experimental. Loving the site and the comments. Thanks, Elise, for the inspiration. The reference to vermicelli reminds me of a fabulous story from the Kitchen Sisters on the founding of Rice-a-Roni – for locals to the Bay Area, a quick version for pilaf with a catchy jingle.
    By the way, would love to hear more stories on what’s inspiring your mom and dad with cooking. I love that this is a family affair. Cheers!

  35. Gil Ferguson

    OMG….this is so simple and delicious, I served it with hot Italian sausages, a simple green salad and bread.
    Ive been trying your recipes for about a year now….nothing has disappointed or failed. My get together’s are always a hit….I can’t thank you enough.

  36. Walkiria

    I don’t know if anybody had suggested it (I’m lazy and won’t read all the comments), but you guys should use beef stock. My mom does it that way and it gives it such a different flavour. I live both versions, I couldn’t pick one of you asked me. Just try out, even with a piece or two of shredded beef. You’ll thank me.

  37. Lyn

    Am I understanding this recipe: Using Angel hair pasta, cut in half strips and twirl to make nests?

    • Elise

      Angel hair nests are strands of angel hair pasta that are formed into nest shapes and dried that way, then sold as “angel hair nests”. You can also make the recipe with straight angel hair pasta. I recommend breaking the pasta into 3 inch long pieces or so, and browning them the way the instructions call for browning the nests. The nests are easier to work with for this recipe, but the broken pasta works too.

  38. Jenna Woodul

    Hi Elise,
    In our family, this is known simply as “fideo.” We brown the vermicelli in a large kettle and then pour in a whole big bottle of tomato juice. While that’s coming to a boil and then turned down to cook, we brown chopped onion and a pound of ground meat (seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic, cumin, oregano, chile powder). When the noodles are soft and there’s still a little liquid, mix in the meat/onion mix. Delicious comfort food!