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Jan 16, 2021

Alphabet Soup (Sopa de Letras)

This alphabet soup, with a homemade tomato base and loaded with alphabet shaped pasta, is a comforting and delicious soup that reminds me of my childhood. 

Alphabet soup

It was always a treat when my mom would add alphabet pasta to tomato soup. Of course, the soup was Campbells', which is another nostalgic ingredient. 

This recipe is so simple with a short ingredient list. All you need is canned tomato puree, an onion, a garlic clove, alphabet pasta, and chicken broth. Or... you could just use Campbell's. I won't judge. 

Alphabet Soup (Sopa de Letras) in bowls

Until I researched this recipe, I had no idea that tomato based alphabet soup has a Mexican heritage! 

In fact, you no longer can typically find alphabet pasta in the the pasta aisle, but you can often find it in the Mexican food section. There are a couple of brands readily available, including La Moderna, which Target carries, and Goya, which I found at Ralph's (Kroger). 

If you have a Mexican grocery store in your area, there are probably other brand available too. 

What distinguishes the Mexican version of alphabet soup is that you fry the pasta in oil before making the soup, turning it slightly golden. It adds a night toasty flavor to the pasta, kind of like the Italian pasta, fregola

Alphabet Soup (Sopa de Letras) spoonful

Your kids will love this soup, especially the youngest ones. They will love spelling out their name in their spoon (I remember doing that!). 

Tips for making Mexican alphabet soup:

The pasta will absorb a lot of the liquid in the soup, especially if you don't serve it immediately. This is great for the little ones who are just learning to use a spoon. The soup becomes less dribbly. 

If you are making this soup to serve later but you want it to stay kind of "soupy," you can increase the tomatoes and broth by 50 percent. If you are serving the soup immediately, you can follow the recipe as is. 

If you can't find the alphabet pasta, you can always substitute stars, orzo, or broken pieces of angel hair pasta (fideo). I can't guarantee that the kids will be nearly as interested though. 

Naturally, if you want to get all nostalgic, serve this alphabet soup with a grilled cheese sandwich. 

I love Mexican-style soups, including Caldo de Pollo and Albóndigas Soup. 

Alphabet Soup (Sopa de Letras) with grilled chees

Did you know that today is National Soup Swap Day? To celebrate, we've assembled a huge list of delicious homemade soup recipes. 

Check them all out!

National Soup Swap Day 2021

Happy National Soup Swap Day! Today, I'm linking up with other bloggers for a virtual soup swap hosted by Kate's Recipe Box - and we're all sharing some tasty soup recipes to warm you up!

I'm also hosting Soup Saturday Swappers, where we are posting favorite childhood soups. Be sure to check out everyone's recipes. There are lots of variations on alphabet soup!!

So many delicious soups!! Kate has also posted how to host a virtual soup swap

Alphabet Soup (Sopa de Letras)

Alphabet Soup (Sopa de Letras)

Alphabet Soup (Sopa de Letras)
Yield: 4 servings
Author: Karen Kerr
Prep time: 5 MinCook time: 20 MinTotal time: 25 Min
This alphabet soup, with a homemade tomato base and loaded with alphabet shaped pasta, is comforting and delicious soup that reminds me of my childhood.


  • 1-14 ounce can tomato puree
  • 2 tablespoons chopped sweet onion
  • 1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup (6 ounces) alphabet pasta (or other small pasta)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 4 cups low sodium chicken broth


  1. Put the tomato puree, chopped onions, and garlic into a blender or food processor and blend until fully pureed. 
  2. Heat the oil in a large saucepan until simmering. Add the pasta letters and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 to 3 minutes. The color should changed to a light golden. 
  3. Add the tomato/onion/garlic mixture to the pan. Add the salt and stir. 
  4. Cook the ingredients for about 6 minutes, stirring constantly. The sauce should thicken and the color should deepen. 
  5. Add the broth and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Check the seasonings and serve. 
  6. You can make this recipe up to 3 days in advance. 



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  1. Tomato soup with grilled cheese is such a classic and then to add the alphabet makes it so much fun. Thanks for the history lesson. I had no idea.

  2. Wow! That's a delicious soup with a yummy combo!

  3. Kind of funny...I can only find my alphabet pasta in the Latin section of our local ethnic market. Now I know why!!! Your version of alphabet soup definitely looks yummy!

  4. I never knew it had a Mexican heritage either. Things you learn. I have to try making this at home for my toddler. Looks delicious

  5. We used to eat tomato soup and grilled cheese every Saturday for lunch. I can't wait to make this alphabet soup recipe with a grilled cheese sammi on Saturday for me and our granddaughter! She'll love the alphabet pasta.

    1. What a great tradition to start with your granddaughter!

  6. This totally brings back memories - though for us it was usually rice in tomato soup. Mmmmm

    1. Oh, we had that too, but there was something about the alphabet pasta.

  7. This looks so good! My kids (and I) would really enjoy this soup a lot. It does remind me of being a kid.

  8. Yum! My toddler would love this soup! How fun! We can practice letters and our basic words while eating.

  9. I was thinking this looked devilishly similar to tomato rice soup. I love that one as well. You can't argue with any type of tomato soup, especially if paired with grilled cheese.

  10. This is so fun! My kids would flip for the tiny alphabet pasta!

  11. Memories of this soup and grilled cheese came flooding back to me. Love it

  12. A great soup and perfectly paired with grilled cheese! This brings lot of memories. I used to make this for kids when they were young. Perfect combo with grilled cheese for them!


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