Sopa de Caracol: The Flavours of Honduran Conch Soup

Sopa de Caracol, also known as "Conch Soup," is a beloved Honduran dish with deep cultural roots. It is a hearty soup made from conch; a marine mollusk abundantly found in the region's coastal waters. The dish is cherished for its rich flavours, typically infused with coconut milk, plantains, yucca, and various spices, creating a deliciously aromatic experience. Beyond its culinary delight, Sopa de Caracol holds significant cultural importance in Honduras. It is often served during celebrations, festivals, and family gatherings, symbolising unity, togetherness, and the pride of Honduran traditions.

The origins of Sopa de Caracol can be traced back to the Garifuna community, an Afro-indigenous group that settled along the Honduran Caribbean coast. The dish is deeply rooted in their cultural heritage and culinary practises. The Garifuna people traditionally prepared it as a communal meal, using conch and locally available ingredients like coconut, plantains, and yucca. Yucca is a starchy root vegetable that is native to the Americas. It is a member of the agave family, and its scientific name is Manihot esculenta.

Yucca is a good source of carbohydrates, dietary fibre, and vitamin C. It is also a good source of potassium, magnesium, and iron. Yucca has a slightly sweet flavour and a chewy texture. It is often used in soups, stews, and stir-fries. It can also be eaten as a side dish or a snack. Over time, the recipe has evolved, incorporating influences from Spanish, African, and Indigenous cuisines.

As the Garifuna community interacted with other cultural groups, Sopa de Caracol became a symbol of cultural fusion and unity. Its popularity spread beyond the coastal regions, reaching various parts of Honduras and even gaining recognition internationally. Despite modern culinary developments, Sopa de Caracol remains a cherished tradition that proudly reflects Honduran heritage and its diverse cultural tapestry.

In the Bay Islands, Sopa de Caracol incorporates a blend of Caribbean flavours, featuring coconut milk, green and ripe plantains, and cassava. Along the northern coast, locals add green and red bell peppers for a colourful twist. In the eastern regions, Sopa de Caracol leans towards a spicier profile, with hot peppers and additional herbs for extra zest. The southern areas often include a touch of annatto, lending a vibrant hue to the soup. These regional variations showcase the diverse culinary influences and local preferences that make Sopa de Caracol a dynamic and exciting dish across Honduras.

Recipe For Sopa de Caracol


1 pound of conch meat, cleaned and diced

2 tablespoons of vegetable oil

1 onion, finely chopped

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1 red bell pepper, diced

1 green bell pepper, diced

2 tomatoes, diced

1 cup of coconut milk

2 cups of fish or vegetable broth

1 cup of water

1 cup diced yucca

1 cup diced green plantains

1 cup diced, ripe plantains

1 tablespoon ground annatto (achiote) or paprika (optional, for colour)

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 bay leaf

Salt and pepper to taste

Fresh cilantro for garnish

Lime wedges for serving


In a large pot, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and minced garlic, sauté until fragrant and translucent.

Add the diced red and green bell peppers and cook for a few minutes until softened.

Stir in the diced tomatoes and cook until they release their juices.

Add the diced conch meat to the pot and cook for a couple of minutes to sear the meat slightly.

Pour in the coconut milk, fish or vegetable broth, and water. Stir in the ground annatto (or paprika), ground cumin, dried oregano, dried thyme, bay leaf, salt, and pepper.

Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the conch is tender.

Add the diced yucca, green plantains, and ripe plantains to the soup. Continue to simmer until the yucca and plantains are tender, about 20 minutes.

Adjust the seasoning with more salt and pepper if needed.

Remove the bay leaf from the soup.

Serve the Sopa de Caracol hot, garnished with fresh cilantro, and accompanied by lime wedges for squeezing over the soup.

Enjoy your homemade Sopa de Caracol, a flavorful and comforting taste of Honduran cuisine!