Ajiaco Recipe - Traditional Colombian & Cuban Dish


Ajiaco Recipe - Traditional Colombian & Cuban Dish
Region / culture: Colombia, Cuba | Preparation time: 30 minutes | Cooking time: 1 hour | Servings: 6



Ajiaco is a traditional Colombian soup that is rich, hearty, and full of flavor. This beloved dish is a staple in Colombian cuisine and is known for its comforting qualities and its ability to bring people together. Made with a variety of potatoes, chicken, corn, and a unique herb called guasca, Ajiaco is a culinary experience that is both unique and delicious. This recipe will guide you through the steps to create an authentic Ajiaco that will transport your taste buds straight to Colombia.


The origins of Ajiaco can be traced back to the indigenous peoples of the Andean region of Colombia. Over time, the recipe has evolved, incorporating ingredients brought by the Spanish during the colonial period. The use of chicken, potatoes, and corn reflects the blending of indigenous and European culinary traditions. Ajiaco is particularly popular in the capital city of Bogotá, where it is considered a symbol of local identity and heritage.


How to prepare

  1. Marinate the chicken breasts with garlic, onion, and salt the night before.
  2. Place the chicken breasts in a pot, add water, cover, and cook until the chicken is tender.
  3. Transfer the cooked chicken to a platter.
  4. Remove and discard the chicken skin.
  5. Slice the chicken breasts into strips.
  6. In the same pot, cook the yellow potatoes with the chicken stock until they start to disintegrate.
  7. Add the bunch of scallions, bunch of cilantro, sliced potatoes, guasca, and corn.
  8. Once cooked, remove the bunch of cilantro and bunch of scallions.
  9. Serve the chicken in soup bowls and pour the soup into the bowls.
  10. Pour 3 tbsp of cream and 1 tbsp of chopped capers into each bowl.
  11. Float the sliced avocado on top.


  • There are several regional variations of Ajiaco across Colombia. Some versions include different types of meat, such as pork or beef, while others might add additional vegetables or spices to suit local tastes.

Cooking Tips & Tricks

To achieve the best flavor and consistency for your Ajiaco, consider the following tips:

- Use a mix of different types of potatoes to get the right texture. Some should disintegrate to thicken the soup, while others remain whole for a varied mouthfeel.

- Marinating the chicken overnight will enhance its flavor.

- Guasca is a key ingredient that gives Ajiaco its distinctive taste. It can be found in Latin American markets or online.

- Be patient when cooking the soup. Letting it simmer slowly allows the flavors to meld together beautifully.

Serving Suggestions

Ajiaco is traditionally served hot, garnished with capers, avocado slices, and a dollop of cream. It is often accompanied by white rice and a slice of avocado on the side for a complete meal.

Cooking Techniques

The key to a successful Ajiaco lies in the slow cooking process. Simmering the soup on low heat allows the ingredients to cook thoroughly and the flavors to develop fully. This technique is essential for achieving the perfect texture and taste.

Ingredient Substitutions

If guasca is unavailable, you can substitute it with dried oregano for a similar flavor profile. For a lighter version, use low-fat cream or yogurt instead of heavy cream.

Make Ahead Tips

Ajiaco can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. In fact, the flavors often deepen and improve with time, making it an excellent make-ahead meal option.

Presentation Ideas

Serve Ajiaco in a large, rustic bowl to highlight its hearty and comforting nature. Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves and a wedge of lime for a pop of color and flavor.

Pairing Recommendations

Ajiaco pairs beautifully with a crisp, dry white wine such as Sauvignon Blanc, which complements the rich flavors of the soup without overpowering them.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

Store leftover Ajiaco in an airtight container in the refrigerator. To reheat, gently warm the soup on the stove over medium heat, stirring occasionally until heated through.

Nutrition Information

Calories per serving

A single serving of Ajiaco contains approximately 400-500 calories, making it a hearty and fulfilling meal. The exact calorie count can vary depending on the specific ingredients used and portion sizes.


Ajiaco is a good source of carbohydrates, primarily from the variety of potatoes used in the recipe. Carbohydrates are essential for energy, and this dish provides a healthy amount, making it a satisfying meal that can fuel your day.


The fats in Ajiaco come mainly from the chicken and the heavy cream. While it is important to consume fats in moderation, they are essential for a balanced diet, providing energy and supporting cell growth.


Chicken is the primary source of protein in Ajiaco, making it an excellent dish for muscle repair and growth. Proteins are also crucial for the health of your bones, cartilage, and blood.

Vitamins and minerals

Ajiaco is rich in vitamins and minerals, thanks to its diverse ingredients. Potatoes and avocados are high in Vitamin C and potassium, while chicken provides B vitamins, essential for energy production and brain health.


This recipe contains potential allergens such as dairy (heavy cream) and may not be suitable for individuals with lactose intolerance or dairy allergies. Always check with guests for any dietary restrictions before serving.


Overall, Ajiaco is a nutritious dish that provides a good balance of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, along with essential vitamins and minerals. It is a wholesome meal that can fit into a balanced diet.


Ajiaco is a traditional Colombian dish that offers a rich tapestry of flavors and textures. This recipe not only provides a delicious meal but also a glimpse into the cultural heritage of Colombia. With its nutritious ingredients and comforting qualities, Ajiaco is a perfect dish to share with family and friends.

How did I get this recipe?

I have a clear memory of the first time I saw this recipe for Ajiaco. It was many years ago, when I was just a young girl living in a small village in Colombia. My grandmother, who was known for her delicious cooking, was preparing a special meal for a family gathering. As she bustled around the kitchen, chopping vegetables and stirring pots on the stove, I watched in awe.

"Abuela, what are you making?" I asked, curious about the fragrant aromas wafting through the air.

"Ajiaco, mi amor," she replied with a smile. "It's a traditional Colombian soup made with chicken, corn, potatoes, and a special herb called guascas. It's perfect for a cold night like tonight."

I had never heard of Ajiaco before, but as I watched my grandmother work her magic in the kitchen, I knew I had to learn how to make it myself. So, I pulled up a chair and sat next to her, asking questions and taking mental notes as she walked me through the recipe step by step.

First, she explained, you start by simmering a whole chicken in a large pot of water with onions, garlic, and cilantro. This creates a rich, flavorful broth that forms the base of the soup. As the chicken cooked, my grandmother added chunks of corn on the cob, chunks of potatoes, and a handful of guascas, a herb that gives Ajiaco its distinctive flavor.

Next, she added a few ears of corn to the pot, along with a handful of diced potatoes and a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper. As the soup simmered, the flavors melded together, creating a tantalizing aroma that filled the kitchen.

Finally, my grandmother ladled the Ajiaco into bowls and garnished each serving with a dollop of sour cream, a sprinkling of capers, and a handful of fresh cilantro. The finished dish was a masterpiece, bursting with color and flavor.

As I took my first bite of Ajiaco, I was transported back in time to that moment in my grandmother's kitchen. The soup was rich and hearty, with tender chunks of chicken, sweet corn, and creamy potatoes. The guascas added a subtle herbal note that complemented the other ingredients perfectly.

From that day on, Ajiaco became a staple in our household, a dish that we would enjoy on special occasions and lazy Sunday afternoons alike. I would often help my grandmother prepare the soup, chopping vegetables and stirring pots as she had taught me, savoring the time we spent together in the kitchen.

Over the years, I have made Ajiaco for my own family and friends, sharing the recipe and the memories that accompany it. Each time I prepare the soup, I am reminded of my grandmother and the love and care she poured into every dish she made.

As I sit down to enjoy a steaming bowl of Ajiaco, surrounded by loved ones and laughter, I am grateful for the traditions and recipes that have been passed down through generations. And I am reminded of the power of food to bring people together, to create memories, and to nourish both body and soul.

So, the next time you find yourself in need of a comforting and delicious meal, why not try your hand at making Ajiaco? I promise you won't be disappointed. And who knows, perhaps you'll create your own memories and traditions along the way.


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