Colombian Chicken Sancocho (Sancocho de Pollo)

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Sancocho de Pollo, a hearty soup almost like a stew, is a traditional dish in the Antioquia region of Colombia that combines potatoes, yuca, corn, plantains, and chicken.

Bowl of Sancocho with rice and avocado
Colombian Chicken Sancocho

Colombian Chicken Sancocho is the ultimate comfort food for my family and me when we’re craving chicken soup. In Colombia, “el almuerzo” is the main meal eaten in the afternoon, and this soup is commonly eaten then. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do! More of my favorite Colombian recipes are Carne en Bistec (Steak with Onions and Tomatoes), Huevos Pericos (Scrambled Eggs), and Aji Picante.

Bowl of Sancocho

I have fond memories in Colombia of large family gatherings where they would get fresh chickens right from the farm and make this on an open fire in the biggest pot I have ever seen. Eating this soup in the Andes mountains with cumbia music in the background just doesn’t get any better for me. Watching Disney’s new movie Encanto made me crave this soup so I remade it (such a great movie!)

There are many different versions of sancocho as it is a popular meal in several Latin American countries, like Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. Colombians typically cook sancocho with a whole chicken – feet and all – but I used skinless chicken thighs to lighten it up.

Colombian Sancocho Ingredients:

Below are the ingredients in my Colombian chicken sancocho recipe:

  • Poultry: Bone-in skinless chicken thighs, you can also use a whole cut up chicken, bone-in breasts or drumsticks.
  • Veggies: Scallions, tomatoes, potatoes, frozen or fresh peeled yuca, corn, green plantain, garlic
  • Seasonings: Cumin, chicken bouillon cubes, salt, fresh cilantro

What is yuca?

Yuca, also called cassava, is a starchy root vegetable similar to a potato and can be found fresh or frozen in many supermarkets. If you buy fresh yuca, you will need to peel and cut it before cooking. I think frozen yuca is easier to use since it comes ready to cook.

What can I use instead of yuca?

If you can’t find yuca, you can substitute it with more plantains and potatoes.

What is sancocho served with?

Sancocho is typically served with rice and avocado on the side. You could also add Aji Picante for a spicy kick.

How to Store, Freeze, and Reheat

Sancocho is perfect for freezing. I like to store it in individual containers, so I can pull it out later for an easy lunch. If you still have leftovers after four to five days, freeze the rest for up to three months. Thaw the soup overnight in the fridge and reheat it in the microwave or on the stove before eating.

Bowl of Sancocho with rice and avocado

More Chicken Soups You’ll Love:

 

Bowl of Sancocho with rice and avocado
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4.86 from 27 votes
Did you make this recipe?

Colombian Chicken Sancocho

405 Cals 34 Protein 41 Carbs 8 Fats
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 1 hr
Total Time: 1 hr 15 mins
Yield: 6 servings
COURSE: Dinner, Lunch, Soup
CUISINE: Colombian
Sancocho de Pollo, a hearty soup almost like a stew, is a traditional dish in the Antioquia region of Colombia that combines potatoes, yuca, corn, plantains, and chicken.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 6 scallions, chopped
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 6 skinless chicken thighs on the bone
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro leaves and stems, divided
  • 3 medium red potatoes, peeled and chopped into 6 pieces (1 lb)
  • 10 ounces frozen yucca, about 3 to 4 pieces
  • 3 medium ears corn, cut in half
  • 1/2 medium green plantain, peeled and chopped into 1" pieces
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 2 chicken bouillion cubes
  • 8 cups water

Instructions

  • In a large pot, saute scallions and garlic in oil. Add tomatoes and saute another minute.
  • Add chicken pieces and season with a little salt. Saute a few minutes, then add yucca and plantain and fill pot with 8 cups water.
  • Add chicken bullion, cumin and half of the cilantro and cover pot.
  • Simmer on low for about 40 minutes. After 40 minutes, adjust salt and add potatoes, cook and additional 15 minutes.
  • Add corn and cook an additional 7 minutes or until corn is cooked.
  • Serve in large bowls, and top with cilantro.

Nutrition

Serving: 1/6th of recipe, Calories: 405kcal, Carbohydrates: 41g, Protein: 34g, Fat: 8g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 140mg, Sodium: 599.5mg, Fiber: 5.5g, Sugar: 10g
Keywords: Chicken Soup, colombian recipes, Pollo, Sancocho

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134 comments

  1. how much water do you add? it does not say in the recipe

  2. I made this the other week, it was a huge hit! But my broth became a thick cream colored stew  consistency I’m not sure why, I followed the recipe. Any ideas?

      • Foods that have a high starch content should always be blanched separately if you prefer a brothier consistency. What you are describing is what happens when yuca, plantains, and potatoes break down and release their starch. If you do prefer a thicker soup they make for a great natural emulsifier however.

  3. This was so delicious! Very easy to make! This will be on repeat this winter for sure!

  4. Oh my gosh! I just made it and it’s delicious, comforting.

  5. Is there a way to use homemade stock for this recipe? If so, how much would you use?

  6. Can you use homemade chicken stock instead of bouillon cubes? If so, what would be the amount? Thanks! I always love your recipes and super excited to try this 

  7. I made this previously in a large stock pot and it is FANTASTIC. I just moved and can’t find my stock pot yet (in a box somewhere) and wanted to make this tomorrow for someone. Does anyone know if you can/how to make it in the instant pot? Sorry if this was discussed already, I looked in the comments but didn’t see it. Thank you so much!

  8. Do yourself a favor… Make this recipe. From the tender chicken, to the flavorful corn, to the delicious pillows of yuca – this is one you will make over and over again! Incredibly tasty, fairly easy, and makes a lot!

  9. This was fantastic. I loved it so much that the next day I made a whole second pot for a friend who was home sick with her kids. Nourishing, tasty, and not the usual boring chicken noodle.

  10. Been cooking the potatoes on medium high (NOT LOW) for well over 15 minutes. Still rock hard. Get the times right or tell me what I’m doing wrong….

    • Rude first of all! Second, your medium potatoes should be cut in 6 pieces. If they are bigger, then cut them smaller. Lastly, they still cook 7 min more when you add the corn.

  11. This recipe, simply put, is amazing.
    Such a healthy comfort food either on a cold January night, or refreshing on a summer evening  with fresh squeeze of lime and sprinkle of chopped cilantro.
    My Peruvian husband and sister in law had two big bowls.
    So happy this was a hit but sorry there were no leftovers for today!  Thank you!  
    Up next: Your arroz con pollo – another fantastic recipe that is on rotation in this house!

  12. Where do I get corn on the cob in New England in January?

  13. More of a question than comment… in the recipe ingredients list, it does not have onion but the first step of the instructions says to “saute scallions, onions and garlic in oil.” Can you please share how much onion to use? Thanks!

  14. I am from Colombia and also remember Sancocho on Sundays cumbia and aguardiente. Thank you for the recipe.

  15. I have made this soup so many times. I tend to add more yuca and extra cilantro. It’s always a winner and perfect on a cold winter night. This soup also freezes well. The yuca makes it nice and hearty,

  16. I see there is a WW personal point button but how do I see what the points are? I am a WW member. Thank you

  17. Can’t wait to try this recipe! My mother is from Colombia and every time we visit, my abuelita makes this soup. I appreciate the other Colombian recipes, as well. Do you have a recipe for ajiaco, too? I would love to learn how to make that soup—it’s my favorite! 

  18. I absolutely love this soup, thank you so much for sharing!!! My mom is Colombian and I remember eating this soup growing up. Would love to pass this on to my girls!

  19. Absolutely love this SOUP- i love soup!!!! any soup!!!! I add more garlic, carrots and love the cilantro fresh !! With a side of white rice and hot sauce OMG..delish. You can definately make it your own and still taste amazing!!!! I have been out of yucca use yautia. its just such a great recipe . THANK YOU !! i have been making for a while now and continue to share it !!!

  20. Perfect. Loved the flavor. I added extra plantains since yucca i bought was half rotten. No complaints!

  21. Such wonderful flavors in this soup!! Thank you so much for this recipe, it’s going into my recipe binder. 

  22. Great Recipe. Made a couple of changes. Didn’t have any fresh coriander (cilantro), so used 1 tsp of ground coriander instead. Used 4 tsp of Massel chicken stock powder instead of 2 stock cubes. Also full onion instead of half and a whole chicken cut into pieces. 4 tsp of salt to season with 1.5 Litres of water. Added all remaining ingredients after sauteing, then pressured cooked for 20 minutes. My husband is Colombian and he really enjoyed it!!!

  23. Pretty darn good. My mom used to make this adding oxtail, with the bone-in chicken. We also added sweet potatoes along with the casava. The easiest way to utilize casava is just to buy a frozen bag (goya sells it), and just add it to the stew with about 25 minutes of cooking time remaining. It will come out perfect. I sautee sweet peppers before adding the garlic, onions and tomatoes, and use saffron flavored bouillon. Pop the sweet potatoes in with about 45 minutes of cooking time left depending on how thick you slice them. I do not use plantain in the soup. Sautee super ripe plantains (almost black) with a little brown sugar and butter. Serve them on the side with white rice, avocado, and a fried egg. Make sure the plantains get a nice caramelized sear. Then you have a perfect meal. Thanks for sharing

  24. I love this recipe. Best sancocho. It is so comforting! One of my friends tried my sancocho and was so impressed she actually said it was “scrumptious!” Thanks for sharing this recipe. It is such a keeper!

  25. I am an African American who absolutely loves Colombian Cuisine. Empanadas, Sopas, Plato Ticino, Brevas con Queso. You name i love it. But, there are a few things I won’t eat like innards. ( intestines, chicken feet, Morcilla ) but overall I do enjoy pretty much everything else. I have made this Chicken Sancocho several times and each time it is better than the last. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe. Buen Aprovecha!

  26. Cassava is yuca it just needs to be peeled and prepared

  27. The soup was very flavorful and simple. I added cabbage at the end with the corn just because I love it and served it with lime.

  28. I have to be a bit creative with the yucca since we don’t have it here. I have sweet potato or cassava. Now I have searched the internet if yucca and cassava is the same and it’s not that easy to find out but apparently  not. I am wondering if you might know? Apparently cassava is poisonous when raw but I am just wondering if I can put it in the soup straight away or boil it separately to discard the water before putting it into the soup. Or skip all that and use sweet potato:) 

  29. Can this be made in the instant pot? If so, how would you go about it (how long?) Sounds amazing

  30. Thank you so much!!! Delicious! Made it yesterday.

  31. I tweaked it, but followed it pretty closely. Delicious! Tastes like home. Thank you! 

  32. Esta receta esta muy facil de seguir y el sancocho me quedo delicioso. Solo le añadi Zapallo y como no tenia pollo lo hize de neck bones. Hize una tremenda ollada y se acabo toda. Gracias por compartir 👍

  33. Made this last night, did not use boullion as it’s all msg, and it turned out delicious. It needed salt of course but the flavor was super. Thank you! I happen to be stuck in Colombia due to the virus and this soup hot the spot. 

  34. I dropped a tamale in this and it was BOMB

  35. This soup is one of my all time favorite recipes! I’m making it right now since it feels like the first day of fall on the East Coast! I always have honemade sofrito on hand, so I use that and omit the Yuka (preference) and just add another plantano. One of the easiest and tastiest recipes ever! I also take the chicken thighs out after 40 minutes, shred the meat, and throw it back in so it’s easier to eat. So yummy!! Thanks for all of your amazing recipes. I’m down 111 lb over two years and give your recipes a lot of credit to my success. Thank you! 

  36. I’ve made sancocho before but never with chicken.  This was absolutly delicious.  Definaltly a keeper.  

  37. Made this today for dinner and the entire family loved it!  It’s a very simple recipe to follow compared to other Sancho recipes I’ve used. I did add a few more scallion, tomatoes and garlic. 

  38. Gina are you going to recalculate this recipe to Smart Points? Thanks

  39. How much water should be added to the pot and should the chicken thighs be cut into bite size pieces?

  40. What would be the SmartPoints value for this recipe? I really want to make it! My calculation is getting 13 but I feel like that is wrong.

  41. I am from Colombia and we have this every year. Some of my nieces and nephews boyfriends and girlsfriends love this soup. It would not be Christmas with out it. It has become a traditional that everyone enjoys.

  42. Hi,
    This sounds delish, but I do have some questions. Do you add enough water to cover the chicken and veggies or to fill the pot, can you use chicken broth instead of water, do you defrost the yucca before putting it into the soup and finally how do you peel the plantain? Thanks for all your help. Joyce

  43. Love your site! My Mother is from Colombia too! Colombia has the best soups! This is my all time favorite. I also love lentejas, sopa de arroz and bunelos!

  44. Wow, what an interesting menu!

  45. WOW … am delighted to find this recipe. Our family lived for over 3 years in Amaga, Columbia many, many years ago and this soup was a favourite of ours. I still have such wonderful memories of our time there.

  46. I have made 3 recipes since I found your site last week. They were a hit here at home, absolutely love it. I am currently making the soup ( on the stove as I type waiting for the potatoes)!!! My stomache is growling! So glad I found your site.

  47. Patti, yuca (Cassava)is not toxic. The tuberous roots of plants in the yucca family – more than 40 species strong – have long provided a carbohydrate-rich food source for indigenous peoples in arid areas of the Americas. The starchy root of the yucca is not only rich in carbohydrates but also contains a healthy mix of vitamins, minerals and plant-based nutrients. Researchers are finding that yucca root’s phytonutrients, including steroidal saponins and resveratrol, endow it with significant health benefits. I ❤ Yuca/Cassava, but NEVER eat it raw!

  48. Is it true that yucca could make you sick? This looks great but I'm concerned about what I read on the internet about yucca root being toxic, obviously I'm not Columbian because I had to look up yucca!

  49. My mother in law just made this for me 🙂 she's Ecuadorean and took the green plantain and mashed it and lightly fried it and sliced that on top of the soup. Served with raw onions and line juice on top…yum! She also cooks squash in hers-not sure which one but its orange on the inside and tastes like carrots. This is an excellent hearty meal!

  50. ^*LOVE your site…lol

  51. OMG!!! So seriously I made this and it was , is one of my most favorite things in the world to eat. I am Dominican and we make sancocho as well, this dish had a very similar taste, very tasty but I felt less guilty about eating. I only added an additional plantain…. I cannot get enough plantains!!!! Thank you so much Gina, this dish got me through the holidays!!! :))) xoxoxo. I live your site, cannot get enough!!!

  52. hi,
    do you have a crockpot recipe for sancocho? thank you.

  53. Made this tonight for dinner & it was so good! Perfect for cool evenings. LOVE all your recipes. Tried a bunch already, in fact made your mango bread today & will be making your Irish soda bread 2maro but instead of raisins I'll be using dried blueberries. YUM!

    Aloha from Hawaii… Missy

  54. I made this last night and it was sooo delicious. Erupting with different flavors. I bought the wrong kind of plaintains, but I had butternut squash in my fridge and added that in place of the plaintains. Still delicious! The yucca in the soup was also absolutely scrumptious! Keep posting these healthy Latin dishes please! 🙂 🙂

  55. My mom is Colombian too. Raised in Cali.
    So happy to see this recipe here as my mom never bothered to teach me.

  56. I made this soup on saturday.. let me tell you.. this soup is AMAZING… I work with a couple Puertorican ladies and they make it similar… i think next time i will add some chicken sausage… thanks for the recipe!!

  57. Such a fantastic site with so many great HEALTHY variations of food that is so close to my heart. I am Ecuadorian and have been asking my Mom and Abuelita for recipes of all their home cooking. They always say "Oh Mija it is so easy you just add this that and the other y ya!" Not really helpful to me as I need a little more instruction 🙂 Now when I have a craving for some South American comfort food I can make it AND it will be healthy! I am so happy! Thank you!

  58. Tried it an really liked it. The flavors were very light which I like. I did add shrimp and a little chili paste. I do not like thighs which I hate that I don't because I know that it added that extra flavor. I used some chopped chicken tenders instead. Gina I lovvveeeee your recipes. They have not failed me yet:)

  59. i am making this in the slow cooker today. i started it on low at 10am and at 2 pm the chicken is falling apart…i also added some dry navy beans it smells so good in here. i didn't cook my veggies just cut them up and threw them in. i am putting it on warm for now and plan to turn it on low again adding the potatoes about an hour before serving. still don't see the plantains and yucca at my grocery store i am sure i am missing out…maybe next time. i love the flavor of the corn and cilantro sooooooo good!

  60. How would I need to modify this to make it in the crockpot?

  61. Oh my, this looks so goooood! I love sancocho (Dominicano style!),and am so looking forward to trying your lighter version with chicken. I have traditionally had it only with beef and pork. Are you Colombian on both sides? I noticed that you post other Latin countries recipes, Too! mucho Gracias!

  62. I'm so happy I found your site, Gina! My parents are Colombian (from Medellín), and I was born in the States. My mom never taught me to cook (she hated it), so I never learned how to cook anything Colombian. Growing up in Southern California, I learned my fair share of Mexican dishes, but I look forward to learning how to cook Colombian ones. And, since I just started Weight Watchers (I'm on day one!), your site will be very helpful in general. Thanks!

  63. how about a recipe for ajiaco?

  64. I lived in Cali Colombia years ago and fell in love with this soup.Thank you for the recipe.I will be enjoying it again.YUm Yum.

  65. Thanks Beth, we love this. Point taken with the cups, I wrote this a while ago! I've been meaning to do a crock pot version soon!

    • Delicious. Over the years I’ve made sancocho several ways. What I like about this recipe…it’s simple and yet tasty. I add 2Tbsp Sofrito (which can be store-bought in a jar at any supermarket or homemade) although it’s not needed I just like to add a little extra taste. I used Goya chicken bouillon packets (1 packet = 1 bouillon) to give it more of a latin flavor. Grea comfort food recipe:)

  66. my oh my this was tastey! i did not get the chicken on the bone, i forget that you just take the skin off yourself…i used 2 tomatoes and couldn't find the plantains and yucca so it was just corn and potatoes but this was delicious! i think that if you are from cajun land like me you would cook this a little longer and maybe add some cayenne for a hint of spice. but this a wonderful take on chicken soup! so delicious! i think this would work well in a slow cooker. also you may change the recipe so it reads how much water to add as i cooked mine longer to cook out some of the water (i added 10 cups oops!) but i also wanted to have the flavors really cook into the meat….this was sooooooooooo good! gina you are AWESOME!

  67. I recently came across your blog through a friend and I like to find replacements to our Latino dishes. In PR we also make sancocho but we put white rice inside to eat it. Is a good dish for very early mornings after a good parranda in Christmas or rainy days. Thanks for the light alternative! – Griselle

  68. Denada!!

  69. Estoy feliz de encontrar tu Blog, soy Colombiana y me encanta ver recetas y mucho mas si con de mi pais.
    Gracias por compartir!!!!

  70. Oh that's great karen!!

  71. Hi Gina, Just found your site tonight while looking up some recipes for menu planning this coming week. You have an amazing variety of dishes and they all look amazing! So cool to find Sancocho here. My family is from Medellin and I have not had it in ages. Thanks so much for sharing, I will be stopping by often!

    Karen

  72. Gina – do you have the Points Plus value? Thanks!

  73. The root, it's starchy like a potato but needs to cook a lot longer.

  74. This soup looks amazing!! I was just wondering…do you use yucca root or the leaves? That may sound silly but I am not very familiar with the plant.

    Cant wait to try this!!

  75. Colombia is the home of my heart. I was privileged to be born and grow up there until I was 18. I read your recipe and thought, "What, no chicken head and feet?" I distinctly remember finding those in a pot of Sancocho. 🙂 I just found your blog and am so excited to find so many Latin dishes – yum!

  76. That was absolutely delicious. Enjoyed by the youngest to the oldest in the house. I look forward to making it again. Thanks!

  77. Hi Gina,

    This recipe looks delicious! Do you happen to know how many pointsplus it is? thanks

  78. That's one of my favorite soups ever, my boyfriend is Colombian so we eat it quite often. It has such a distinctive flavor, no other chicken soup can taste like this one

  79. I went and purchased all of the supplies last night, and I have the bone in thighs. I will be making it tomorrow and hope all goes well! My husband is Colombian and this is his mothers specialty. I hope I can at least compare with yours!

  80. Lately I've been making this without the plantain. I like the yucca, but you can always add more potato.

  81. On the bone tastes better in my opinion, the bones give the soup a nice flavor, but you can use bonless as well.

    Maurini- Love the sound of that!! I love meals that are soups. Email me the recipe if you can, sounds delicious 🙂

  82. Heya, I'm from Trinidad and we have a similar dish called sancoche (everything but the car).

    We add a few more veggies (mainly ground provisions) and pumpkin (closer to acorn squash in texture and flavor, and some split peas. No two are the same, but it's always yummy.

    So weirdly cool to see how interconnected the world is 🙂

  83. I have a quick question, do you use chicken with bone or without?

  84. I would love to try this soup but I do not have access to the plaintains, and yucca, is there anything else I could use???Thanks in advance..

    • hi you can find plantains at morrisons also the frozen yuca.
      As the main ingredient is plantain you can’t use something else othervise is just a soup and not sancocho hope you find this helpful.

  85. My mom is from Bogota too, and my daughter always east hers with lime ;). You're welcome, good luck with weight watchers!!

  86. I'm so happy I ran into your blog! I just started WW and I've been scouring recipes to cook.

    Sancocho is my favorite comfort food [I always add a little lime juice to mine], along with papas guisadas. 🙂 My father is from Bogota and my mom fron El Tolima / Ibague.

    Thank you so much for posting it. ♥

  87. I'm from Panama, and sancocho is the best soup ever! Yes, very comforting,and it is truly great for hangover's!

  88. You're welcome Amy!! My daughter requested this for dinner, I think I'll male a big pot of it Sunday 🙂

  89. I have had this soup at the Dominican restaurant in my town… I made your recipe and it was freaken fantabulous. Im taking some for lunch the rest of the week. Thanks Gina!

  90. Love you Marybeth, I LOVE this soup! It's a meal!

  91. Thanks – made this last night… excellent. Everyone loved!

  92. @Marybeth – Good question, I add about 8-9 cups of water. I use froze yucca, I find it easier. Just as good!

    • Hello! I just found this recipe and I’m excited to make it tonight for my Colombian house guest. Unfortunately I couldn’t find frozen yucca but I did find a fresh yucca root. Any advice on how to prepare it for this recipe? I am a yucca newbie. Thanks!

  93. This looks and sounds great. We love Colombian food and soups – can't wait to try. I was wondering a couple of things, though… what size pot are you using to make this (since the instructions say to fill the pot with water) and, are you using fresh yucca or frozen? Thanks!

  94. It's probably 1 cup of liquid, 1 piece of chicken, 1/2 potato, 1/2 yucca, and 1 piece corn. Yum!

  95. Is a serving 1 cup?

  96. thanks…..i love this food..im colombian

  97. @Jenni- I know!!! This soup is a gem and so overlooked. If they could only taste it once, they would be hooked!! My daughter and husband love love love this soup more than any other soup I make. I'm happy you are enjoying my recipes, Latin food rocks!!

  98. I have to say this was WOW. I am Puerto Rican and though I LUV my country's food..between deepfrying everything and adoring lard LOL not very healthy. My mom and I both find the biggets issue with WW is the blandness of many of the recipes. Your site has given us the chance to eat what we LIKE in a much healtheir way. THANKS SO MUCH!

  99. Yes, actually my Mom is Colombian. I've been there many times. This soup is the ultimate comfort food. Serve it with avocado and rice on the side. Yum!

  100. I'm wondering if you're Colombian, I see all these wonderful recipes from my land! Yummy…

  101. The best soup In the WORLD!!! Hands Down

  102. Gina,
    Great site. I’ll be checking back for recipes. Good nutrition + exercise = Fitness

  103. Yes, it does give you energy! It’s great for hangovers too! : )

  104. This dish is so tasty!! I remember this from my journey through South-America. This dish gives you new energy. Thanks for posting, I now can prepare it at home!

  105. That looks good! I’d definitely go for some of that…

  106. What an interesting recipe!