Hearty Ajiaco: Colombian Chicken and Potato Stew

Colombian chicken and potato stew

​The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 70 mins
Marinate: 8 hrs
Total: 9 hrs 25 mins
Servings: 6 to 8 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
407 Calories
22g Fat
39g Carbs
18g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6 to 8
Amount per serving
Calories 407
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 22g 28%
Saturated Fat 5g 27%
Cholesterol 42mg 14%
Sodium 812mg 35%
Total Carbohydrate 39g 14%
Dietary Fiber 9g 31%
Total Sugars 6g
Protein 18g
Vitamin C 21mg 106%
Calcium 77mg 6%
Iron 3mg 16%
Potassium 1193mg 25%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Ajiaco is a unique Colombian dish, especially beloved in the city of Bogota. It's a hearty chicken soup made with potatoes and corn on the cob. If you can find them, use small yellow Andean potatoes called papas criollas—they dissolve and thicken the soup as it cooks.

Ajiaco is seasoned with a Colombian herb called guascas and is traditionally served with slices of avocado, capers, and mild sour cream. You can usually find frozen papas criollas as well as dried guascas at Latin food markets—they are worth seeking out if you decide to make this dish.

Cubans make a stew version of ajiaco that includes beef, pork, chicken, and vegetables, and in Peru, this dish is a side dish of potatoes, garlic, chilies, and herbs. It is a great menu for a cold night, all in one pot. Serve with artisan bread and Spanish albariño wine.

Learn what foods you need to stock your pantry with to cook Colombian recipes.


  • 2 large bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts

  • 1 large yellow onion, coarsely chopped

  • 5 clove garlic, coarsely chopped

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt

  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 4 cups chicken stock

  • 1 1/2 pounds mixed potatoes (such as red, Yukon Gold, and russets), peeled and cut into bite-size chunks

  • 2 to 3 medium ears corn, quartered, or 1 1/2 cups frozen corn kernels

  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro, tied with kitchen twine

  • 1 bunch green onions, tied with kitchen twine

  • 2 tablespoons dried guascas

For Topping:

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for Colombian chicken and potato stew
    ​The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska
  2. Place the chicken in a glass or ceramic dish. Top with the onion, garlic, salt, and pepper.

    Chicken in a dish topped with onion, garlic, and seasoning
    ​The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska
  3. Cover and refrigerate for 8 to 24 hours.

    Chicken in a covered container
    ​The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska
  4. Heat the olive oil in a heavy 4-quart lidded pot over medium-high heat.

    Olive oil in a heavy pot
    ​The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska
  5. Add the chicken with the vegetables and brown each side, about 6 minutes.

    Chicken and onions browned in a pot
    ​The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska
  6. Pour in the stock and raise the heat to high.

    Chicken and stock in a pot
    ​The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska
  7. When the mixture boils, lower the heat to medium-low then cover and simmer. Cook until the chicken is tender, about 30 minutes.

    Cooked chicken in the pot with stock
    ​The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska
  8. Transfer the chicken to a platter, reserving the cooking liquid in the pot.

    Chicken removed to a plate
    ​The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska
  9. When cool enough to handle, remove the skin from the chicken and discard. Cut or tear the chicken breasts into bite-size strips and discard the bones.

    Shredded chicken on a plate
    ​The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska
  10. Place the potatoes in the pot with the cooking liquid and turn the heat to medium. Cover and cook for about 5 minutes.

    Potatoes in the pot with broth
    ​The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska
  11. Add the corn, cilantro, green onions, and the guascas. Simmer, covered, for 20 minutes, or until potatoes are tender, but not overcooked.

    Vegetables added to the soup pot
    ​The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska
  12. Remove the cilantro and green onions and return the chicken to the pot. Simmer a few minutes more until the chicken is warmed through.

    Chicken added back to the soup pot
    ​The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska
  13. Ladle the soup into individual bowls and place the toppings on the table to be passed around.

    Soup ladled into bowls
    ​The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska
  14. Serve and enjoy!

    Ajiaco chicken stew in a bowl
    ​The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska

How to Store

Store any leftover ajiaco in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days. Reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave.

What Can I Use Instead of Guascas?

There's nothing that tastes exactly like the herb guascas—it can be found in Latin and South American markets as well as ordered online. However, if you can't find guascas, try substituting with dried oregano.