Hearty Ajiaco: Colombian Chicken and Potato Stew

Ajiaco, Colombian Chicken and Potato Stew

The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 70 mins
Marinate: 8 hrs
Total: 9 hrs 25 mins
Servings: 6 to 8 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
451 Calories
23g Fat
44g Carbs
21g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6 to 8
Amount per serving
Calories 451
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 23g 30%
Saturated Fat 6g 29%
Cholesterol 45mg 15%
Sodium 984mg 43%
Total Carbohydrate 44g 16%
Dietary Fiber 9g 31%
Total Sugars 8g
Protein 21g
Vitamin C 22mg 108%
Calcium 80mg 6%
Iron 3mg 18%
Potassium 1319mg 28%
*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

  • 8 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 to make Colombian chicken and potato stew

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  2. Place the chicken in a glass or ceramic dish. Top with the onion, garlic, salt, and pepper.

    A glass dish with chicken topped with onions, garlic, salt, and pepper

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  3. Cover and refrigerate for 8 to 24 hours.

    A glass dish of chicken covered with onions, garlic, salt, and pepper topped with plastic wrap

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  4. Heat the olive oil in a heavy 4-quart lidded pot over medium-high heat.

    A pot with olive oil

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  5. Add the chicken with the vegetables and brown each side, about 6 minutes.

    A pot of browned chicken and vegetables

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  6. Pour in the stock and raise the heat to high.

    A pot of chicken, vegetables, and stock

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  7. When the mixture boils, lower the heat to medium-low then cover and simmer. Cook until the chicken is tender, about 30 minutes.

    A pot of simmered chicken, vegetable, and broth

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  8. Transfer the chicken to a platter, reserving the cooking liquid in the pot.

    A pot of broth and a plate of chicken

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  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.

    A plate of shredded chicken

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  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 added to the pot of broth

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  11. Add the corn, cilantro, green onions, and the guascas. Simmer, covered, for 20 minutes, or until potatoes are tender, but not overcooked.

    Corn, cilantro, green onions, and the guascas added to the pot of potatoes and broth

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  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.

    A pot of broth with shredded chicken, corn, and poatoes

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  13. Ladle the soup into individual bowls and place the toppings on the table to be passed around.

    Bowls of Colombian chicken and potato soup garnished with avocado, crema, cilantro, and capers

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

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.

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