Sancochado – A robust soup for weekend appetites

South America is in the middle of winter right now, and cold days call for something warm, nurturing and comforting. This immediately brings one dish to my mind, and feeling nostalgic about it is inevitable. The delicious meal I’m thinking about is called sancochado, a hearty soup consisting of many ingredients and parts to it that have charmed Peruvian palates for decades.

Some say sancochado is a variation of some Spanish soups, like cocido or olla podrida. Whatever the story behind it, Limeños embraced this dish with such a passion, that having sancochado for lunch was -and still is- a huge event. When it first became popular, people used to make it with 12 meats, including beef, pork -fresh and smoked-, sausages, poultry, and there’s not enough space here to name the whole list. Root vegetables, and cabbage were cooked in separate saucepans, sometimes with rice and garbanzo beans. In more recent years the vegetables have remained but the meats have been reduced to one or two kinds, as health conscious Peruvians don´t dare to eat like their predecessors.

To serve sancochado, place the vegetables, garbanzos (if using), and meats in a large serving plate. Strain the flavorful broth and serve in consomé or soup bowls, accompanied by slices of lime. Several sauces are served at the same time. You may choose huancaina sauce, salsa criolla, rocoto or aji amarillo sauces, among many others. Some restaurants make a big event around their sancochados and their famous sauces, which are usually the specialty on Sundays. Yet another reason to not want Mondays to come so soon…

Recipe type: Soup
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
  • 2 pounds beef chuck roast, boneless
  • 5 celery ribs, cut in three parts
  • 3 carrots, cut in three parts
  • 2 onions, cut in half
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 sprig fresh hierbabuena
  • 2 corn ears, cooked
  • 2 sweet potatoes, cooked and cut in thick slices
  • 4 potatoes, peeled and cut in half
  • 1 pound yucca, peeled and cut in thick slices
  • 1 medium cabbage, cut in six parts lengthwise
  • Huancaina sauce
  • Salsa criolla
  1. Put the meat, celery, carrot and onion in a saucepan with water to cover, and the lid on, over high heat. Add salt pepper, oregano and hierbabuena. Bring to a boil and turn the heat to medium low. Simmer for 2.5 hours until the meat is fork tender, skimming every now and then.
  2. When the corn and sweet potatoes are tender, let them cool, and cut the corn in three parts and the sweet potatoes in two parts.
  3. When the meat is fork tender add the potatoes, and yucca, and cook for about 20 more minutes until the vegetables are tender too. Add cabbage and cook for 5 more minutes. Taste for seasoning, and add salt and pepper, to taste.
  4. Place the meat and vegetables in a serving plate and strain the broth, serving it in a soup bowl.


  1. yum…it’s almost that time of year for this. I’ve never made one, but maybe this year will be my year.

  2. I love soups in winter and the potatoes soak up such a yummy flavor.

  3. ay mija, don’t take this personally or the wrong way, but the word sancocho is just to icky to me! LOL! always has been! Not sure why. But, I loooove the soup varieties!

  4. I hope I remember this for winter. We love making and eating soups when it is cold outside! Thanks so much for the recipe.

  5. Oops. That was supposed to be 5 stars!

  6. Love it! Thanks

  7. Wow, I’ve spent an hour perusing many of the recipes and their introductions…amazing food! I was lucky enough to be in a wonderful relationship with a Salvadoran man and tasted many great foods. A Guatemalan friend makes a turkey or chicken dish baked in the oven that has a delicious sauce that is served with rice and contains copious amounts of green olives. I would love it if you knew this recipe!

    • Glad you like our recipes, Margaret. We´ll let you know about that turkey with olives. In El Salvador they have a delicious dish called Gallo en Chicha. Have you tried it yet?

      • I may have but I would not remember the name if I had asked what it was! I can make Pollo Guisado, although it’s not exactly right! I make a good adobo and quesadilla salvadorena (similar to a rich cake using queso and crema). I can make a basic pupusa! I am not currently running in those circles so much and I miss learning new great spanish food.

        • I love Salvadoran quesadilla. I used to make it in Peru using Parmesan cheese and queso de Paria in the same proportions. It was amazing. In El Salvador they use a different kind of cheese, not available in Peru. Thanks for visiting, Margaret!

  8. This soup and preparation is very similar to Caldo de Res, a very simple but wonderful blend of great flavors. This soup could be eaten any time of day! I can’t wait to try it.

  9. Me pregunto si se le debe agregar ajo.

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