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Nov 21, 2020

Colombian Chicken and Potato Soup (Ajiaco)

Ajiaco, a chicken and potato soup from Colombia. It's typically served in a clay pot accompanied by avocado, crema, capers and corn on the cob. 

Chicken and potato soup

Ajiaco is a specialty of Bogotá, and typically includes three kinds of potatoes, including papas criollas, which are small yellow potatoes. They are hard to find outside of Colombia, so small Yukon gold or Dutch baby potatoes are good substitutes. 

This soup also includes russet potatoes, which will somewhat dissolve in the soup to enhance the flavor of and slightly thicken the broth. 

Colombian Chicken and Potato Soup

This soup, with its simple ingredients, was amazingly delicious. I made this soup in the Instant Pot and it took just 6 minutes too cook after the soup reached pressure. Everyone loved it! 

After the soup has cooked under pressure, you switch it to the sauté function and add the corn cobs and cook for an additional five minutes. The corn, cooked in the chicken and potato broth, is delicious. 

If you don't have a pressure cooker or Instant Pot, you can make this soup in a Dutch oven on the stove top. Just increase the water by 1/2 cup and cook everything covered on medium-low heat for 25 minutes and then add the corn and cook for 5 minutes more. 

Ingredient Substitutions

Traditional ajiaco includes a Colombian herb called guascas, which is not widely available outside of Colombia. To substitute for the guascas, add bay leaves and fresh parsley to flavor the broth. 

I made this soup with chicken breast to lighten it up, but I'm looking forward to trying it with chicken thighs for an even richer flavor.

I used two types of potatoes, russets and baby golds, instead of three. You could also add some sliced red potatoes to have even more variety and texture. 

The use of bouillon in this soup is common. My favorite is Better Than Bouillon. I keep jars of it in several flavors in the refrigerator (This is an Amazon affiliate link. See my disclosure page). 


While researching this soup, I came across posts where commenters argued about whether or not this soup is served with rice along with other ingredient issues. I saw several serious arguments. 

Dear food police, this is a lightened up slightly authentic but not fully 100% authentic version of Colombian Chicken and Potato soup. Either way, it's really tasty. 

P.S. If you decide to go with the rice, it reminds me of the marriage of new world and old world foods, including Peruvian Stir-Fried Lomo Saltado, which includes both potatoes and rice. 

And the corn cooked in the broth is amazing. I'll always cook corn in chicken broth from now on. 

Colombian Chicken and Potato Soup (Ajiaco)

The theme for this month's Soup Swappers is root vegetables, hosted by Culinary Adventures with Camilla. I toyed with parsnips and rutabagas, but decided to go with something super simple leading up to the holidays. Plus, there's nothing better than potatoes and chicken soup for comfort food. 

Plus, there's corn on the cob! 

Check out everyone else's root vegetable recipes:

Colombian Chicken and Potato Soup (Ajiaco)

Colombian Chicken and Potato Soup (Ajiaco)
Yield: 6 servings
Author: Karen Kerr
Ajiaco, a chicken and potato soup from Colombia. It's typically served in a clay pot accompanied by avocado, crema, capers and corn on the cob.


For the soup
  • 2 ears of corn
  • 5 1/2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 pounds baby gold or baby Dutch potatoes, cut into 1/4 inch slices
  • 3/4 pound russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch slices
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast and/or thighs, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 2 medium scallions, sliced
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoons chicken bouillon (such as Better Than Bouillon)
For Garnishing the Soup
  • 1 large avocado, diced
  • 1/2 cup Mexican crema, crème fraîche, or heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons capers
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro (optional)


  1. Remove the husks and silk from the corn and cut each into three pieces. 
  2. In your Instant Pot or pressure cooker, add the water, potatoes, chicken, scallions, bay leaves, parsley, and bouillon. 
  3. Cook on high pressure for 6 minutes. Use natural release to release the pressure, and open when the pressure subsides. Remove the lid, remove the bay leaves, and press the sauté button. 
  4. Add the corn and cook for 5 minutes. 
  5. Serve in bowls with a piece of corn, some chopped avocado, crema, capers, and cilantro. You can also add a bit of caper brine for more flavor. 



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soup, chicken, potatoes
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This recipe was adapted from Skinny Taste: One and Done.

Would you like to comment?

  1. A simple and elegant soup. I love the colors!

  2. "Food police"?!? I laughed outloud. Yes, I always take kitchen liberties to lighten things up. I can't wait to try this soup, Karen.

    1. Thanks! You would not believe some of the comments I've received on my regional Italian breads, lol.

  3. I have a good friend that is Colombian and she introduced me to the food, this is the first dish I tried. You can get the guascas on Amazon. But ignoring the food police, you sub sounds really close, and delicious.

  4. My mouth is watering - this is right up my alley! Yumm!!

  5. Well that is a delicious looking bowl of goodness right there.

  6. A great bowl of soup. If I gave a vegetarian version of this soup[ with rice, my family would be very very happy! Rice and potato lovers . hahahaha

  7. What a different soup this is - I love the capers on top for a bit of that sharp bite.


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