Sancocho is a soup with origins in the Caribbean, known for its rich flavors thanks to a blend of stewed beef, chicken, root veggies, and corn. This Puerto Rican version is loaded with flavor thanks to sofrito , sazon, and adobo seasoning , plus lots of fresh veggies like green plantain, yams, potatoes, and squash.
Why The Caribbean Loves This Stew
Love the traditional flavors & ingredients in Puerto Rican recipes? Get ready to fall in love with sancocho too.
This comforting soup is perfect for serving on a cold Fall or Winter day, with a rich broth, hearty stewed veggies, and warming island spices. It's no surprise that it can be found throughout the Caribbean & Latin America.
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Here's the grocery list for this recipe:
- olive oil
- beef stew meat, cut into 2 inch cubes
- chicken (can be thighs or breasts), cut into bite sized pieces
- sazon seasoning
- adobo seasoning
- earns of corn, cut into 1 inch rounds
- green plantain, peeled and cut into 1 inch rounds
- yam or sweet potato, cut into 1 inch chunks
- baby potatoes
- squash (can be butternut, calabaza, or kabocha) peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
- water or broth
- salt & pepper to taste
- optional: cilantro, lime juice, and/or pique to garnish
See recipe card for quantities.
Step by Step Instructions
Cook the meat. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a pot before adding beef, chicken, seasonings & sofrito .
Brown the meat, mixing every couple minutes to cook evenly.
Add the vegetables & broth. Add the vegetables to the pot, mix gently to coat with the seasonings before adding the water or broth.
Cook the veggies. Bring the liquid to a boil before covering, lowering & simmering for 30 minutes. Uncover and continue to simmer until the vegetables & beef are cooked through, about 20 minutes.
Note: You can also add more adobo or sazon seasoning to taste at the end.
Season. Taste the broth and season as needed with salt & pepper.
Serve. Enjoy with a bowl of rice, mofongo, or tostones on the side. My mom and I love adding a splash of pique hot sauce to give it some acidity and spice.
Optional: Garnish with cilantro & lime juice.
If you don't have time to make your own some of the more traditional Puerto Rican ingredients, here are some easy substitutes:
- Sazon seasoning : Buy a jar of sazon online or substitute with ¼ teaspoon each of ground annatto seeds , coriander, cumin, garlic, and oregano.
- Adobo seasoning : Buy adobo seasoning online or substitute with ¼ teaspoon each of ground onion, garlic, oregano, paprika, salt and pepper.
- Sofrito : Buy a bottle of premade sofrito online or substitute with ½ cup of minced cilantro, ½ diced small yellow onion, 2 cloves of garlic, and ½ diced bell pepper.
Here are some delicious Puerto Rican sides that go well with this recipe:
Sancocho is especially delicious served over a bowl of mofongo or with your favorite bread to soak up the broth.
If you don't have time for any special sides, this is always super satisfying when served with a bowl of white rice and a splash of pique.
Here are some variations you can make to your sancocho:
- More meat - In the Dominican Republic this stew is actually known for having 7 different kinds of meat, so feel free to add more to the mix! You can add sausage, goat stew meat, or pork as desired.
- Other root veggies - It's not uncommon to find taro, yucca, and other kinds of squash in other versions of this recipe. You can try adding your favorite root veggies and play around with whatever veggies your family enjoys.
- Vegetarian version - While the meat is a signature part of this dish, you can certainly keep it vegan/vegetarian by skipping the meat. Simply add the sofrito and seasonings directly to the pan, instead of marinating the meat first. From there, follow the same steps as outlined in the original recipe.
Like many stews and soups, sancocho makes wonderful leftovers. The flavors will continue to develop and richen overnight.
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Reheat in a pot on the stovetop or in the microwave.
More Authentic Puerto Rican Recipes
As you may have noticed, this recipe gives the option to use water or broth as the liquid in this stew. This choice will impact the end result in flavor and salt, which is why I recommend tasting to see what your stew needs before seasoning with salt and pepper at the end. From there, you can also add additional sazon and/or adobo seasoning if desired.