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.

a bowl of sancocho

Why The Caribbean Loves This Stew

Love the traditional flavors & ingredients in Puerto Rican recipes? Get ready to fall in love with cozy sancocho stew.

This comforting dish is perfect for serving on a cold Fall or Winter day, with a rich broth, chicken and beef, hearty stewed veggies, and warming island spices. It’s no surprise that versions of it can be found throughout the Caribbean & Latin America.

I grew up enjoying it with a squeeze of lime juice and fresh cilantro, and usually ended up fighting with family members over the last bowl.

Make sure to also check out this asopao de pollo (chicken stew) and camarones guisados (stewed shrimp) if you’re in the mood for stew.

bowls of sofrito, spices, oil, meat and fresh produce

Ingredients

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
  • sofrito
  • 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

Note: The longer you simmer the soup, the more the veggies break down, forming a thicker more flavorful broth.

Optional: Garnish with cilantro & lime juice.

For A Thicker Broth

If you’re accustomed to a thicker broth, there are a few easy ways to achieve this. Here are my tips:

  • Simmer the soup for longer: You can simmer the soup anywhere from 1-3 hours to break down the veggies and reduce the broth.
  • Blend the broth: If you’d like to achieve this in a pinch, remove a few cups of broth and veggies from the pot (I recommend using the squash, potatoes, and/or plantains – but not the corn) and puree in a blender. Return this thick mixture back to the soup and mix.
a bowl of sancocho

Staple Substitutes

If you don’t have time to make your own traditional Puerto Rican staples, here are some easy substitutes:

Perfect Pairings

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.

a bowl of sancocho

Sancocho Variations

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.

More Authentic Puerto Rican Recipes

a bowl of sancocho

Top Tip

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.

Buen Provecho,

the name Salima
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a bowl of sancocho

Stewed Sancocho (Puerto Rican Beef & Root Veggie Stew)

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 5 reviews
  • Author: Salima Benkhalti
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Category: Soup, Stew, Main Dish, Entree
  • Method: Stewed
  • Cuisine: Puerto Rican, Caribbean, Latin
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

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.


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb beef stew meat, cut into 2 inch cubes
  • 1 lb chicken (can be thighs or breasts), cut into bite sized pieces
  • 2 tsp sazon seasoning
  • 2 tsp adobo seasoning
  • 1/2 cup sofrito
  • 2 earns of corn, cut into 1 inch rounds
  • 1 green plantain, peeled and cut into 1 inch rounds
  • 1 yam or sweet potato, cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 1 cup baby potatoes
  • 1 cup squash (can be butternut, calabaza, or kabocha) peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 8 cups water or broth
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • optional: cilantro, lime juice, and/or pique to garnish

Instructions

  1. 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.
  2. Add the vegetables & broth. Add the vegetables to the pot, mix gently to coat with the seasonings before adding the water or broth.
  3. 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.
  4. Season. Taste the broth and season as needed with salt & pepper.
  5. Serve. Enjoy with a bowl of rice, mofongo, or tostones on the side. Garnish with cilantro, lime juice, and/or pique.