There's no cream in this delicious creamy Colombian chicken soup. Ajiaco (the Spanish name) is thickened with potatoes and corn and has plenty of tender shredded chicken, vegetables and potatoes to make this a super satisfying meal.
Ajiaco a very hearty soup, verging on stew. In this recipe, the broth is rich and creamy but without any cream or dairy. It's made from chicken stock, pureed corn and grated potatoes. Once the soup has cooked down to a wonderfully thick consistency, more corn and potatoes are added, along with shredded chicken, carrots, cilantro, and lime juice.
The final tasty layer of this flavorful soup is a topping of cubed avocados and salty capers.
Chicken thighs are so delicious when you simply salt and pepper them, drizzle a little olive oil over them, and roast them in the oven for 20 minutes. Then they can easily be shredded and added to the soup.
An Adaptation of Traditional Ajiaco
Ajiaco is a very popular dish in Bogota, Colombia's capital city. My version is inspired by the classic Colombian dish but not quite the same. If you're looking for the traditional Ajaco, here's an authentic recipe.
The traditional recipe calls for whole chunks of corn on the cob. I opted for kernels.
Another ingredient always found in the traditional version is an herb called guasca, which is common in South America but also not so easy to find outside of SA, at least not in Newton Massachusetts. Luckily, a couple of bay leaves simmered in the broth make a good substitute.
I like to serve Colombian chicken soup with this citrusy green salad. It makes a great weeknight dinner but I also wouldn't hesitate to serve it to company.
More Flavorful Hearty Soup Recipes:
- Coconut Curry Chicken Soup
- Beef Mushroom Soup
- Minestrone Soup with Beef
- Greek Lemon Chicken Soup with Rice
- Rich Homemade Chicken Soup
Here's the recipe for Ajiaco: Colombian Chicken Soup. If you try this recipe I hope you'll come back to leave a star rating and a comment. I'd love to know what you think!Print
Colombian Chicken Soup: Ajiaco
- Total Time: 55 mins
- Yield: 6-8 1x
Creamy chicken Soup, thickened with potatoes and corn, brimming with tender chicken, potatoes and vegetables. naturally gluten-free and dairy free.
Adapted from a recipe in Cooking Light Global Kitchen
- 12 boneless skinless chicken thighs
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- several grinds of fresh ground black pepper
- 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 cup chopped onion (1 medium onion)
- 5 cups low salt chicken broth (such as Swanson's), divided
- 2 cups corn kernels, divided (fresh or frozen & defrosted)
- 1 ½ teaspoons chopped fresh oregano leaves
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
- 2 bay leaves (substitute 2 teaspoons chopped guasca, if you can find it)
- 2 medium baking potatoes (about 1 pound), peeled and grated or finely diced.
- 3 medium yukon gold potatoes or other waxy potatoes (about 1 pound) peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes.
- 2 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced crosswise (about ¾ cup)
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- 2 teaspoons salt
- ½ teaspoon Tabasco sauce or other hot pepper sauce
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup cubed avocado, spritzed with a little lime juice to keep it from turning brown
- 1 ½ tablespoons capers, rinsed
- Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Spread chicken thighs out in a large baking dish that holds them in a single layer. Sprinkle with 1 ½ teaspoons salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Roast in the middle of the oven for 20-25 minutes, until chicken is cooked through. Remove baking dish from oven. Cover with foil and set aside for 10-15 minutes. Shred chicken by hand or by pulling it apart with two forks.
- In a blender, puree 1 cup of corn with 1 ½ cups chicken broth. Set aside.
- Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large dutch oven or soup kettle over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes until softened. Pour corn puree to the pot, along with the grated or finely diced baking potatoes, the remaining 3 ½ cups chicken broth, oregano, thyme and bay leaves. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add cubed Yukon gold potatoes and sliced carrots to the pot. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Add shredded chicken and any accumulated juices in the baking dish, the remaining cup of corn, cilantro, lime juice, salt, pepper and Tabasco. Simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes or until soup is heated through. Remove bay leaves.
- Ladle into bowls and garnish with avocado and capers
Nutrition Information: The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator and is not a substitute for a the advice of a professional nutritionist.
- Prep Time: 15 mins
- Cook Time: 40 mins
- Category: Soup
- Method: stove top
- Cuisine: Colombian
Keywords: Chicken soup with potatoes and vegetables, Creamy chicken soup that's dairy free
This post was first published on May 2, 2014. It was refreshed and updated on Feb 9, 2023 with clarifying information added to the written post and to the recipe. The same delicious recipe!
This is not ajiaco. Ajiaco does not have carrots, lime juice, tabasco nor avocado chopped inside. The herbs used are all wrong. Points for creating something new but don't call it ajiaco because that's very misleading
Thanks for your note. I don't want to be misleading. I did say in the post that this is not authentic ajiaco however I see that's not enough. I'll go back and make some changes and be sure to make it clear from the get go that my version is not authentic - it's simply inspired by the authentic recipe.
This is not Colombian Ajiaco. Totally different. We don’t use more than half of the ingredients here listed.
Yes, my version is inspired by the traditional Ajiaco but certainly not an authentic recipe for Ajiaco.
I keep making this soup and sharing it with friends. It never lasts long. To save time, I shred a roasted chicken from Sam’s Club.
This is a wonderful recipe and so delicious! A friend who moved here from Columbia said it reminds him of home/his mother’s recipe. Enough said.
Hi Mary Lou - I'm so happy you like the ajiaco and extra happy to know that your Colombian friend is a fan. Thank you so much for sharing the recipe with your friends - great recipes are meant to be shared, which is why I write this blog! What a wonderful note to receive - Thank you - You totally made my day!
My husband lived in Colombia for a few years and this soup takes him back! It’s become our Christmas Eve tradition for several years now and everyone that we introduce this soup to loves it as well!
Hi Kate - I'm so happy you and your husband love the soup! Thank you so much for coming back to leave a rating and comment. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you and your family!
Loved this recipe! Delicious, thank you.
John C Richmond
Excellent soup. followed the recipe, came out great
I love this recipe! I've made it exactly as the directions state, and it turned out perfect! My question is, have you ever adapted it for the slow cooker? Would that work?
I married my wife 9 years ago. She is american but her 1st marriage her husband at that time was columbian. Now i have 5 kids and 2) of them are 1/2 columbian step children. I do all the cooking in the house . I love doing dishes that represent the tastes of my step kids culture. Your soup was a great hit with all of us and i thank you for your recipe . My wife said i all most cooked better than her x - mother in law and from what i heard thats hard to top her original columbian cooking but your soup got me one step closer! Thank you again for a wonderful meal we all n-joyed
You are too kind Richard 🙂 and your family is very lucky to have you cooking wonderful meals for them. I'm so happy to hear that you all enjoyed the soup. Thank you for coming back to leave a rating and a comment.
I’ve made this recipe numerous times and my Colombian husband loves this! Nice and creamy and with the avocado on top it is just so delicious! Actually about to make a batch here in a few minutes 🙂 Thank you!
This recipe is the bomb dot com. I have been making it for years and never get tired of it. My kids LOVE this and never argue over eating it, they actually ask for THIRDS.
Wow, Matt, that's so great to hear! Gotta love a dish that makes the whole family happy - especially when there are veggies involved 🙂 Thank you for coming back to leave a comment.
Thank you so much for this lovey soup recipe. I made it this week for my family and they loved it. This soup is delicious and comforting, especially on a cold night. Will be making it again and again. Thank you.
This soup is a home run and we will def be making this regularly in my household! I only used one package of thighs and it was enough.
Hi Lilly, I'm so happy to hear this! Thank you for your note and happy cooking!
Hi Lisa, I've been coming back to your Ajiaco soup recipe for a few years now. I love it and it always tastes so good! I love to hear all the comments my family has to say after they eat it. It's so comforting and delicious any time of the year! Thank you for sharing all your great recipes. Keep up the good work.
Hello, Lisa, I am Colombian. However, I am one of those Colombians that is good in the kitchen and I have accepted that. I clicked on the recipe because of the title; I was intrigued. Yes, this is not how my mother would make it but I think this is how I would make it. I liked the idea of corn kernels, (although I love the chunks of corn cobs in the soup) and the shredded chicken idea. I am going to incorporate those to my cooking. I also loved how you garnished the soup with the avocado. Colombian cooking for me is very elaborate, lots of chopping, stirring and long hours on the stove. I just can't. I agree with you that a chef or a cook makes the soup their own by adapting it to their taste. I only do two recipes exactly the same way every time. ONLY TWO. I kind of invent the wheel every time I cook. So, thank you for given the spotlight to a Colombian dish.
Alba thank you for being open minded about my adaptation of your country's wonderful dish. If you feel like sharing, I would love to know what your two special recipes are that you do exactly the same way every time. Lisa
Excellent recipe! I have made it with chicken and a veggie style. Both are deliscious! Love using the lime juice, avocados, and tabasco sauce to give it a kick.
I started searching for Columbian recipes after a weekend get away to Cleveland for our 25th wedding anniversary. I was drawn to a columbian restaurant in Lakewood. The menu said everything is gluten free unless marked. My dream come true. Many of the patrons were eating the chicken soup. That is what lead me to your recipe. I wish I had tried at the restaurant but new it was a popular menu item. I made your soup tonight and it was a big hit. A great joy to not have to make two versions to accommodate my gluten intolerance. It was wonderful. I tried to find an authentic version but the highly rated are in Spanish. My house of picky eaters loved your soup which is no small task. Thanks!!!! I would love for your Columbine posters to send you an authentic recipe in English so you can post and we can all enjoy. Nice job we enjoyed.
I have to say I am proud Colombian but the Ajiaco soup is not chicken soup, the Ajiaco is basically a potato soup. It has not oregano or bay leaves not either carrots or many veggies, the base are potatoes, chicken, capers, cream and the green leaves called ‘guascas” that are so different to the bay leaves or the oregano leaves, my mother, grand mother, grate grand mother and aunts all of them used to prepare it and if you check the Colombian cooking literature , you will not fimd other thing than the “guascas” This souo looks delicious but it is not the real Ajiaco, this is a reformed version.
Yes I absolutely agree. This is not authentic - it's my adaptation of Ajiaco. I tried to make that clear in my blog post. Thanks for your comment!
This is a delicious recipe and I'm making it for the second time. We love it! I ordered Guascas on Amazon. Half of this recipe makes plenty for two people & 2 meals.. I used fewer potatoes and less salt, as well as a rotisserie chicken for lack of time, So great! Thanks very much for sharing.
Thanks so much for your comment Suzanne. I'm so glad you're enjoying the Colombian Chicken Soup! 🙂
This was AMAZING. It takes me back to my first trip to Colombia, when I first fell in love with Ajiaco. I added Adobo the soup, and I absolutely loved it. I'm definitely keeping this recipe.