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!
Lisa, Another delight. We've been enjoying it through these last few snow storms. Warming, hearty, delicious ... and I think it is helping me recover from my cold! It is chicken soup after all. Thank you!
Hi Hill, I'm so glad to hear that you all enjoyed the Ajiaco. And I'm a big believer in Jewish penicillin for curing colds. 🙂
Made this today and it was yummy!!!
I made this dish on Thursday. One mistake I made was adding both cups of fresh corn to the chicken stock and puréed it. In the end I just added a third cup of corn. I also used bone in thighs so I would have bones for stock later. I don't know if it is Columbian or not but the avocado in the end is a must. I enjoyed this recipe and will make it again. Love your recipes.
Hi Cynthia, I love the idea of bone-in thighs. And I bet the was great with the extra corn. I'm so glad you enjoyed the soup 🙂
Kristen @ A Mind Full Mom
My neighbor is Columbian--I will have to make this for her sometime. She will love it!
Very Tasty soup -- the only change I made was to use shredded rotisserie chicken vs. the chicken thighs. Will be making this soup again.
i want to make this, but what are baking potatoes?
Baking potatoes are potatoes with a high starch content - russets are the best.
I haven't tasted the original, but your "inspired by" version sounds wonderful to me. And by using ingredients that are easily found in most American groceries, you've made it accessible to all of us. Thanks. Definitely putting this on my to-do list.
This looks absolutely divine! I love recipes that are inspired by world cuisine because it enables people to get a chance to "taste the world" when they may not have otherwise. Thanks for sharing this delicious and warming soup with us. Can't wait to try it on a cold day!
I LOVE seeing different variations of traditional dishes. That is how "new" dishes are created anyway, right? Looks super delicious!!
Made this last night and the whole family loved it!
I'm so glad to hear it Barb!
EXCUSE ME!!!! BUT This is NO "COLOMBIAN AJIACO" OUR TRADICIONAL AND AMAZING SOUP. !
This Could be the chicken rice soup but you will need off course the rice and some pees!!!
AJIACO do NOT have cubes potatoes, NO tabasco!! carrots, cilantro, sweet corn, plus the chicken have to be cook "in" the broth NO apart! the different kind of potatoes is a clue! even if you cant have the papa criolla you can use 3 different kind of American one's in slices no cubes. Closer to Newton MA or any other city in USA is plenty of latino market where you can find "Guascas", PLUS you served white rice and delicious avocado!!
From CA - New England and Fl, I am pretty sure you can find the ingredient's because I did it.!
your recipe sounds good but do not deserve to have the name of Colombia Ajiaco.
Hi Biatri, I adore the traditional cuisine of Colombia but sometimes I like to create my own version of a recipe that's "inspired" by the traditional. I hope you'll give mine a chance. Thanks so much for visiting Panning The Globe and for leaving a comment. ~ Lisa
I can see you are clearly loyal to the actual Columbian soup or stew, but NO, not everyone has access to your special ingredients, has time to track them down, or wants to pay extra for possibly unripe unusual produce.
This sounds good, and I plan to try it the way she has presented it.
Lisa clearly stated it was her version of the Colombian soup. I think it’s a good version to try,that’s the beauty of soup recipes, they can be changed. Biatri, Thank You for sharing the potatoes to use are the papa criolla. Thank you, Lisa for sharing your version.
Found this recipe last spring and tucked it away for a rainy day. Finally got to it today and it is FANTASTIC. Thanks for this, it's a crowd-pleaser, my family and I really enjoyed it!!!! Great flavor, great texture. I'd make it again AND I'd serve it to company. Perfect for this stormy night!!
Thanks! I'm so happy to hear it!
This is a fabulous soup! Of course, it would be better if , as the real Colombian Ajiaco, "papas criollas" were used (small, no more than 2" potatos with yellow potato, found only in Colombia)
you can find the papa criolla! in frozen Goya products!! they are a bit expensive but they are the real one's!!!
Made a big pot of this soup last night.....LOVE IT!! Great textures and flavors! I even garnished with the hot sauces as well. Original dish or not (noted in comment above)....Lisa, this is a keeper!
Thank you again!
Thanks so much for letting me know!!! Makes me very happy to know when my recipes are enjoyed!
Real Ajiaco does not have carrots, pureed corn or grated potatoes. Guscas are key in giving flavor and they can be easily found in the US. Sorry but the recipe is nothing like the original dish, should this soup something else because is totally misleading. Sorry
Hey Catherine...if this recipe is wrong, why not enlighten with the actual recipe.
I've made the "authentic" version of the soup you speak of. Honestly, this one is a lot better. The "authentic" version, while it tastes good, looks bland, yellow, and boring.
Ummm Catherine have you heard of adaptations? Also, no not EVERYONE in the US, especially in rural areas, has access to Guscas.
I appreciate variations on originals. Authentic does not necessarily mean best!
This recipe looks delicious, but having traveled to Colombia many times (my wife is Colombian), I have to agree with Catherine. Normally, variations on traditional recipes are fine, but ajiaco uses the herb guascas. Guascas have a very unique flavor that has no substitute and without it the soup really isn't ajico. Ajiaco can typically be purchased at latino markets or on Amazon.
You can see the traditional recipe here: https://antojandoando.com/recetas/ajiaco-santafereno-aa/. It is in Spanish, but with lots of step-by-step photos.
Thanks Greg. It's always great to get the scoop from those who know the authentic cuisine. The recipe you posted looks fantastic! I hope my followers will take your advice and try the soup with guascas so they can experience the true flavor of Ajiaco that you're speaking of.
I was able to make this last night with what I had on hand in the kitchen, substituted a sweet potato for the grated baking potatoes and the carrots. Great for a weeknight dinner.
I found this recipe on Pinterest and made it today--it was fantastic--thank you! My husband and I loved it. The grated potato and pureed corn add such a great texture.
Thanks Sarah! I'm so glad you and your husband enjoyed it!
WOW! I am trying to follow a vegetarian diet at the suggestion of my doctor - tried vegan but vegetarian is better for me...HOWEVER - my husband is still and meat and potatoes kind of guy and I'm pretty sure he would love this...he can take just so much of going without...chicken and soup are right up his alley...weekend - here we come! No matter how hot it gets her in Tennessee - it's chicken soup time! Thanks so much Lisa...
I Hope you're husband enjoys Elaine! PS I just posted a recipe for you - a healthy vegetarian chilled tomato soup with avocado and lime that takes 15 minutes to make 🙂
This soup was easy enough, delicious and a keeper. We loved it, Lisa. Thank you.
This soup is going to be made this week in this house. It looks like an outstanding recipe. Thank you!
Thanks Marian! I hope you enjoy it. 🙂
Carol at Wild Goose Tea
I could feel my eyes pop more open when I spied your photo of the soup. I am not even hungry right now. I am not familiar with soup. I tagged it in my personal recipe system. The avocado and capers on top of all that wonderful 'stew' was extra perfect.
Thank you for adapting and sharing.
I am Colombian andI found very sad that a great plate likethe Ajiaco, like one of a Colombian National plate was so reformes, next to desapear in this recipe, not close to the original that has more that 200 years!
This soup looks good...yes! But II IS NOT AJIACO!
Hi Lulu, Thank you for your comment. I'm so sorry that you were sad to see my non-traditional version of Colombian Chicken Soup. I tried to make it clear in my post that my recipe is "inspired" by Ajiaco but that it is not identical to traditional Ajiaco. I was very inspired by your wonderful national dish. Like many chefs, I often like to take my own creative direction with recipes. I appreciate your love of the authentic Ajiaco and I love it too! But in this particular recipe I was letting my own creative juices flow to create my own version. I hope you will give this recipe a chance and judge it based on how much you enjoy it. PS: I would love if you would send me your Authentic recipe so I can try your version and maybe I'll post it on the blog as "Authentic Colombian Ajiaco."