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Sancocho is a soup consisting of large pieces of meat and vegetables immersed in a broth. It is a Spanish dish which has been popularized in various countries of Latin America. It is considered to be the National dish of many countries including the Canary Islands, Mexico, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela. The recipe for the dish varies from region to region. The people of Haiti are also accustomed to a similar dish known as Bouillon. The soup consumed by the residents of the Caribbean islands is akin to a stew.

The original form of the dish is cooked with fish and potatoes along with spices in the Canary islands. The New World versions of the Sancocho contain meat and chicken apart from an assortment of root vegetables that range from sweet potatoes, yam and cassava to the more exotic malanga. The marinade is made from the juice of citrus fruits usually and a number of meat varieties are used in the same dish. The traditional soup of the Dominican Republic contains seven different types of meat which represent the seven Canary islands. The meat is also fried in oil before being simmered with water in some countries of South America.

Origin of Sancocho Recipes

The soup is believed to have originated from Puchero Canario which had been consumed in the Canary Islands. The islanders were a part of the colonists who arrived in Latin America and Sancocho gained popularity among the African slaves who consumed the hearty stew at the end of each day. Several African staples like the cassava and yam are added to it in the Caribbean islands while the original version of Sancocho is recommended to be cooked with whole fish and potatoes.

Sancocho Recipe: Ingredient and Preparation Overview

The most basic recipe of the Sancocho belongs to the Canary Islands where the inhabitants use sea fish preferably bass or halibut as the main ingredient. Potatoes as well as sweet potatoes are used in the same proportion as the fish which is boiled in water. The fish stock is then used to cook the roughly chopped sweet potato while the ordinary potatoes are crystallized with salt and kept aside to be added later. Olive oil is also added to the simmering dish or the sweet potatoes and fish sautéed in it before being added to the pot. The dish is served with a spicy sauce and corn cakes usually.

Sancocho Variations

  • Sancochado- a Peruvian dish made with meat chunks, potatoes, corn and rice.
  • Sancocho de siete carnes- the National dish of Dominican Republic, it is prepared with seven different types of meat.
  • Olla de carne- this is a Costa Rican dish which literally means meat pot.
  • Sancocho de gallina- It is prepared with chicken meat with the characteristic greenish color and flavor being obtained from the herb, culantro in Panama where it is regarded as the National dish.


Sancocho is the name given to pig feed in Cuba instead of the soup which is known as Ajiaco.