Sancocho de Gallina (Chicken or Hen Sancocho)

by Erica Dinho on April 22, 2009

This post is also available in Spanish


Sancocho is a common Colombian dish that you can make with fish, plantain, beef, chicken, pigeon peas or pork. Sancocho de gallina or Sancocho Valluno is originally from the Colombian Region El Valle. Traditionally this soup is made with hens, but you can use chicken too. I have a lot of good memories associated with this meal. One memory is of my grandmother cooking a big pot of sancocho and having all of her nine children with their families for lunch on Sundays. I would wait all week for that day to come to see all of my cousins and let me tell you, that was a party. In Colombia when we get together it is always a reason to dance and drink, no matter what time of the day. Another great memory I have associated with this dish is going with my friends from high school on a weekend to a farm or country house and cooking this soup outside on the fire. The smoky flavor from cooking over an open fire is amazing and this is a popular way to cook beans and sancocho in Colombia. Serve with avocado, white rice and ají on the side.

Sacocho de Gallina RecetaSancocho de pollo Colombiano

Other Popular and All-Time Favorite Traditional Colombian Dishes: Arroz con Pollo (Chicken and Rice), Empanadas Colombianas (Colombian Empanadas), Ajiaco Bogotano (Chichen and Potato Soup), Bandeja Paisa (Paisa Tray), Pandebono (Cheese Bread), Buñuelos (Cheese Balls) and Arepas Rellenas de Queso.





  • 3 ears fresh corn, cuted into 3 pieces
  • 12 cups of water
  • ½ cup aliños
  • 1 big whole chicken
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 green plantains, peeled and cut crosswise into 2 inch pieces
  • 2 chicken bouillon cubes
  • 6 medium white potatoes, peeled and cut in half
  • 1 pound frozen yucacut into big pieces
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • ¼ teaspoon ground pepper



  1. In a large pot, place the chicken, corn, aliños, chicken bouillon, salt and green plantain. Add the water and bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to medium and cook for about 30 to 35 minutes.
  2. Add the potatoes, yuca and pepper and continue cooking for 30 more minutes or until the yuca and potatoes are fork tender. Stir in the cilantro.
  3. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve in large soup bowls, dividing the chicken and vegetables evenly.
  4. Sancocho de Gallina o Pollo

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{ 67 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Gera @ SweetsFoods April 22, 2009 at 12:54 PM

A very tempting comfort dish ideal to re-power oneself with a lot of energy.
I bet with aji (hot hot) and avocado must be good companions :)



2 Joan Nova April 23, 2009 at 3:56 PM

I’m more familiar with the Dominican version but this looks delicious too.


3 Sapuche April 23, 2009 at 8:50 PM

You obviously have great memories attached to this dish, which I’m sure heightens your pleasure whenever you make this. It looks incredible to me, and I can almost imagine the flavors through your photo. Sancocho de gallina may prove difficult for me to make, but I’m definitely going to try. Thanks for this!


4 Chow and Chatter April 25, 2009 at 10:20 AM

yummy love your blog


5 Sapuche April 25, 2009 at 1:02 PM

I gave this a try last night and it was GREAT! Easy to make, too, once I had all the ingredients, and so flavorful. I loved the tenderness of the chicken after the long, slow cooking. Thanks again!


6 Erica April 25, 2009 at 11:14 PM

Thanks for all the comments!

Hi Sapuche,
Thank you for your feedback, I am glad you like the flavors.


7 Carlos June 6, 2009 at 3:08 PM

Wow…i love your website! Specially my wife…she’s not much of a cook, but i love to get my hands dirty in the kitchen, when i tried making some of your dishes for her, it brought back soooooo many memories of her childhood. She stated that she felt like she was back home.

I have a question…for the fish sancocho, how different is that dish (ingredients) from the chicken sancocho?


8 Erica June 8, 2009 at 1:19 PM

Hi Carlos,
Thank you for the nice comment! I am glad you like the site.
We have different recipes for fish sancocho. You can use the same ingredients I used in this recipe, but use white fish cut into steaks. I will post some recipes for fish sancocho soon….In Colombia every region has a different sancocho recipe, in the coast of the country some people make the fish sancocho in coconut milk and it is delicious!


9 Angie's Recipes July 31, 2009 at 1:04 PM

This is my cup of soup….with some steamed rice.

Angie’s Recipes


10 Torben October 28, 2012 at 6:04 PM

Dona Flor…Cali – the greatest sancocho…and lots og aquadiente tam bien..


11 Dennise November 5, 2009 at 4:02 PM

I made this dish today and it tastes wonderful!! I am also from Medellin and I miss my traditional food. Erica, Thank you for taking the time to write this fabulous blog. I get great dinner ideas from it.


12 Erica November 5, 2009 at 4:27 PM

Dennise-Thank you for your feedback!


13 Caroline December 19, 2009 at 12:30 PM

I made this last night and used fish instead of chicken. It was delicious…perfect comfort food for the cold rainy weather we’ve had lately. We ate it with aji that was left over from when I made empanadas a few days ago.


14 Diana January 7, 2010 at 6:37 PM

WoW Awesome… Thank you for the great recipes !!! =]


15 Anonymous June 3, 2010 at 4:08 PM

This sancocho tasted like my mom’s….Thank you so much for teaching us how to cook these wonderful Colombian dishes. This recipe was very easy to follow.


16 Andrea June 4, 2010 at 5:17 PM

Erica, this sancocho was delicious.I made it yesterday and we ate it today again. I was fantastic.


17 Heather July 4, 2010 at 5:22 PM

I made this for my Colombian husband the other day and he loved it! He said it tasted just like at home!

Thank you for helping me bring smiles to my house!


18 Mark Woodhull August 4, 2010 at 12:48 PM

Colombian Sancocho….food of the gods…


19 HERMIN September 1, 2010 at 4:50 PM

My family has been in the sancocho business for over 60 years, basically most of the sancochos that I have tried are very watery and not much seasoning. I invite all sancocho lover to check out El Portal de Pance were you can find the best sancocho in the world, yes I the best.
Cali Colombia via la Voragine Pance.


20 Beatriz September 29, 2010 at 12:50 AM

I made this Sancocho for my mom and it brought back memories of when we used to gather with the family and make this over a coal barbecue. I’ve tried many of your recipes in search of going back to my Colombian roots in terms of just the food and it has definitely come close to home. I make sure at least once a week I try a recipe from your website. Thanks so much for the recipes, my family thanks you too.


21 Chris October 11, 2010 at 12:17 AM

Awesome job Erica. I definately plan on making lots of these recipes in the future, money is tight right now with a newborn so unfortunately our food budget is limited, BUT it should change soon. =)

Plus I need my little girl to know about her rich cultural background, I’ve got like half the world covered with all my ethnicities LOL


22 paola October 15, 2010 at 6:37 PM

this is a traditional soup made with almost any kind of meat, along with large pieces of plantain, potato, yuca (cassava) and/or other vegetables depending on the region. It is usually served with a plate of white rice on the side. Some people take the meat out of the sancocho and put it on the plate of rice, and others put the rice inside the sancocho.


23 Maryut October 16, 2010 at 12:40 PM

Great sancocho recipes Erica. I make sancochos up here in Sweden on my wood-burning stove and they taste pretty ok, my family loves them, but sometimes it’s hard to find fresh green plantains.

I have a question: my in-law family in Cali says thatyou should not cut plantain with knife but use your hands (fingers) instead to break the platano in small pieces, because platano reacts to the metal of the knife. Superstitions? Any truth in it?

There’s a special sancocho in the Valle called Sancocho de uña, the green plantain is broken by hand to small chips not larger than your nails, They also don’t add potato to the sancocho.

Great blog on Colombian food Erica, felicitaciones! I had started collecting Colombian recipes planning to put together a ciik book but gave up immediately, you have already done all the work!


24 Erica October 16, 2010 at 2:11 PM

Maryut-When you make Sopa de Uña……You should use your nails, but with regular sancocho I usually use a knife.


25 Vanessa October 27, 2010 at 12:25 PM

Thank you for this recipe!! I grew up in Venezuela and we share a lot of the customs and food choices, the scene you described completely brought me back to my early teen years playing in the country while the enormous pot of Sancocho was being cooked over a fire pit! Thanks again!


26 Theresa November 4, 2010 at 5:07 PM

hi – if i wanted to make this recipe using a SLOW COOKER/CROCK POT – can I ?? and would you know how long i should do so for???? thanks


27 Erica November 4, 2010 at 5:10 PM

Theresa- I didn’t make this recipe using the slow cooker, so I don’t know the cooking time.


28 Lauren Ochoa November 30, 2010 at 6:47 PM

I finally found an English language website with all my husbands favorite recipes! He loved this sancocho…he went back for seconds and thirds. He’s from Colombia, I am from Connecticut. While he is always appreciative of my cooking, I know this dinner was special to him because it was delicious, authentic, and reminiscent of happy childhood times in Colombia. I made the pandebono from your blog to go with it and it was a scrumptious meal. I cut the sancocho recipe in half though, I don’t have a soup pot big enough to fit a whole chicken! The butcher cut up a friar for me and I saved the other half for another meal. Thank you for a great recipe that I will be making again!!!


29 Angela Cadena-Little January 29, 2013 at 7:18 PM

Hola!! Quiero dejarte saber que en este momento estoy cocinando el sancocho y mi casa huele delicioso!! …. casi ni puedo esperar para que termine de cocinar!! Yo soy Colombiana y gracias a ti, le puedo ensenar a mis tres hijas como cocinar estas recetas tan deliciosas!! Mi esposo es Americano y le fascinan también. me faltan 10 minutos!! =)


30 Erica January 29, 2013 at 7:19 PM

Que lo disfruten!!!


31 Angela Cadena-Little February 1, 2013 at 12:07 PM

No quedo ni un sorbito! ahora mismo estoy preparando el sancocho otra vez… mis hijas y esposo están rogándome por mas !! Quedo delicioso Erica! Hasta llame a mi madre para dejarle saber lo bueno que quedo. Que alegría que estos sabores me llevan a mi infancia y me traen tan lindos recuerdos. Gracias por tu blog!! =) <3


32 Erica February 1, 2013 at 1:19 PM

Que bueno que te gusto!!!

33 Kim January 5, 2011 at 6:24 PM

I just got back from a trip to Bogota & Cali. I had some of this soup there and am now very excited to try to make it at home! Will let you know how it goes. Thanks for sharing!


34 kittie January 10, 2011 at 9:18 PM

so close to my moms sancocho that it just about had me to tears- I love this stuff!!!


35 Kim January 12, 2011 at 5:16 PM

I just tried your recipe. Delicious!! I blogged it here with some tweaks: Thank you for sharing!


36 Sebastian January 20, 2011 at 12:30 PM

I made this soup last night, it was fabulous, hearty and delicious.


37 Jackie January 23, 2011 at 7:26 PM

This looks amazing! Does this recipe freeze well?


38 Annie Lazala January 24, 2011 at 3:23 AM

This looks delicious! I can’t wait to make it. I was very happy to find this website, especially in English. My mother is Dominican and I cook mostly Dominican food, but my father was Colombian. It feels great to be able to cook Colombian food when I visit my family in Colombia. Thank you!


39 clara January 26, 2011 at 9:19 PM

Hey Erica Iam really happy to find you. I am a student living in Atlanta and my homework is to find some recipes from Colombia to bring to my school . Although I cook food from Colombia I forget the other recipes but now I know how to cook them. My husband is american and he loves ours costume and food. Thanks for you blog


40 George March 18, 2011 at 1:08 PM

EricaI I learned this formula to prepare sancocho from Olivia a great cooker from Ginebra, Valle. It is recommend it to other soup tipe dishes like lentejas, frijoles, garbanzos. I guess some ingredients like cilantro loose flavor after much cooking: First cook yuca, green platano, corn or potato cut in bite size pieces (Sancocho from Valle uses just yuca and green platano) with salt and half of basic spices. After 15 minutes, add the beef, and finally 15 minutes before turning heat off, add a lot of cilantro(tide with a cord to keep the strings together), sofrito and the rest of spices. Allow to rest for other 15 minutes. Beautiful!!!.


41 Gregorio May 12, 2011 at 1:31 PM

I live in a small pueblo in Antioquia, Colombia, and the locals here ALWAYS cook sancocho over an open fire to get that smokey flavor. If it isn’t cooked over a fire it ain’t proper sancocho, at least here Even the roadside restaurants all cook sancocho over a wood fire. Obviously back in the States in the suburbs or an apartment that may not be possible, but I love the mild smokey background flavor. Around New Years you can’t drive down most of the narrow streets in town because everyone has bonfires going in front of their homes with huge pots big enough to cook missionaries in bubbling away with sancocho all afternoon, along with music blasting at full volume and plenty of drinking. Even in the main plaza around the church there are dozens of plumes of smoke wafting up into the air along with the smell of each family’s sancocho. It’s great for a New Year’s hangover… I couldn’t ever imagine this taking place back home, you’d have the cops, the fire department, CalTrans, the city council, and Homeland Security all over you. That’s why I live in Colombia!


42 Pilar June 1, 2011 at 10:59 PM

I am so glad I found your website!! I am Colombian and my husband is American. I don’t like to cook much… he cooks all the time. I made this sancocho and it was delicious!! my husband loved it too! I will be cooking with him and enjoying all these great dishes that I miss sooo much and can’t find here in AZ. Thanks Erica :)


43 Martin June 16, 2011 at 8:26 AM

I made this sancocho recipe last weekend and it was really good. It is perfect and the flavor is delicious. I really like all your Colombian recipes. Thank you and your family for this wonderful blog.


44 Aida July 8, 2011 at 11:11 PM

This was one of my favorite dishes my mother made. This was the last dish my mother made me and my brothers with rice and tostones on the side yumm while watching a canal caracol comedy.. Great memories!.


45 Lina July 13, 2011 at 2:56 PM

Oh this hit the spot! I am from New York and where I have moved to here in Cali there are NO Colombian restaurants!! NONE!! I stumbled across your page and thank you for the empanada recipe (I LOVE COLOMBIAN EMPANADAS!) and this one was great too. I have brought some “sabor” to my new found family here in California and have been able to educate them on the difference between Latin American dishes such as Colombian and that it is NOT the same as Mexican! Gracias!


46 MELISSA August 30, 2011 at 4:25 PM

I made this today and it is so good i kinda want to cry. I have made almost every colombian recipe in your website. My husband loves it


47 Larry September 9, 2011 at 10:48 AM

Just wanted to point out a tricky distinction that gets many people confused. In Latin America often when people talk about Gallina they are specifically talking about Hen. Hen meat is very different from regular chicken. It is a much tougher more muscular meat. Some would even consider it a bit gamey. Also a well-made sancocho at least the DR and Colombian versions would be best described as a stew moreso than a soup.


48 Mireya October 6, 2011 at 10:43 AM

Comida de Colombia….Delicioso. Me gusta mucho tu pagina muy bien disenada y las recetas son muy ricas.


49 norma October 14, 2011 at 1:04 PM

so happy to see this site! great job. Colombian food is heart warming!!! love it.
If you get the pleasure to have this soup you will forget about any other type of “chicken soup” or any other soups. It just hits the spot every time! Si Dios Quiere estare en Bogota esta Navidad y aprovechando de este plato y muchos mas!


50 Andres October 19, 2011 at 4:10 PM

Erica, Your soup looks great
I am also from Cali Colombia and we enjoy our soups especially when we go to Columbia we go to the river and make some it’s and very traditional very delicious


51 Diana C November 1, 2011 at 6:37 AM


I am in love with your website, since i found it few weeks ago, i have been trying to follow your recipes and i have been visiting the foreign markets here tryign to get as many colombian ingredients as i can find..i am from cali colombia but i live in manchester UK. And it is not easy to find colombian ingreedients and there are none dolombian restuarants it has been a pleasure for me to find your website and try to bring a bit of colombian flavours to my home..thanks to you


52 Anonymous February 26, 2012 at 11:06 PM

My daughter in law is from Medellin also. She made this dish a couple of months ago and I have to admit it is the best. I hope she’s reading your blog. Hint,hint Blanca. lol


53 Mary September 21, 2012 at 9:27 AM

We are hosting a Colombian high school student and would like to bring something representative of Colombia to a potluck lunch on Saturday. Do you have any suggestions (with a recipe if possible)?

Thank you!


54 Erica September 21, 2012 at 10:28 AM

Hi Mary,
This Arroz con Pollo recipe is a great dish for a large group of people and it is easy to make and delicious.


55 maria December 30, 2012 at 9:31 PM

i made this today – it is delicious. thank you for the recipe.
i look forward to making more recipes from this site that i discovered today.
happy new year to you!


56 whilehewasout January 8, 2013 at 3:41 AM

This must be a really amazing heart-warming soup! So rich, I love the addition of corn! Reminds me of a ‘potaje’ my (Spanish) boyfriend’s mom made once, yum!


57 steve January 28, 2013 at 8:34 PM

I am cooking this right now. I have cooked it several times but I forget some ingredients so I come to this website to get refreshed. San cocho with beef is one of my favorite meals, but the chicken is great also.


58 Mike G February 6, 2013 at 12:58 AM

Erica – I am going to make this dish this weekend it looks very very good. But what is the green salsa on the small dish on the third picture? It’s on the dish with the limes. Please let us know. Thanks,


59 Erica February 6, 2013 at 8:51 AM

Ají (Colombian Hot Sauce)


60 Marsh August 5, 2013 at 12:00 PM

My neighbour had her family her this weekend and made this soup. She presented us a huge bowl of it and we absolutely loved it!!!! I will try this recipe for sure.


61 Roger Middleton January 6, 2014 at 9:51 AM

I am in love with this soup! My girlfriend is from Bogotá, Colombia and I wanted to make her something around the holidays. She was missing home (we live in Pennsylvania) and I had to bring home to her. She tasted it and made he extremely happy that Colombia made it to her! Your recipes are amazing and I will be making many more meals for her! Thank you!!


62 Tony March 8, 2014 at 5:09 AM

Hi, Erica; congratulations on your site about our exquisit colombian dishes. I just want to point out that in Cali we use CIMARRON herb too to enhance the flavor of the sancocho. Also, a real sancocho is made or cooked with hen meat, not chicken. Believe it or not that makes a hell of a difference on the outcome of the flavor. Please, keep informing the world about our colombian delicasies, and educating the US about our latin distintions. Love your blogg.


63 Minda August 28, 2014 at 4:43 AM

Fantastic blog! Do you have any helpful hints for aspiring writers?

I’m planning to start my own blog soon but I’m a little lost on everything.
Would you propose starting with a free platform like Wordpress or
go for a paid option? There are so many options out there that I’m totally confused ..
Any suggestions? Bless you!


64 Erica Dinho August 28, 2014 at 7:38 AM

Hi Minda & welcome! Just so happens that we do have something coming soon to help aspiring writers like yourself. But in the meantime, we recommend Wordpress self hosted, which will cost a bit, a small bit, as opposed to, which is a free, hosted version of Wordpress. Again, give us a couple of weeks & check back. Better yet, just sign up for free in our “Let’s Connect” box on any page of the site & you’ll receive new posts from MCR in your inbox. Thanks for visiting!

~The Husband


65 Frances September 12, 2014 at 4:15 PM

I’m going try to make this soup tonight! I’m already hungry looking at the pics and reading all of the happy comments.


66 Alex October 24, 2014 at 3:31 PM

As a Colombian expat I can not thank you enough for putting together all these recipes. Not only are they absolutely yummy but also so easy to make. I’ve tried several dishes and they always remind me of my childhood. Never in a million years I thought I could cook like this, all thanks to you. Best wishes :-)


67 Erica Dinho October 24, 2014 at 4:22 PM



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