Sancocho de Gallina (Chicken or Hen Sancocho)

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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  1. says

    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!

  2. says

    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!

  3. Carlos says

    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?

    • Erica says

      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!

  4. Dennise says

    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.

  5. Caroline says

    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.

  6. Anonymous says

    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.

  7. Andrea says

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

  8. Heather says

    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!

  9. HERMIN says

    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.

  10. says

    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.

  11. Chris says

    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

  12. paola says

    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.

  13. Maryut says

    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!

    • Erica says

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

  14. Vanessa says

    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!

  15. Theresa says

    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

  16. says

    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!!!

    • Angela Cadena-Little says

      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!! =)

        • Angela Cadena-Little says

          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

  17. says

    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!

  18. says

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

  19. Annie Lazala says

    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!

  20. clara says

    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

  21. George says

    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!!!.

  22. says

    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!

  23. Pilar says

    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 :)

  24. Martin says

    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.

  25. Aida says

    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!.

  26. Lina says

    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!

  27. MELISSA says

    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

  28. Larry says

    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.

  29. norma says

    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!

  30. says

    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

  31. Diana C says


    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

  32. Anonymous says

    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

  33. Mary says

    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!

  34. maria says

    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!

  35. says

    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.

  36. says

    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,

  37. Marsh says

    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.

  38. Roger Middleton says

    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!!

  39. Tony says

    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.

  40. Minda says

    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!

    • Erica Dinho says

      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

  41. Alex says

    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 :-)

  42. Italianacookingcolombian says

    I Love Love Love your website….I have been using it for 3 years now. So I figured it was time to thank you Erica. My husband of 14 years is colombian and because of your recipes I get to re-make him his childhood memories. Tonight once again I am making this sancocho recipe….and this italian girl looks forward to eating it 2x a month. I am hooked on colombian food after 14 yeas of marriage. Your alinos recipe I use every week. Your brilliant and I want to send a heartfelt warm thank you to you.

  43. Karen says

    Hello Erica! I am so happy that I came across your blog. I was born in Barranquilla but I have been raised in the U.S. so this is wonderful. I know a whole lot about our food but never quite cooked it because my Mom or grandmother would. Sadly my mother passed away earlier this year and I wish I would have made notes of her recipes so thank you very much for sharing.
    I would like to suggest if you could integrate the healthier versions or substitutes for certain ingredients such as the bouillons in this recipe for example. These are so high in salt and other things so maybe a substitute would be wonderful. We are becoming more health oriented so it would be great to still make our wonderful recipes but making changes where necessary. Thank you!


  1. […] Also worth checking out is the ‘chicken place’, which has another name that I forgot to note, located on Lemaitre opposite Parque Centenario. Look out for the huge barbeque and chickens roasting out the front of this crowded local restaurant and you won’t miss it. The specialty here is (surprise surprise) is chicken cooked over a charcol grill Portuguese style (ie flatened) served with plain maize tomales and a delicious rich garlic sauce. Half a chicken big enough for two or three hungry people to share, and it will set you back only $10,000 COP ($USD 5.00). Sides including delicious roasted potatoes are available from about $1 USD. The chicken place also sells the famous Colombian soup / stew Sancocho. […]

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