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Locro De Papa recipe: delicious Ecuadorian potato soup

Locro De Papa recipe: delicious Ecuadorian potato soup

Locro de papa is one of the staple dishes of Ecuador. It is a potato based soup with cheese, served with avocado and cooked with garlic, onions, achiote (annatto) powder and cilantro.

Locro de papa is particularly popular in the Andes highlands in Ecuador, where it’s the perfect accompaniment to the cold rainy weather. The word locro comes from the Quechua word, ruqru, which means stew, and papa means potato in Spanish.

The cheese used in our recipe for locro de papa is the ubiquitous soft Ecuadorian queso fresco. A good alternative if you can’t find it is mozzarella.

Achiote/annatto is a red food colouring derived from the seeds of the achiote tree and has a peppery/nutty fragrance.

Achiote powder ingredient for recipe for locro de papa
Achiote powder from our local supermarket in Quito


  • 10 potatoes, peeled and chopped into small large pieces
  • 2 tablespoons of cooking oil
  • 1,600ml of water (ie 7 cups of water)
  • 1 onion, peeled and diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon of achiote powder
  • 2 teaspoons of cumin
  • 250ml of milk
  • 250g of queso fresco (or mozzarella)
  • 1 bunch of cilantro, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 avocados, sliced: for serving
Locro de papa freshly made served in a plate
Recipe for locro de papa freshly made from our kitchen in Quito


1. In a large soup cooking pan, heat the oil over medium heat and add the diced onions, garlic, cumin and achiote powder.

Cook on a medium heat, for around 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onions are tender.

ingredients for locro de papa, ecuadorian soup
The initial ingredients for locro de papa: cooking oil, chopped onions, garlic, cumin and achiote powder

2. Add the potatoes and mix until they’re coated with the mixture and continue cooking for a further 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Add the water and cook on high heat until it starts boiling, then reduce to medium heat and cook for around 1 hour: until the potatoes become very tender.

4. Use a potato masher to mash the potatoes in the pot so that it becomes creamy but with a few chunks of potatoes remaining.

5. Reduce to a low heat, stir in the milk and cook for a further 5 minutes. If the soup is too thick, add a bit more milk.

6. Grate 125g of the cheese and chop the remaining 125g into small cubes (to be used for serving).

7. Mix the grated cheese into the soup along with half of the chopped cilantro (keep the remaining chopped cilantro for serving), and stir it well.

Recipe for locro de papa stirring
Stirring the almost completed locro de papa soup

8. Add salt and pepper to taste, then remove the soup from the heat.

9. To serve, in each bowl of soup, add a few slices of avocado, a handful of chopped cilantro and a small handful of the cubes of cheese.

Recipe for locro de papa
Locro de papa finished and ready to be served

In addition, you can serve a few more little pots of prizes to accompany the locro de papa. In Ecuador, most Ecuadorian restaurants serve appetisers with a few plates of:

  • popcorn
  • roasted maize kernals
  • spicy aji garlic sauce (contains tree tomato fruit, chilli, onions and garlic)
  • yummy home made bread
Appetisers for recipe for locro de papa
Ecuadorian starters: popcorn, spicy aji garlic sauce and homemade bread

For more inspiration:




Recipe for locro de papa by the Nomadic Boys
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Sebastien is the co-founder, editor and author of He is a tech geek, a total travel nerd and a food enthusiast. He spends the majority of his time planning Nomadic Boys' travels meticulously right down to the minute details. Sebastien has travelled to over 80 countries with his partner in crime and the love of his life, Stefan. He regularly shares his expertise of what it’s like travelling as a gay couple both on Nomadic Boys and on prominent publications ranging from Pink News, Matador, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Guardian and many more. Originally from France, Sebastien moved to London in the early 2000s where he pursued a career as a computer programmer for Thompson Reuters and Bloomberg. He subsequently left it all to explore his passion for travelling around the world with Stefan to hand, and thus Nomadic Boys was born.

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Monday 16th of September 2019

Can you please say how much soup this many people it serves. I am looking to serve a small bowl before a large Eucadorean meal. Many thanks and the recipe sounds great. Enjoy your travelling.

Stefan Arestis

Monday 17th of February 2020

Around 4 people :)


Saturday 15th of June 2019

Muchos gracias for the recipe! I am a US expat in Cuenca having arrived in Ecuador just before midnight local time in New Year's Eve 2018. My husband and I left the States for an early retirement due to the unexpected loss ofy 12 year job and complete disillusionment of the political & social situation there. Cuenca is wonderful and every day is a new adventure for us. I found your article "10 Things ..." in my daily Google feed which led me to the recipe, which is the least complicated one I have seen. I can't wait to make it by for my husband! I have had gay friends since I was 19 years old, and without them I would never have met him (26 years and counting). Best wishes to both of you with the website and above all, safe travels! Cuidece, Shari

Nomadic Boys

Sunday 16th of June 2019

Thanks for the lovely message Shari :)


Sunday 2nd of June 2019

I cannot wait to make this. I just got back from Ecuador and this soup was my favorite! I had it in Quito at a cafe

Nomadic Boys

Sunday 2nd of June 2019

Awesome :)

Hector Mountain

Tuesday 1st of May 2018

Your recipe for locro de papa is quite good but you have gotten something about the weather wrong. We have lived in Ambato (in the heart of the Andes) for 6 years and eat lunch outside in our garden almost every day of the year. It is a dry, temperate climate with few extremes that has periods of cloudiness and sunniness every day with predictably cool evenings for the altitude. I have not used anything more than a windbreaker here during these 6 years but will switch from short sleeves at mid-day to long sleeves in the evening. Wonderful place to live it is.

Nomadic boys

Tuesday 1st of May 2018

Can't WAIT to visit Ambato :)

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