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.
INGREDIENTS FOR ECUADORIAN LOCRO DE PAPA
- 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
HOW TO MAKE ECUADORIAN LOCRO DE PAPA
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.
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.
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.
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:
- roasted maize kernals
- spicy aji garlic sauce (contains tree tomato fruit, chilli, onions and garlic)
- yummy home made bread
For more inspiration:
- learn more about the cuisine with our 10 famous foods in Ecuador
- discover what it’s like growing up gay in Ecuador with our interview with Mario from Quito
- plan your trip with our gay guide to Quito
- get inspired by our Galapagos luxury cruise review and our 6 awesome things to do in Ecuador
- watch our Galapagos Islands travel video:
Wednesday 5th of October 2022
I just made this delicious soup using this recipe from an Ecuadorian blogger who is quite known: https://www.laylita.com/recipes/locro-de-papa-creamy-potato-soup-with-cheese/ Then came across yours and noticed how similar it is, including the ingredients list and measurements. Were you inspired by her recipe? If so, you should give credit where it is due, especially if you are not Ecuadorian yourselves and are making money from ad revenues on a page using a recipe that was not initially yours.
Saturday 11th of September 2021
Am going to make this today with a side of plantains! I went to Cuenca and The Galápagos Islands a few years ago and plan to retire there next year! Estoy estudiando Español para aprenderlo y hablarlo!
Monday 22nd of November 2021
What a lovely place to retire!
Monday 16th of September 2019
Can you please say how much soup this makes.....how 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.
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
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
Sunday 2nd of June 2019