Puerto Rican Sancocho


This is my mom's sancocho recipe. The mix of vegetables and herbs in this Puerto Rican comfort stew was influenced by Spanish Canary Island ancestors of some Puerto Rican families. The soup was adjusted to the vegetables available in Puerto Rico by the addition of corn and pumpkin. In the Canary Islands of the 1700s, corn was only fed to farm animals! In Puerto Rico, some cooks now add ginger root, chile pepper, cumin, and other ingredients, but I believe it destroys the original rich, natural vegetable taste. Similar sancocho recipes were passed on to other Spanish colonies such as Columbia. Serve hot with bread to soak up the delicious flavor.

close up view of Puerto Rican Sancocho in a pot
Prep Time:
40 mins
Cook Time:
2 hrs 30 mins
Total Time:
3 hrs 10 mins


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 large onion, chopped

  • 5 cloves garlic, chopped

  • 3 sprigs fresh cilantro, chopped

  • ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper

  • 1 pinch dried oregano

  • salt to taste

  • 1 ½ pounds beef stew meat, cut into small pieces

  • 2 quarts water, or as needed

  • ½ (6.5 ounce) can tomato sauce

  • 2 cubes beef bouillon

  • 1 cup chopped fresh green beans, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces

  • 2 carrots, peeled and sliced

  • cup chopped celery

  • 1 large chayote squash - peeled, cored, and sliced lengthwise

  • 1 (15.5 ounce) can small white beans, rinsed and drained

  • ½ head cabbage, chopped

  • 1 green banana, peeled and sliced into 3/4-inch pieces

  • 1 yellow plantain, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces

  • 5 large llautias (yautias), peeled and quartered

  • 6 potatoes, peeled and quartered

  • ½ cup chopped peeled pumpkin

  • 2 ears fresh corn, sliced into 6 pieces each

  • cup chopped green bell pepper


  1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-low heat. Add onion, garlic, cilantro, white pepper, oregano, and salt. Cook and stir until onion is browned and very tender, about 20 minutes. Add stew meat; cook and stir until meat is browned on all sides, 5 to 7 minutes.

  2. Pour enough water over meat mixture to fill the pot 3/4 full. Add tomato sauce and beef bouillon.

  3. Stir in the remaining ingredients, one at a time, cooking slightly after each addition in the following order: green beans, carrots, celery, chayote squash, white beans, cabbage, green banana, yellow plantain, llautias, potatoes, pumpkin, corn, and green bell pepper.

  4. Cook until all the vegetables are tender and stew has formed a rich broth, 2 to 3 hours. Add more water or salt if needed.

Cook's Notes:

Many of the vegetables can be found in international markets. Several have alternative names. Llautia may be Yautia or Malanga. Chayote is a type of squash.

Name, a root vegetable, can be used in place of one of the potatoes.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

424 Calories
8g Fat
74g Carbs
19g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 12
Calories 424
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 8g 10%
Saturated Fat 2g 10%
Cholesterol 30mg 10%
Sodium 276mg 12%
Total Carbohydrate 74g 27%
Dietary Fiber 10g 34%
Total Sugars 8g
Protein 19g
Vitamin C 59mg 296%
Calcium 94mg 7%
Iron 5mg 28%
Potassium 1874mg 40%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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