Locro de papa {Ecuadorian potato and cheese soup}

Locro de papa recipe

En español

Locro de papa is a classic Ecuadorian potato and cheese soup. Soups are very popular in Ecuador and usually served with most meals. They are one of the cheapest and best tasting dishes you can find. A typical Ecuadorian meal will consist of primero or the first course, segundo or second course- usually meat, poultry or seafood with rice; and dessert. Soups are usually served as a primero and most soups -as well as a lot of other dishes- are always served with avocado and aji or hot sauce.

Locro de papa is more common in the Andes highlands or Sierra region of Ecuador. Quito probably has the biggest claim on this soup, it is even known as locro quiteño by some. Like many Ecuadorian dishes, the ingredients and preparation will vary from one city to another. Some variations of the locro de papa add fresh corn to the soup, others add chopped cabbage or leafy greens. There’s even a variation with blood sausage called yaguarlocro. The last time I was there, the mother of one my friends made locro de papas without cheese and used freshly ground peanuts instead. She explained that when people couldn’t afford to buy cheese, they would use ground peanuts; the soup was good but I missed the cheese. In Quito and the northern part of Ecuador they usually serve this potato soup with maiz tostado or Andean corn nuts. This locro de papa is a great soup for cold rainy or snowy weather. It can be served as a first course, but is satisfying and filling enough to make a complete meal.

Ecuadorian locro de papa or potato soup

Locro de papa {Ecuadorian potato and cheese soup}
Rate this recipe
6 ratings

Yield: For 8-10 people

Locro de papa {Ecuadorian potato and cheese soup}

Recipe for locro de papa or potato soup, a traditional Ecuadorian soup made with potatoes, onion, garlic, cumin, achiote or annatto, milk, cheese and cilantro.


  • 10 medium sized potatoes, peeled and chopped into small and large pieces
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp achiote powder
  • 7 cups of water
  • 1 cup of milk or more
  • 1 cup grated or crumbled cheese (quesillo, queso fresco, mozzarella or monterey jack)
  • 1 bunch of cilantro, leaves only, minced
  • Salt to taste
  • To serve:
  • 1 cup of queso fresco, feta cheese, or grated mozzarella
  • Maiz tostado or cancha corn nuts
  • Chopped cilantro and green onions
  • Avocados, sliced or diced
  • Ecuadorian aji hot sauce


  1. Prepare a refrito or base for the soup by heating the oil over medium heat in a large soup pot; add the diced onions, minced garlic cloves, cumin, and achiote powder. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are tender, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the potatoes to the pot and mix until they are coated with the refrito. Continue cooking for about 5 minutes, stirring a every couple of minutes.
  3. Add the water and bring to boil, cook until the potatoes are very tender. Use a potato masher to mash the potatoes in the pot, don’t mash all of them, the consistency of the soup should be creamy with small tender chunks of potatoes.
  4. Turn the heat down to low, stir in the milk and let cook for about 5 more minutes. You can add more milk if the soup is too thick.
  5. Add salt to taste
  6. Add the grated cheese and cilantro, mix well, and remove from the heat.
  7. Serve warm with the avocados, scallions, queso or feta cheese and aji hot sauce.

Locro de papa

Locro de papas sides

Locro de papas Locro de papa potato soup

Ecuadorian potato soup recipe Potato locro recipe

This post was last modified: February 18th, 2015 by Layla Pujol


  1. anytime the novio wants to cook something I’ve never made before, I say “I hope Laylita has the recipe. another great one, of course. le agradecemos mucho!

  2. Theresa Organo says:

    I just got back at the end of January from the International Convention of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Quito. The most memorable food we had was the potato soup. Can’t wait to try making it for the group with whom I traveled. I think I can find everything here in central California but the Achiote. Thank you for posting the recipe. From the comments, I’d say it is the real deal.

  3. Thank you for this recipe!!! My husband and I ate so much Locro de Papa when we were in Ecuador two years ago and I have been wanting a great recipe and this was an awesome recipe. I substituted two cups of vegetable broth for two of the seven cups of water and I added some quinoa for added protein and it was so delicious. Topped with monterey jack cheese and avocado for the perfect toppings (i forgot to wash and chop the cilantro, realized it after i finished eating, next time). The recipe was so easy to do, especially in my dutch oven as I could easily do the refrito and then keep adding to the same pot so there were even less dishes to do at the end. Thank you!

  4. Thank you so much for posting this recipe. I am from Argentina and my husband from Ecuador. He complements my cooking every time I make this soup. He says it tastes exactly like he remembers!

  5. We had some of this soup when I was near Bahia in Ecuador earlier this year. It was one of the tastiest soups I’ve ever had. I wasn’t smart enough to take a photo of the soup, but I don’t remember it having achiote/annato in it. I’m looking forward to making this at some point. And I will check out your website further, to see what else I can find. :-)

  6. Juan Carlos Feraud says:

    La receta es exactamente como lo hacemos en casa. Yo vivo en Guayaquil y esta receta familiar es exacta a la tuya. Es un manjar..

  7. Grace Gould says:

    Hi just wondering what else can I use instead of achiote?

    • Hi Grace – Back in the days when I couldn’t find achiote I would use a little bit of paprika instead – more for the color than the flavor. But even without the color, the soup will still taste great even without achiote.

  8. Karina Castro says:

    Hello Laylita,
    First of all I want to thank you for the great recipes. I am costarrican but my husband is ecuadorian. I love Ecuador and the food is great. Right now I am trying to make locro de papas but I do not have any tostado. Is there anything else that I can use to accompany my locro?

    Thank you :-)

  9. W Fogleman says:

    Made this soup tonight for dinner. It was just a delicious as we remembered from Quito. Used half feta and half mozzarella for cheese. The only issues I had were deciding what constitutes a “medium” potato. I ended up using 3.25 lbs of potatoes. I think next time I might throw in another one to make the soup a bit thicker. Also, didn’t really know what constitutes a “bunch” of cilantro. So, I used about a quarter of cup of chopped leaves. Will definitely make this again and again.

  10. Dear Laylita, million thanks for your blog and passion for cooking! My boyfriend is Ecuadorian, we visited the country last December and thanks to your page I was not surprised by the food there. I cook quite lot using your recipes and it always works great!!! :) I get the real taste – even here, in Scandinavia, where I really have troubles to find many native ingridients. Now I finally got my bottle of achiote ;) I made locro last night and it’s just amazing! Thanks a lot, good luck with all your cooking and please, don’t stop posting! :) Saludos!

  11. I made this recipe for my hubby who’s Ecuadorian. In Manta, I guess they make it differently- it’s without the achiote and they don’t mash the potato. I made it the way he’s used to, but it looks like it would be great either way! I am so thankful for this easy-to-follow recipe. Thank you so much, as it was delicious!!

  12. Grace Scruggs says:

    This is the best potato soup my husband has ever had! I didn’t have cilantro so used fresh parsley and couldn’t find achiote so used red pepper flakes and chili powder. I topped it with avocado, chives and feta cheese and it was wonderful! Even my teenage son loved it…

  13. I was looking for a potato soup that was different from the same old, same old one we usually have and I came across this. I didn’t think it was going to be anything special as I took a taste out of the soup pan. But my oh my once you add the cilantro, feta and avocado it’s out of this world. Loved it! Now I’m off to see what other recipe treasures I can find on your site. =)

  14. I am quickly approaching my second trip to Guayas with my boyfriend. His mom makes sopa of all kinds that blow my mind!!! (My favorite is her fish and cheese soup!) When I found your site, I was blown away as was my boyfriend. He wants to personally thank you for teaching me how to prepare salsa to go with the pescado he makes since I did not like his one bit. He has also personally requested the lorco de papa but with extra veggies for the weekend and latin cheese. I can’t wait to get there Año Nuevo and actually help in the kitchen this time rather than be a bystander like last time! My Mamita will be sooooo proud of me. :) Gracias Laylita … por TODO!

  15. I just returned from a vacation in Ecuador and want to make this dish for my family. How many servings does this recipe make? Great website!

  16. Claudia says:

    I am making this right now. All your pictures and recipes makes my mouth water. I love my Ecuadorian dishes… yummy I want all of them right now :)

  17. I just made this soup the other night. It was delicious. My parents are from Ecuador so I grew up eating all this food, but stopped getting it after my mom passed away. I’ve tried several of the recipes and love the pics and explanations. So helpful.

  18. For the cheese in the locro I use cottage cheese. I actually cook it in the soup after the potatoes are very soft. Thank you for your fine website.

  19. Oh, by the way. I found queso fresco at B.J.’s. It was a close to the cheese that they use in Ecuador for the sopa de locro. Safe cooking!

  20. Fantastico! Que viva mi Ecuador bello y querido!

  21. VivaBaños says:

    I surprised my Ecuadorian husband at lunch with this locro recipe and a segundo of menestra de lentejas, fried tilapia, arroz y aguacate. He could not believe it and was amazed at how great it all tasted, especially given that it was my first time making the locro and menestra. “Esto es un tocazo de ecuador, un almuerzo real como deberia ser!” That evening he wanted to go through the entire site picking out what we should try next. I have several Ecuadorian cookbooks from our time living there, but I’m more excited about your website for the “use X ingredient if you can’t find Y” directions and because of all of the lovely photos.
    Gracias Laylita! No puedo esperar probar otras comidas ricas de su sitio! Feliz año nuevo!

  22. I just made this soap yesterday it came out so good I love your web thank you so much

  23. Kelli Weaver says:

    MMMMMMmmmm…. I am doing a project on Ecuadorian Cuisine, and I am trying to find a way to write about this dish, but all I can to is stare at it!!! lol. Very nice job, and thank you! I think when I get this project done, this will be my reward;).

  24. My partner went to high school in Ecuador and his mother was telling me that a special yellow potato must be used to get the authentic south american taste. If I recall correctlly, she referred to them as “cholas.” Not sure if those are available in my area, but can anyone recooemd a good substitute? I was thinking yukon golds might be close.

    Also, is the aji only used as a garnish or is it sometimes added to the soup during cooking?


    Hi Shawn – Yukons are the closest you’ll find in the US (or out of the Andes) to the papa chola variety. In Ecuador, there are a good amount of people that don’t like their food spicy hot so aji is always served on the side, but if you and your family like it spicy you can also add some while cooking.

  25. I just made the locro and it was delicious! Thank you so much for doing this site and please continue writing….

  26. When i lived in Ecuador my mother cooked this delicious soup for us ,I miss the Ecuadorian food so much!! last week i made “caldo de bolas ” my kids love it i’m going to look the recipe for llapingachos one of my favorites;Thanks for bring in this recipes.

  27. You could also add fried filet fried fish at the end of the serving, instead of cheese

  28. Other way to make Locro de papa is adding a fried fillet fish at the end of the serving , instead of cheese.

  29. Daniel Holguin says:

    I always cook this recipe and is my favorite. I am Ecuadorian and lived in Ecuador my first 30 years. I learned how to cook Locro by listening to my ant and grandma by the phone and by reading this recipe. It pretty much has all the good secrets and good taste. Thank you!

  30. Kathleen says:

    Your recipes are beautiful! Thank you for sharing them!

  31. I was raised in Ecuador and i miss my Ecuadorian food very much… my sister and I are always making Ecuadorian dishes specially those that remind us of our grandmother that we miss so much.
    I made caldo de locro but i added my grandma special ingridients… fresh corn with the potatos, and at the end before adding the cheese i added turnip leaves (nabo)… it was delicious… my husband loves it and so does my daughter who is only two years old….

  32. Hi, I also went to Ecuador twice when I was in high school and loved this dish. I have made it myself many times since then and the best cheese in my opinion is Muenster. It is very similar to Mozarella only a little bit more fresh and not quite as dry as mozarella. However, I do like to use a little bit of mozarella as well. I love for my soup to be very cheesey. :)

    I love this soup and so does my family!

  33. Nancy Arias says:

    Hi there, I was looking for a recipe to make cazuela and ran into your site, IT’S WONDERFUL!!!! I can’t wait to make all the traditional ecuadorian dishes my mom use to make that I didn’t learn how to cook. however, I can’t find your cazuela dish, am I overlooking it? please tell me where it is. Thanks again for keeping the true culture and tradition of ecuadorians.

  34. Hi,
    Thank you so much for posting this recipe as well as all the others. I took my wife and inlaws to ecuador the past two aprils repectively and they simply love the food. I am also ecuadorian thru my parents i was born in The Bronx. My father in-law, will usually say if something is good by saying “esta bueno” or “que se repita” but when he had the locro in Quito he gave me this look as if it was the best dish he ever tasted. So now I want to surprise him with this and my parents with ceviche, my brothers with guatita and my wife with llapingacho.
    Thank you so much.

    I will also post on the family taste testing. :-)

  35. I live in Tampa Bay and I just use the cheese from my nearby Mexican store: queso blanco, queso fresco, cotija or asadero or panela..tastes like the Ecuadorean one…mozarella and jack have no taste and feta is way too salty…

  36. Yesss! I spent 3 months volunteering in Ecuador and loved locro so much. I am going to make this for my birthday to try and impress my friends with some Ecuadorian cuisine. Bring on the memories…Gracias!

  37. Hola,
    I’m a big fan of ecuadorian cuisine. When I found your receipe I was so happy, but as I made it, my happiness changed to admiration. A superb soup – one of the best I have ever tried. It looks quite strange and smells quite strange (like unwashed cilantro and cumin) – but the taste is overwhelming. Muchas Gracias. I suppose it fits greatly to “cuy”.
    Greetings to Ecuador and Byron!!!!

  38. Hello, I went to Quito, Ecuador last summer. My favorite food there was the Locro de Papa. I’ve been craving this food for a while and I decided to try and make it today. I found your website and I liked it a lot because of it looks, its beautiful. I made the soup but it doesn’t taste like the Ecuadorian locro, when I read the recipe it said mozzarella or monterey jack, I always thought it was made with Ecuadorian cheese. So it could be any latin american national cheese. Correct me if I’m wrong but I think that the cheese is what is missing in my Locro. I just wanted to now if you changed it for the recipe to be more convenient.


    Hi Karla – Locro de papas is one of those recipes that varies from one restaurant, home or city to another, everyone has their own variation. I do agree that the cheese is important, most places in Ecuador use quesillo, a very fresh cheese that is not found in the US, mozarella is the easiest to find substitute that you can find here. If you have a farmers market nearby you can try to find a fresher younger cheese (like curds or farmers cheese). Another thing about quesillo is that it also varies from one town to another (some are fresher, some are saltier, etc. Sometimes a type of cheese called queso de corte or another type called queso de sopa are also added to the locro de papas, these a little bit saltier and also impossible to find here, the closest substitute for those is feta cheese. For this recipe I use the mozzarella or monterrey jack since they melt well like quesillo does and they are also quite neutral (like quesillo), I then add crumbled feta when serving the soup for those that want it.

  39. I just returned from seven days in Ecuador and an so glad you have this recipe posted. The only thing I need to do now is find a source for the Indio Bravo aji sauce I have become addicted to!

  40. you really know how to cook …congrats!

  41. I tried this recipe and it took me no more than 20 minutes to make! Wonderful soup and my 2 year old picky-eater had a whoell bowl!

  42. Tiffany Attebury says:

    I just found your site and I wanted to tell you how grateful I am!!! I grew up in Ecuador, I lived there for 10 years, and I miss it terribly. I’ve wanted to make some of the foods I grew up on for my family but I haven’t been able to find any recipes that taste the same until I found this one!! Muchisimas Gracias!

Leave a Reply