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Sancocho- Ajiaco Recipe

Instant Pot: Sancocho / Ajiaco 

This Instant Pot Sancocho / Ajiaco Recipe is absolutely delicious. This recipe will walk you through making a layered comforting stew in a quick easy way. We wanted to do Sancocho /Ajiaco because in a very magical way, this stew has managed to cut through almost all Latin American cultures.

Sancocho vs Ajiaco

Sancocho, a word often used as slang by Puerto Ricans to mean a big old mix of things. It is a rustic stew eaten across the Caribbean and made with every imaginable combination of proteins and vegetables.

In places like Colombia, Peru and Cuba this is also known as Ajiaco. However the dishes are mostly the same. It literally translates to a chilli and potato stew, but it is more than that. In all cultures this stew is basically a collection of protein and carbs.

The Sancocho’s main ingredients are usually meat, vegetables, and potatoes The meat usually includes pork, beef, chicken, or fish with smoked ham or sausage. However we can’t forget the carbs, choices are yuca, potatoes, carrots, corn on the cob, winter squash, and green plantains.

In a way it demonstrates the resilience of the caribbean and Latin American people, as they commonly make this stew to feed many in times of need and it is made with whatever they have on hand.This is probably another reason you will find so many variations for Ajiaco or Sancocho Recipes. It’s less about getting everything exact, and more about making due with what you have.

No Stress Instant Pot: Sancocho / Ajiaco 

This Instant Pot Sancocho/Ajiaco Recipe is somewhere between Puerto Rico’s Sancocho and Cuba’s Ajiaco. We use meat and chicken as our base and throw in all sorts of spices and herbs to get that signature taste no other stew has. The recipe calls for an array of vegetables, but as with tradition, do it with what you have on hand. We believe cooking is less about perfection, and more about using what you like and what you have. There is no space for stress.

Sancocho, like most great stews, usually has to simmer for hours, as it is anchored by a combination of rich bone-in meats. However that is why we have Instant Pots! By using the pressure cooker setting we will intensify the flavor very quickly. Don’t be intimidated by the ingredient list. It is long but not difficult. 

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Instant Pot: Sancocho / Ajiaco 

Recipe by Abuelas Cuban CounterCourse: Entree, SoupsCuisine: Puerto Rican, CubanDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time




  • 3 to 4 bone-in skin-on chicken thighs

  • 1 pound of beef for stew cut in 2-inch pieces

  • 1 large onion, finely chopped

  • 1 cubanelle pepper, finely chopped 

  • 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped

  • 3 carrots, peeled and cut in thirds

  • 4 large pieces of frozen yuca

  • 2 corns, cut in half 

  • 1 green plantain, cut in 4 large pieces

  • 3 cups of calabaza pumpkin or butternut squash, in very large dice

  • 4 teaspoons of tomato paste

  • 4 cups of chicken or beef bone broth

  • 6 culantro leaves

  • 2 cups of swiss chard greens shredded (you can also use spinach)

  • 1 bunch of fresh cilantro, rinse and remove most of the stems

  • 2 packets of sazon with culantro and achiote

  • 1 teaspoon of dried oregano

  • 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder

  • ½ teaspoon of cumin

  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

  • Garnish: freshly chopped cilantro, avocado and lime. 


  • Set the Instant Pot to the Saute setting on high.
  • Add the olive oil, onion, cubanelle pepper, salt and pepper. Let that cook for 3 to 5 minutes until it starts to soften then add the cilantro, oregano, culantro, cumin, turmeric and the dried oregano. Give everything a stir and cook for another 3 minutes. 
  • Mix the beef into the pot. Cook for 5 minutes or until some pieces start to brown.
  • Add the garlic and cook for 3 minutes. Careful it doesn’t burn. 
  • Add the chicken. Mix it around and then you are going to add in the culantro and achiote sazon packets, tomato paste and mix everything in. Continue to cook on sauté mode for 10 minutes. 
  • Add the corn, yuca, pumpkin, carrots, plantain. Add some salt and pepper over all the vegetables and mix so everything is properly coated with seasoning. Add the chicken broth and more water to cover the ingredients. Be sure not to pass the maximum fill line. 
  • Set the pot to pressure cook on high for 40 minutes. You can let it naturally release or quick release once the time is up. 
  • Once it is ready, remove the chicken pieces. Discard the fat and the bone of the chicken and shred it slightly before adding it back into the stew. Add the greens and mix again. Taste the stew and adjust the seasoning as needed. We always find the vegetables in part a lot of their natural sweetness so don’t be afraid to add more salt and pepper.  
  • Serve in a bowl with an array of the ingredients and garnish as you wish.