Filled with juicy chunks of chicken, loads of fresh cilantro, peas, and other vegetables, Aguadito de Pollo is a healthy and fragrant traditional Peruvian Chicken Soup. Ready in under 45 minutes, enjoy this easy chicken soup for lunch or dinner with a side of rice, quinoa, and fresh lime juice.
Aguadito de Pollo
Who here has tried aguadito de Pollo before?
Well, you are in for a surprise because this somewhat unappealing-looking soup is actually filled with brilliant fresh flavors (like cilantro!) and is crazy easy to make. Even my 5-year-old ate an entire bowl.
One of the very first recipes I shared on this blog (over three years ago!), Aguadito de Pollo remains one of my very favorite soups to prepare when I want something healthy and delicious, but a little different when compared to the classic Chicken Noodle Soup or simple Vegetable Soup.
What is Aguadito de Pollo?
Often referred to as levanta-muertos (“to wake the dead”), Aguadito de Pollo is thought to “raise the dead” or “wake up the dead” as it is often enjoyed in the early morning after a night of partying thanks to it’s soothing and restorative ingredients.
In other words, Aguadito de Pollo is believed by many to cure hangovers.
Although there are several variations of Peruvian Chicken Soup, the addition of fresh cilantro remains constant throughout them all. Really, you can’t skip it. As such, I highly recommend that you like the taste of this delicious green herb, even if just a little bit.
Ok, let’s learn a bit more about the ingredients.
Ingredients in Aguadito de Pollo
The ingredients required to make Aguadito de Pollo are fairly straight-forward. Feel free to add additional vegetables such as carrots, bell pepper, and potato.
- CILANTRO – Sorry, guys. I had to put it in all caps. It’s only because cilantro is that important to this soup and hopefully that’s ok with you because you love cilantro just as much as me. You want to use fresh cilantro and try to pick as many of the leaves from the stems as possible.
- Shallots – whenever I decide not to add whole onions to a recipe (especially soup), I’ll usually add a couple of shallots. A little spicier, shallots are a great way to get that onion flavor with less bulk.
- Garlic – we’re making soup, so garlic is pretty much a no-brainer. Besides, garlic is really good for you when you’re feeling crummy so don’t be shy and toss a few cloves in there.
- Jalapeño – you may add jalapeño or serrano peppers. I added the former as that’s what I had on hand. If you’re sensitive to spicy foods, feel free to leave out completely or add less. On the flip side, if you love a super spicy soup, feel free to add a little more (just take care as jalapeños and serrano peppers tend to vary in heat level).
- Corn – I have recently started adding corn to my aguadito recipe and I can’t get enough. Sweet white corn is my favorite as the sweet perfectly contrasts with the spicy, sour, savory flavors of the soup.
- Chicken Stock – theoretically, you can use any stock, but my recommendation is always low-sodium chicken stock. Low-sodium is especially important as it gives you more freedom to adjust flavors exactly to your preference.
- Chicken – typically, big chunks of chicken are added to Aguadito de Pollo. In my case, however, I prefer adding smaller bite-size pieces of chicken or shredded chicken breast. Of course, this is entirely up to you.
- Lime juice – The acidity from the lime juice helps seal all the flavors together. You don’t need a ton of lime juice, however, I would recommend that you start with the juice from one lime and add more until it reaches your desired limey-ness.
- Peas – Like cilantro, peas are a pretty universal ingredient when making Aguadito de Pollo. I prefer adding fresh peas as they always taste better (in my opinion). That said, frozen peas will work just as well, just take care not to over-cook your peas as they will turn soggy.
- Quinoa/Rice – It is more traditional to serve Aguadito de Pollo with rice. However, when I originally made this recipe many years ago, I made it with quinoa and haven’t made it any other way since. Both rice and quinoa are gluten-free, however, quinoa is higher in fiber and protein.
How to make Aguadito de Pollo
There are two main steps when preparing this Peruvian Chicken Soup. The first required that you grab a food processor or high-speed blender and process what I like to call the “cilantro paste”. As soon as this paste has been prepared, you’re free to move on to making the soup.
Ok, who’s ready to make some soup!?
Next, sauté the cilantro paste. Add the last tablespoon of olive oil to a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the blended cilantro paste and sauté for 3-4 minutes, stirring continuously to prevent burning (reducing heat if needed). Cilantro paste should be fragrant.
After the cilantro and shallot paste has been cooked, add to corn and sprinkle with salt. Mix well to combine.
If you try making this Aguadito de Pollo (Peruvian Chicken Soup), please leave me a comment and let me know! I always love to read your thoughts and feedback.
For more soup recipes check out,
- One Pot Lasagna Soup Recipe
- Italian Wedding Soup <— meatballs and tiny pasta!
- Homemade Tomato Basil Soup Recipe
- Easy Minestrone Soup Recipe (Stovetop + Slow Cooker) <—classic Italian comfort food
- Cambodian Pork and Cucumber Soup
- Alphabet Soup Recipe<— fun for the kids!
- Bok Choy Soup <– reader favorite
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Aguadito de Pollo (Peruvian Chicken Soup)
- 2 large bunches fresh cilantro (leaves only, stems discarded)
- 2 shallots (peeled and roughly chopped)
- 3 cloves garlic (minced)
- 4 tbsp olive oil (divided)
- 1-2 jalapeño (chopped)
- 2 cups corn kernels
- 1 tsp salt
- 8 cups low-sodium chicken stock
- 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts (chopped into small bite size chunks)
- 1 lime (juiced)
- 16 ounces fresh or frozen peas
- Lime wedges (for serving)
- Chopped green onions (for serving)
- Cooked quinoa (for serving)
- Prepare the cilantro paste. Add the cilantro, shallots, garlic, 3 tablespoons of olive oil, and jalapeño to the bowl of a large food processor, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed until the cilantro is fully processed into a thick paste (see notes).
- Sauté the cilantro paste. Add the final tablespoon of olive oil to a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the blended cilantro paste and sauté for 3-4 minutes, stirring continuously to prevent burning (reducing heat if needed). Add to corn and sprinkle with salt. Mix well to combine.
- Add chicken stock and cook the chicken. Add the chicken stock to the pot and increase heat to high. Cover and bring broth to a boil. Once boiling, remove the cover and carefully add the chicken to the pot. Cover and reduce heat to low. Cook the chicken for approximately 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add some peas. Add the peas and lime juice to the broth and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Allow the soup to simmer for an additional 5 minutes, or until peas are cooked.
- Assemble and Serve. Serve hot with fresh lime wedges, chopped green onions, and cooked quinoa, if desired.
- If necessary, add a few tablespoons of water to the bowl of the food processor to help move things along.
(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.)