Locro de papa (Potato Soup)

I developed my love of potatoes from a very young age. My family ate potatoes in many ways — in curries, as potato cakes, and sautéed with turmeric. Potatoes are eaten all around the world as they are readily available, inexpensive, and nutritious. In modern grocery stores there seems to be more varieties available than just 10 or 20 years ago. One of my standby favorites is the Yukon gold. Yukon Gold potatoes have a thin, smooth, eye-free skin, and yellow-tinged flesh. They have a wonderful creamy texture when cooked.

Today I use Yukon gold potatoes to make a soup called Locro de papa. This is an Ecuadorian potato and cheese soup made with potatoes, onions, garlic, cumin, milk, cheese, cilantro, and refrito paste or annatto. My good friend who used to live in Ecuador told me this soup is very popular and served with many meals in that country. It’s often served as a first course before the main dish of a meal. My version, however, is hearty enough to be a whole meal!

I deviated from the standard recipe by adding chicken base, butter, and heavy cream since — to be honest — I thought the traditional soup is a bit plain otherwise. My friend said that in Ecuador, people often spice up the traditional soup with hot sauce or other condiments to make it more interesting, but that’s not necessary with how I made it. I was delighted when she said she loves my version.

This is a very quick and easy dish to make if you have the potatoes cooked ahead of time. Try it!



  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 cup yellow onion, small dice
  • 1 tbsp garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp ground cumin powder
  • 1 1/2 tbsp refrito paste
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 8 Yukon gold potatoes, cooked and break into bite sized chunks (7 cups)
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 cups 1% milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 2 tbsp chicken base (I used Better Than Bouillon jar)

To serve

  • Avocado sliced
  • Cilantro, leaves
  • Green onion, thinly sliced
  • Hot pepper sauce
  • Feta crumbles or queso fresco


Melt butter in a heavy bottom sauce pan over medium heat. Once the butter is melted, add onions. Cook until soft, then add garlic. Cook for a minute or two until the raw garlic smell disappear.

Add cumin powder and salt. Cook for 30 seconds and then add the refrito paste. Cook for another 30 seconds and add the cooked potatoes to the pan. Stir well and cook the potatoes for a minutes or so. Add the water and milk to the pan. Stir well, scraping down the bottom of the pan. Cook the potato mixture for 10 minutes, stirring often.

Turn down the heat to low. Add heavy cream and chicken base to the pan. Stir gently until the cheese is melted and the soup looks creamy. Taste for seasoning. Turn of the heat and stir in chopped cilantro.

Transfer the soup to a large serving bowl. Serve the soup with sliced avocado, cilantro, queso (or feta), and hot sauce.

Serves 8

Did you make this dish? I’d love to know how it turns out! Feel free to like this post and comment or use the hashtag #globaldinein on Instagram.

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