Puerto Rican Beef Sancocho

Prep 20 mins
Cook 1 hr
Total 1 hr 20 mins

This flavorful Puerto Rican Beef Sancocho, a hearty rustic beef stew, is packed with tender bites of beef and vegetables in a rich beef broth. It’s exactly what you crave on a cold day, grab a bowl and let’s enjoy together! Buen Provecho!

A bowl of Puerto Rican beef sancocho.

An Easy Puerto Rican Sancocho Recipe

We are entering the fall months, which means it’s time for soups and stews! Puerto Rican Beef Sancocho is just the kind of hearty and filling soup recipe that you need to get simmering in your kitchen.

From the minute you smell the first hints of Sofrito, I promise you will be hooked on this traditional Puerto Rican sancocho. Made with cubed beef and a variety of vegetables and starches, you couldn’t ask for a better lunch or quick dinner to sit down to!

My husband, Jorge, introduced me to the Sancocho 15 years ago on our first trip to Puerto Rico and we have enjoyed making it yearly since. Our recipe has ebbed and flowed over the years, but this is our favorite version and I’m excited to finally get to share it with all of you.

Bowl of Puerto Rican beef sancocho.

What is Sancocho?

Sancocho is a healthy, hearty broth-based soup that can be found throughout the Spanish Caribbean, as well as in Latin America. Thicker versions of this soup are more like a stew, which is also very good.

Many countries have their own versions that differ ever so slightly, but this Puerto Rican Sancocho recipe is made with beef, beef broth, vegetables, and various starches. You could also make it with chicken or pork if you’d prefer one of those meats over beef.

While you’re making this traditional Puerto Rican sancocho, why not also try some Puerto Rican Coquito or these Puerto Rican Fried Plantains? They’re not to be missed!

Pot of beef sancocho with vegetables.

Recipe Ingredients

This soup recipe requires quite a few ingredients, and it will most likely require a trip to the store too, but it’s definitely worth it! Here’s what to add to your list:

  • Olive Oil
  • Bay Leaves
  • Onion: I used a medium white onion, diced.
  • Green Bell Pepper: medium-sized, cored and diced.
  • Sofrito: a blend of herbs and spices to season the soup.
  • Seasoning: use salt, cumin, dried oregano, ground black pepper and one packet sazon seasoning.
  • Beef Chuck Roast: 2 pounds with the fat pieces cut off and the rest cut into bite size cubes or pieces.
  • Garlic: you’ll need 3 cloves, minced.
  • Carrots: peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces.
  • Green Plantains: also peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces.
  • Corn on the Cob: 2 cobs, peeled and cut into thirds.
  • Sweet Potato: or fresh pumpkin, cut into 2-inch pieces.
  • Yucca: a large one, about 2 cups, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces.
  • Yautia: or you can also use taro root, about 2 cups, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • Tomato Sauce
  • Beef Broth: if using chicken instead, feel free to use chicken broth.
  • Yukon Gold Potatoes: about 2 ½ cups, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces. You can also use Russet potatoes.
  • Zucchini Squash: or chayote squash, about 2 ½ cups, cut into 2-inch pieces.
Ingredients for beef sancocho.

How to Make Puerto Rican Beef Sancocho

After the first 20 minutes of prep work, making this sancocho recipe come together is a breeze. Add the seasonings and ingredients together, carefully watch the cook time, and try not to burn your mouth eating this soup straight from the pot!

Heat Olive Oil & Add Seasonings: In a large heavy bottomed pot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Heat the olive oil, then add the bay leaves, onion, green pepper, sofrito, sazon, salt, cumin powder, oregano and pepper.

Cook: Stir and cook until the sofrito becomes fragrant and the onion becomes translucent.

Brown the Beef: Add the beef and brown it on all sides. Then add in the garlic, stir and cook until it becomes fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add Vegetables: Add in the carrots, plantains, corn, sweet potato (if substituting for pumpkin), yucca, llautia and tomato sauce and stir to combine.

Add Broth: Pour enough beef broth in to cover the vegetables by a half inch and stir. Bring it to a boil over high heat then reduce the heat to low-medium and let it simmer for 15 minutes.

Cook Soup: Then add in the pumpkin (if using), potatoes and squash and let the soup simmer covered for 25-30 more minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender.

Serve and Enjoy: Add salt to taste, then serve with fresh cilantro and lime wedges as desired!

Pot of Puerto Rican beef sancocho.

Tips for the Best Sancocho

Here are some tips to read through for the best results with your sancocho:

  • How to Peel Root Vegetables: use a potato peeler or, very carefully, a sharp knife.
  • Pumpkin Substitution: fresh pumpkin is hard to come by year-round, so sweet potatoes make an excellent substitution! The sweet potatoes can be cooked from the beginning, but if you’re using pumpkin it should be added with the squash and potatoes as it cooks quickly.
  • If You Don’t Have Yautia: if you’re unable to find yautia at your local Mexican or Asian market, just leave it out as it will taste just as good! Or you can also use taro root instead.
  • Sofrito: you can use the frozen or jarred ones from Goya or your own homemade version. We all have our favorite sofrito, use your favorite!
Ladle full of sancocho.

Serving Suggestions

Wondering what to serve with your sancocho? Try some of the following:

  • Rice: sancocho is served with white rice a lot of the time. You could also try this Puerto Rican Rice, but we usually make plain white rice to go with our Sancocho!
  • Crusty Bread: It’s not traditional, but I still love to have some crusty bread on the side to soak up the broth.
  • Garnish: top your soup with some cilantro to finish.

How to Store and Reheat Leftovers

This soup can be stored in an airtight container for up to 1 week in the fridge. When you’re ready to serve it again, reheat it in a pot on the stove until it reaches the desired temperature.

Can I Freeze Puerto Rican Beef Sancocho?

Yes! Freeze your sancocho in meal-sized portions, and make sure to thaw and eat them within a few months or so.

Bowls of beef sancocho.
Yield: 6-8 servings

Puerto Rican Beef Sancocho

Bowl of Puerto Rican beef sancocho.

This flavorful Puerto Rican Beef Sancocho, a hearty rustic beef stew, is packed with tender bites of beef and vegetables in a rich beef broth. It's exactly what you crave on a cold day, grab a bowl and let's enjoy together! Buen Provecho!

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 medium white onion, diced
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, cored and diced
  • ¼ cup sofrito
  • 1 package sazon seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 pounds beef chuck roast, with the fat pieces cut off and the rest cut into bite size cubes or pieces
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 2 green plantains, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 2 corn on the cob, peeled and cut into thirds
  • 2 cups sweet potato (or fresh pumpkin), cut into 2-inch pieces*
  • 1 large yucca (about 2 cups), peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 yautia (or taro root) (about 2 cups), peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces*
  • ½ cup tomato sauce
  • 6-8 cups beef broth
  • 3 Yukon gold or Russet potatoes (about 2 ½ cups), peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 2 zucchini squash or chayote squash (about 2 ½ cups), cut into 2-inch pieces

Instructions

  1. In a large heavy bottomed pot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Heat the olive oil, then add the bay leaves, onion, green pepper, sofrito, sazon, salt, cumin powder, oregano and pepper.
  2. Stir and cook until the sofrito becomes fragrant and the onion becomes translucent.
  3. Add the beef and brown it on all sides. Then add in the garlic, stir and cook until it becomes fragrant, about 1 minute.
  4. Add in the carrots, plantains, corn, sweet potato (if substituting for pumpkin), yucca, yautia and tomato sauce and stir to combine.
  5. Pour enough beef broth in to cover the vegetables by a half inch and stir. Bring it to a boil over high heat then reduce the heat to low-medium and let it simmer for 15 minutes.
  6. Then add in the pumpkin (if using), potatoes and squash and let the soup simmer covered for 25-30 more minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender.
  7. Add salt to taste, then serve with fresh cilantro and lime wedges as desired!

Notes

*If you’re unable to find llautia at your local Mexican or Asian market, just leave it out as it will taste just as good!
*Fresh pumpkin is hard to come by year-round, so sweet potatoes make an excellent substitution! The sweet potatoes can be cooked from the beginning, but if you’re using pumpkin it should be added with the squash and potatoes as it cooks quickly.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 712Total Fat: 28gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 94mgSodium: 6247mgCarbohydrates: 68gFiber: 8gSugar: 17gProtein: 51g

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Welcome!

Jessica
I'm a trial & error, self taught, sugar addict who thankfully learned how to survive in the kitchen! I am also a wife, mama of 3.
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