Aguadito (a.k.a. Peruvian Chicken Soup)

in Dinner, Soups, Uncategorized

I made you/me some soup. It’s green…

I wasn’t going to post it because, well, it might be the ugliest soup I’ve ever made. I usually like to share things that are pretty/cute/delicious. Not today, my friends!! Today I’m hurling nutritious, humble and necessary (for me anyway) your way.

My head is stuffed up, my nose is clogged, and my ears hurt (hello ear ache!). Yeah, I’m sick. UGH!

Growing up this is the soup my mama would make me to make things all better. So, this post comes straight from her mama heart through me. JUST like that scene at the end of Ghost, you know? When Whoopi let’s Patrick Swayze take over her body so Demi can get her last dance. JUST like that. So, basically this is my mom giving you this recipe (through me). Weird, right?

Let’s dance!

This chicken soup is daaa best.

This chicken soup story starts with a bunch of fresh cilantro heading into a blender with some garlic cloves, serrano pepper and chicken broth. After a minute or two, you’ll end up with a fragrant, beautiful bright green liquid mixture. Try not to drink it.

Next you’re gonna cook the chicken on both sides in some oil. You want crispy skin. You want the chicken to be nearly cooked all the way through.

After the onion, garlic and red pepper are sauteed, you’re gonna add the rice…

And then the cilantro liquid. Next up, you’re going to add the chicken back to the pot, along with a good amount of chicken broth.

After a good simmer of 20-30 minutes, you’ll have some of the most nutritious, strong soup ever.

Okay. Here’s the thing about this soup: the lime is an absolute must. Like, if you forget it…you have to go back to the store. I’m sorry to be so bossy. I really am, but it’s that important. That citrus works in ways that are indescribable with the chicken and cilantro. This soup feels like gigantic hug from mom (my mom anyway).

Also, if you’re one of those people who tastes soap when you eat cilantro, I’m totally intrigued by you. Like, fascinated…say hi. I wanna know you.

Aguadito (a.k.a. Peruvian Chicken Soup)

Print this recipe!

3/4 cup cilantro leaves
1 serrano pepper, halved and de-seeded
4 garlic cloves (2 whole garlic cloves and 2 garlic cloves minced), divided
4 1/4 cups chicken broth, divided
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 chicken thighs, skin-on and bone-in
2 chicken drumsticks, skin-on and bone-in
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 cup white rice
1 ear of corn, cut off the cob
Salt to taste
1 lime

1. Add cilantro leaves, serrano pepper, 2 garlic cloves and 1/4 cup of chicken broth to a blender. Blend until mixture is thoroughly combined. Set aside.

2. In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. When hot, carefully add chicken thighs and drumsticks, skin-side down. Cook on first side for 4-5 minutes, and until skin is crisp and slightly browned. Flip on second side and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Remove from pot and set aside.

3. If the chicken absorbed all of the oil, add one more tablespoon of olive oil. Add yellow onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Next, add red bell pepper and ground cumin, allowing to cook for 1-2 more minutes. Add minced garlic atop of mixture and cook until fragrant.

4. Add the rice and cilantro liquid mixture to the pot and mix, being sure to completely coat the rice. Gently add the chicken back to the pot and cover with the remaining 4 cups of chicken broth. The broth should just cover the chicken. Cook for 20-30 minutes, and until rice is fully cooked.

5. When you’re ready to serve, add salt to taste. This will all depend on how salty your chicken broth was. I needed to add about 1 1/2 teaspoons of kosher salt. Mix in corn right before serving.

6. Add a few cilantro leaves to each bowl of soup, along with a few wedges of lime. It’s important.

Yields 4 servings

{ 94 comments… read them below or add one }

Natashia@foodonpaper February 10, 2012 at 12:30 am

This soup looks fantastic, so don’t know what you’re talking about with the word ‘ugly’ :) looks so healthy and rustic and flavourful!


Rachael February 10, 2012 at 3:33 am

I am all about good, healthy soups that use no canned “cream of” whatever!
It looks so good!
P.s. I don’t think I have ever compared cilantro to soap…sorry…


The Chic Teach February 10, 2012 at 4:26 am

I’m compiling a mega-list of all the recipes I plan on making when I move out again, and this definitely made the cut!

As for the people who don’t “get” cilantro…I, too, am utterly intrigued by them. And just don’t get it. That’s like saying chocolate tastes like old fish. Umm, whaaat?


anna October 19, 2012 at 2:21 pm

it’s genetics, what’s not to get? (just one of many google results)

also: can’t wait to make that soup!


Caitlin February 10, 2012 at 4:44 am

In 2010 I did a tour around Peru and I was amazed at how delicious, wholesome and fresh the food tastes and what amazing soups they serve.

Agree, lime is key to Peruvian dishes


Kristin February 10, 2012 at 4:46 am

I have cilantro issues. I don’t know if I’d say that it tastes like soap, but it’s definitely unpleasant, so I was very disappointed when I saw that beautiful green & discovered that it was cilantro. I’ve heard that you can overcome this nastiness with cilantro and I have hopes. A visiting friend made a fabulous fresh salsa with tomatoes, avocado, corn, jalapenos, lots of lime juice, & cilantro, & I loved it. So now I try a few bites when I’m at my favorite Vietnamese restaurant, but I’m not ready to jump in and try this soup!


Adrianna February 10, 2012 at 10:35 am

This tastes like a mouthful of cilantro. Yeah, don’t do it!


Liz February 10, 2012 at 11:03 am

make it with parsley or kale for less bite and still having the good health


Heather (Heather's Dish) February 10, 2012 at 4:51 am

this soup sounds amazing…and i think it’s totally cute!

and cilantro? love it – no soap for this gal!


heather February 10, 2012 at 5:34 am

I had to pin this. So gorgeous and seems to be on of those curative soups for cold, damp days when you feel a twinge in your throat. I anticipate making this soon!




ileana February 10, 2012 at 6:10 am

Haha, I love that the soup is green. Sounds like a very comforting meal. Get better soon!


Adrianna February 10, 2012 at 10:42 am

Thanks, lady! x


sarah February 10, 2012 at 6:15 am

This looks like just what I’m craving.
Silly cilantro soap people! I’m soooo glad I’m not amongst that lot.

Feel better soon.


modernworkinggirl February 10, 2012 at 6:23 am

Your opening paragraph is so funny…i clicked on your post in my feedburner BECAUSE I thought your green soup picture was so beautiful! green = good :)


Nikki February 10, 2012 at 7:26 am

Yeah, I’m among the sad few who taste soap whenever Cilantro is present. Doesn’t matter how little is in the dish I can taste it. :o(

Beautiful looking soup though! Feel better soon.


Adrianna February 10, 2012 at 10:42 am

Thanks, Nikki!


Mike February 10, 2012 at 7:35 am

Peruvian cuisine, nothing more on trend!!! Everybody is talking about it so I guess the time has come to MYO.
Thanks for posting this amazing recipe, I’m gonna try it tomorrow.


Bev Weidner February 10, 2012 at 7:51 am

Ugly, Smugly. I want to pay rent in the bottom of that bowl and NOT have any roommates.


Allyn February 10, 2012 at 7:52 am

And now I know what to cook for dinner tonight.
Cilantro is my boyfriend.
Don’t tell my husband.


Madeleine February 10, 2012 at 7:58 am

Ahh my dad’s side of the family is from Peru! I can’t wait to make and share this recipe with them!!! looks so delicious!


Dana B @ thebakingbooth February 10, 2012 at 7:58 am

ok, I don’t like cilantro, but I don’t think it tastes like soap. That’s bizarre. My husband however loves cilantro! So, who will win? Will I make this for him and at least try it? Don’t know yet. I’m still thinking about the wonderful fluffternutter french toast I made the other day :)


Natalee February 10, 2012 at 7:58 am

This is going to sound weird but I couldn’t stand cilantro until I got pregnant. My babe is two now and and I am very happy to say that I am in love with cilantro still.


Erin February 10, 2012 at 9:01 am

Oh yum! I want to make this soup this weekend for sure!


France February 10, 2012 at 9:06 am

I think cilantro is just a weird thing. First 2 times I tried it all I could taste was soap. Third time, addicted. I could add it to everything, but I resist. Now I just think people who don’t like cilantro are crazy, completely denying my past! My husband and I met in Peru and though you think this soup is ugly, I think its fabulous. I can’t wait to try it!


Amanda February 10, 2012 at 10:56 am

This soup looks amazing and I absolutely love cilantro. I’ve heard it has antibacterial properties, so maybe that has something to do with you feeling better after your mom made it for you. Feel better soon!


bonnie February 10, 2012 at 11:00 am

Always hated cilantro and thought watermelon tasted like dirt! (Not too keen on avocados, either.) Then I moved to Mexico for a few yrs.– they became favorite foods. Tastes can change– gotta keep trying!


leanna February 10, 2012 at 11:08 am

Uhmmm hiiiiii cilantro tastes and smells like laundry soap to me.

It always has. I was super ashamed until ina garten said the same thing. Then it was ok. I’m totally ok with not liking cilantro.


Connie February 10, 2012 at 11:10 am

I think that soup is beautiful! Yummy.


Ev February 10, 2012 at 11:39 am

I seriously love you for posting this … a peruvian place i go to makes this soup and its so delish! can’t wait to have me some Hulk colored soup!


Marysol varela February 10, 2012 at 11:39 am

This is a beautiful, rustic, and comforting soup. It does not matter what it looks like or whether it is appetizing or not in the picture because the ingredients you used are so bold. Plus this Soup has a special place in your heart! I really want to try the recipe soon. It reminds me of “caldo de pollo” that my mom made for us growing up. thanks for sharing : )


erin @ yummy supper February 10, 2012 at 1:07 pm

Adrianna, I hope you feel better. Your mom’s soup looks like a good cure:)


Heike Herrling February 10, 2012 at 1:10 pm

This recipe is a keeper! Thanks for sharing a window to your family food story. Nothing better. Family is at the root of my food story too.


Monica @ Soirees & Such February 10, 2012 at 3:33 pm

Wow I have to try this. I made soup this week too! it’s called “chilpachole” mexican spicy crab soup. If you get a chance I’d love it if you could check it out. xx


Alissa February 10, 2012 at 4:47 pm

I’ve been sick all week, and as soon as I read this, I literally walked out the door to buy the ingredients. Lime really does take it to the next level!


Jessica@MakingHomeSweeter February 10, 2012 at 10:55 pm

This soup is NOT ugly…it reminds me Mexican soups that are ohhh so tasty. I’m eager to try this.


Margarita February 11, 2012 at 8:12 am

Not ugly at all! One of my favorite stuff is the Thai avocado curry and it is a delicious green thing. I am developing an ugly cold and feeling it in my throat, this looks like something I will need soon.


Karen February 11, 2012 at 9:51 am

I am sadly one of *those* people. I grew cilantro in my garden one year, and had to let it die because I couldn’t stand to tend it and have my hands smell like that for the rest of the day… Oddly though, I love chimichurri sauce, even posted a recipe for it on my site, but I sub in some parsley for some of the cilantro. This soup looks so good! I may have to try it with a cilantro/parsley mix and see if that balances the flavor enough for me…


Kelsey @aslolife February 11, 2012 at 10:13 am

I am obsessed with cilantro so this looks amazing to me!


Kim February 11, 2012 at 12:29 pm

I hate hate hate cilantro in anything! But I will be making this with a substitute, it looks yummy!


Ursula February 11, 2012 at 1:50 pm

OMG…you just made me smile. I have so many fond memories of Aguadito and my mother. My mom used to make it with & without cilantro. Love them both.


Joss February 12, 2012 at 11:32 am

looks so delicious and healthy! You will feel better in no time eating this 😀


Rachel February 12, 2012 at 12:30 pm

I made this soup last night and it was AMAZING. I’m not a huge fan of soups but I love chicken tortilla at Mexican restaurants. This soup was a million times better and I will be making it again this week! Thanks so much for sharing it!


Anna @ the shady pine February 12, 2012 at 1:03 pm

Definitely not an ugly soup….but it sounds stupid good! I love cilantro/coriander in just about anything so in this soup with the spices it would be perfect.


Jamie-Lee February 12, 2012 at 5:40 pm

Woah. Cilantro and I are NOT FRIENDS! I’m mildly allergic and it makes my nose itch PLUS it’s just a way too strong and bitter flavour for me. But this soup looks tasty nonetheless… maybe I’ll try it with thyme or parsley.


Jillian in Italy February 13, 2012 at 4:08 am

This recipe looks so amazing. I’m going to try it this week for sure. I absolutely love cilantro…but it’s so hard to find in rural Italy! But this recipe looks THAT good that I’ll make the 50 min trek into Milan’s Chinatown to get it. Thanks!


Lauren Bux February 13, 2012 at 4:39 am

Ugly? Absolutely NOT! This looks like heaven in a bowl if you ask me!

I have several friends that HATE cilantro (like seriously hate it). I don’t understand at all because I could totally pluck those beautiful little leaves off their stem and eat them plain! Seriously, cilantro is considered a “staple” in my house along with eggs and Greek yogurt :)

Hope you feel better!!


Sara Fitzpatrick February 13, 2012 at 1:05 pm

I laughed so hard…The first thing I said when I looked at the picture was “that looks awesome!!”-very nearly drooling. Then, to my horror (not really) you said it was ugly…hmm…anyhoo-I’m making this soup ASAP!!!! Looks incredible! Thank you.


nicole {sweet peony} February 13, 2012 at 2:46 pm

This soup is so pretty! I love the color!! The ingredients sound awesome too. Feel better girl! xo


Let Me Eat Cake February 13, 2012 at 11:37 pm

ugly or not i love soup and i bet this was great! hope you’re feeling much better :)


Tobi February 14, 2012 at 12:26 pm

Unfortunately cilantro tastes like soap to me. :( I read about a study on people who think cilantro tastes like soap. They think there is something in cilantro that cilantro lovers can taste & haters cannot taste.


Michele February 14, 2012 at 5:20 pm

I’m sick, this looks amazing, and I have all the ingredients. I was wondering what to do with fresh cilantro and lime before they’re goners and this is the ticket, right here! Thanks for sharing!


Adrianna February 14, 2012 at 5:42 pm

Feel better, Michele. xo


LovelyLira February 14, 2012 at 5:49 pm

How many servings of soup does this make? I’m guessing four, but I’m not sure….


Adrianna February 15, 2012 at 12:02 am

Yes, 4! Just added that to the recipe above.


amy February 14, 2012 at 8:27 pm

We made this tonight, and the whole family LOVED it. Definitely a keeper. Thanks so much for sharing!


Adrianna February 14, 2012 at 8:30 pm

This makes me so happy. And this is gonna make my mama super happy, too! x


Cara February 16, 2012 at 8:46 am

This looks fantastic and such a beautiful color. I can’t wait to try it!


Prairie Princess February 16, 2012 at 2:03 pm

Fresh GINGER tastes like soap whereas cilantro tastes like springtime and who doesn’t love springtime?!? I’m trying this soon and I’m going to capitalize on the green factor with my family and make up some crazy monsterlicious name for it. The kids will love it!


alicia February 17, 2012 at 11:33 am

i made this last night. super tasty and easy to make!!! and i think the color of the broth is lovely. :)


Adrianna February 17, 2012 at 11:40 am

Yeaaaaa! Awesomeawesome.


Andres February 18, 2012 at 10:48 pm

Wow! The soup looks absolutely delicious. And I have no doubt in your moms conviction that it’s a cure-all: you’re getting so many nutrients and it will definitely unclog a stuffy nose haha.



francine February 20, 2012 at 7:04 pm

I am one of the cilantro tastes like soap people, so sad. I usually substitute parsley. I attended a cooking class in Morocco and one of the dishes had lots of cilantro but it was mixed half and half with parsley, it was delicious, no soap!!


Hausfrau February 21, 2012 at 12:47 am

This soup is pure magic! I made it the other night for my family (two of the four of us have had bad colds), and my husband absolutely fell in love with it. Thank you!


Nadette@Eat, Read, Rant! February 22, 2012 at 1:52 pm

It may be green, but it still looks delicious. Or maybe I’m just weird.


sarah February 26, 2012 at 12:53 pm

This is my first visit to your blog, and I fell in love reading about the Ghost scene. Perfect!
Also, all your recipes look lovely and delicious. 😉


Cara March 12, 2012 at 7:53 am

Found this on pinterest and came back to say THANK YOU! Soup and cilantro are 2 of my favorite things. This soup is amazing– I will admit that I tweaked it– I made a roasted chicken the day before so I just used some of that chicken and then added a bit of the “drippings” to make up for skipping the deglazing step. YUM-O :)


Adrianna March 12, 2012 at 12:33 pm

Oh using a roast chicken is an awesome idea. Glad you liked it. YAY!


Tabitha March 29, 2012 at 11:21 am

So trying this one soon. Thank you!!


Sam April 13, 2012 at 12:00 pm

People who taste soap when eating cilantro are allergic to cilantro.

Luckily for me I’m not one of them! This soup es muy ricoooooo! just shows that there is no Peruvian food I don’t like!


Jay April 14, 2012 at 10:43 am

“Also, if you’re one of those people who tastes soap when you eat cilantro, I’m totally intrigued by you. Like, fascinated…say hi. I wanna know you.”
Hi. That would be me. The first few times I tried salsa fresca, I mostly liked it, but there was some something that I really didn’t like. After numerous different salsas in different places, I finally figured it out: cilantro. While it doesn’t poison everything it touches, the way bell peppers do, it can totally turn me away from a dish that is heavy with it. BTW: I feel the same about avocado. I’m happy to grant that there are many who think someone who doesn’t like guacamole is insane, I just don’t get the appeal. And mushrooms — don’t get me started!


Micaela April 22, 2012 at 12:47 pm

Yes, the lime is a MUST! you just can’t have it any other way!
I love the fact that you make so many peruvian recepies in EEUU wich is very dificult because the ingredients are hard to find.


pb May 24, 2012 at 3:35 pm

Absolutely amazing. Made this soup a couple of days ago to kick a cold in the head. Did just the trick! My wife and I killed the entire pot. Thank you for posting!!


Adrianna May 24, 2012 at 4:25 pm

So awesome! So glad you loved it.


Krista June 23, 2012 at 11:57 am

Wow! This is great soup!
I just finished making a pot of it–I followed the recipe exactly, but I did use a jalapeno instead of a serrano because I’m a sissy.
Might seriously eat all of the soup myself.
Thanks for sharing :)


Adrianna June 23, 2012 at 6:00 pm

YAY! So awesome.


Loriel September 10, 2012 at 6:14 pm

So glad you decided to post it! I personally think it’s beautiful, made some today ’cause I’m kinda stuffy… it was delicious and felt myself getting better!


Diana September 12, 2012 at 7:45 am

This soup will be perfect for my husband since he is catching the head cold I am just getting over… oops. He LOVES cilantro and I’m still not sure if I do or not, so this’ll be the test. Worst case scenario? He gets all the soup. So glad I found it!!


Turtle66 October 21, 2012 at 10:02 am

CILANTRO RULES! lol. Im a chef going through a cilantro phase putting it in to as many dishes as i can @ home and some @ work…Cheese Enchiladas last night (home) Lamb Tagine (work) Cilantro Feta Pesto Shrimp (home) The exquisitely fresh vibrant citric peppery taste explodes in your mouth and perks up dishes quite well…This Is A Must Try Soup Recipe. Thanks for sharing…..Turtle66


Jane January 6, 2013 at 6:23 am

Awesome recipe :)
Looks absolutely delicious! Here is a chicken soup you might like to try.
Chicken & Vegetable Soup Recipe
Thanks for sharing,


maryann d January 23, 2013 at 3:59 am

We had just eaten a Peruvian chicken and rice soup in Brooklyn and I vowed to find a similar recipe. This was fantastic. The soup we had used peas and potatoes along with the rice, and no corn. The flavors were wonderful! All I had on hand was some rotisserie chicken and it worked fabulously. I can’t wait to make it with the legs and thighs! Thank you!


MariaK. May 23, 2013 at 10:21 pm

Totally amazing! I did it last night. I cut the chicken in small pieces and put it back in and then I used much more lime and no corn. I love limes and did not have corn. Served it with wild rice and a cilantro salad. I hope everything tastes good the next day as well :-) I have many leftovers. Enjoy the day.


Lauren September 3, 2013 at 7:53 pm

My final product ended up with a brown broth rather than that breath taking green pictured above. It tasted wonderful though, I didn’t even have a cold and it still made me feel a million times better. I just blended up more cilantro and chicken broth and added to the soup before packing into portions for lunch. Probably make a few tweaks for next time, but there will be a next time.


D November 24, 2013 at 6:51 pm


Durante mi tiempo en el Peru me desfrute mucho la comida. Si sencilla y todo eso, pero antes de la gastronomia Italiana y Mexicana eren mis favoritos. Estoy fascinado ya con los platos tipicos peruanos – arroz con mariscos or pollo, seco, y por supuesto ceviche, papa a la huancaina dios mio! Buenasos! Pero nunca he probado aguadito hasta que un dia nuestra gerente general de mantenimiento de casa y cosa (la senora que la mayoria llaman la empleada, yo no) nos lo hizo y te juro, comi yo todo que sobro! Riquisimo! Justo este nocho estoy un poco resfriado pero no es el motive que encuentre tu blog o receta. Justamente hice caldo de cuello de pavo y la carne es tan sbrosa, pesaba en tartar de hacer aguadito con ella. Que te parece? Gracias por hacer tu posting. De que parte eres? Y este baboso que no le gusta cilantro, palta ni champaniones…estara vivo? Jaja! Cuidate! Hblamos.



Paul O March 17, 2014 at 8:48 pm

I made this last night after I found your site looking for a coconut smoothie recipe. It sounded so good and it looked like my little girl was starting to come down with a cold. I substituted brown rice as well as two jalapeños and added a little turmeric for a little color. This soup is so fragrant and delicious. The limes add a great flavor and makes a good excuse to enjoy a light lager with limes too!


Adrianna Adarme March 17, 2014 at 11:42 pm

Oh yes! I love the substitutions you made. So glad you and your little girl enjoyed this soup!


Rebecca March 18, 2014 at 2:46 pm

This soup looks amazing, but I have to admit I am one of those people who does not like cilantro. It looks SO good, however, that I must give it another try. My boyfriend is Peruvian and he’s obsessed with cilantro so this should make him very happy. Thanks for sharing the recipe. :)


mae April 17, 2014 at 11:36 pm

Thank you for posting this recipe! The soup is delicious, healthy and inexpensive. My family and friends love it! They keep asking for more. Now, this is one of our favorite comfort food. ♥


Adrianna Adarme April 18, 2014 at 12:03 am

YAY! This makes me so happy to hear. Thank you for posting your feedback. :)


Rachel October 4, 2014 at 8:07 pm

I made a bastardized cold version of this soup since it’s 100 degrees in LA today but I’m getting sick and have to do SOMETHING! I pureed the cilantro, garlic, (cold) chicken stock and lime juice (+ a carrot), then added cooked rice and chicken. Obviously a wonky stepchild of the original but… pretty awesome and if this much garlic doesn’t kick the cold, nothing will.


Adrianna Adarme October 6, 2014 at 12:36 pm

Oh man, that sounds great. Hope you’re feeling better!


Jackie January 12, 2015 at 4:09 pm

I made this over the weekend, and it was delicious! I think yours looked beautiful in the pictures, but I think I let it simmer too long and it turned a blah brown color. It is the best smelling dish ever. My husband walked in the door and was like, “Whoa.”


Adrianna Adarme January 13, 2015 at 9:51 am

Oh yay! Love this! Next time if you want it to be a bit brighter, you can always mix in some freshly pulsed cilantro. That should brighten it up a bit!


Shauni Waterdragon January 12, 2015 at 10:26 pm

Stumbled across your recipe and fell in love with the green soup. I think I might substitute the corn with chunks of fresh avocado. I literally want to eat your soup because of its gorgeous green color. Thanks for this!


Meera January 29, 2015 at 9:32 am

I made this soup yesterday (had to sub jalapenos for serranos because that was all I could get) and it was really delicious!


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