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 }

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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