Estofado De Pollo With Quick And Easy Ingredients With The Best Side Dishes

Quick Question: What Is The Flavor Of Chicken Stew (Estofado De Pollo)?

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The flavor of Chicken Stew (Estofado de Pollo) can vary depending on the specific recipe and regional variations. It typically offers a rich and savory taste with aromatic spices. The dish is often hearty, comforting, and full of depth.

If that is something you love, then you will love Peruvian estofado de pollo – a delightful chicken stew with all your favorite ingredients. 

It doesn’t matter what time of year it is, and this dish has a place in every household in Peru. The good news is, this dish is so easy anyone can make it!

Nothing is intimidating about this mouthwatering delight, so you can get your family to help, too.

If you want to recreate this delicious recipe, read through all the steps – you won’t regret it.  

What Is Peruvian Estofado De Pollo? 

Estofado de Pollo is a cherished Peruvian stew with tender chicken pieces simmered in a rich, savory tomato sauce. This delectable dish boasts a mix of sweet and salty flavors with ingredients like potatoes, olives, and a hint of sugar.

Infused with aromatic spices and garnished with hard-boiled eggs, Estofado de Pollo stands as a testament to Peru’s diverse culinary heritage, offering a comforting taste of home to locals and an unforgettable experience to visitors.

History Of Peruvian Estofado De Pollo

  • This delightful dish can be traced back to Spain, where the traditional dish was made from beef.
  • The bull, which was killed in a bullfight, would be prepared and used for a stew, usually made by the bullfighters’ families. 
  • The dish was brought to Peru by the Spaniards when they took over the land, bringing with them recipes and culture. One of those recipes is estofado!
  • The primary difference between the traditional Spanish version and the Peruvian one is the addition of the jí panca chili pepper.
  • This gives it a unique flavor and a lovely red hue while adding sweetness and mild spice. 
  • Chicken started to be used in this dish in the 1960s when it became more affordable, and this particular version of the dish was born.
  • This dish is often served with rice, salad, or even French fries on special occasions. 

Interesting Facts About Peruvian Estofado De Pollo

  • Cultural Blend: The dish is a beautiful fusion of Spanish culinary methods and native Peruvian ingredients.
  • Regional Varieties: Different parts of Peru have unique takes on Estofado, with slight ingredient tweaks.
  • Secret Sweetness: A touch of sugar or sometimes even raisins are added for a subtle sweet note, contrasting the savory flavors.
  • Wine Infusion: Some versions incorporate red or white wine, enriching the sauce’s depth.
  • Staple Ingredients: Beyond chicken, olives and hard-boiled eggs are essential, providing layers of texture and taste.
  • Slow-Cooked Marvel: Traditionally, the stew is slow-cooked, allowing flavors to meld perfectly.
  • Family Affair: Estofado de Pollo often graces the tables at family gatherings, symbolizing unity and tradition.
  • Versatile Serving: It pairs wonderfully with rice, but some prefer it with quinoa or bread.

What Makes The Peruvian Estofado De Pollo Special?

The Unique Allure of Peruvian Estofado De Pollo:

  • Deep Heritage: Rooted in Peru’s rich history, it encapsulates centuries of culinary evolution.
  • Flavor Symphony: A harmonious blend of sweet, salty, and savory notes tantalizes the taste buds.
  • Ingredients Dance: Tender chicken, olives, potatoes, and eggs create a textured delight.
  • Aromatic Infusion: The melding of spices imparts an aroma that invites and intrigues.
  • Culinary Fusion: It embodies the marriage of Spanish techniques with indigenous Peruvian flavors.
  • Sauce Depth: The rich tomato sauce, sometimes with wine, gives the dish its iconic lushness.
  • Family Bonds: Beyond a meal, it’s an emblem of Peruvian familial gatherings.
  • Versatility: Complements various sides, from rice to bread, showcasing its adaptability.

Ingredients List 

Chicken (drumsticks preferred)8 drumsticks
Carrots2, peeled and sliced
Peas1 cup
Russet potatoes2, peeled and cubed
Baking potatoes2, peeled and cubed
Garlic4 cloves, minced
Rice2 cups
Tomatoes4, finely chopped
Onion1 large, finely chopped
Vegetable oil3 tablespoons
Cilantro1/4 cup, finely chopped
Chicken stock4 cups
Ground ají panca chili pepper1 tablespoon
Cumin1 teaspoon
SaltTo taste
PepperTo taste

Ingredient Tips

  • Chicken: Opt for free-range or organic drumsticks for a richer flavor.
  • Carrots & Peas: Fresh produce is best, but frozen can work in a pinch.
  • Potatoes: Ensure Russet and Baking potatoes are firm and free of sprouts.
  • Garlic: Use freshly minced over pre-packaged for maximum aroma.
  • Rice: Basmati or long-grain ensures fluffiness. Rinse before cooking.
  • Tomatoes & Onion: Ripe and firm choices yield the best sauce texture.
  • Oil: High-quality vegetable or olive oil can elevate dish flavor.
  • Aji Panca: If unavailable, substitute with mild paprika or ancho chili.
  • Cumin: Freshly ground cumin seeds intensify the aroma.
  • Salt & Pepper: Always season gradually, tasting as you go.

Can You Vary Peruvian Estofado De Pollo With Other Ingredients?

Certainly! Peruvian Estofado de Pollo is versatile and can be tailored to various dietary preferences:

  • Keto: Replace potatoes with low-carb vegetables like radishes. Opt for a thicker, reduced tomato sauce to minimize carbs.
  • Paleo: Use coconut oil instead of vegetable oil. Eliminate white rice; serve with cauliflower rice or increase vegetable content.
  • Gluten-Free: The traditional recipe is inherently gluten-free. Just ensure that your chicken stock is free from gluten additives.
  • Whole30: Omit sugar and peas, and use compliant chicken stock. Swap regular rice with cauliflower rice.
  • Vegetarian: Skip the chicken and add hearty veggies such as bell peppers, zucchini, and eggplant. Use vegetable stock.
  • Vegan: Besides the vegetarian modifications, omit eggs and increase the variety of vegetables or include tofu for protein.

Recipe Directions

  • Measure and wash your rice, then cook it in an electric rice cooker. If you don’t have one of these, simmer it on the stovetop – just remember to add some salt to it!
  • Get a pot and add in your vegetable oil. Allow it to heat up, and fry the chicken pieces until they are sealed. This will only take a few minutes – your goal is not to cook the chicken through! Once sealed, remove the chicken from the pot and set it aside.
  • Add your garlic, tomato, onion, and ground chili pepper in that same pot, and fry everything together.
  • Add your salt, pepper, and cumin according to your preferences.
  • Add the chicken stock to the pot and your chopped carrot, potato, peas, and cilantro stem. Place the sealed chicken back in the pot.
  • Cook everything on a simmer for around 25 minutes until everything is cooked.

NOTE: You might want to chop up your potatoes if you do not think they will cook within 25–30 minutes!

Variations, Add-Ons, And Toppings 

  • Spice Variations: Swap ground ají .panca with ají amarillo for a different chili profile, or use smoked paprika for a smoky undertone.
  • Add-Ons: Introduce bell peppers, zucchini, or corn kernels for extra veggie richness. Incorporate chorizo slices for an added smoky and spicy touch.
  • Meat Substitutes: For a pescatarian twist, use fish or shrimp instead of chicken. Vegetarians can opt for tofu or tempeh.
  • Sauce Enhancer: Red or white wine can deepen the sauce flavor. Add it after frying the onions and reduce before proceeding.
  • Toppings: Before serving, sprinkle with crumbled queso fresco, chopped green onions, or freshly chopped parsley.
  • Sides: Serve alongside avocado slices, or offer crusty bread for dipping in the rich sauce.

Scaling The Recipe

  • Mathematics: To scale up or down, apply a basic multiplication or division. For instance, to serve 8 instead of 4, double each ingredient.
  • Consistency: While it’s easy to double the chicken or vegetables, be cautious with spices and seasonings. It’s often better to scale these up by 1.5x, even if you’re doubling everything else, and then adjust to taste.
  • Cooking Times: More ingredients may require longer cooking, especially in the simmering stage. Conversely, less volume may cook quicker.
  • Equipment: Ensure your cooking vessel can accommodate the scaled amount. If scaling up significantly, consider using multiple pots.
  • Tasting: Regardless of scale, always taste and adjust seasonings as needed. This ensures the flavor remains balanced.

What Is Used For Garnishing? 

Garnishing isn’t just about adding visual appeal; it’s also about enhancing flavor and texture. For Estofado De Pollo, the following are commonly used:

  • Fresh Herbs: Chopped cilantro or parsley offers a new flavor and a splash of color.
  • Hard-Boiled Eggs: Sliced or quartered, they complement the stew’s texture and taste.
  • Olives: Sliced green or black olives bring a touch of brininess and contrast.
  • Red Onions: Thinly sliced or in small dices, they add crunch and sharpness.
  • Lime Wedges: A squeeze of lime can elevate the dish with its zesty tang.
  • Queso Fresco: Crumbled top adds creaminess and a mild tangy note.

Can I Make Peruvian Estofado De Pollo In A Slow Cooker Or Instant Pot?

Slow Cooker

  • Transfer everything, including other ingredients, to the slow cooker after frying the chicken and sautéing the vegetables in a pan. 
  • Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 3-4 hours. This method melds the flavors beautifully over time and results in tender chicken.

Instant Pot

  • Use the sauté function to fry the chicken and sauté the veggies. 
  • Add the rest of the ingredients. Secure the lid and set the pot to “Pressure Cook” or “Manual” for 15-20 minutes. 
  • Once done, release pressure naturally for 10 minutes, then quickly release. This method significantly cuts down the cooking time while retaining deep flavors.

Can I Use Store Bought Broth, Or Should I Make My Own?

Both store-bought and homemade broths can work for Peruvian Estofado De Pollo, but there are considerations:

Store-Bought Broth

  • Convenience: It’s quick and easy, especially if you’re short on time.
  • Flavor Consistency: Commercial broths usually have a consistent flavor.
  • Sodium Levels: These can be high in store-bought broths. Opt for low-sodium versions if available, and adjust the salt in the recipe accordingly.
  • Additives: Check labels for preservatives or additives if you’re particular about ingredients.

Homemade Broth

  • Flavor Depth: Homemade allows a richer, fuller flavor tailored to your preference.
  • Natural: No additives or preservatives.
  • Effort: It takes more time and planning, but the result is often worth the effort.

Can I Use Different Types Of Meat/Fish/Pasta/Vegetables For The Peruvian Estofado De Pollo? 

Certainly! Peruvian Estofado De Pollo is adaptable, allowing various ingredients to shine:

  • Meat: Swap chicken with beef chunks or pork. Adjust cooking times for tenderness.
  • Fish: Firm-fleshed fish like cod or tilapia can be used. Reduce simmering time to prevent overcooking.
  • Pasta: Introduce small pasta shapes like orzo or macaroni to make it a heartier stew. Pre-cook separately, then add towards the end.
  • Vegetables: Expand with bell peppers, zucchini, green beans, or corn kernels. Adjust cooking times based on their tenderness.

Success Tips – Tips And Tricks For Making Estofado De Pollo

Any recipe can be improved and messed up – that’s just life! To ensure that you don’t make any of the mistakes we did, here are a few helpful tips and tricks to consider when you are making this dish.

Keep The Heat On Medium

  • It’s easy to burn chicken skin; you can avoid this by keeping the heat on medium. You do not need to rush through this recipe since it is quick and painless.
  • All the ingredients in this dish tend to cook very quickly, so you should always have one eye on the pot to make sure nothing gets overcooked. 
  • Besides that, this recipe is so easy you can get your kids to do it. 
  • Make Sure To Seal The Chicken Before Adding Anything Else
  • Sealing the chicken before adding anything else is crucial for the result.
  • Unless you want your chicken falling off the bone (which is entirely possible), take the time to cook it for a few minutes before anything else. 
  • By sealing the chicken, you will also help improve its flavor and the overall dish. 

Add Some Red Wine

  • We like adding red wine to whatever we can, which works beautifully for this dish!
  • You can add half a cup of red wine when it’s time to simmer everything, and you will get a slightly different dish. 

Use Chicken Broth

  • You can use chicken broth instead of stock if you like! Broth usually has a stronger flavor, and the texture can differ slightly.
  • You could purchase some from your local store or make some yourself (it’s so easy, but it takes a while). 
  • It will enhance the flavor wonderfully and make this dish even richer.

A Bay Leaf Will Be A Game Changer 

  • As you put the dish on to simmer, why not add a bay leaf for additional flavor and depth? This simple addition can make a big difference! Once you try it, you will never go back.

Substitute The Chicken For Vegetarian Options

  • If you want to skip the meat altogether, you could always use soy meat options. You could even use mushrooms in this dish, and they will work beautifully. 
  • Soy is a great option, as the dish’s flavors will seep into the food nicely, adding incredible flavor. It’s a good option, even if you aren’t vegetarian!

Nutritional Values

Delving into the nutritional profile of Peruvian Estofado De Pollo reveals a balanced amalgamation of proteins, vitamins, and minerals. This dish not only tantalizes the palate but also provides essential nutrients, making it a delightful fusion of taste and health.

What Are The Total Calories In The Peruvian Estofado De Pollo? 

For a standard serving (typically 1/4 of the total recipe designed for 4 servings):

  • Chicken: 200-250 calories
  • Vegetables (carrots, peas, potatoes, tomatoes, onion): 100-150 calories
  • Oil and seasonings: 50-100 calories
  • Rice (as a side): 150-200 calories

This brings a rough estimate to about 500-700 calories per serving. You’d need a specific recipe and a nutritional calculator or software for a precise count.

Dietary Restrictions Of The Peruvian Estofado De Pollo

  • Gluten: Generally gluten-free, but always check chicken stock labels if store-bought.
  • Meat: Not suitable for vegetarians or vegans due to chicken.
  • Carbohydrates: Contains high carbs from potatoes and rice, which might not suit ketogenic or low-carb diets.
  • Nightshades: Contains tomatoes and chili pepper, which some might be sensitive to.
  • Allergens: If someone’s allergic to specific spices or ingredients, ensure they’re omitted.
  • Low-FODMAP: Contains garlic and onion, which aren’t suitable for those on a strict low-FODMAP diet.

Health Benefits Of The Peruvian Estofado De Pollo

  • Protein Boost: Chicken offers lean protein, essential for muscle repair and growth.
  • Rich in Vitamins: Vegetables like carrots and peas provide a range of vitamins and minerals.
  • Immunity: Garlic and onion have natural antibacterial and antiviral properties, potentially boosting immunity.
  • Anti-inflammatory: Chili peppers, especially ají, contain capsaicin, which may have anti-inflammatory effects.
  • Digestive Health: Cumin is believed to aid digestion and reduce bloating.
  • Heart Health: Chicken is a good source of essential B vitamins, which affect cardiovascular health.
  • Antioxidants: Tomatoes provide lycopene, a potent antioxidant.

Nutrition Table

How Can I Make Peruvian Estofado De Pollo Lower In Sodium?

Making Peruvian Estofado De Pollo lower in sodium benefits those watching their salt intake. Here are ways to achieve this:

  • Homemade Broth: Use homemade chicken stock without added salt. Commercial broths often have high sodium content.
  • Limit Added Salt: Reduce or eliminate the salt you add during cooking. Rely on natural flavors and other spices.
  • Spices and Herbs: Increase the use of herbs like cilantro and spices like cumin for flavor without the sodium.
  • Fresh Ingredients: Use fresh tomatoes instead of canned, as canned products often contain added salt.
  • Taste as You Go: Adjust seasonings while cooking, ensuring you don’t over-salt.
  • Educate: Read product labels for sodium content when shopping.

How Can I Make Peruvian Estofado De Pollo Lower In Sugar? 

To make Peruvian Estofado De Pollo lower in sugar, consider the following strategies:

  • Natural Tomatoes: Use fresh tomatoes rather than canned or processed ones, as some brands may add sugar.
  • Check Broth: Ensure your chicken stock or broth has no added sugars. Opt for homemade or read labels carefully.
  • Spices Over Sugars: Amplify flavor using cumin, ají panca, and pepper instead of sugar-based flavor enhancers.
  • Limit Carrots: Though they add natural sweetness, limit the amount if you’re strictly watching sugar intake.
  • Mind Sides: Serve with plain rice or quinoa instead of sides that might have hidden sugars.
  • Awareness: Be cautious of hidden sugars in any store-bought ingredients.

How To Serve The Peruvian Estofado De Pollo At Its Best?

Serving Peruvian Estofado De Pollo at its best requires a combination of presentation, accompaniments, and ambiance:

  • Hot and Fresh: Serve immediately after cooking to retain the dish’s warmth and aroma.
  • Accompaniments: Pair with steamed white rice or quinoa to soak up the flavorful sauce.
  • Garnish: Sprinkle freshly chopped cilantro for a burst of color and aroma.
  • Diverse Bowls: Use deep dishes or bowls to hold the stew and emphasize its rich texture.
  • Condiments: Offer slices of lime for a zesty squeeze and a side of ají sauce for extra spice.
  • Ambiance: Complement with soft Andean music and colorful Peruvian decor to elevate the dining experience.

Perfect Side Dishes To Complement Peruvian Estofado De Pollo

  • Feel free to serve this dish with all kinds of things! The traditional option is a generous serving of rice. Still, you could even enjoy estofado de pollo with French fries, tortillas, or even pasta. 
  • You could up the vegetables in the dish if you would prefer not to have any side with it, too. However, we would stick with good old rice – it’s classic.

How Long Can We Store The Soup? 

  • Leftovers can be stored. All you need to do is allow everything to cool to room temperature, then transfer it to an airtight container.
  • Please keep it in the refrigerator for up to five days (but preferably eat within three). 
  • You can also freeze what you don’t eat. Follow the instructions, and ensure the food is in a freezer-safe container. 
  • When you want to enjoy your leftovers, you only need to allow the food to thaw in the refrigerator overnight and heat it over low-medium heat on the stovetop.
  • Use a meat thermometer if you have one to ensure that the chicken’s internal temperature reaches 165 degrees so you know it is thoroughly heated. 
  • You could also use a microwave to reheat your food. Place the food in a microwave-safe bowl and heat it using 45-second intervals. Just be careful not to burn yourself!

Can I Make The Soup In Advance? 

Making Peruvian Estofado De Pollo in advance can be a time-saver:

  • Pre-cooking: Prepare the chicken and vegetables a day before. Store them in separate airtight containers in the fridge.
  • Full Soup: If making the entire soup beforehand, let it cool after cooking. Then, refrigerate in an airtight container.
  • Flavor Boost: Stews often develop deeper flavors when rested overnight, enhancing the taste.
  • Reheat: Before serving, gently reheat on the stovetop until thoroughly warm.
  • Last-minute Additions: Fresh cilantro or a squeeze of lime can be added just before serving for freshness.

What Can We Do With Leftovers? 

  • Chicken Tacos: Shred the chicken, heat it in the sauce, and use it as a filling for tacos. Add fresh lettuce, salsa, and cheese.
  • Stuffed Bell Peppers: Mix rice and chicken pieces, stuff into bell peppers, and bake.
  • Chicken Salad: Toss shredded chicken with mayo, lime, and fresh veggies.
  • Quesadillas: Use the chicken as a filling with cheese and grill.
  • Pasta Stir-In: Add the stew to cooked pasta for a quick and flavorful meal.
  • Chicken Wraps: Wrap chicken, rice, and veggies in a tortilla for a fulfilling lunch.
  • Savory Crepes: Fill crepes with the chicken mixture for a twist.
  • Soup Enhancement: Add the leftover stew to a fresh batch of broth, toss in new veggies, and simmer.

Special Tools/Equipment Needed

  • Heavy-bottomed Pot: Essential for even cooking and preventing the stew from burning at the base.
  • Sharp Chef’s Knife: For efficiently chopping vegetables and cutting chicken.
  • Wooden Spoon: To stir without scratching your pot’s surface.
  • Rice Cooker: This makes preparing the rice accompaniment easier, although stovetop cooking is traditional.
  • Ladle: For serving the stew without making a mess.
  • Cutting Board: Preferably two – one for meat and another for vegetables.
  • Measuring Cups and Spoons: Ensures the right proportions, especially for spices.
  • Colander: Useful for washing rice and veggies.
  • Tongs: Handy for turning and handling chicken pieces.
  • Grater or Mortar & Pestle: Useful for crushing garlic and other spices.

Final Thoughts

This Peruvian estofado de pollo is ridiculously easy to make, and it takes less than an hour from start to end (Also check out How To Make Cau Cau A Peruvian Tripe Stew). The flavors are fantastic, and everything works together like a dream.

It’s easy to imagine sitting with a bowl of this, watching your favorite cozy movie, right? 

Remember – there are lots of variations you could try. You don’t need to use chicken if you don’t like it. The beef was the original meat in the dish, so why not try that?

You can also explore other additions like red wine, bay leaf, and chicken broth instead of stock for a heartier flavor. 

Whatever you choose to do – enjoy the fruits of your labor.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Use Boneless Chicken For The Peruvian Estofado De Pollo?

Indeed, while traditional recipes often utilize bone-in chicken for enhanced flavor, boneless chicken, especially thigh pieces, can be employed. Adjust cooking times as boneless chicken may cook faster.

How Can I Thicken The Sauce If It’s Too Watery?

A roux, made by whisking together equal parts of melted butter and flour, can be integrated into the stew. Alternatively, cornstarch mixed with water can be gradually added while stirring to attain the desired consistency.

Is Ají Panca Chili Pepper Too Spicy? What Can I Use As An Alternative?

Ají panca chili pepper provides mild heat and a fruity note. Substitute with mild paprika or ancho chili powder for a similar taste if unavailable. However, the distinct flavor of ají panca is unique.

Do I Have To Use Two Types Of Potatoes?

While the combination offers textural variety, it’s not obligatory. Utilize what’s accessible, but remember that Russet potatoes break down easier, thickening the stew, whereas baking potatoes maintain their shape better.

If I’m Short On Time, Can I Use A Pressure Cooker?

Absolutely. A pressure cooker can expedite the cooking process. Adjust cooking times according to your device’s specifications, typically reducing the original time by two-thirds. Ensure all ingredients are submerged in the liquid and avoid overfilling.

Quick And Hassle-Free Estofado De Pollo With The Best Side Dishes

Quick And Hassle-Free Estofado De Pollo With The Best Side Dishes

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Recipe by Hanna Barnes Course: soup recipe


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Peruvian Estofado De Pollo is a rich and aromatic chicken stew infused with the unique flavors of ají panca chili, cumin, and cilantro. Tender chicken, hearty potatoes, and vibrant vegetables come together in a robust broth, offering a delectable taste of Peru in every bite.


  • Chicken (drumsticks preferred)

  • Carrots

  • Peas

  • Russet potatoes

  • Baking potatoes

  • Garlic

  • Rice

  • Tomatoes

  • Onion

  • Vegetable oil

  • Cilantro

  • Chicken stock

  • Ground ají panca chili pepper

  • Cumin

  • Salt

  • Pepper

Step-By-Step Directions

  • Measure and wash your rice, then cook it in an electric rice cooker. If you don’t have one of these, simmer it on the stovetop – just remember to add some salt to it!
  • Get a pot and add in your vegetable oil. Allow it to heat up, and fry the chicken pieces until they are sealed. This will only take a few minutes – your goal is not to cook the chicken through! Once sealed, remove the chicken from the pot and set it aside.
  • Add your garlic, tomato, onion, and ground chili pepper in that same pot, and fry everything together.
  • Add your salt, pepper, and cumin according to your preferences.
  • Add the chicken stock to the pot and your chopped carrot, potato, peas, and cilantro stem. Place the sealed chicken back in the pot.
  • Cook everything on a simmer for around 25 minutes until everything is cooked.

Recipe Video


  • The dish’s flavors deepen when allowed to rest overnight, making leftovers even more savory.
  • Opt for organic chicken for a cleaner, richer taste.
  • To enhance the stew’s depth, consider using homemade chicken broth.
  • The dish pairs beautifully with Peruvian beverages like chicha morada.
  • Aji panca chili provides authenticity; however, its mildness means you can adjust for heat without overpowering the dish.
  • Vegetarians might consider replacing chicken with hearty mushrooms or tofu, adjusting cooking times accordingly.
  • If the stew becomes too thick upon reheating, a chicken stock or water splash can adjust consistency.
Hanna Barnes

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