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  • Writer's pictureCecilia Tupac

Creamy Peruvian Papa a la Huancaina Recipe

Updated: Jun 2

How to make Peruvian Papa a la Huancaina

Indulge in the beloved appetiser of many Peruvians, Papa a la Huancaina, a dish that has captured the hearts of food enthusiasts around the world. This traditional Peruvian recipe has a rich history, and we're excited to share its story with you. Learn how to prepare this iconic dish with our step-by-step video recipe and discover the secrets that make it a staple in Peruvian cuisine.


What is Papa a la Huancaina?


Papa a la Huancaina is a beloved Peruvian dish that hails from the Andean city of Huancayo. This traditional recipe is a masterclass in simplicity and flavour, featuring boiled potatoes smothered in a spicy cheese sauce that's both creamy and tangy. Served chilled, it's often garnished with crisp lettuce, black olives, and a boiled egg to add texture and freshness.


As one of Peru's most popular starters, Papa a la Huancaina is often paired with other local specialties, such as Anticuchos (grilled beef heart) or Ají de Gallina (shredded chicken in aji amarillo sauce). Whether you're a seasoned foodie or just discovering the flavours of Peru, this dish is sure to delight.


History and Origins of Papa a la Huancaina


Papa a la Huancaina Peru Recipe

The most well-known story regarding the origins of this dish state that the wives of miners who laboured in the Andes mines invented Papa a la Huancaina in the nineteenth century. Congregating at the local neighbourhood market, they used to sell homemade goods, including this delicacy, which turned out to be an instant hit. The delicious taste of this dish, combined with the ubiquity of potatoes meant that this dish rapidly grew in popularity around the region and soon developed the name 'Papa a la Huancaína', or 'Potatoes in a Huancaina Sauce'.


Nowadays, this dish is eaten all over Peru, which each village and region having their own unique tweaks and additions.


Why is Papa a la Huancaina so popular?


Papa a la Huancaina is a beloved dish in Peru, and its enduring popularity can be attributed to several reasons. Firstly, its simplicity is a major factor. With only a few key ingredients, including potatoes, cheese, and spices, this recipe is accessible to anyone. Peru's rich potato heritage, with thousands of varieties grown in the Andean highlands, makes it a very affordable and convenient option for home cooks and street food vendors alike.


Secondly, the dish is a masterclass in flavour and texture. The creamy and slightly spicy sauce elevates the humble boiled potatoes, making it a delightful and satisfying meal.


Lastly, Papa a la Huancaina is a filling and nourishing meal that's perfect for workers on the go. In Peru, potato dishes are incredibly popular and are often paired with rice, which provide a cheap and reliable energy source for those who work outdoors. Its practicality, affordability, and deliciousness make it a staple in many Peruvian households.


How to make Papa a la Huancaina


Ready to cook? Follow the steps below to make your own delicious Papa la Huancaina:


  1. Boil the potatoes: Start by boiling the potatoes until they are nice and tender and then slice them

  2. Fry onion, garlic and peppers: On a low-medium heat, add some oil and fry onion, garlic and then add in the chopped aji amarillo peppers for a further 2-3 minutes.

  3. Add in the cheese: Now it's time to grate the cheese and let it melt into the sauce. In Peru, we use a cheese called 'Queso Fresco'.

  4. Pour the sauce: Once the cheese has melted into the sauce, pour it over the potatoes an serve with lettuce, black olives and a boiled egg.

Papa a la Huancaina Recipe


If you prefer a video recipe showing you how to make Papa a la Huancaina, then you're in luck! Watch the video below and you'll have a delicious tasting Papa a la Huancaina in a matter of minutes.



Papa a la Huancaina Ingredientes


  • 5 Peruvian Chili Peppers (Aji Amarillo)

  • 1/2 of an onion

  • 1 piece of garlic

  • 200 ml of evaporated milk

  • 90 gr of grated cheese

  • 1 boiled egg (optional)

  • Black olives (optional)

  • A dash of lime juice

  • Salt and pepper to taste

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