Papa a la Huancaína


Peru is known for its amazing potato dishes and this one, enhanced by aji amarillo, is no exception



An unsuspecting yet flavorful Peruvian dish graced my “How the World Eats Potatoes” series, and I’m so excited to share it with all of you. Papa a la Huancaína translates to “potatoes, the Huancayo way.” These potatoes are drenched in a pepper sauce, and I really enjoyed this dish. Made with queso fresco, aji amarillo (yellow pepper), milk, and spices, the Huancaína sauce bursts with flavor, infusing the potatoes with traditional Peruvian tastes that are to die for.

This recipe for papa a la huancaína is brought to you by Michelle from Peru, who has named this dish as one of her favorite meals. Notably, Michelle adores the notes of aji amarillo, a yellow pepper common in Peruvian dishes, in the sauce. This pepper is spicy without intense heat, and I must agree that papa a la huancaína presents spiciness as a flavor instead of using it for the sake of heat. Though Michelle’s mother’s sauce will forever be her favorite, she still cooks this recipe a lot at home, and I can see why!

Papa a la huancaína are often overlooked when people think of Peruvian cuisine, so I hope that you try it yourself and help share this beloved Peruvian dish. There is a lot of history behind papa a la huancaína. For instance, Peru is known as the birthplace of potatoes. In addition, the entire dish itself originated in Huancayo, the capital of the Junín Region in the central highlands of Peru. Aji amarillo is found in so many dishes in these regions that it is widely considered an emblematic flavor of Peruvian cuisine. All things considered, eating a plate of papa a la huancaína is a lovely way to honor Peruvian fare. Plus, it tastes like a warm hug!

Don’t be fooled by the 1950s American-style food plating here—the thick, yellow sauce may not be visually appealing to you, but the flavor is incredible. This cheesy, creamy, spicy sauce is a luscious topping to whatever potatoes you choose to incorporate. Choose the thickness of your sauce and smother your base in it, then add the meaty olives for even more flavor and texture. 

I loved this lesser-known Peruvian dish, and I hope that we can spread the word about Michelle’s cherished recipe.

Watch the Video

Papa a la Huancaína


  • 2 Tbsp aji amarillo paste
  • 2 cloves garlic peeled
  • 400 g fresh cheese (ricotta, feta, etc.)
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 boiled eggs
  • handful Peruvian olives
  • yellow or white potatoes cooked
  • lettuce
  • salt
  • milk to taste, optional


  • Heat a little oil in a frying pan and sauté the cut pepper paste there along with the whole garlic.
  • Put this mixture in the blender and add the cheese and oil, beating until creamy. If it is too thick, you can add a little milk until you get the desired consistency. Add salt to taste.
  • Serve over cooked potatoes, cut into halves. Garnish with sliced boiled eggs, olives, and lettuce leaves.


Recipe inspired by Yanuq
Course: Dinner, Lunch
Region: Latin America
Diet: Gluten Free
Keyword: Comfort food


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