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Paprika-Cumin Potato and Bell Pepper Soup

6 Servings

1 hour 10 minutes

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With a smooth, creamy consistency and sunny color, the potato soup known as locro de papas—variations of which are found in both Ecuador and Peru—is both humble and elegant. For richness, it often is made with both milk and cheese, but we skip most of the dairy to keep the flavors lighter and fresher, adding queso fresco at the end as only as a garnish. Locro do papas gets its yellow-orange hue from annatto seeds (also called achiote), but we achieve a similar color by using red or orange bell peppers and a good measure of sweet paprika.




Don't peel the potatoes. The skins add an earthiness that complements the other flavors. If using a conventional blender, make sure to allow the potato mixture to cool for about 10 minutes before pureeing and don't try to puree all the soup mixture in a single batch.

1 hour 10 minutes



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Melissa K.
August 22, 2023
Delicious even without all ingredients
I am a fan of using what I have in kitchen when cooking. I used green peppers which I broiled first, Knorr CB cubes, and hot paprika. This turned out delicious. The color is a bit off with green peppers. No big deal. I will definitely make again.
Deirdre C.

I served this delicious soup with the Sesame Scallion Bread. It went together beautifully.

Walter J F.

Yes, it can be frozen after one has blended it.

Walter J F.

I recently made this soup. The total time was way, way over 1 hr 10 minutes, for that obviously doesn't involve prep time. I am rather efficient in the kitchen with mise en place and good organizational and knife skills. I put the frozen chicken breasts in the sous vide machine while preping the raw ingredients for example.

The soup turned out a bit on the bland side, but brightens considerably with lime juice and a bit more salt. I sous vide my chicken breasts and coarsely chopped them before adding them at the end of the cook and after blending with an immersion blender. I also added at the end along with a lot of cilantro, a lot of fresh white mushrooms, mostly because I had them on hand.

The color of my soup was no where near the bright yellow this soup is pictured above, but rather sort of a dull gray-white. I added plenty of colored peppers and a lot of paprika. Turmeric may have done it to make it more yellow-orange, but I wasn't that concerned enough to try to correct it.

I made a huge pot of it, in order to share with a sick relative (diagnosed with flu), which may have been a mistake in hindsight for I heard later that that soup would forever be associated with feeling really, really bad. I supplied soup, lime juice, French bread and Queso Fresco, but no avocado with the gift soup.

Sometimes the team wins one; sometimes not. We are enjoying the balance of the soup, however, and I will make it again.

Craig R.

I've made this soup twice now, and it's fantastic. I substitute 1 Tbsp of achiote paste for 1 Tbsp of the paprika, to make it a little more traditional. Also I've roasted the peppers first (remove skins before chopping) for extra hint of smoke.

Michele R.

Comes together easily enough for "school night" meal and delicious enough to serve to guests. Another Milk Street "keeper". Notes: 1) In the 'stock or water' option I chose home made stock - seems simple ingredient recipes are the place to let that flavor shine - otherwise I would have used water as boxed stocks aren't 'my thing' for flavor. 2) Potatoes took under 20 min to cook - not 40ish of recipe guideline. 3) Immersion blender worked well for the end puree. 4) Next time I'll probably peel the potatoes. Also probably omit the avocado garnish but use all the others as they were "it" as finishing flavor and presentation.

Lisa B.

Loved this soup. Great flavor and we really like the smooth, dense, but not creamy consistency. Heartier than I expected before realizing it is, of course, potato soup. Served with a grilled cheddar cheese sandwich on a multigrain bread - delicious combo of flavors and textures. I used leftover mashed potatoes since I had them around and worked well. Kept the cooking time about the same in case that was important for flavor, just added the potatoes close to the end. Next time will roast the peppers - that additional flavor sounds like it will make even better.

Paul G.

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Karen O.

Great answer for lunch with a house full of adults and kids (7 total) during the pandemic. Russet potatoes are inexpensive and easy to get right now. I happened to buy a very large bag of them as all of this craziness got started. I also happened to have some yellow bell peppers hanging around for too long on the counter. Everyone loved this soup and some chose to have grilled cheese on sourdough with it. Really grateful for all the soup recipes on this site at a moment like this! I'm finding that soup is an excellent lunch option with plenty of nutrition for everyone.

Tim E.

I have a spouse who wants to know the calories in this. Anyone have a sense?

Stephen P.

Very nice hearty soup yet not overly so. The final presentation is impressive for a soup. My picky wife and in-laws are fans! That says a lot! I added an additional heavy tablespoon of cumin for heat and two extra tablespoons of lime to perk up the flavor. Was not able to use the avocado but it was not missed. We will definitely be enjoying this again.

Jennifer B.

Not a huge fan, but a nice nourishing soup on a wintry day. Not sure what I was missing.

Ann-Margaret V.

A nice comforting soup. Slightly bland, although the lime juice helped. After blending and tasting I added red pepper flakes, more garlic, salt and pepper. It was warming and welcome on this rainy evening. I served it with crusty rosemary bread, toasted.