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22 November 2021

This papa a la huancaina recipe is a classic Peruvian dish of boiled potatoes that are sliced and tossed in a creamy, spicy cheese sauce, the perfect appetizer.

We’re serving up a popular Peruvian appetizer in the Chili Pepper Madness kitchen today, my friends. Care to join me? It’s called Papa a la Huancaína, and I’m excited to bring it to you.

Papa a la huancaina is a dish of tender huancayo style potatoes in a spicy creamy sauce made with cheese, cream and spicy aji amarillo peppers blended until smooth.

The potatoes are simply boiled, but they come to life in the huancaína sauce, which is rather addictive once you try it. So smooth, creamy, and a nice level of spice to it.

Papa a la huancaina is typically served as an appetizer, though it can make a nice side dish. Serve it at your next party. Your guests are sure to be impressed! 

Let’s talk about how we make papa a la huancaina, shall we?

Papa a la Huancaina on a platter with sliced hard boiled eggs and black olives, served over lettuce

Papa a la Huancaina Ingredients

  • Yukon Gold Potatoes. Other smaller potatoes can work for this recipe.
  • Aji Amarillo Peppers. Aji amarillo peppers are traditionally used, though can sub in other peppers available to you. Or, use aji amarillo paste, which you can buy online. See the recipe notes for pepper suggestions.
  • Shallot.
  • Garlic.
  • Feta Cheese. Or use another crumbly white cheese, like queso fresco.
  • Turmeric.
  • Salt.
  • Olive Oil.
  • Heavy Cream. Or use crema or sour cream for a lighter version.
  • FOR SERVING
  • Hard Boiled Eggs. 
  • Shredded Lettuce.
  • Black Olives.

Papa a la Huancaina on a platter with sliced hard boiled eggs and black olives

How to Make Papa a la Huancaina – the Recipe Method

FOR THE POTATOES

Boil Until Tender. Add the potatoes to a small pot and cover with water and a bit of salt. Boil, then reduce heat and simmer 15-20 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. Drain and cool slightly.

Boiling potatoes in a pot to make Papa a la Huancaina

FOR THE HUANCAINA SAUCE

First Blend. Add the aji amarillo, shallot, garlic, crumbly cheese, turmeric and salt to a food processor or blender. Blend until chunky.

Mixing Papa a la Huancaina Sauce in the food processor

Second Blend. Add the olive oil and heavy cream or crema. Blend until smooth and creamy.

Creamy Papa a la Huancaina Sauce in the food processor

Warm the Sauce. Pour the sauce into a saucepot and warm gently over low heat. Thin with water or more cream if desired.

Papa a la Huancaina Sauce, ready to serve

FOR THE PAPA A LA HUANCAINA

Lettuce. Arrange the lettuce on a serving platter.

The Potatoes. Slice the potatoes into coins (or wedges or halves) and toss them with the warmed chili sauce. Arrange onto the lettuce. Pour any remaining sauce over the potatoes.

Garnish. Top with sliced hardboiled eggs (if using) and sliced black olives. I added some extra sliced peppers for my own tastes.

Papa a la Huancaina on a platter, ready to serve

Boom! Done! Your papa a la huancaina is ready to serve. Doesn’t it look so inviting? Such vibrant color in that creamy sauce. I’m ready to dig right into this!

Recipe Tips & Notes

  • The Peppers. If you can’t find aji amarillo peppers, use aji amarillo paste. Or, consider serrano peppers, which are about the same heat level. Use sweeter peppers for a milder version. 
  • The Cheese. Feta cheese works great for this recipe, though queso fresco is perfect as well. Consider adding in cream cheese or goat cheese for a personal update.
  • The Cream. Heavy cream is more commonly used, though I prefer Mexican crema in my kitchen for a lighter version. Sour cream works great. I have seen evaporated milk used in some recipes.

That’s it, my friends. I hope you enjoy this papa a la huancaina recipe. Let me know if you make it. I’d love to hear how it turned out for you. I love this one.

Papa a la Huancaina on a serving platter

Cookbook Recommendation

I’ve been learning a lot about South American cooking recently. Here is a link to one of the cookbooks I highly recommend. 

Try Some of These Other Peruvian Recipes

Try Some of My Other Popular Recipes

Serving a platter of Papa a la Huancaina

Got any questions? Ask away! I’m happy to help. If you enjoy this recipe, I hope you’ll leave a comment with some STARS. Also, please share it on social media. Don’t forget to tag us at #ChiliPepperMadness. I’ll be sure to share! Thanks! — Mike H.

Papa a la Huancaina Recipe
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5 from 1 vote

Papa a la Huancaina Recipe (Peruvian Potatoes in Spicy Cheese Sauce)

This papa a la huancaina recipe is a classic Peruvian dish of boiled potatoes that are sliced and tossed in a creamy, spicy cheese sauce, the perfect appetizer.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Peruvian
Keyword: aji pepper, potatoes
Servings: 8
Calories: 340kcal

Ingredients

  • 8 Yukon gold potatoes or use other smaller potatoes
  • 3 aji amarillo chili peppers chopped (You can use other peppers or use 2 tablespoons aji amarillo paste. See the recipe notes section.)
  • 1 small shallot sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic chopped
  • 8 ounces crumbled feta cheese or use another crumbly white cheese, like queso fresco
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/4 cup olive oil or use another vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream or use crema or sour cream for a lighter version

FOR SERVING

  • 3 hard boiled eggs sliced (optional)
  • Shredded lettuce
  • Sliced black olives

Instructions

FOR THE POTATOES

  • Add the potatoes to a small pot and cover with water and a bit of salt. Boil, then reduce heat and simmer 15-20 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. Drain and cool slightly.

FOR THE SAUCE

  • Add the aji amarillo, shallot, garlic, crumbly cheese, turmeric and salt to a food processor or blender. Blend until chunky.
  • Add the olive oil and heavy cream or crema. Process until smooth and creamy.
  • Pour the sauce into a saucepot and warm gently over low heat. Thin with water or more cream if desired.

FOR THE PAPA A LA HUANCAINA

  • Arrange the lettuce on a serving platter.
  • Slice the potatoes into coins (or wedges or halves) and toss them with the warmed chili sauce. Arrange onto the lettuce.
  • Top with sliced hardboiled eggs (if using) and sliced black olives. I added some extra sliced peppers for my own tastes.

Notes

The Peppers. If you can't find aji amarillo peppers, use aji amarillo paste. Or, consider serrano peppers, which are about the same heat level. Use sweeter peppers for a milder version. 
The Cheese. Feta cheese works great for this recipe, though queso fresco is perfect as well. Consider adding in cream cheese or goat cheese for a personal update.
The Cream. Heavy cream is more commonly used, though I prefer Mexican crema in my kitchen for a lighter version. Sour cream works great. I have seen evaporated milk used in some recipes.

Nutrition

Calories: 340kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 109mg | Sodium: 356mg | Potassium: 837mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 527IU | Vitamin C: 58mg | Calcium: 182mg | Iron: 2mg