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Quinoa and cheese soup {Locro o sopa de quinua con queso}

Easy recipe for a quinoa and cheese soup, this Ecuadorian style locro soup is made with quinoa, potatoes, cheese, milk, onions, garlic, cumin, oregano, achiote, and topped with cilantro and avocado.

Quinoa soup with cheese and avocado

Receta en Español

This comforting quinoa and cheese soup is a variation of the locro potato soup that I grew up eating in Ecuador. It is made with quinoa, potatoes, cheese, milk, onions, garlic, cumin, oregano, achiote, and topped with cilantro and avocado.

Recipe for quinoa and cheese soup

Soup is the answer to all problems, at least that’s the way it seemed when I was growing up in Ecuador: you’re not feeling too well? Eat your soup. You want to get bigger, taller, skinnier, smarter, etc? Eat your soup. You want dessert? Eat your soup. You want to go outside and play? Eat your soup. You would think I would have ended up hating soups, but I actually really enjoy a good bowl of soup. It’s one of those things that I crave when I’m feeling sick and wish my mom lived next door –instead of 4,500 miles away –so that she could make me some homemade soup.

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Soup with quinoa, potatoes, and cheese

The first step to making a good soup is the refrito, also known as sofrito, which is the base of the soup, in this case it’s a very simple version that consists of heating oil or butter –or sometimes lard – and adding onions and garlic. Other veggies like tomatoes, peppers or celery can also be added depending on the soup. Then you add the spices and seasonings you will use for the soup. I usually add ground cumin and achiote or annatto powder to my refrito. For this quinoa and cheese soup I also added some dry oregano.

Ecuadorian quinoa, potato and cheese soup

This soup has quinoa – which is nutritious and all of that good stuff, but what I like about quinoa in soups is the texture, I love the way the little seeds pop in your mouth. The potatoes, cheese and cilantro are what give it that delicious taste that reminds me of the locro de papas soup. Whenever I make a soup that has potatoes in it, I like to add the potatoes to the refrito and let them cook for just a few minutes so that they get just a little bit browned and then add the water or broth.

Quinoa soup with potatoes and cheese

I used queso fresco, which is a fresh Latin American cheese that you can find in most supermarkets. You can also use grated mozzarella or oaxaca cheese, diced, for a melty cheese texture. Another option is to use feta cheese, it’s little bit more salty so adjust the salt according to your preference. Like many other Ecuadorian soups I served this one with some diced avocado and hot sauce on the side.

Ecuadorian locro soup with quinoa
Recipe for quinoa and cheese soup

Quinoa and cheese soup

Quinoa and cheese soup recipe made with quinoa, potatoes, cheese, milk, onions, garlic, cumin, oregano, achiote, and topped with cilantro and avocado.
4.82 from 48 votes
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Course: Soup
Cuisine: Andean, Ecuadorian, Latin, South American
Keyword: Cheese, Ecuadorian quinoa soup, Locro de quinua, Quinoa, Quinoa and cheese soup, Quinoa soup
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 8


  • 2 tablespoons of oil
  • 1/2 white onion diced, about 1 cup
  • 4 garlic cloves crushed
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon achiote powder
  • 1 teaspoon dry oregano
  • 5-6 potatoes peeled and cut in small chunks, about 2 lbs of potatoes
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa pre-washed (1 cup = 6 ounces = 170 grams)
  • 8 cups water or broth
  • 1 cup milk add more if the soup is too thick
  • 2 cups grated or crumbled queso fresco can also use mozzarella or feta cheese
  • 4 tablespoons of finely chopped cilantro or parsley to garnish
  • Salt and pepper to taste

To serve:


  • Heat the oil over medium heat in a large saucepan or soup pot.
  • Add the onions, garlic, cumin, achiote, oregano, salt and pepper. Mix well and cook until the onions are soft, about 5-8 minutes.
  • Add the chopped potatoes; mix them in until coated with onions and spices. Continue to cook them for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the water or broth, bring to a boil.
  • Add the uncooked quinoa, reduce the temperature and cook on low-medium heat until the quinoa and potatoes are tender, about 25-30 minutes. Stir occasionally. For a creamier and thicker consistency you can use a a masher or wooden spoon to crush/mash some of the potatoes.
  • Add the milk and cheese, stir and cook for another 5 minutes. If the soup consistency is too thick you can add additional milk to get it to your preferred texture.
  • Remove from the heat. Add the chopped cilantro or parsley, taste and add additional salt/pepper if needed.
  • Serve the quinoa and cheese soup with diced or sliced avocado and hot sauce to taste.


This soup will thicken from one day to another. If it’s too thick, you can re-heat it and add addition milk or water or broth. Adjust the salt/pepper accordingly.
Quinoa and potato soup

Step by step preparation photos for quinoa and cheese soup:

How to make quinoa and cheese soup
Quinoa, potato and cheese soup
Quinoa and cheese soup

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  1. This soup is AWESOME! I made it for my friend who just had a baby. She liked it so much that she said she was going to hide it so no one else in her house would eat it. I took a little home and I’m going to eat it for breakfast. Thank you!

  2. Hi Layita,

    I wanted to let you know that I made this soup for my Holiday Party. It was fantastic! everyone loved the soup. Quinoa is one of the ingredients that my mom used a lot and still does. Thanks again for sharing the recipe.

  3. I can’t wait to be better and back in the kitchen. This soup is on my list of recipes to try. Thanks again for being a guest blogger on my site.


    Hi Paz- It was fun, thanks for having me!

  4. This looks divine! Thanks for posting it. I popped over to Paz’s to read the recipe and decided this is what is going to be for dinner tonight; even if it is edging on 100 degrees here in Texas. My husband and I have come to love quinoa and use it instead of rice in most cases, great to find another recipe to use it in.

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