Home RecipesPeruvian Dishes Homemade Peruvian ají panca paste (panca chilli paste)

Homemade Peruvian ají panca paste (panca chilli paste)

by Lorena

Ají panca is an ingredient you’ll see a lot of in Peruvian cuisine. It’s usually used as a paste or as a powder, also. Here I teach you how to make your own ají panca paste, ideal to make lots of and freeze for then you need it. It will freeze up to a year without a problem.

Ají panca paste (panca chili paste)

If you’ve never tried ají panca (panca chilli), it’s reaaally good. It has an intense red colour, it’s not spicy if cleaned, and it has a slightly smoky flavour, like paprika. It adds a special flavour to Peruvian dishes. I use it on my ají de gallina, fish escabeche, shrimp chupe. You’ll find it on several other Peruvian recipes as well! Ají panca paste is really easy to make. I like to make a lot and then freeze it. You can freeze it in ice cubes, in a container or in reusable bags. It lasts up to a year frozen, but only 3 days refrigerated because it turns to vinegar quickly. If you live outside of Perú, you can usually get these ingredients in Latin shops or even on amazon.

ají panca paste

Panca chilli paste or ají panca chilli paste is part of the trilogy of chilis often used in Peruvian cuisine. They are: yellow chili (ají amarillo), mirasol (ají mirasol) and this one, the panca. The panca paste adds a very special flavour to dishes, don’t opt out of it if a recipe asks for it. If you like this recipe, you should also check out my ají mirasol paste recipe and my ají amarillo paste recipe.

Ají panca paste, like other pastes, is usually added with the sofrito. A typical set of ingredients would be onion, garlic and one or several chilli pastes. Sautéeing the chilli pastes makes them more intense and brings out the flavour even more. I even used this paste in a Fusion recipe: my Peri-Peri Sauce using Peruvian chillies.

Ají Mirasol Paste
Made from dried ají amarillo, deep and delicious.
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Ají Amarillo Paste
The classic and basic recipe for Peruvian cuisine.
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ají panca paste

Ají panca paste

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Course: Main Course
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 300 g paste / 10oz
Author: Lorena Salinas from Cravings Journal


  • 200 g dried ají panca
  • Water
  • Vegetable oil 50-150ml


  • Dried ají panca comes in two options of presentations: whole or clean. If it's whole, you want to chop off the tips, open it in half and use a spoon to scrape out the seeds and veins.
  • Place the chili in a pot and cover it with water at room temperature.
  • Place the pot over medium-high heat and let it boil for 10-15min for the chilis to soften.
  • Drain the water and place the chilis in a blender or food processor along with 50ml (about 5 tbsp) of vegetable oil.
  • Turn on the blender or food processor and add more oil a little at a time, just enough for the blender or processor to turn the chilies into a paste.
  • Remove from the blender or food processor and freeze in ice cube trays, containers or reusable bags. You can freeze it for up to a year.
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Cesar Rosas March 12, 2022 - 3:01 pm

Very good recipe! However if the aji panca goes to the blender with its skin then it will require to screen the paste after blending, to remove the grosser skin. If the skin is removed before blending the i won’t require screening. Also I save some of the cooking water to be used in the blending together with olive oil ans some salt (mainly used for longer preservation of the paste in the fridge!)

Lorena March 15, 2022 - 9:27 am

Hi Cesar! I have never removed the skin :O! And never had to pass it through a sieve/colander. I think that if you hydrate it enough in boiling water you don’t need to 🙂

Patty McInturff September 11, 2022 - 6:30 pm

Can this paste be made from fresh aji panca peppers without drying them first? I have a large plant full of them.

Lorena September 20, 2022 - 4:19 pm

hi Patty! huh! I’ve never encountered this before, lol! I think that the flavour will change but I would have a go for sure! Check out my ají amarillo paste recipe I would make it like that


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