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    Jamaican Brown Stew Chicken

    Hey everyone! Today I’m sharing a special dish that’s close to my heart, my Jamaican-style Chicken Stew. This dish is a staple in every Jamaican home, loved for its deep, bold flavors and hearty, comforting qualities. It’s celebrated across the island for bringing people together and is just as perfect for a family dinner as it is for a festive gathering.

    Large dutch oven full of Jamaican brown stew chicken.

    My version of brown stew chicken couldn’t be more simple. I just marinate the chicken in a rich blend of spices, fresh veggies, and aromatic herbs, then slow cook everything until the chicken is incredibly tender.

    It’s a tiny bit spicy, a lot flavorful, and perfect for a comforting meal. Serve it up with some Jamaican rice and peas and stir-fried cabbage for a complete feast. Let’s get cooking!

    Jamaican food came into my life after living here in Florida for the last decade or so, as we have plenty of Caribbean restaurants everywhere. I love digging into Jerk Chicken and am always up for some Jamaican curries like Curry Chicken and Curry Shrimp.

    This authentic Brown Stew Chicken recipe was given to me by my Jamaican friend, who used to be my tour bus driver in my tour guiding days. I have been cooking this brown stew all these years, and kinda perfected it. Now is the time it finally made its way onto GypsyPlate.

    What is Brown Stew Chicken

    Brown stew chicken is a popular Caribbean dish known for its savory, deeply flavored sauce and tender, marinated chicken. Brown stew chicken is particularly popular in Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and other Caribbean islands, as well as in Caribbean communities around the world.

    The chicken is typically seasoned with a mix of spices, herbs and aromatics, then browned to enhance its flavor. After browning, it’s slow-cooked in a rich, brown sauce made from the cooking juices, vegetables like carrots and bell peppers, and aromatics. Ingredients like soy sauce, browning sauce, and ketchup add depth and a hint of sweetness to the sauce, creating a hearty and comforting stew.

    Serving of Jamaican chicken stew in a bowl with rice and cabbage.

    Ingredients Needed

    • Chicken – I always go with chicken thighs and drumsticks when it comes to curry or stew. They always end up juicy and deliciously tender. You can also use whole chicken cut into large chunks. I like to remove the skin, as personally I feel it becomes soggy and slimy when braised for a long time.
    • Oil – I use it both for marinating and frying.
    • Vegetables – Onion, carrots, bell peppers, and scallions.
    • Soy sauce and browning sauce – These are key for that rich, savory taste and beautiful color.
    • Smoked paprika and optional all-purpose seasoning – They add a nice kick and depth. I mentioned the all-purpose seasoning as optional, but strongly recommend it in any Caribbean dish, as it adds beautiful flavor.
    • Pimento berries – One of the Jamaican musts. Also known as allspice, these bring a unique, warm spice that’s essential to the flavor profile.
    • Thyme, ginger, and garlic – I always include these for their fantastic aromatic qualities.
    • Scotch bonnet pepper – It’s all about the heat for me, but I adjust it based on who’s joining for dinner. I like to cut it in half and add it to marinade, and the heat seeps into the stew as it cooks. For milder stew, leave it whole.
    • Tomato ketchup and chopped tomato – These add a slight tang and make the stew more tasty.
    • Parsley – I sprinkle this on last for a fresh touch right before serving.
    • Salt and pepper

    Authentic Brown Stew Chicken Recipe

    Marinate the Chicken: I start by mixing chicken thighs and drumsticks with oil, salt, black pepper, sliced onions, strips of carrots, bell peppers, along with diced scallions, chopped ginger, and garlic. I also toss in pimento berries, soy sauce, browning sauce, thyme, smoked paprika and some all-purpose seasoning and a halved scotch bonnet pepper for heat.

    I make sure to massage everything well so the chicken is nicely coated, then let it marinate in the fridge, ideally overnight.

    Chicken marinating in a large bowl with sliced peppers and onion.

    Brown the Chicken: When it’s cooking time, I heat some oil in a large Dutch oven and brown the marinated chicken pieces until they’re golden all around. It’s important to do this in batches so they don’t crowd the pan.

    Browned chicken pieces on a plate.

    Cook the Veggies: In the same pan, after removing the chicken, I throw in all the veggies from the marinade and sauté them until they start to soften.

    Peppers and onion cooking in the pot.

    Simmer Everything Together: Then, I add the chicken back into the pan, pour in all the leftover marinade, and add about a cup of water. I cover it and let everything simmer together for about 10 minutes.

    Add Tomatoes and Ketchup: Next, I stir in some chopped tomatoes and ketchup, cover it again, and let it cook for another 35-40 minutes. The chicken should be fall-off-the-bone tender by the end.

    Adjust and Serve: Before serving, I check the seasoning, maybe adding more soy sauce or water if I want more sauce. If I prefer a thicker stew that day, I let it cook uncovered for a bit to reduce. Finally, I garnish with chopped parsley and serve it immediately.

    Final product after cooking.

    Alpana’s Tips

    • Marinating is Key: I always try to marinate the chicken at least 4-5 hours or overnight. It really soaks up all the flavors and spices, making the chicken taste amazing.
    • Brown the Chicken Well: Getting a good sear on the chicken not only adds a nice texture but also deepens the flavor of the stew. I make sure each piece is golden brown before moving on.
    • Don’t Skip the Veggies: Sautéing the veggies before adding back the chicken adds layers of flavor. Plus, they absorb all the great flavors from the bottom of the pan.
    • Simmer Slowly: I let the stew simmer gently to keep the chicken tender. Rushing this part can make the chicken tough and chewy.
    • Adjust the Heat: Since scotch bonnet peppers are quite spicy, I adjust the amount depending on who I’m cooking for. Sometimes, I just add a whole pepper without cutting into it to make it less spicy.
    • Thicken the Sauce If Needed: If the stew isn’t as thick as I like, I let it cook uncovered for a while to reduce the sauce. It concentrates the flavors too, which is a bonus.
    • Taste as You Go: The final taste can vary, so I always taste and adjust the seasonings towards the end of cooking, especially the salt and pepper.

    Serving Suggestions:

    With Rice and Peas: I often serve it with Jamaican Rice and Peas because they soak up the stew’s flavorful sauce beautifully. It’s a classic pairing that never disappoints. Saying that, it’s wonderful with plain white rice too.

    With Rotis: Roti is a favorite in the Caribbean, and I can’t get enough of my beloved rotis with any curry or stew.

    Stir-Fried Cabbage: A side of stir-fried cabbage adds some freshness and crunch to the meal. It’s lightly seasoned, so it complements the rich flavors of the stew without overpowering it.

    Fried Plantains: For a touch of sweetness, I like to add fried plantains on the side.

    A Simple Salad: Sometimes, I just go with a simple green salad with a light vinaigrette.

    Serving of Jamaican chicken stew in a bowl with rice and cabbage.

    I am always at my happy place with a bowlful of stew and rice any day, any time. Try my version of this super simple Jamaican brown stew chicken, and find out why I love these Jamaican flavors so much.

    Let me know how it turns out, and share it with your family and loved ones!

    Jamaican Brown Stew Chicken, on our Gypsy Plate… enjoy!

    Serving of brown stew chicken on the Gypsy Plate.

    More great chicken stew recipes:
    Pollo Guisado
    Chicken Chasseur
    Chicken Provencal
    Chicken Caldereta
    Fricase de Pollo
    Chicken Paprikash
    Chicken Tagine
    Asopao de Pollo

    Featured image for brown stew chicken recipe.

    Jamaican Brown Stew Chicken

    Yield: 6-8 servings

    My Jamaican Brown Stew Chicken is to die for! Chicken slow braises in the most delicious sauce until it is melt in your mouth tender.


    • 4 pounds bone-in skinless chicken thighs and drumsticks
    • 4 Tbsp oil, divided
    • 1 medium onion, sliced
    • ¾ tsp salt plus to taste later
    • ½ tsp black pepper
    • 1 carrot, sliced into strips
    • ½ red bell pepper, sliced into stripes
    • ½ green bell pepper, sliced into stripes
    • 3 scallion, diced
    • 8 pimento berries
    • 1 Tbsp all-purpose seasoning (optional)
    • 1 Tbsp smoked paprika
    • 1.5 Tbsp soy sauce
    • 1.5Tbsp browning sauce
    • 9-10 sprigs of fresh thyme
    • 1 Tbsp chopped ginger
    • 5 large garlic cloves, chopped
    • 1 scotch bonnet pepper, halved (do not cut if don’t want spicy stew)
    • 2 Tbsp tomato ketchup
    • 1 medium tomato, chopped
    • chopped parsley, for garnish


    1. In a large bowl add in chicken along with 2 Tbsp oil, salt, pepper, onion, bell peppers, carrots, scallions, ginger, garlic, pimento berries, soy sauce, browning sauce, thyme, scotch bonnet pepper, all-purpose seasoning, smoked paprika. Use your hands (wear gloves while handling scotch bonnet pepper) to massage the chicken pieces well with spices and aromatics and make sure they are nicely coated.
    2. Cover and marinate in the fridge for at least 2 hours, or overnight is the best.
    3. When ready to cook, heat 2 Tbsp oil in a large dutch oven over medium-high heat. Remove the chicken pieces from the marinade mixture, shaking off excess onion/bell pepper/scallion bits. Do not discard the marinade, set it aside. Sear the chicken pieces in batches without crowding on all sides, turning occasionally, until golden brown on all sides, about 10 minutes. Plate them out.
    4. In the same pan, add all the veggies and aromatics from the marinade and cook them for 5-6 minutes until they begin to soften. Add back the chicken pieces along with all the reserved marinade liquids and 1 cup of water. Mix everything well. Cover and cook for 10 minutes.
    5. Add in tomato ketchup and diced tomato, mix and again cover and cook for 30-35 minutes, or until chicken is fall off the bone tender, stirring occasionally. During this time, if you like more sauce, you can add 1 or more cups of water. Taste and adjust for salt. Sometimes I like more soy sauce, so I stir in about 1 Tbsp additional soy sauce into the stew. Alternately, if you want thicker stew, you can cook it without the cover over medium high heat until the stew reaches your desired consistency.
    6. Garnish it with chopped parsley and served immediately with Jamaican rice and peas and stir fried Jamaican cabbage.
    Nutrition Information
    Yield 6 Serving Size 1
    Amount Per Serving Calories 687Total Fat 35gSaturated Fat 8gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 26gCholesterol 388mgSodium 2188mgCarbohydrates 14gFiber 3gSugar 8gProtein 79g

    Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

    Did you make this recipe?

    Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

    Picture of Alpana, blogger and recipe developer at GypsyPlate

    Welcome to GypsyPlate! I'm Alpana, former wordwide tour manager and professional caterer, now full time blogger. I love exploring cuisines from around the world, and my recipes have been featured on sites such as MSN, Parade, Brit + Co, CNET and AOL. You can explore my entire collection of sortable recipes in my Recipe Index or learn more about me here.

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