Jamaican Brown Stew Chicken


Jamaican cuisine boasts bold flavors and vibrant spices, and among its culinary gems is the beloved Brown Stew Chicken. This dish harmonizes succulent chicken with aromatic herbs, spices, and vegetables, promising a culinary journey that tantalizes the taste buds. In this article, we’ll unveil the authentic Jamaican Brown Stew Chicken recipe, guiding you step by step to recreate this flavorful delight in your own kitchen.


  • 2 lbs chicken pieces (thighs, drumsticks, or breasts)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped (any color)
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 scallions, chopped (for garnish)
  • Cooked rice or rice and peas, to serve


1. Marinate the Chicken: In a large bowl, combine chicken with soy sauce, ketchup, brown sugar, dried thyme, allspice, paprika, salt, and pepper. Allow it to marinate for at least 30 minutes or overnight in the refrigerator for maximum flavor.

2. Brown the Chicken: Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat. Brown the marinated chicken pieces evenly on all sides, about 5-7 minutes per side. Remove chicken from the skillet and set aside.

3. Sauté the Aromatics: In the same skillet, sauté chopped onion, minced garlic, and bell pepper until soft and fragrant, about 5 minutes.

4. Add the Tomatoes and Spices: Stir in chopped tomatoes, soy sauce, ketchup, dried thyme, allspice, and paprika. Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes to meld the flavors.

5. Return the Chicken to the Skillet: Nestle the browned chicken pieces back into the skillet with the vegetable mixture.

6. Simmer: Pour chicken broth over the chicken and vegetables, ensuring the chicken is submerged. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to low. Cover and let simmer gently for 30-40 minutes until chicken is tender.

7. Serve: Remove from heat and garnish the stew with chopped scallions. Serve hot over cooked rice or rice and peas.

Serving Tips:

  1. Garnish with Fresh Herbs: Sprinkle freshly chopped parsley or cilantro over the Jamaican Brown Stew Chicken just before serving to add a burst of freshness and color.
  2. Pair with Traditional Sides: Serve the stew alongside traditional Jamaican accompaniments such as rice and peas, fried plantains, or Jamaican dumplings (dumplin).
  3. Add Heat if Desired: For those who enjoy extra heat, offer hot sauce or sliced Scotch bonnet peppers on the side to customize the spice level to individual preferences.
  4. Serve with a Refreshing Beverage: Pair the hearty stew with a cooling beverage such as Jamaican ginger beer, coconut water, or a tropical fruit punch for a complete Caribbean dining experience.

Storage Tips:

  1. Refrigeration: Allow any leftover Jamaican Brown Stew Chicken to cool to room temperature before transferring it to an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
  2. Freezing: To extend the shelf life, portion the cooled stew into freezer-safe containers or resealable freezer bags. Label with the date and store in the freezer for up to 2-3 months.
  3. Thawing and Reheating: When ready to enjoy again, thaw frozen stew overnight in the refrigerator. Reheat gently on the stovetop over low heat, stirring occasionally, or in the microwave until heated through. Add a splash of chicken broth or water if needed to maintain moisture and prevent drying out.
  4. Quality Check: Before consuming reheated leftovers, ensure that the stew reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) to ensure food safety. Discard any leftovers that show signs of spoilage, such as an off smell or unusual texture.

Variations of Jamaican Brown Stew Chicken:

  1. Jerk Brown Stew Chicken:
    • Marinate chicken pieces in Jamaican jerk seasoning before browning and stewing. This adds a spicy kick and smoky flavor to the dish, combining the best of both worlds from Jamaican jerk chicken and brown stew chicken.
  2. Coconut Brown Stew Chicken:
    • Substitute some or all of the chicken broth with coconut milk for a creamy twist on the classic recipe. The coconut milk adds richness and depth of flavor, complementing the spices and creating a luscious sauce.
  3. Citrus-infused Brown Stew Chicken:
    • Incorporate citrus zest and juice, such as lime or orange, into the marinade for a refreshing and tangy variation. The citrus adds brightness to the dish, balancing the richness of the stewed chicken and enhancing its tropical flavors.
  4. Vegetarian Brown Stew “Chicken”:
    • Replace the chicken with plant-based alternatives such as tofu, tempeh, or seitan for a vegetarian version of the dish. Marinate and cook the plant-based protein according to the recipe, allowing it to absorb the flavors of the stew while still providing a satisfying texture.
  5. Seafood Brown Stew:
    • Swap out the chicken for seafood options such as shrimp, fish fillets, or lobster tails to create a seafood-infused brown stew. Adjust cooking times accordingly to ensure that the seafood is cooked through but not overdone, allowing it to soak up the savory stew flavors.


  1. What is Jamaican Brown Stew Chicken?
    • Jamaican Brown Stew Chicken is a traditional Caribbean dish featuring chicken pieces marinated, browned, and then simmered in a flavorful sauce made with aromatic herbs, spices, and vegetables.
  2. What makes Jamaican Brown Stew Chicken unique?
    • Its distinctive blend of spices, including allspice and thyme, along with the use of ingredients like soy sauce and ketchup, gives Jamaican Brown Stew Chicken its unique flavor profile.
  3. Can I use boneless chicken for Brown Stew Chicken?
    • Yes, boneless chicken pieces such as chicken breasts or thighs can be used for Jamaican Brown Stew Chicken. However, bone-in chicken pieces are traditionally used for added flavor.
  4. How long should I marinate the chicken?
    • It’s recommended to marinate the chicken for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to penetrate the meat. For optimal results, marinate overnight in the refrigerator.
  5. Can I make Jamaican Brown Stew Chicken ahead of time?
    • Yes, Jamaican Brown Stew Chicken can be made ahead of time and reheated before serving. In fact, the flavors often develop even more after sitting for a day or two.
  6. What can I serve with Jamaican Brown Stew Chicken?
    • Jamaican Brown Stew Chicken is traditionally served with rice and peas, white rice, or fried plantains. You can also serve it with steamed vegetables or Jamaican dumplings.
  7. How spicy is Jamaican Brown Stew Chicken?
    • The level of spiciness can vary depending on personal preference and the amount of spice added to the dish. Traditionally, Jamaican Brown Stew Chicken has a mild to moderate level of heat.
  8. Can I adjust the spice level of Jamaican Brown Stew Chicken?
    • Yes, you can adjust the spice level by increasing or decreasing the amount of Scotch bonnet peppers, or by using a milder pepper variety. You can also adjust the amount of jerk seasoning or hot sauce used.
  9. Is Jamaican Brown Stew Chicken gluten-free?
    • Yes, Jamaican Brown Stew Chicken can easily be made gluten-free by ensuring that the soy sauce and other condiments used are gluten-free varieties.
  10. Can I freeze Jamaican Brown Stew Chicken?
    • Yes, Jamaican Brown Stew Chicken can be frozen for future use. Allow it to cool completely, then transfer it to airtight containers or freezer bags. It can be frozen for up to 3 months. Reheat gently on the stovetop or in the microwave until heated through.


Jamaican Brown Stew Chicken, with its rich flavors and inviting aroma, promises to transport you to the sunny shores of Jamaica with each savory bite. Whether entertaining guests or simply craving Caribbean comfort food, this authentic recipe guarantees satisfaction and a longing for seconds. Enjoy the culinary journey!

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