When it comes to big, West Indian comfort foods, curry chicken is at the top of the list. Look no further than this authentic Jamaican Curry Chicken recipe. Tender chicken stewed alongside big, bold Caribbean flavors and lovely aromatics. This curry chicken is an easy dish to make with delicious results!

curry chicken in large black cast iron pan

Y’all, I am so happy to finally share this new recipe with you! I am a proud, second-generation West Indian/Caribbean with both parents being born in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Listen, I love my culture and roots so much, and the food…whew. Ain’t nothing like Island food to me, and I know many of you can feel me on that. Okay sooo, let’s get into this Jamaican Curry Chicken already!

Authentic Jamaican Curry Chicken 🙌🏾

There are a few cultures, I’m sure, that have their own version of a curry dish. However, this recipe here speaks to curry chicken, Jamaican style. It’s a staple that I find myself enjoying at home and whenever I’m eating out at my nearest Jamaican spot. For starters, you’ll find this recipe to feature vibrant, potent Jamaican curry powder. It’s a bit different than, say, Indian curry powder.

Additionally, spices and peppers like pimento (allspice) and scotch bonnet are commonly used. The cooking process is also a tad bit different (more on that later). Real talk, it’s been disheartening, to say the least, watching Caribbean recipes be culturally appropriated. All in all, rest assured that this right here is an authentic, curry chicken recipe you can lean on, peeps.

More Caribbean recipes: curry goat, delicious stewed oxtail, another chicken winner, brown stew chicken, creamy rasta pasta, and these jerk meatballs, yum.

curry chicken with white rice on speckled plate with gold fork and knife

What You’ll Need For This Recipe

(Note: the full ingredients list, including measurements, is provided in the recipe card directly below.)

  • Chicken: I use both chicken drumsticks as well as boneless/skinless chicken thighs. These are the pieces that I prefer to use when making curry chicken. However, feel free to use bone-in/skin-on chicken thighs or other pieces you want. If using other parts, just be mindful to adjust your cooking time.
  • Jamaican curry powder: Look for this item in your local Caribbean market. Jamaican curry powder is different than other curry spices…and the flavor makes all the difference. You may be able to find it at some local grocery stores, too. I use this one quite often but any Jamaican curry powder will do.
  • Spices/Flavorings: Other spices & flavors called for here are ground Jamaican allspice, salt, ginger, garlic powder, ground coriander, and worcestershire. For flavorful, well-seasoned chicken, these additional spices add more depth.
  • Oil: Use vegetable, canola, or olive oil to brown the chicken.
  • Vegetables/Aromatics: You’ll need a bell pepper, onion, scallions (green onion), fresh garlic, and fresh thyme. Flavor on flavor throughout this dish, y’all!
  • Pepper: No Caribbean dish is complete without the use of some type of pepper! Scotch bonnet is a Caribbean pepper that adds a slight touch of heat in dishes. Kept whole, do not slice it open unless you’re ready for intense heatttt 🔥🥵. A good replacement for scotch bonnet is a habanero pepper.
  • Chicken stock/broth: Ups the chicken flavor and makes a lovely gravy-base.
  • Carrots & Potatoes: Rounds out this curry chicken by making it more filling.

What to serve with curry chicken? Okay, so you’ve got a delicious pan full of beautifully, curried chicken, what’s next? It’s an unspoken Caribbean rule that curry chicken must be served with *white rice*, just being honest, ha! It pairs so perfectly with it, soaks up, and saturates those rice grains, gah. Although, feel free to serve with rice and peas, a side salad, or whatever else you desire.

How To Make Jamaican Curry Chicken

(Note: please see the recipe card directly below for the complete written instructions.)

  1. Marinate the chicken. Season the chicken pieces with half of the curry powder, as well as the other spices. Then transfer the chicken into the refrigerator to marinate for at least 1 hour, preferably overnight.
  2. Heat up the oil & burn the curry. Use a wooden utensil to stir the remaining curry powder into the oil >> “burning the curry.”
  3. Brown the chicken. Working in batches, brown the chicken on all sides.
  4. Assemble the first stew. Make sure all chicken is back in the pan, then add in the bell pepper, onion, scallions, garlic, thyme, and scotch bonnet pepper. Pour in the stock/broth and let stew together for 35 minutes.
  5. Flip chicken & assemble second stew. Turn the chicken pieces. Then add in the chopped carrots and potatoes. Let the mixture cook up for another 30 minutes or until the carrots/potatoes are fork tender.
  6. Serve up! Discard the pepper from the pan. Then serve immediately with pan juices, white rice, and chopped scallions, if desired. Enjoy!

⇢ This Jamaican Curry Chicken recipe comes together so easily, y’all. I love how straightforward and simple it is yet loaded with flavor-filled goodness that you’ll swoon over! Get at this weeknight-friendly, chicken dinner winner! 😍

curry chicken in black cast iron pan

What Does “Burn The Curry” Mean?

Great question! So, to burn curry simply means to stir it into the oil to bring out the flavors and bloom the curry spice. I always like to refer to how a recipe might call for you to toast nuts or spices. Doing so helps to unlock and release heaps of flavor. Burning the curry also contributes to a rich, deeply golden color when you brown the chicken. It’s important to note that nothing is actually “burning” here, the terminology is more so a Caribbean reference.

⇢ When the oil is shimmering, toss in the curry, and use a wooden utensil to stir the curry into the oil. Keep stirring until the spice is fragrant and lightly browned- the whole process takes only about 30 seconds. Then proceed with browning the chicken, the bloomed curry clings to the chicken and it’s a dreamy flavor bomb! Everything else will soak up all that big, bold curry flavor, too!

What’s The Best Chicken To Use?

As noted above, I prefer to use dark meat- chicken thighs and drumsticks. Those pieces have more fat and contribute to the chicken staying juicy throughout cooking. White meat parts such as chicken breasts have the tendency to dry out while cooking because they hold less fat >> I’d hate that for you.

For the best Jamaican Curry Chicken, I recommend making this recipe as it is written, followed to the tee. While I prefer using boneless/skinless chicken thighs, you can use bone-in/skin chicken thighs. Be sure to adjust the cooking time for doneness, if needed (internal temperature of at least 165°F).

curry chicken with white rice on speckled plates with striped linen on the side

Cleaning/Rinsing Your Poultry

I know cleaning chicken is a highly controversial topic lol. I will say that I notice that it often gets pushback among non-Caribbean folks. A lot of West Indians cleanse their meat in some way prior to cooking it. Growing up, I always saw both my mom and grandma cleanse chicken beforehand, and it’s always stuck with me. This is *totally optional* but including my tips, if interested.

Chicken from the package straight to the pan was a no-no, ha! Here’s what I do: In a large bowl, add the chicken pieces. Cover them in water with a touch of vinegar and a few lemon slices or a splash of lemon juice. You can let that sit for 5 minutes and then rinse the chicken, pat dry with paper towels, and proceed.

A common misconception about cleaning chicken is that germs will get everywhere since your handling raw poultry. If you’re not touching various things, you wash your hands, and sanitize the area afterwards, all is well.

Let’s Talk About Curry Chicken Gravy

Aka one of the best things about curry chicken, if you ask me! I use 2 cups of chicken stock to help build the gravy and I find that to be just enough. If you prefer more liquid, during step #8 (in the recipe card below), you can add a splash more of stock/broth/water to your desired preference. It’s important to note that the potatoes will thicken the gravy, too.

Can I Make This Curry Chicken Ahead Of Time?

Yes! We often devour this dish entirely once it’s made, real talk, ha! Although, curry chicken is an amazing dish to prep ahead because the flavors only intensify as it sits. You can prep ahead and seal this dish in an airtight container for freshness. I recommend keeping this curry chicken in the refrigerator for no more than 2-3 days. I suggest reheating on the stovetop over medium heat, until warmed through. Add a splash of liquid to loosen, if needed.

curry chicken in black cast iron pan

Y’all, this Jamaican Curry Chicken is one of my holy grail favorites! Whether you’re new to this dish or a fan of it, hope you enjoy! Tag @butterbeready in your BBR recipe remakes, always love to see it. Until next time! 🤟🏾

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curry chicken with white rice on speckled plate with gold fork and knife

Jamaican Curry Chicken

  • Author: Quin Liburd
  • Prep Time: 20m
  • Cook Time: 1hr 10m
  • Total Time: 1hr 30m
  • Yield: 4
  • Category: Main Entree
  • Cuisine: Caribbean

Description

When it comes to big, West Indian comfort foods, curry chicken is at the top of the list. Look no further than this authentic Jamaican Curry Chicken recipe. Tender chicken stewed alongside big, bold Caribbean flavors and lovely aromatics. This curry chicken is an easy dish to make with delicious results!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 45 chicken drumsticks
  • 45 boneless/skinless chicken thighs (bone-in/skin-on, if desired)
  • 4 tablespoons Jamaican curry powder, divided
  • 1 teaspoon ground Jamaican allspice
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon ginger paste or freshly grated ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 2 tablespoons worcestershire
  • 23 tablespoons vegetable oil, canola or olive oil as substitute
  • 1 large green bell pepper, sliced thinly
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 scallions (green onions), chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 scotch bonnet pepper- kept whole, do not slice!
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken stock or broth
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped
  • 1 large russet potato, peeled & chopped into quarters

for serving

  • cooked white rice & chopped scallions, optional

Instructions

  1. Pat the chicken pieces dry with a paper towel and then add them into a large bowl. Season the chicken with 2 tablespoons of curry powder, allspice, salt, ginger, garlic powder, ground coriander, and worcestershire. Use your hands (fitted with disposable gloves, if desired) to massage the spices into the chicken very well.
  2. Cover the bowl with a lid/plastic wrap and transfer it into the refrigerator to marinate for at least 1 hour, preferably overnight.
  3. Using a large braiser or deep skillet over medium heat, coat the bottom of the pan with 2 tablespoons of oil. When the oil is hot and shimmering, sprinkle in the remaining 2 tablespoons of curry powder. Use a wooden utensil to stir the spice into the oil. Burn the curry in the oil, stirring frequently, until the curry is fragrant and takes on a deep, golden brown color- about 30 seconds.
  4. Add the chicken pieces into the pan, careful not to overcrowd, work in batches if you need to. Once the chicken is in the pan, do not disturb. Allow the chicken to brown and achieve a deep, golden sear, about 2-3 minutes on each side. >> Use the additional tablespoon of oil, if needed. Then set the browned chicken aside onto a clean plate and repeat the process until all chicken is browned.
  5. Return all chicken pieces back into the pan. Add in the sliced bell pepper, onion, scallions, garlic, fresh thyme, and scotch bonnet. Pour in the chicken stock and use a wooden utensil to gently stir everything together (being careful not to burst the pepper).
  6. Cover the pan with a lid and reduce the heat to medium-low. Allow the chicken and aromatics to stew together for 35 minutes.
  7. Uncover the pan and turn the chicken pieces. Nestle in the chopped carrots and potatoes and spoon some of the pan juices over them.
  8. Cover the pan once more and continue cooking for another 30 minutes, or until the potatoes/carrots are fork-tender. 
  9. Uncover the pan and check for chicken doneness (to be precise, the internal temperature should be at least 165°F). Then remove from heat and discard the thyme sprigs and pepper. 
  10. Serve the curry chicken with pan juices immediately onto plates alongside cooked white rice and extra scallions, if desired. Enjoy!

Notes

  1. Please read the blog post in its entirety for more tips + tricks.
  2. Scotch bonnet pepper can be substituted with a habanero pepper or omitted entirely if you’re sensitive to a slight amount of heat.

Keywords: curry chicken, Jamaican curry chicken, Jamaican food, chicken curry, one pot chicken, one pan chicken