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The BEST Jamaican Curry Chicken Recipe

This is the best Jamaican Curry Chicken Recipe. The perfect combination of rich flavors on one plate. This is the Caribbean dish to make when you want to taste the islands. 

The finished chicken curry in a blue dutch oven.


 

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Growing up, curry chicken was a staple weeknight meal. My mom’s curry chicken is hands down the best I’ve ever had. Getting the recipe from her was a chore, as she measured nothing in the kitchen.

I asked many questions and watched her closely. I obtained a recipe and noted the key steps for making traditional and authentic Jamaican Curry.

Top Tips to Make the Best Jamaican Curry Chicken Recipe

  1. Rinse the chicken with water and vinegar.
  2. Use the right curry powder and seasonings – Jamaican Curry Powder is a combination of spices. For Jamaican curry, you need to use good curry powder. I use a combination of Hot Blue Mountain Country Curry Powder and Betapac Curry Powder. I also add a little Jamaican all-purpose seasoning.
  3. Use a whole chicken or just dark meat chicken, cut into pieces with skin removed – Curry chicken, like brown stew chicken, is a stew, and you want to make sure your chicken doesn’t dry out. I opt for boneless, skinless chicken thighs, which stay juicy and tender. It also eliminates the need to chop up the chicken.
  4. Only use a little bit of water – Curry is known to “sprout its own water.” I only add ¼ cup of water to this recipe when I start cooking, and I end up without about 1 ½ cup of gravy once it’s done. Adding too much water can make your curry bland.

The Ingredients You Need to Make This Recipe

  • Chicken: boneless, skinless Chicken thighs or whole chicken pieces cut into 2-inch pieces.
  • Seasonings and Spices: Curry powder, All-purpose seasoning, Salt, Pepper
  • Vegetables: Yellow onion, Green onions, Green pepper, Garlic cloves, Russet potato
  • Herbs: Fresh thyme
  • Heat: Scotch bonnet pepper (optional)
  • Cooking Fats: Olive oil
  • Liquids: Water

How to make Jamaican Curry Chicken

Add chicken thighs, all-purpose seasoning, 1 Tbsp of curry powder, onion, green onions, green pepper, garlic cloves, scotch bonnet pepper (if using), and thyme to a large bowl and combine. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to overnight.

raw chicken seasoned with curry powder and spices

After marinating the chicken, remove the onions, peppers, thyme, scotch bonnet pepper (if using), and garlic cloves. Keep them separate.

Marinated chicken in one bowl and onions, peppers and garlic in another.

Heat oil in a large, heavy-bottom pot over medium heat. Add the remaining curry powder and stir, cooking for about 20-30 seconds.

This step, known as “burning the curry,” releases the flavors of the spices. You don’t burn anything.

Curry powder and oil in a pot.

Add onions, green pepper, scotch bonnet peppers (if desired), garlic cloves, and thyme to the pot. Stir the ingredients until the onions have softened. This should take about 3-5 minutes. If your onions and peppers are looking dry, add about 1 Tbsp of water.

Vegetables added to the pot.

Add chicken pieces and ¼ cup of water to the pot. Cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 30-35 minutes.

chicken added to the pot.

When about 15 minutes are remaining, stir in the potato and continue to cook covered.

potatoes added to the pot.

Once the chicken is cooked and the potatoes are softened, remove the pot from heat. Salt and pepper to taste.

Jamaican chicken curry in a pot.

What is the best cut of chicken to use?

I like to use boneless and skinless thighs for this Jamaican Curry Chicken. You can use bone-in chicken if you prefer, just cut it into pieces and remove the skin.
It’s best to chop large chicken pieces a little smaller, especially in dishes like curry where smaller pieces will cook more evenly and absorb flavors more thoroughly. This size also makes it easier to eat in a stew or sauce-based dish.

I don’t recommend using only chicken breast in this recipe, as it contains less fat and it can easily dry out during cooking.

Can you make it ahead of time and how do you store it?

This curry is delicious when freshly made. It tastes even better the next day because the flavors have had time to blend. Let the curry cool to room temperature before transferring it to an airtight container. Keep in the curry fridge for up to four days or freeze it for up to three months.

Reheat on the stovetop on a medium heat, stirring occasionally until heated through. Take care to only reheat the chicken once.

What do you serve with it?

This curry is great to serve on a bed of rice. You can serve it with boiled jasmine or basmati rice, or try it with one of these recipes:

Recipe Notes and Tips

  • The kind of curry you use is important to this dish. I used 1.5 Tbsp Blue Mountain Curry and ½ Tbsp Betapac. Your stew will taste like whichever curry you choose to use.
  • The scotch bonnet pepper is optional in this dish. Since I use a spicy curry when making this dish, I usually leave it out.
  • Curry “sprouts” its own gravy. Do not add more than the ¼ cup as listed in the recipe or you’ll have curry soup instead.
  • Feel free to add carrots and potatoes to this dish. The potato will thicken the gravy in this curry chicken. You can also add ginger root and allspice berries if you prefer.
  • If you prefer to make your own curry powder, you can do so by making a Jamaican curry powder to use in place of those I mentioned. Jamaican curry powder is made with turmeric, fenugreek, coriander, cumin, and allspice. It differs slightly from Indian curry powders based on the amounts of each ingredient.
  • Some people add a touch of coconut milk to curry to give it a rich texture. I don’t. This recipe mimics the curry you will find in many Jamaican households or Jamaican restaurants, which do not add coconut milk.

More Jamaican Recipes

Watch me make this Jamaican Curry Chicken from start to finish.

jamaican curry chicken in blue pot with a wooden spoon on the side
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4.82 from 55 votes

Jamaican Curry Chicken (Mom’s Recipe)

This authentic and traditional Jamaican Curry Chicken recipe is the perfect combination of rich flavors in one dish. It’s the perfect dish to make when you want a taste of the islands.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Jamaican
Keyword easy chicken curry, how to make chicken curry, Jamaican curry recipe
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Marinating Time 1 hour
Total Time 2 hours
Servings 4 servings
Calories 441kcal
Author Tanya

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs boneless and skinless chicken thighs chopped into 2-inch pieces
  • 2.5 Tablespoon curry powder separated (see note)
  • 1 teaspoon all-purpose seasoning
  • 1 yellow onion chopped
  • 3 green onions chopped
  • ½ green pepper chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves chopped
  • 1 scotch bonner pepper chopped, seeds removed (optional)
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme stems removed
  • 3 Tablespoon olive oil
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 large russet potato chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Add chicken thighs, all-purpose seasoning, 1 Tbsp of curry powder, onion, green onions, green pepper, garlic cloves, scotch bonnet pepper (if using), and thyme to a large bowl and combine, making sure all chicken pieces are covered with the seasoning. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to overnight.
  • One the chicken is done marinating, remove onions, peppers, and garlic cloves from chicken and set aside.
  • Heat olive oil in a large heavy bottom pot over medium heat. Add remaining curry powder and stir, cooking for about 20-30 seconds. Add onions, green pepper, garlic cloves, thyme, and scotch bonnet pepper (if using) to pot and stir until onions have softened, about 3-5 minutes. If your onions and peppers are looking dry, add about 1 Tbsp of water.
  • Add chicken and ¼ cup of water to the pot. Cover and reduce heat to medium low. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 30-35 minutes.
  • When there is about 15 minutes remaining, stir in potato and continue to cook covered.
  • Once chicken is cooked and potatoes are softened, remove from heat. Salt and pepper to taste.

Suggested Tools

Video

Notes

  • You can use bone-in chicken if you prefer, just cook until the meat is fall off the bone tender. I don’t recommend using chicken breast in this recipe as it can dry out.
  • The kind of curry you use is important to this dish. I used 2 Tbsp Blue Mountain Country Curry and ½ Tbsp Betapac. Your stew will taste like whichever curry you choose to use.
  • Scotch bonnet pepper is optional in this recipe. Feel free to chop it up and remove the seeds or place it in the pot whole, while cooking, to flavor the chicken.
  • Curry “sprouts” its own gravy. Do not add more than the ¼ cup as listed in the recipe or you’ll have curry soup instead.
  • The potato will thicken the gravy.

Nutrition

Calories: 441kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 46g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 215mg | Sodium: 219mg | Potassium: 956mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 293IU | Vitamin C: 29mg | Calcium: 86mg | Iron: 4mg
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This recipe was first published on January 14, 2021. It has been updated with additional helpful information.

4.82 from 55 votes (35 ratings without comment)
Recipe Rating




Vicki

Wednesday 29th of May 2024

Absolutely delicious! I did add 3 tablespoons of coconut milk and it made a great creamy curry. Thanks for sharing your recipe.

Tanya

Wednesday 29th of May 2024

Thanks Vicki! So happy you liked the recipe :)

D

Monday 22nd of April 2024

Loved recipe. Added carrots and potatoes to it. And two teaspoons of coconut milk to give it more texture. The whole house smells like curry. Yum. Thanks again.

Tanya

Tuesday 23rd of April 2024

Thanks D! So happy you liked the recipe.

Jody Tatum

Sunday 3rd of March 2024

Delicious! Made for the 2nd time tonight. And I made sure to purchase Blue Mountain Country curry & Betapac to use in the recipe. Looking forward to more of your recipes

Tanya

Monday 4th of March 2024

Thanks so much, Jody! So happy you liked the curry chicken recipe :)

Cass

Saturday 17th of February 2024

Hello,

I love your recipes. Can I use this recipe to make baked curry wings?

Tanya

Monday 19th of February 2024

Hey Cass, you sure can.

Della

Tuesday 9th of January 2024

GIRL!!!! I made this for dinner today and let me tell you it was AMAZING!!! Thank you Thank you and Thank you. Loved the video too❤️❤️❤️

Della

Wednesday 10th of January 2024

@Tanya, It was my first time ever making curry chicken and you made it so easy to follow DELICIOUS!!!

Tanya

Wednesday 10th of January 2024

Thank you so much Della! I appreciate it. So happy you liked the recipe and the video.