This Jamaican curry chicken recipe is the ultimate Caribbean comfort food of chicken seasoned with Jamaican curry powder and simmered in creamy curry sauce. It's so easy to make!
We're cooking up a wonderfully comforting and spicy curry dish in the Chili Pepper Madness kitchen, my friends. Care to join me?
Curry is an ideal dish for any spicy food lover. Curries usually incorporate an intriguing mix of locally found ingredients that blend to a flavor powerhouse.
Chili peppers are often highlighted, with varying heat and spice levels, forming a base for a variety of curry pastes and curry seasoning blends.
This particular recipe is no different, though today we're moving away from Thai and Indian cuisine where curries are more common and into the Caribbean region of the world.
We're talking Jamaican Curry Chicken, my friends! Did you realize the Caribbeans enjoy curry?
You'll find curries in many parts of the world. Jamaican curry flavor profile is different from Indian curries in the overall choice of seasonings.
You'll find a heavier use of turmeric and other seasonings that form an addictive flavor base, so addictive that I think this just might become one of your favorite new recipes.
Curry Recipes Vary from Cook to Cook. You'll find variations of Jamaican curries from restaurant to restaurant and from cook to cook, speaking with great passion about whether or not to include certain seasonings, tomato or no tomato, coconut milk or not.
At the end of the day, this is your dish, so you can adjust it to the way you prefer. I've included some options in the ingredients, though this is the way I like it.
I'm very curious how you will make yours!
Jamaican-style curry chicken very easy to make, and also huge on flavor.
Let's talk about how to make Jamaican Curry Chicken, shall we?
Jamaican Curry Chicken Ingredients
- Chicken. I usually use either a whole chicken, cut up, or leg and thigh quarters, though you can easily make this with boneless chicken. It's great with chicken thighs.
- Jamaican Curry Powder. Try my homemade Jamaican curry powder recipe for outstanding flavor, or use your favorite store bought blend. I use 4 tablespoons of curry powder, though use it to taste.
- Additional Seasonings. Allspice, adobo seasoning, turmeric, thyme, and salt and black pepper. You can use your favorite Jamaican staples. General chicken seasoning is popular.
- Vegetables. Onion, bell peppers or jalapeno peppers and/or Scotch bonnet peppers, carrot, garlic, ginger, green onion, potatoes.
- Liquids. Coconut milk or chicken broth (chicken stock) - your choice.
- Extras. Olive oil for cooking, and your favorite hot sauce to taste.
How to Make Jamaican Curry Chicken - the Recipe Method
Wash the Chicken. Wash the chicken with vinegar or citrus, if desired.
Cut and Season the Chicken. Cut up the chicken into smaller pieces and add to a large bowl.
Season the Chicken. Rub the chicken pieces with 2 tablespoons Jamaican curry powder, adobo seasoning, allspice, dried thyme, turmeric, and salt and pepper to taste.
Cook the Vegetables. Heat the oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat or medium-high heat. Add the onion and peppers, and cook them down 5 minutes to soften.
"Burn the Curry". Add the garlic, ginger, and 2 tablespoons Jamaican curry powder. Cook for 2 minutes in the oil to let the seasoning bloom.
This is called "Burning the Curry", which isn't actually burning it, but cooking out the raw seasoning flavor.
Brown the Chicken. Add the chicken and cook for 10 minutes to brown all sides, flipping half way through.
NOTE that the chicken may release liquid, which you can keep in the pan for simmering, though you may want to adjust how much liquid you add later.
Liquids and Potatoes. Stir in the coconut milk or chicken broth, potatoes, and carrots. Taste and adjust with salt, pepper and hot sauce to your personal tastes.
Add a few sprigs of fresh thyme here if you'd like.
Cover and Simmer. Cover the curry and reduce the heat. Simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are done and the chicken is tender and cooked through.
It should measure 165 degrees F internal when measured with a meat thermometer.
Serve! I like to garnish mine with fresh chopped parsley and red pepper flakes.
Boom! Done! Jamaican curry chicken is ready to serve! Looks wonderful, doesn't it? I'm sure your kitchen smells awesome.
It usually drives me crazy as it simmers, making me wait for it.
I love this curry dish. Nice and spicy to my preference.
Recipe Tips & Notes
- The Chicken. You can easily make this recipe with any cut of chicken, either bone-in or boneless skinless chicken. Today I used chicken leg and thigh quarters, but it’s great with a whole chicken for a larger group, chicken breasts, chicken thighs or any combination. Many Jamaican Curry Chicken dishes I've seen cut up the chicken into smaller pieces, bones and all, though I love the larger pieces. To your preference!
- The Peppers. I use jalapeno peppers for this recipe for a touch of everyday heat, but they aren't very spicy for some people. If you're looking for more authentic Caribbean flavor with some wonderful heat, use either Scotch Bonnet peppers or habanero peppers. Both can reach to over 350,000 Scoville Heat Units on the Scoville Scale, making them 70 times hotter than the average jalapeno. Perfect! Use them sparingly. Use bell peppers for a milder version. You'll still get amazing flavor.
- Seasoning. There are many variations of seasonings for Jamaican curries. I use Jamaican curry powder with adobo seasoning, turmeric, allspice and thyme. Other popular options are sazon seasoning, general chicken seasoning, garlic powder, fresh herbs and others. Some recipes call for Jamaican "every day" or "all-purpose" seasoning. Great if you have access to it!
- Variations. You can update this recipe to include any and all of your favorite ingredients. Consider the following:
- Other Meats. Try this recipe with lamb, pork, beef, fish, shellfish. So good!
- Go Vegetarian. Make this a vegetarian dish and focus on chickpeas and more potatoes, or use jackfruit.
- Other Vegetables. I make mine with potato, but you can easily include other root vegetables like sweet potato, rutabaga or celery root. Toss in green beans, corn or more peppers to round it out. You can really make this recipe your own.
- Serving. I alternate serving my Jamaican chicken curry with either steamed white rice or noodles. Rice will absorb all that wonderful curry sauce. Brown rice is good, too. For the noodles, I love either wheat noodles or rice noodles.
Storage Information & Leftovers
Store any leftover Jamaican curry chicken in the refrigerator in sealed containers for up to 5 days. To enjoy again, gently reheat it in a pan. You can freeze the curry for up to 6 months in vacuum sealed containers.
That's it, my friends. I hope you enjoy this outstanding Jamaican chicken curry recipe. Super tasty! Let me know if you make it. I'd love to hear how it turned out for you. Keep it spicy!
If you'd like to learn more about Jamaican cooking, check out the following cookbook, which I used to help adapt this recipe.
- Original Flava, by Craig and Shaun McAnuff (affiliate link, my friends!)
Got any questions? Ask away! I’m happy to help. If you enjoy this recipe, I hope you’ll leave a comment with some STARS. Also, please share it on social media. Don’t forget to tag us at #ChiliPepperMadness. I’ll be sure to share! Thanks! — Mike H.
Jamaican Curry Chicken Recipe
FOR THE CHICKEN
- 3 pounds chicken washed with vinegar and cut into bite-sized pieces (I used leg and thigh quarters today)
- 2 tablespoons Jamaican curry powder
- 1 tablespoon adobo seasoning
- 1 teaspoon allspice
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- Salt and black pepper to taste
FOR THE CURRY
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 1 large bell pepper chopped
- 1 Scotch Bonnet pepper chopped (optional, for a spicy version)
- 1/4 cup chopped green onion
- 4 cloves garlic chopped
- 2 tablespoons chopped ginger
- 2 tablespoons Jamaican curry powder
- 1 cup coconut milk (optional - use only chicken broth as an alternative, or water)
- 1 pound yellow potatoes diced (peel if desired)
- 1 large carrot peeled and chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Hot sauce to taste
- Cut up the chicken and add it to a mixing bowl. Rub the chicken pieces with curry powder, adobo seasonings, allspice, dried thyme, and salt and pepper to taste.
- Heat the oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onion and peppers to the pot and stir. Cook for 5 minutes to soften.
- Add the green onion, garlic, ginger and 2 tablespoons Jamaican curry powder. Cook 2-3 minutes, to let the curry powder bloom. This is called "burning the curry", which is not actually burning it.
- Add the chicken and cook for 10 minutes to brown all sides, flipping half way through.
- Stir in the coconut milk or chicken broth, potatoes and carrots. Taste and adjust with salt, pepper and hot sauce to your personal tastes. Add a few sprigs of fresh thyme here if you'd like.
- Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce the heat. Simmer for 20-30 minutes, or until the vegetables are softened and the chicken is fall-off-the-bone tender and cooked through. It should measure 165 degrees F internal when measured with a meat thermometer.
- Serve! I like to garnish mine with fresh chopped parsley and red pepper flakes.
NOTE: This recipe was updated on 9/7/22 to include new photos and information. It was originally published on 1/20/21.