New recipes cycle through the kitchen often around here (occupational hazard of writing a food blog), so when one stops us in our tracks, I know I’ve hit on something special. This Jamaican Curry Chicken is one of those unique recipes.

Jamaican chicken curry in a bowl with rice

In fact, Ben, who has the happy (or unhappy depending upon the day) task of sampling not only the final versions of the recipes you see here, but also their various testing iterations (some of which are markedly most successful than others), called this recipe “one of the best things you’ve made.”

It’s more than a longing for a Caribbean vacation that will have this Jamaican curry chicken hitting the spot.

A bowl of Jamaican curry chicken and rice

While curry might not sound like the typical dinner rut for some, whenever I’m not sure what to cook and need an easy meal (soooo almost every night), curry is one of my defaults: Thai Chicken Curry, Slow Cooker Chicken Curry, and Coconut Curry are three frequent menu items.

This Jamaican curry chicken is different.

While it has some of the usual curry ingredients like coconut milk and spices, the heat has a subtle sweetness to it and the spices are more warm than other curries.

The sauce is thick and rich, so this curry is comforting on a chilly evening if that’s when you are craving it, but the spices also work surprisingly well on even the hottest summer day. I suspect that’s why curry is so popular in countries known for their warm climates, like India and the Caribbean.

Traditional Jamaican curry is made with scotch bonnet peppers and Jamaican curry powder, neither of which I have easy access to here in Milwaukee.

As with any culturally inspired recipe, from my Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala to this Slow Cooker Butter Chicken, I’ll never ask you to go from store to store hunting for specialty ingredients. If I can’t find them, I know there’s a good chance you can’t either, which is why I jerry-rigged this recipe to have the same flavor profile, without actually using these two.

How to Make Jamaican Curry Chicken

This is an adapted, easy-ingredient version of traditional Jamaican curry chicken. If you want authentic flavor, made over to be healthy and done with ingredients you can find at the average American supermarket, you’ve come to the right place.

Traditional Jamaican chicken curry is a bold, flavorful dish that’s cooked slowly over low heat, allowing time for the spices to develop. It’s believed that the dish (and its corresponding spices) came to Jamaica in the 17th century when workers from East India were brought to the British colony.

Here’s how I substituted Jamaican curry powder and scotch bonnet peppers for my at-home version.

Jamaican curry spices in a bowl

How to Substitute Jamaican Curry Powder

  • Like all curry powders, Jamaican curry powder is a blend of different spices. There’s no one single recipe for it, though most blends contain cumin, coriander, mustard, anise, fenugreek, allspice, and turmeric.
  • Jamaican curry powder is different than curry powder you’ll typically find in the average U.S. supermarkets because it contains more turmeric (which is why Jamaican dishes are often yellow) and more allspice in comparison to the other spices.

To substitute Jamaican curry powder, I started with regular curry powder (which contains most of the same spices), then added extra turmeric and allspice. This allowed me to use ingredients that were easy for me to find, AND I didn’t have to toast and grind the spices myself.

It might not be a perfect, 100% authentic option, but it is a delicious one that gave me excellent results.

A red bell pepper and jalapenos

Substituting Scotch Bonnet Peppers

Scotch bonnet peppers are the other Jamaican ingredient I couldn’t find easily. They are very spicy but also a little sweet and fruity.

  • To substitute scotch bonnet peppers, dice a red bell pepper VERY finely. This mimics the sweetness of scotch bonnets.
  • Add a spicy pepper you *can* find. Jalapeno is a good option.
  • Up the spice level. Scotch bonnets are spicier than jalapenos. A pinch of cayenne pepper and extra hot sauce are a good way to increase the heat.

Jamaican Chicken Curry From Scratch – Recipe Overview

Here’s what you’ll need to make Jamaican curry chicken with coconut milk. It’s a fresh way to liven up your dinner routine.

The Ingredients

  • Chicken. Lean, boneless, skinless chicken breasts become perfectly tender and moist as they slowly cook in the sauce. The protein-rich chicken helps make this curry hearty and satisfying. You can also use chicken thighs.
  • Red Bell Pepper + Jalapeno. My easy swaps that mimic the flavors of the traditional scotch bonnet peppers. Both red peppers and jalapenos are rich in Vitamin-A and Vitamin-C, making them healthy additions to this curry (see more health benefits of jalapenos here and red peppers here).
  • Garlic + Ginger. Essential flavor additions to curry dishes.
  • Spices. The flavor powerhouse! A mix of curry powder, turmeric, and allspice make this curry warm, cozy, and deeply satisfying.
  • Potatoes. I used Yukon gold potatoes because they have a deliciously buttery flavor, and their texture holds up nicely. Regular russet potatoes would work too. For an extra veggie, you could make this Jamaican curry chicken with potatoes and carrots, swapping out one of the potatoes for two medium carrots.
  • Coconut Milk. Making Jamaican curry chicken with coconut milk thickens the sauce and also helps tame the heat. I found light coconut milk resulted in a sauce that was still plenty thick and satisfying, but if you’d like to make it even richer, you can use full fat coconut milk.
  • Worcestershire Sauce. Adds a touch of savory, umami flavor to the curry.
  • White Wine Vinegar. Brightens up all the flavors and adds a touch of acidity.
  • Cayenne + Hot Sauce. To achieve that signature Jamaican curry heat, I used cayenne and hot sauce. Use a little or a lot of each to reach your desired level of spice.
  • Cilantro. For freshness and beautiful color.

The Directions

  1. Salt the chicken, then saute the onions.
    Diced vegetables in a Dutch oven
  2. Add the bell pepper, jalapeño, garlic, and ginger.
    Chicken and vegetables in a Dutch oven
  3. Stir in the spices.
    Jamaican chicken curry and vegetables in a Dutch oven
  4. Saute until the chicken is golden.
    Chicken and vegetables in a Dutch oven with spices
  5. Add the potatoes.
    Easy Jamaican chicken curry in a Dutch oven
  6. Pour in the remaining ingredients, stirring before bringing everything to a simmer. Simmer 15 to 20 minutes.
  7. Serve with cilantro and rice. DIG IN!

Is Jamaican Curry Chicken Spicy?

  • Yes, this recipe is spicy, at least compared to most of the other curries on this website. I’d put it at a 3 or 4 out of 5, with “1” being mild and “5” having you mopping your brow.
  • If you are sensitive to spice, I suggest dialing back the cayenne and hot sauce to start.
  • If you adore spicy food, you’ll go gaga for this. You might want to even add MORE hot sauce.

How to Store and Reheat Jamaican Curry Chicken

  • To Store. Leftover chicken curry can be stored in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  • To Reheat. Gently reheat leftovers in a Dutch oven on the stovetop over medium-low heat. You can also rewarm this dish in the microwave.
  • I don’t recommend freezing this dish, as the potatoes may become mealy once thawed.

What to Serve with Jamaican Curry Chicken

  • Rice. This curry was made to be served over rice. White rice, brown rice, or cauliflower rice (for a low-carb option) would all work well. Make this a Jamaican curry chicken with rice and beans by also adding red beans to the rice.
  • Salad. For a healthy, simple side dish, pair this curry with Arugula Salad.
  • Veggies. Add more vegetables to your meal by serving a side of Tahini Roasted Carrots.

More Delicious Curry Recipes

Two bowls of Jamaican chicken curry and rice

Recommended Tools to Make Jamaican Chicken Curry

Jamaican curry chicken saved us from our dinner rut—at least until it became the only thing either of us wants to eat! I hope it becomes a habit for you too.

If you try this recipe, I’d love to hear what you think! Please leave a comment below and let me know how it turned out for you. I’d especially love to know how you feel about the spice level. Do we want more curry? Let’s discuss!

Jamaican chicken curry in a bowl with rice

Jamaican Curry Chicken

5 from 26 votes
A healthy Jamaican curry chicken made with coconut milk, potatoes, and everyday spices you can find at any grocery store. Authentic flavor and easy prep!

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 40 mins
Total: 55 mins

Servings: 4 servings (about 7 cups)


  • 1 1/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into 1-inch pieces (about 2 breasts)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion finely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper very finely chopped*
  • 2 jalapeno peppers very finely chopped*
  • 3 cloves garlic minced (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 3/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper plus additional to taste*
  • 2 medium Yukon gold potatoes peeled and diced
  • 1 15-ounce can light coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce plus additional to taste*
  • Chopped fresh cilantro
  • Prepared brown rice quinoa, or cauliflower rice, for serving


  • Sprinkle the chicken with salt. Set aside.
  • In a Dutch oven or similar deep, sturdy pot, heat the oil over medium. Once it is hot, add the onions, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions begin to soften and turn translucent, 5 to 8 minutes.
  • Stir in the red bell pepper, jalapeños, garlic, and ginger. Cook, stirring often, for 2 minutes.
  • Add curry powder, turmeric, allspice, and cayenne. Cooking, stirring constantly, until spices turn deep gold and become ultra fragrant, about 1 minute.
  • Add the chicken and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring often. It should look golden on the outside but does not need to be completely cooked through.
  • Add the potatoes. Cook, stirring often, for 3 minutes.
  • Add the coconut milk, Worcestershire, vinegar, and hot sauce. Stir to combine. Bring to a simmer. Continue to simmer, reducing the heat to low as needed, until the chicken is tender and cooked through, the potatoes are tender, and sauce has slightly reduced, 15 to 20 minutes. Stir every few minutes to keep the sauce from sticking.
  • Taste and season with additional salt or hot sauce as desired. Serve hot over rice, with a big sprinkle of cilantro.


  • *Scotch bonnet peppers are the most traditional for Jamaican dishes, so if you can find one (or if you can find habanero peppers which are the closest substitute), use it here and omit the cayenne and red bell pepper and scale the hot sauce back to 1/2 teaspoon to start. Our store doesn’t regularly carry either of these peppers, which is why I adapted the recipe to use a jalapeno pepper, combined with a red bell pepper and cayenne to mimic the fruitiness and heat of scotch bonnet/habanero peppers.
  • TO STORE: Leftover chicken curry can be stored in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. 
  • TO REHEAT: Gently reheat leftovers in a Dutch oven on the stovetop over medium-low heat. You can also rewarm this dish in the microwave. 
  • I don't recommend freezing this dish, as the potatoes may become mealy once thawed. 


Serving: 1(of 4)Calories: 428kcalCarbohydrates: 29gProtein: 33gFat: 19gSaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 91mgPotassium: 1139mgFiber: 5gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 1153IUVitamin C: 69mgCalcium: 57mgIron: 3mg

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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  1. I made this last night and my family really enjoyed it! I let the dish simmer about 15mins longer than suggested because the potatoes weren’t as soft as I had liked after the initial 20 mins however it came out perfect after the extra time. Also would using a little cumin and green seasoning give it more flavor? Even though it was jam packed with flavor I wonder if those ingredients would make it taste even better than it already does?! Food for thought I guess ? Thank you for this recipe!5 stars

    1. I’m so happy that you enjoyed it, Niasia! Thank you for sharing this kind review! If you decide to try it with those added spices, I’d love to hear how it goes!

    1. Hi Darren! I haven’t tried using seafood in this recipe myself, so it would be an experiment. If you decide to play around with it, I’d love to hear how it goes!

    1. Hi Ashlyn! I’ve only tested the recipe as written, so you’d be experimenting. If you decide to try it, I’d love to hear how it goes!

  2. OVERVIEW: I’ll start by saying that I’m just an amateur, retired, stay-at-home cook, so I’m always eagerly learning, and I’ve never made anything “curry” before, so please take what I have to say here, with that grain of salt in mind. But I used this recipe as a general, first-time guide, with a number of modifications, based largely upon my own personal ‘heat index’, and I have to say that what resulted, was absolutely “KILLER”. In fact, I could not possibly have asked for a better foundational guide!

    CHANGES: In my initial batch, I used almost 4 lbs. of total chicken (boneless thighs and rotisserie combined), so I adjusted all other quantities and volumes (including spices, curry paste, curry powder, coconut milk, etc.), upward from there, in a roughly proportionate manner. However, the title of the original recipe included the two words “Jamaican” and “chicken”, and yet, there was no call for lime, which struck me as odd. So, I ended-up substituting almost a full cup of lime juice, in place of the vinegar, and I opted to omit the potatoes. In addition, I used the broth from fresh shrimp sauted in butter and garlic in place of the fish oil, and I added several cups of green onion chives. And lastly, I used Jasmine rice (made with equal volumes of coconut milk and chicken broth), instead of brown rice.

    Could I possibly be happier? Nope!
    Would I make any other changes? Nope!
    Could it be improved in any way? No. Not in my humble view.

    Thank you, Erin! Your recipe was an absolute blessing! ;-)5 stars

  3. Hello I am going to make this for the first time and I have one question. Do you seed the the jalapeño?
    Thanks, Brian

    1. Hi Brian! Yes, the jalapenos should be very finely chopped and seeds removed. I hope you enjoy the recipe if you try it!

    1. Hi Peter! The notes section of the recipe card has instructions for using a scotch bonnet pepper. I hope this helps and that you enjoy the recipe!

        1. Hi Jane! I’ve only tested the recipe as written, so you’d be experimenting. If you decide to try it, I’d love to hear how it goes!

      1. The notes actually don’t tell you how many scotch bonnets to use. How many exactly? Just one? The equivalent of the other peppers chopped?

        1. Hi Jenn! I suggest using just one. I haven’t tried this myself though, so you’d be experimenting. I hope you enjoy the recipe!

  4. I made this tonight and it was a awesome! At the risk of sounding like an complete butt hole I was worried of trying this recipe from a person that doesn’t appear to be of Caribbean decent but I apologize for the ignorance, Erin this was delicious ?.5 stars

    1. Hi Jeff! I’ve only tested the recipe as written, so you’d be experimenting. If you decide to try it, I’d love to hear how it goes!

  5. This is outstanding. I love the flavor, very rich and full, but not too spicy. I was concerned as I chopped up TWO large jalapenos, but it is perfect. I served it over air fryer cauliflower “steaks”.5 stars

  6. Excellent- a keeper. I used a habanero instead of jalapeños and bell pepper – amazing one small pepper and tsp of hot sauce gave it the right amount of heat. I had Jamaican curry powder which already has the extra turmeric and allspice (as compared to British or Madras curry) so left those out. Also added carrots and served over Hanover Lime Cilantro riced cauliflower. Excellent meal.5 stars

  7. On the first try, this recipe was excellent. Giving it another shot on this cold, snowy day. Highly recommend. I will turn the heat down slightly as the rest of the household doesn’t enjoy the heat as much as I do?5 stars

  8. This was really good and flavorful. It was a little spicy for me so I just added some sour cream to cool it down. The potatoes are taking longer to get tender than I expected. I added carrots to it as well. Yummy5 stars

  9. I made this and loved how easy it was to prepare. There were multiple ingredients but well worth the dicing and measuring.

    I used boneless skinless chicken thighs. Great flavor!!5 stars

  10. Thank you Erin!! This was a winner. I should have cut the potato cubes a bit smaller, took a bit longer to soften but no problem. Great flavor and your step by step (which this guy needs) was great. I was able to find the light coco milk and someone else commented about adding a dash of cumin which I did. Thank you so much!! When my wife gives me thumbs up it is a good day. :-)5 stars

  11. Very tasty, especially with the addition of fresh ginger and all spice. I did adjust the amount of curry to about a tablespoon less.5 stars

  12. I really enjoyed this recipe. Not complicated. And it turned really well. Very tasty and aromatic. It was a hit.5 stars

  13. I can not express how much I love this curry – honestly so delicious and will definitely be making again.5 stars

  14. i made this last night for the family and a couple of members dont like spicy food i had to double up on everything as i was making it for 6 and it came out fact id go as far as to say its one of the nicest curries ive made.And id definately be doing it again soon.It just goes to show you don’t need to be a jamaican to cook an authenic tasting curry.5 stars

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