West African Peanut Chicken Stew

As an Amazon Affilate, I earn commission on qualifying purchases.

West African peanut chicken stew is a hearty, comforting dinner that’s loaded with flavor, smoky spices, and a touch of spiciness.

West African peanut stew. @whatagirleats.comThis recipe has been on my mind for years now. I’ve been intrigued by the peanut butter and spices, giving depth and richness to the yams and chicken.
It was after a trip to visit my daughter in Bloomington, Indiana, that I knew I had to make it! (Update: July 2017: I recently updated and re-read this recipe, and am pleased to add it to my collection of Whole30, low-carb, Paleo and gluten free recipes). 

We went to her favorite soup restaurant a couple of times, and I spent some time perusing their daily menu of a dozen incredible sounding soups. Their West African Peanut Stew received nothing but accolades, so I was convinced to order it. My husband was skeptical, because he loves peanut butter, but wasn’t sure it would translate well into a savory dish. West African peanut stew. @whatagirleats.comThe West African stew recipe isn’t the speediest dish to make, taking about 45 minutes to prep and cook. Thankfully, however, it was worth the effort!

If you’re looking for a strictly vegetarian dish, double the amount of sweet potatoes or yams to replace the chicken. I prefer chicken thighs to breast meat in a stew, as they lend themselves well to longer cooking times. To keep this dish Whole30 compliant, simply substitute the peanut oil for coconut oil and cashew butter for the peanut butter.

The magic of this rich stew is the interesting play of slightly sweet spices against subtle heat from red pepper. We found 1 1/2 teaspoons of red pepper flakes gave it just enough spiciness without masking the rest of the flavors. If you prefer more heat, increase the red pepper, or add a fresh chile.

This is definitely one of those dishes that tastes better the second day, after the flavors have had a chance to meld over night.

I hope you enjoy this West African stew recipe!

West African peanut chicken stew. @whatagirleats.com

West African Peanut Chicken Stew

Peanut butter and sweet spices meld to give this stew an exotic kick. Easily adapted to vegetarian, but adding additional sweet potatoes or yams in place of the chicken.
5 from 16 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course Entree
Cuisine West African


  • 2 Tablespoons peanut oil (or coconut oil)
  • 1 red or yellow onion chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh minced ginger
  • 1 1/2 pounds chicken thighs chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
  • 1 Tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoons nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 4 cups orange fleshed sweet potatoes scrubbed and cut into bite-sized chunks
  • 1 13 ounce can diced tomatoes with juice
  • 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup chunky peanut butter or cashew butter (Cashew butter for Whole 30)
  • 1 5 ounces fresh baby spinach kale or greens


  • In a large pot, heat oil over a medium high heat. Add onion and cook until translucent, about 2-3 minutes. Then add garlic and ginger and continue cooking another 2-3 minutes.
  • After that, add the chicken and cook, stirring until chicken is browned on all sides. Then add spices, red pepper, salt and black pepper, stirring to coat.
  • Pour in chicken stock, and yams or sweet potatoes, then bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to simmer and cover, cooking for 15 minutes.
  • Uncover, stir in tomatoes, tomato paste, and peanut butter, mixing until blended. Continue cooking an additional 15 to 20 minutes, or until yams are fork tender and liquid is reduced and thick.
  • Remove from heat and stir in baby spinach. (If using tougher greens, add 5-10 minutes before done)
  • Serve with rice, if desired.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Some of the items used in this post: (affiliate links; I receive a small percentage which helps maintain my website. Thank you for your support!)

West African Peanut Stew with Chicken and Sweet Potatoes is Whole30 compliant, Gluten Free and Paleo.
West African Peanut Stew with Chicken and Sweet Potatoes is Whole30 compliant, Gluten Free and Paleo.

Similar Posts


  1. Love this! I’m amazed at the amount of peanut butter but I’m sure it’s delicious! Love the cinnamon and paprika, too. Fabulous!

    1. Mimi, it does sound like a lot of peanut butter, but it made about 6 servings, so that’s less than 1/4 cup per person. You definitely taste it, but it’s not overpowering.

  2. This sounds soo good! I’ve been wanting to try more ethnic dishes but with the time this takes I’ll definitely have to do this on the weekend.

  3. This looks insanely good! I love using peanut butter in savory recipes like this! Combine it with the wonderful spices, plus the tomatoes, sweet potatoes and greens … my oh my … I’m in love! Definitely pinning this one so I can refer to it later! Although I’m not specifically a vegetarian, I also love finding more meatless options, and your tip on how to make this meatless by increasing some of the other ingredients is just terrific! Great post! 😀

    1. Thanks Shelly, it was a little out of the box for even me, but the whole family absolutely loved it. Yes, so easy to adapt to vegetarian!

    1. Mirlandra, I had heard great things about this peanut stew before, but was reluctant to try it, the different flavors are like a party in your mouth!

  4. I’ve made this a few times and just love the flavor. My coworkers have expressed a little bit of jealousy when they smell it reheating at lunchtime.

  5. 5 stars
    Pinning this one! I’m always looking for something different for dinner, and this definitely fits the bill. Looks delicious!

  6. 5 stars
    What a hearty sounding stew! Pinning this to try once the holidays are over and we are needing some dinner inspiration!

  7. 5 stars
    I don’t think I’ve had African food before but this looks so flavorful and comforting! I’m definitely going to try this stew. Looks amazing!

  8. 5 stars
    Wow, I don’t think I’ve ever tried west African food! I love everything in this dish and it’s already very familiar 🙂

  9. 5 stars
    This sounds like such a delicious dish! I have never thought to make peanut stew before, but I do love other chicken and peanut dishes. Thanks for sharing this idea!

5 from 16 votes (1 rating without comment)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating