African Chicken Peanut Stew

Like peanut butter? Chicken? Then this African chicken peanut stew by Hank is for you. Perfect for chilly weather. ~Elise

Chicken, sweet potatoes and peanuts are one of those magical flavor combinations that make me feel all warm and happy, especially because I never would have thought to do this 20 years ago, when I met some fellow University of Wisconsin students from Ghana who made this stew at their apartment. Chicken groundnut stew is, in various forms, common all over West Africa, and this is my version, inspired by my colleagues at UW.

The best way to make this stew is with two whole stewing hens—older chickens available at Asian and Latin markets. You start by simmering the birds to make stock, which then becomes the base of the stew, and then you use the meat from the hens. This is a bit labor-intensive for most, so I normally use pre-cut chicken parts: legs, wings and especially thighs. This stew is just made for chicken thighs.

African Chicken Peanut Stew

What is a little unusual about how you make the stew is that you first brown the chicken and then stew it on the bone. You can certainly eat it off the bone in the stew, but this is messy, so I prefer to fish out the meat and shred it. Why bother with the bones and skin at all? They add a ton of flavor to the stew.

Sweet potatoes or yams are a must in the African version, but if you hate them, use regular potatoes or turnips.

The stew is supposed to be pretty spicy, so I normally use a lot of hot sauce thrown in at the end of the cooking. I only call for 1 teaspoon of cayenne here, because no matter how chile-adverse you are, it ought to have at least a faint bite of heat. If you truly can’t take chiles, skip the cayenne. But someone in Ghana will cry.

African Chicken Peanut Stew Recipe

  • Prep time: 20 minutes
  • Cook time: 1 hour, 55 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6-8

Use chicken legs, thighs or wings for this recipe. They have more flavor and will hold up better with the flavors of the stew than breast meat.



  • 2-3 pounds chicken legs, thighs and/or wings
  • 3 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 large yellow or white onion, sliced
  • A 3-inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
  • 6-8 garlic cloves, chopped roughly
  • 2-3 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 15-ounce can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 quart chicken stock
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup roasted peanuts
  • 1 Tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup of chopped cilantro


1 Heat the vegetable oil in a large soup pot set over medium-high heat. Salt the chicken pieces well, pat them dry and brown them in the oil. Don't crowd the pot, so do this in batches. Set the chicken pieces aside as they brown.

2 Sauté the onions in the oil for 3-4 minutes, stirring often and scraping any browned bits off the bottom of the pot. Add the ginger and garlic and sauté another 1-2 minutes, then add the sweet potatoes and stir well to combine.

3 Add the chicken, chicken broth, crushed tomatoes, peanut butter, peanuts, coriander and cayenne and stir well to combine. Bring to a simmer and taste for salt, adding more if needed. Cover the pot and simmer gently for 90 minutes (check after an hour), or until the chicken meat easily falls off the bone and the sweet potatoes are tender.

4 Remove the chicken pieces and set them in a bowl to cool, until cool enough to touch. Remove and discard the skin if you want, or chop it and put it back into the pot. Shred the meat off the bones and put the meat back in the pot.

5 Adjust the seasonings for salt and cayenne, then add as much black pepper as you think you can stand—the stew should be peppery. Stir in the cilantro and serve by itself, or with simple steamed rice.

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African Chicken Peanut Stew

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Showing 4 of 130 Comments

  • Mike

    Hank in some similar stews I have seen the local custom is to take a meat cleaver to the chicken to open up the bones a bit prior to cooking. This is said to really intensify the stock or base. Traditional Indian cooking immediately comes to mind as an example. Did your friends from Ghana use this process as well?

    Yep, they did. Hacking the bones opens up the marrow and collagen within, which will enrich your broth. By all means go for it if you want! ~Hank

  • GwenH

    The actual African name of this incredibly tasty stew is “Groundnut Stew.” There are countless versions of Groundnut Stew across Africa that vary the meats and vegetables. After tasting it at a party, I started making this stew and experimenting with the recipe.

    My version uses skinless chicken breasts cut into chunks for faster cooking. I season the chicken with cayenne, a pinch of ground ginger and salt before browning in oil. I use chunky peanut butter (use a good brand) to get both the peanut taste and bits of actual peanuts into the stew. I also use 2 garlic cloves, grated fresh ginger, chili powder, great northern beans, chopped bell peppers and whole kernel corn. In the last 10 minutes, I stir in some cooked rice. Yum!

    Next, I think I’ll try the chicken thighs, coriander and cilantro from this recipe. Every cook should experiment. As long as you keep the sweet potatoes, peanuts, tomatoes, ginger and garlic, it will be a true Groundnut Stew (or African Stew as my family likes to call it).

  • Annie

    This looks wonderful! Just one question: at what stage should the chicken be added to the pot after it’s been browned? Thanks!

    With the chicken broth, et al, after you saute the ginger and garlic. ~Hank

  • Amanda

    Thanks so much for this recipe! I studied in West Africa (Niger) in college and this dish was one of the meals we would eat on special occasions. We ate it over rice and had it with beef instead of chicken, but this version sounds delicious. I have been meaning to make this dish, but I wanted a recipe I could trust. Thanks again!

    P.s. In Niger this peanut sauce is called tigadigi. I hope that anyone googling it will now be directed here!

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