There are many different Caribbean chicken soup recipes, because there are so many different islands in the Caribbean. This is due to a “melting” pot of cultures in the Caribbean and surrounding countries due to English, French and Spanish colonialism, African chattel slavery, Irish and Scottish indentured servitude, as well as the native populations of Taino, Arawak, Guanahatabey, Lucayan, etc.
There is also a strong Indian influence in some Caribbean countries, especially Jamaica and Trinidad.
All these countries brought together a variety of plants and cooking styles that are still an important part of Caribbean flavor to this day.
While all these Caribbean chicken soup recipes have commonalities, there are variations specific to each island’s culture. Here are the best of the best Caribbean chicken soup recipes (in no particular order)! I hope you have fun learning how to make Caribbean chicken soup from these different countries!
1. Jamaican Chicken Soup
I had to start with Jamaican chicken soup, as that is the one that I am most familiar with! The highlights of Jamaican chicken soup include thyme, pimento (allspice) and scotch bonnet pepper. You can find a complete recipe here.
Jamaica often get the credit for Caribbean chicken soup because
2. Antillean Chicken Soup
This Antillean Chicken Soup recipe features roasted cumin and parsley.
One thing I notice is that this soup is super thick and rich. It looks more like a stew than what I would call a soup, but one thing for sure is it is definitely delicious!
3. Panamanian Sancocho
Sancocho, or sancocho de gallina panameño, is a traditional chicken soup and the national comfort food of Panama. Panama is a country in Central America, but is also considered a part of the Caribbean due to its proximity to the Caribbean Sea.
Sancocho’s star is culantro, not to be confused with cilantro. It is a hearty soup filled with plenty of root vegetables and fresh corn. Find out more about sancocho, the many Islands and Latin American countries that have this as a traditional dish, plus get the recipe for this Panama version here.
4. Sancocho De Pollo
Sancocho de pollo is a Puerto Rican chicken stew. Puerto Ricans love to include multiple meats and let all the ingredients stew together for a long time. Sazon is also an important part of Puerto Rican sancocho, and you shouldn’t dare call it authentic unless you’ve included the sazon! This recipe features chicken and ham, as well as the traditional corn on the cob.
5. Trinidadian Chicken Soup
This Trinidadian chicken soup recipe features a method of browning the chicken with brown sugar prior to adding it to the soup. Jamaicans use a similar technique when making Jamaican brown stew chicken, so I know that this recipe is amazing!
You can check out the Trinidadian version of Caribbean chicken soup here.
6. Soup Joumou
Soup Joumou is a traditional Independence day soup for Haitians. While they have made it for years, Haitians were not allowed to partake of this wonderful dish while enslaved. The slave masters would enjoy the delicious meal they worked hard to create and wouldn’t share an ounce. Once Haiti won their liberation on January 1, 1804, they could savor this dish whenever they want! Haitians all over the world still love to have their Soup Joumou on Independence day.
While Soup Joumou is typically made on Independence day with beef, the chicken soup variation is enjoyed by many Haitians as well. You can check out a delicious recipe, which includes cabbage and parnsips, by clicking here.
7. Bahamian Chicken Souse
Bahamian chicken souse is also called spicy chicken soup. This Caribbean chicken soup is varies more than the others as it does not include a pumpkin base as the others do. It has a clear broth but is definitely not short on flavor! In fact, aside from the spicy flavor, it also has a unique kick the lime confers!
One thing I found interesting is the “souse” rhymes with “house” not “sous” like in sous vide! Here’s a delicious Bahamian chicken souse recipe for you to try!
8. Saint Kitts Caribbean Chicken Soup
This version of Caribbean chicken soup is very hearty! The chicken is also pan-seared, pre-cooked with a blend of seasonings to include paprika. It also features parsley and tomato paste, which is different from the other Caribbean chicken soups I’ve noticed. You can check out the recipe for this chicken soup from St. Kitts here.
How many of these Caribbean chicken soup recipes have you tried? Do you have a favorite? Leave a comment to let me know!
I’m always amazed by how shared cultural practices can evolve based on what ingredients are widely available. I really enjoyed learning about the different types of chicken soup recipes in the Caribbean, and hope you did as well!