No chicken stew is complete without the perfect blend of herbs and spices.
But with so many options available, choosing which ones to add can seem overwhelming.
To make it easier, I’ve put together this list of my must-have herbs and spices for creating the most flavorful and delicious chicken stews.
From classic choices like garlic powder and paprika to lesser-known favorites like star anise and fennel seed, you’re sure to find something special in this line-up that’ll take your dish from ordinary to extraordinary!
1. Garlic Powder
Garlic powder is a great flavor enhancer for chicken stew.
To use, add 1 teaspoon of garlic powder per four servings of the stew (or to taste).
You can sprinkle it over the top of the stew right before serving, or stir it into your simmering pot for an even distribution.
Garlic powder works especially well with other herbs like thyme and parsley, which help bring out its intense flavor.
Make sure not to use too much garlic powder, as it can quickly overpower the other flavors in the stew.
2. Onion Powder
Onion powder can be a great addition to a stew with chicken.
It adds a subtle yet savory flavor and slight sweetness without overpowering the other ingredients.
You can use it in a dry rub for the chicken, or mix some into your soup along with other spices like garlic powder and paprika.
When using onion powder, start off by adding 1/2 teaspoon per two servings of soup or stew.
Once you give it a taste you can adjust up or down according to your preferences.
Paprika is a brilliant red-hued spice that has both sweet and smoky flavors.
It can be used to season chicken stews as well as other poultry dishes, vegetables, and bean-based dishes.
To use paprika in your stew, start by adding 1 teaspoon per pound of uncooked chicken breast or leg meat.
The spice tastes best when combined with other flavorful ingredients such as garlic, onions, tomato paste, thyme leaves, white wine vinegar, or dry sherry.
You can also add some freshly ground pepper for extra flavor.
If you find the flavor is still too mild for your taste after cooking the stew for about an hour, add another half teaspoon before serving up your dish.
Thyme is a great herb for adding an earthy and savory flavor.
To add thyme, start with about 1 tablespoon of fresh chopped thyme or 1 teaspoon of dried thyme.
Add it towards the end of the cooking time so that the flavor does not become too strong.
If you want more pronounced flavors, you can try adding up to 2 tablespoons of fresh thyme or 1-2 teaspoons of dried thyme depending on your taste preferences.
Basil is a great herb to use, as it adds an herbal depth of flavor that really compliments the rich flavors of the stew.
To use basil, you can simply add 1-2 teaspoons to your chicken stew at the end of cooking time, give it a stir, and allow it to sit for 5 minutes before serving.
This will help bring out the bright note of basil while still allowing all the other flavors in your dish to shine through.
Oregano has an earthy, slightly floral aroma and will deepen the flavors of the stew.
It should be added right at the beginning so its oils can infuse into the broth as it cooks.
For best results, use around 1 tablespoon of fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon of dried oregano for every two pounds of chicken.
If you’re using dried oregano you may need to adjust this amount according to how strong its flavor is as some brands are more potent than others.
Always keep in mind that it’s easier to add more than take away if needed, so start with small amounts and taste as you go along until desired taste is reached.
Parsley can be used in chicken stew to brighten up the flavors of the dish and add some freshness.
It is best to add parsley at the end of the cooking process so that it retains its flavor and aroma.
Ideally, you should add a tablespoon of chopped parsley for every half pound (227 g) or so of chicken in your stew.
You can adjust this measure according to your personal preference.
Cumin provides a warm, earthy flavor that complements the flavor of the other ingredients in chicken stew.
Cumin is often used in Indian cuisine and goes especially well with potatoes.
To use cumin, start with about 1 teaspoon per one-pound of chicken you’re using in your stew.
If you prefer more intense flavors, add up to 2 teaspoons for every one pound of chicken.
Just be sure to add it towards the end of cooking so that its delicate flavors don’t get cooked out.
Fennel is a great herb and spice to use in your stew.
It has a mild, licorice-like flavor and adds a subtle sweetness to the stew.
To prepare it, start by coarsely chopping 1 teaspoon of fennel seed for each one cup of liquid used in your recipe.
Add the chopped fennel seeds into the stew when you add the other herbs and spices—about 15 minutes before serving to avoid bitter flavors from developing.
When preparing your own recipes, adjust according to taste – start with small amounts and increase gradually as desired.
Ginger is a great addition to chicken stew, as it adds depth of flavor and also provides warmth from its pungent spiciness.
For best results, grate or finely chop fresh ginger and add it at the very beginning of cooking in order to infuse the other ingredients with its distinctive flavor.
Start with 1 teaspoon of grated or chopped ginger, then adjust to taste (up to 1 tablespoon) once your stew is cooked throughout.
Sage is a great herb for adding flavor to any stew.
To use it, add 1 teaspoon of dried or 2 teaspoons of freshly chopped sage at the start of the cooking process when you are sautéing your vegetables and other aromatics.
Once added and stirred in, the flavors will begin to infuse into all elements in your stew, creating a harmonious blend.
If desired, finish by sprinkling some more fresh leaves on top before serving for added visual appeal and flavor complexity.
Salt helps to bring out the flavor of the other ingredients and brings balance to the dish.
The amount depends on personal taste, but as a general rule of thumb, use 1/2 teaspoon per every 1 pound of chicken in your stew.
Adding it at the start will also help to draw out all of the flavors from each ingredient and ensure an evenly seasoned final product.
Some herbs or spices that work well with chicken stew are rosemary, thyme, oregano, garlic powder, and paprika.
Start by adding them towards the end of cooking time – about 10-15 minutes before taking off heat – so that their flavors remain intact without getting too strong or bitter.
You can always adjust amounts later depending on how you like it!
13. Black Pepper
Black pepper is a great addition to any stew, as it helps to bring out the flavors of other herbs and spices.
When cooked in broth or sauce, black pepper adds warmth and complexity that can take your dish from regular to extraordinary.
To use black pepper in your chicken stew, add about 1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper per pound (450g) of chicken at the beginning of cooking.
This will allow the flavor to meld into all parts of the stew.
If you want an extra kick, wait until halfway through cooking and then season with more ground pepper just before serving.
Be careful not to overdo it – too much can make your dish overly spicy!
14. Fresh Thyme
Fresh thyme is a wonderful herb.
The delicate, woodsy flavor pairs nicely with the heartiness of the chicken and other vegetables that are often included in stews.
It also adds an aromatic brightness to balance out the richness of the dish.
To use fresh thyme in your chicken stew recipe, add it towards the end of cooking time so that its flavor stays more vibrant.
About 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh thyme should be enough to lend a subtle but attractive aroma and taste without overpowering other ingredients.
Alternatively, you can use 1 teaspoon of dried thyme if needed.
Add it along with other spices right when you put everything into the pot and let it come together as it simmers away on low heat for several hours until all flavors unite into one satisfying bowlful!
15. Bay Leaves
Bay leaves are a great way to add depth of flavor to chicken stew recipes.
The fragrant, slightly bitter herb pairs well with spicier ingredients like cayenne pepper and underlying notes of garlic and onion in the dish.
When using bay leaves for stewing, you should use fresh or dry bay leaves; roughly one whole leaf per serving (one-two for large servings).
Whole bay leaves should be added whole to the recipe during the first stages of cooking so that their complex flavors can infuse into your stew throughout its cooking time.
If you choose to use dry bay leaves, be careful not to overwhelm your stews as they’re more highly concentrated than fresh versions.
It is best practice to reduce the quantity proportionally when considering substituting one form over another; aim for approximately 1/3 less if switching from dried instead of fresh herbs.
Finally, never directly eat a bay leaf – always remove them before serving!
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15 Best Herbs and Spices for Chicken Stew
- Garlic Powder
- Onion Powder
- Black Pepper
- Fresh Thyme
- Bay Leaves
- Pick your favorite spices and herbs from this collection to add to your chicken stew recipe.
- Prepare the rest of your delicious meal.
- Enjoy in no time!
Hi, I'm Benjamin. I love cooking, long walks, and my girlfriend! Here you’ll find simple and delicious recipes that you can make in 30 minutes or less.