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Square close up shot of the best Virginia Brunswick stew recipe in a white bowl.
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5 from 6 votes

Virginia Brunswick Stew

A pride and joy of Virginia culture, this Virginia Brunswick stew recipe is a Southern classic!
Course Dinner
Cuisine Southern
Keyword Brunswick Stew, brunswick stew recipe, chicken brunswick stew, Virginia Brunswick stew recipe
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
0 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Servings 16 cups
Calories 133kcal
Author Blair Lonergan


  • 4 slices (about 5 ⅓ oz) thick-cut bacon, chopped
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 medium russet potatoes (about 1 lb.), peeled and cut into ½-inch dice
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 rotisserie chicken (about 3 lbs.), meat removed and chopped (about 4 cups)
  • 1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes, not drained
  • 4 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen lima beans
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen sliced okra (optional)
  • 1-2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar (apple cider vinegar also works well)
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste


  • In a large pot, cook the bacon over medium-high heat until almost crisp, about 5 minutes. Add onion and cook until softened, about 5 more minutes. Add chicken broth and potatoes; bring to a boil. Boil until potatoes begin to soften, about 10 minutes.
    Process shot of making brunswick stew in a white dutch oven
  • Reduce heat to low. Stir in the tomato paste. Add chicken, diced tomatoes, corn, lima beans, okra (if using), brown sugar, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper. Stir well.
    Wooden spoon stirring together ingredients for brunswick stew
  • Cover and simmer for about 1 hour, stirring occasionally. The stew should be very thick. To thicken the stew, simmer uncovered. To thin, add more broth or water. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper, if necessary. Ladle into bowls and serve!
    Chicken brunswick stew in a white bowl with a side of cornbread



  • Some recipes include potatoes, while others do not. You can omit the potatoes if you prefer.
  • Instead of a rotisserie chicken, use about 4 cups of cooked, diced chicken that you boil at home or that you have leftover from another meal.
  • Okra can be a controversial vegetable, so leave it out of the stew if you don't care for it.
  • If they're available, use butter beans instead of the lima beans.
  • Swap out the bacon and use fatback instead.
  • Brunswick stew typically has a sweet-and-sour flavor to the broth, which you can achieve by stirring in ketchup or BBQ sauce instead of the brown sugar. I use 2 tablespoons of brown sugar, which gives the broth a slightly sweet taste, without being too overpowering. For a less-sweet broth, reduce the brown sugar to 1 tablespoon. You can always add more at the end, to taste.
  • Like more tang? Add an extra splash of vinegar.


Serving: 1cup | Calories: 133kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 10mg | Sodium: 259mg | Potassium: 441mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 88IU | Vitamin C: 12mg | Calcium: 21mg | Iron: 1mg