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Chicken brunswick stew in a white bowl with a side of cornbread
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5 from 3 votes

Virginia Brunswick Stew

A pride and joy of Virginia culture, Brunswick Stew is a Southern classic that has been enjoyed for hundreds of years!
Course Dinner
Cuisine Southern
Keyword Brunswick Stew, chicken brunswick stew
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 brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt and 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.
  • 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.
  • 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!



  • 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, you can use butter beans instead of the lima beans.
  • 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 an even 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.
  • Brunswick Stew in the Crock Pot: if you'd like to prepare your stew in the slow cooker, try this recipe.
  • How much stew per person? This recipe yields about 16 cups of stew. If you’re serving a crowd, it’s safe to assume about 1 ½ – 2 cups of stew per person as a main dish. This batch will make enough for about 8-10 people.


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