Ethiopian Chicken Stew (Doro Wat) Slow Cooker Recipe

Doro Wat is a spicy Ethiopian chicken stew which is a delicious twist to throw into your family's meal plan! Seasoned with turmeric, cayenne pepper, and butter the velvety broth will leave your mouth wanting more and more and more.

You can place a hardboiled egg on top to tamper down the heat -- what a great way to use up all those leftover Easter Eggs!! :-)

Doro Wat is a spicy Ethiopian chicken stew. You can make it easily by placing the ingredients into your crockpot slow cooker.

I really like introducing the kids to new flavors, and when I came across Mary Ostyn's Doro Wat recipe in her WONDERFUL book, Family Feasts for $75 a Week (and this is for a family of 12!) I knew I needed to try it.

This is a wonderfully spicy stew/soup, and I'm thrilled to use some of very-neglected spice bottles in the cupboard. 

I highly recommend giving this a go. Be adventurous! 

You've only got one TODAY in your life. :-)

The Ingredients.
serves 8
This Ethiopian Chicken Stew is called Doro Wat. It is naturally gluten free and absolutely delicious -- what a fun twist on a chicken dish!

1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons butter
3 large onions, diced (or 3 tablespoons dried minced onion flakes)
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, and more to taste if you'd like
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 cups water
8 hard-boiled eggs (peeled, to add later)

The Directions.

Use a 6-quart slow cooker. 

Empty the tomato can into your cooker. 

Put in the chicken thighs, and add the lemon juice. 

Now add butter, onion, and ALL of the spices. Pour in the water. 

Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours, or high for 4 to 5. 

Your soup is done when the onions are soft and translucent and the chicken is cooked through and begun to fall apart.

 Ladle into a wide-mouth bowl and place a whole hardboiled egg into each dish.

I've never had anything like this before! Doro Wat is an Ethiopian Chicken stew which is garnished at the end with a whole hardboiled egg to eat alongside. This cuts down on the heat from the cayenne pepper. This is naturally gluten free and can be cooked super easily in the crockpot slow cooker. What a fun idea and I love trying new things!!

The Verdict.

What great soup. 

The depth of spices is really unique---you get a powerful punch of tomato and lemon at first, but then the warmth from the spices fills your whole belly. 

Mary says to make it authentic you should really use 1 TABLESPOON of cayenne instead of 1 teaspoon. 

Holy toledo, I'm too much of a wuss for that!

The hardboiled egg is such an awesome way to naturally cool off your tongue -- and it creates fantastic dinner time "what came first, chicken or the egg" conversation with the kids!!!


Thank you so much, Mary, for sharing your recipe and your wonderful book.

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Posted by: Stephanie O'Dea | A Year of Slow Cooking at April 25, 2017

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What they say about this article

  1. Wow, I have to say when I openned this post and saw the picture I said to myself ... "Can that possibly be a hard boiled egg on top of that soup?"

    It was!!

    Very unusual! But the recipe sounds wonderful. I wonder how it would work with beef instead of chicken. My husband is a beef eater. If I am going to put an egg on top, I better have beef in it. :-)

    Thank you for the book plate. It now resides happily in my copy of YOUR wonderful cook book.

  2. Anonymous10/22/2010

    so excited to try this! we are adopting from ethiopia, and this will be a great dish to make for our new daughter!

    thanks for all you do - i am pretty obsessed with your blog!

  3. Ahhhh! I am so excited to try this! Mary is one of my Ethiopian adoption heros, and you are my crockpotting hero, and the 2 of you combined to make a recipe is almost too much excitement for one day!

    Getting things together to put into the crock now... just wondering where I can find some injera to enjoy with this! Will report back on how my family liked it compared to our other Ethiopian food preferences/experiences.

  4. Anonymous10/22/2010

    This sounds so good! I love the unique combo of spices and flavors :)

  5. We spent time in Ethiopia and this is a staple there- they use so much spice it about kills us pathetic Westerners! They use Berbere but I believe it is hard to find here in the US.

  6. You can also cut shallow vertical slits around each egg and push eggs down into the sauce to simmer for 10 minutes or so before serving. Gives the egg an amazing color and lets the spice permeate the egg. Yum!


  7. Very unique adding egg like that. I think we'd skip the egg, but the flavors do sound wonderful.

  8. We will try this tonight...sounds NUMMY, even though I'm not a "spicy" person! Thanks SO much for the recipe! God bless...

  9. This sounds exciting to try out. I wonder if chicken breast would taste any different from the thighs? Any thoughts?

  10. This is one of my favorite dishes!!! Love what you've done here. I generally cook it in a dutch oven -- but a slow cooker. It's a must-try.

  11. Thanks for this great recipe. I changed it up a little for my big family. I used the same amounts of lemon juice, tomatoes, spices and chicken you listed, but doubled (maybe tripled?) the water, added potatoes, carrots and barley. And I thickened it up just a little with instant potatoes. The flavor was wonderful! It was a little on the warm side, even with the extra water and veggies. I never would have thought of throwing a whole, hardboiled egg in there, but my kids LOVED that. And I thought it tasted good, too. The whole thing was delicious and I printed it to keep it and work it into our rotation again. Thanks!

  12. Just put it on. Smells good already. Thanks!

  13. Made this last night with venison instead of chicken; it was really good, but we all agreed that it would have been even better over rice (especially with all of the spice).

  14. Jenny Mags10/23/2010

    I made this dish for my husband and myself today. I decided to make it as "authentic" as possible, so I used the tablespoon of cayenne pepper (as opposed to the teaspoon). I must say- when I took my first sip, I coughed for almost five minutes as I think I breathed in the cayenne. :) After I pulled myself together, we began to enjoy this wonderful stew. We were pleasantly surprised! My husband asked for a little bit of salt and Apple Cider Vinegar. After a moment of feeling offended... :) ... I added some salt and ACV to the crockpot and our bowls. THIS WAS A WONDERFUL ADDITION. The ACV added a whole new "tang" to the dish and complimented all of the spices quite well. Of course, we'll put ACV in just about anything, so it may just be a taste that we enjoy... but it was wonderful!!
    Thank you for introducing us to this recipe. I look forward to making it again!!

  15. I made this for me and my husband (who has never had Ethiopian food and has not been talked into it yet) and we both loved it. I used almost a full tbsp of cayenne and it was spicy without compromising the flavor and making me want to cry. I think next time (oh yes, there will be a next time) I will use a full tbsp.
    I also used bone-in chicken since that is what I had and I shredded and removed the bone after it was done cooking and it turned out perfect.
    Thanks for posting an easy, inexpensive, exotic and delicious recipe!

  16. I made this tonight and it was fantastic! I had a bowl, the hubby had a bowl and the dog - who was sick and hasn't eaten anything except cat food for a week (including being offered steak, hamburgers, hot dogs and bacon!) DEVOURED all the chicken she could get her teeth into! So wonderful - can't wait to finish the leftovers for lunch tomorrow.

    The only change I made - since I didn't have tumeric on hand I substituted a teaspoon of curry powder. :)

    Steph - I know you are gluten free, and when I got my King Arthur Flour catalog in the mail this weekend and saw that they have a new gluten free section of products I thought of you. I switched to their regular flour a few months ago when I started making all my own breads and stuff... really the best flouw out there and I would imagine the GF stuff to be equally as good - thought you might want to check it out. :)

  17. I tried this yesterday. My husband (who is from West Africa) L.O.V.E.D. it. He asked for seconds. That is truly a compliment. Caveat: I used a family pack of chicken legs (4.5lbs). I de-skinned them. I added 2 small chicken boullion cubes to my crock pot (along with the other ingredients). The next time, I plan to replace the water, completely, with chicken broth for even more flavor.

  18. That does look delicious! Have had it before and now going to try and make it! Thanks Stefanie!

  19. I LOVE Ethiopian food. You should try making injera from teff's spongy deliciousness.

    Anyway, do you think I could use oil instead of the butter to keep this dairy-free?

    Also, do you think it would work to put rinsed raw-in-shell eggs in the stew, perhaps halfway through, with maybe a touch of water so they get infused with the spices? I've seen
    this approach work in the crockpot with this other stew-like recipe (it's a gf cholent which cooks in a crockpot for 12 hours on low).

    Otherwise, I think I'll use Owelhaven's approach with egg slits.

  20. Thanks for the recipe. I love Ethiopian food! I too added salt and the full amount of spice. Not too spicy for me. We served it over rice after I discovered my Ingera bread needed to sit 24 hours first. Looking forward to trying more of your recipes.

  21. I am getting ready to put this in the slow cooker. My husband lived on Ethiopia for a few years growing up and we love Ethiopian food! We actually have the Berber spice so I may need to incorporate it in. Thanks for the recipe!

  22. I made this and it was great!! I blogged abou tit this morning - thanks for the inspiration.

  23. I love doro wat! I have a friend from Ethiopia who makes it occasionally and it is soooo good! I'll be trying this tomorrow. Would it work out if I used boneless, skinless chicken breasts? I have some in the fridge that need to be used.

  24. Anonymous11/03/2010

    I lived in Ethiopia as a child and we used to fight over the eggs in Doro Wat. Yum! We are lucky in Richmond, VA to have an Ethiopian restaurant that is totally gluten free (they use only teff for their injera), but it will be nice to make this at home, too.

  25. Anonymous12/16/2010

    This was EXCELLENT! I actually put in some black beans and corn for a bit more texture. We ate it with a nice crusty bread. The yolk in the hard boiled egg really added to the flavor. I will definitely make this again!

  26. Anonymous4/22/2011

    Enjoyed the full flavors but next time I think I'll halve the onions...I felt like I was searching for the chicken. Yum. Love your cookbooks!

  27. Anonymous6/12/2011

    Can you use this with breast chicken in the sauce???

  28. Robin G6/16/2011

    This is excellent.

  29. MorganH9/28/2011

    I made this for dinner the other night and it was so delicious! I used chicken breasts and it worked out fine. Right before it was time to eat, I fished the chicken breasts out of the crock pot, shredded them up, and put them back in the pot. This is a keeper recipe!

  30. This was a bit spicy for us and we are a fan of spicy food. I was sweating immediately. I don't know if it was because of the type of Cayenne pepper we use or because I cooked it on high.

    I added a little brown sugar and some veges (asparagus and zucchini and yellow squash to help cool it down.) Then I could taste all those fabulous spices!

  31. I made this over the weekend. I've used the Marcus Samuelsson Doro Wat recipe before - - and it's delicious, but it requires a lot of cooking and tending time, albeit not a lot of active prep. I wanted to try something simpler in the slow cooker, and this was great. I substituted 3 tbsp of berbere (Ethiopian spice blend, you can buy it on Amazon) for the dry spices, added some fresh ginger, cardomom, and garlic, an extra tbsp of butter, and subbed a cup of red wine and a cup of chicken stock instead of water. Also, I added 1/2 bag of frozen collard greens. It turned out delicious, and I can't wait to make it again. From all the time I saved by using the slow cooker, I made homemade injera bread to go with it - Thanks, Stephanie! I'm a huge fan!

  32. Penzey's spices now has berebere seasoning (except they call it peri peri). Yum!

  33. Hey, try piercing the hard boiled eggs with the tines of a fork and placing it in the juices the last 3-4 hours of cooking. Try Amazon for the spices.

  34. We tried this yesterday. It was a bit too spicy for me (I only used 1 teaspoon cayenne!), and neither of us were in love. The chicken was great though!

  35. Made this last night and it was delicious. I have a VERY wimpy palate so I used 1/4 tsp of the cayenne pepper and it was still spicy to me, but my husband and son loved it. No leftovers here. I cut the water down to one cup and used a packet of no sodium chicken bouillon (next time will try chicken broth but I had none on hand this time) and still had plenty of broth left over. Next time I'm going to double the chicken so they'll be leftovers.