A Spicy Perspective

Ethiopian Chicken Doro Wat

Ethiopian Chicken Doro Wat Recipe: This Slow Cooker Chicken Doro Wat (One of our favorite Ethiopian Recipes) is simple to prepare, but tastes ultra-rich and spicy. Serve it with our quick Injera Recipe and Mesir Wat Lentils.

doro wot

Ethiopian Chicken Stew

Depending on where you live, Ethiopian recipes might not be on the top of your weekly dinner menu. Yet maybe they should be!

After years of visiting cities around the US with large Ethiopian communities, and amazing Ethiopian restaurants, we’ve started making our favorite Ethiopian recipes as home. I have found it’s much easier than I thought to make this exciting cuisine in my own kitchen.

With a few key ingredients, you too can make all kinds of robust and intriguing dishes that originated in Ethiopia.

One of my top Ethiopian recipes to make at home is Doro Wat Chicken Stew, a rich saucy chicken dish made with butter, wine, and spices.

Doro Wat

What Is Doro Wat? (Doro Wot?)

Doro Wat is a classic Ethiopian recipe often made with beef or lamb. However, the most popular version outside of Ethiopia is Chicken Doro Wat.

It’s a slow-cooked dish made with luxurious clarified butter, red wine, lots of exotic spices, and chicken. 

In classic Ethiopian “wat” recipes, the onions are cooked without fat, so they break down and thicken the stew base. When onions are sautéed in butter, the fat coating helps to hold their shape. Therefore, in doro wat recipes, the butter is added after the onions are cooked.

There are many variations of Doro Wat (Doro Wot). Some use whole bone-in chicken pieces, others cook boneless chicken down to shreds. We prefer making shredded Doro Wat, because the “barbecue beef” consistency makes it easier to scoop up with traditional Injera bread.

Doro Wat Recipe

Easy Doro Wot Recipe At Home

We don’t have Ethiopian markets here in Asheville, NC, therefore my Ethiopian recipes have had to be tweaked quite a bit. 

Most wat recipes use berbere paste and spiced butter. Lacking these standard Ethiopian ingredients, I adjusted the list of spices to incorporate the same flavors of traditional spicy chicken Doro Wat Stew, using ingredients you can find in a regular grocery store, or online. I’m pretty pleased with the results.

Cooking Ethiopian Chicken in the crockpot makes it super easy to start dinner in the morning and come home to something fragrant and enticing! The flavor is spicy and sumptuous, with heavy notes of wine, chiles, and butter. It’s the perfect addition to any Ethiopian feast!

Berbere Spice

Doro Wat Ingredients Checklist

Here’s what you need to make zesty Ethiopian chicken stew…

  • Onions, garlic, and ginger
  • Boneless chicken breasts and/or thighs
  • Clarified butter or regular butter
  • Red wine Ethiopian wine if available!
  • Tomato paste for color and depth of flavor
  • Berbere spice blendor homemade mix
  • Dried thyme or fresh thyme
  • Sugar and salt
  • Lime juice

What is Berbere You Might Ask?

Berbere is a popular Ethiopian spice blend that combines paprika, spicy dried chiles, fenugreek, cinnamon, cumin, and many more spices. If you live in a city with a good international market, you should be able to find it. 

However, you can also make a quickie version by mixing…

  • Hot smoked paprika
  • Garam masalaThis common India spice blend incorporates most of the spices needed in the right proportion, and is easier to find!
  • Crushed red pepper
  • Fenugreek seeds
  • Ground cardamom
Ethiopian Recipes

Making Ethiopian Recipes – Doro Wat

  1. Add the chopped onions, garlic, and ginger to a large non-stick skillet over medium heat and pan-fry it for 3 to 5 minutes to soften the ingredients. Pro Tip: In classic “wat” recipes, the onions are cooked without fat, so they break down and thicken the stew base. The butter is added later.
  2. Grab your slow cooker and scoop the onion mixture into the crockpot. Then place all other ingredients (excluding the lime juice) in the slow cooker and cover with the lid. 
  3. Cook on Low for 6 to 8 hours or on High for 3 to 4 hours.
  4. Once the chicken is fork-tender, pull the pieces out of the slow cooker with tongs and place on a cutting board. Use forks to shred the chicken into bite-sized pieces. 
  5. Place the chicken back into the wine sauce and then stir in the lime juice and keep warm until ready to serve.

Get The Complete (Printable) Ethiopian Chicken Doro Wat Recipe Below. Enjoy!

ethiopian food recipes

What Should You Serve with Chicken Doro Wat?

Family share platters at Ethiopian restaurants usually start out with a large piece of Injera bread, with all sorts of stewed dishes on top. Then more Injera is served on the side, so you can tear pieces off of the crepe-like bread and use it to scoop up the various dishes with your hands (no utensils required!)

Serve fresh-made Doro Wat with 

Most of these dishes can be made ahead of time, if needed, but it’s best to make the Injera fresh before serving.

Note: the links to yellow peas and collards aren’t technically Ethiopian recipes, but they are similar and VERY delicious!

slow cooker chicken

Frequently Asked Questions 

How long will this recipe last?

You can keep this recipe in the fridge for 5-7 days. Wrap well and place in the back of the refrigerator.

Can I keep this recipe in the freezer?

Yes, you can freeze Doro Wot for up to 6 months. Be sure to pack it tightly in an airtight container, so it does not get freezer burn.

Can I use other meats besides chicken?

Yes, this recipe can be made with beef roast, pork loin, mutton, or even goat meat. Cut the meat into 3-4 inch chunks so it will cook according to the recipe instructions. 

Other World Flavor Recipes

Ethiopian Chicken Doro Wat Recipe

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 20 minutes
EASY Ethiopian Doro Wat Recipe made in the Slow Cooker! This Doro Wot stewed chicken with wine and butter can be shredded to make it easier to serve with Injera Bread.
Servings: 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh grated ginger
  • 3 pounds boneless chicken breasts and/or thighs
  • 1 cup clarified butter (or regular butter)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup red wine (Ethiopian if available)
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2/3 cup berbere spice blend (see homemade version below)
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 lime, juiced

Instructions

  • Set a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the chopped onions, garlic, and ginger. Pan-fry for 3-5 minutes to soften. (In classic "wat" recipes, the onions are cooked without fat, so they break down and thicken the stew base. The butter is added later.)
  • Set out a large 6-8 quart slow cooker. Scoop the onion mixture into the crock. Place all the remaining ingredients, excluding the lime juice, in a slow cooker and cover. Cook on LOW for 6-8 hours or on HIGH for 3-4 hours.
  • Once the chicken is fork-tender, pull the pieces out of the slow cooker with tongs and place on a cutting board. Use forks to shred the chicken to bite-sized pieces. Place back into the wine sauce. Then stir in the lime juice and keep warm until ready to serve.

Notes

Homemade Easy Berbere Spice Blend:

Nutrition

Serving: 0.75cup, Calories: 509kcal, Carbohydrates: 21g, Protein: 39g, Fat: 29g, Saturated Fat: 16g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 170mg, Sodium: 746mg, Potassium: 969mg, Fiber: 9g, Sugar: 5g, Vitamin A: 1625IU, Vitamin C: 19mg, Calcium: 418mg, Iron: 26mg
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Ethiopian
Author: Sommer Collier

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3 comments on “Ethiopian Chicken Doro Wat”

  1. I never heard of this dish but looks delicious! Ingredients are pretty straightforward, actually, I have them all at home already. Just need to make this Berbere spice blend and I’m good to give this a try. Yum! Can’t wait!

  2. Followed the recipe exactly and this was delicious. Thanks for sharing!

  3. This slow cooker chicken has the best flavor, especially when you need to spice it up a little and try a new chicken recipe rather then the same recipes I have been making for the last few months!