African Peanut Stew is a wholesome dairy free meal, full of warm flavors. Make this stew recipe on a stove top, in a crock pot, or Instant Pot! There’s a vegetarian option, too.
When the weather turns cooler, our bodies ache for warm meals like chili, hearty soups, oven roasted chicken, and of course, stew.
Typically, beef stew is the one everyone seems to go for first, but this peanut stew may have you changing your mind about that.
I want the meals I make to have warm flavors and also to be warm in temperature. It’s all about COMFORTING, NOURISHING meals to warm up the body.
This way, we can trick our mind into ignoring the fact that the weather outside is cold and ugly, right? RIGHT!
African peanut stew
Peanut stew is a thick, hearty meal of sweet potatoes, carrots, spinach, and sometimes meat in a rich and spicy peanut-tomato sauce.
There’s peanut butter in the stew for creaminess and of course, flavor. The addition of crunchy peanuts on top gives this dish a salty crunch with every bite. It’s seriously delicious!
Also known as peanut soup or West African peanut stew, the recipe originates from Mali, in western Africa. And if you know me, you know how living in Africa was (and will always be) a part of my health journey.
When I make it, I like to use meat, but it is equally delicious as a vegetarian stew. If you prefer it meatless, no problem. You can either use 1 cup less broth, or keep the broth and add a drained can of chickpeas instead – easy!
The recipe is adaptable, too!
You can make it in a pot on the stove top, in a slow cooker, or in an Instant Pot. One of my favorite things about it is the fact that it’s freezer-friendly. So, it’s the perfect meal prep dinner!
Recipe Ingredients and Substitutions
This West African peanut stew recipe uses simple, wholesome ingredients. You won’t need anything fancy; just a few veggies and basic spices, plus optional meat.
If you plan on making a vegetarian peanut stew, you’ll omit the meat and you’ll use a little less broth. Other than that, the recipe is exactly the same.
- Tomato sauce – If you need a substitute, you can use a can of plain diced tomatoes. The burst of red color screams “cozy comfort food” to me.
- Creamy peanut butter (natural, no-stir variety) – In African cooking, peanuts are helpful for adding healthy fats and protein, but also to help thicken dishes. For this stew we use peanut butter for a creamy, earthy flavor.
- Spices – Smoked paprika, ground coriander, kosher salt and black pepper, and if desired, a little cayenne pepper. If you don’t have ground coriander, ground cumin will work just fine.
Remaining ingredients for stew
- Neutral flavor cooking oil – avocado oil, vegetable oil, and olive oil are all good options
- Protein – bite-size pieces of boneless pork, chicken, turkey or beef stew meat are optional. If you’re making vegetarian African peanut stew, feel free to use chickpeas instead.
- Broth or stock– Feel free to use either vegetable or chicken broth or stock.
- Veggies – chopped onion, sweet potatoes, spinach (or baby spinach) and carrots. The starchy vegetables (carrots and sweet potato) add nourishment and a touch of sweetness. Plus, they help to thicken the stew.
- Aromatics – minced garlic and fresh ginger give an earthy flavor to the stew. You can substitute ground ginger for fresh if you need to.
- Cooked white or brown rice, cauliflower rice, or quinoa
- Fresh cilantro, chopped
- Dry roasted peanuts, finely chopped
- Spicy chilies of choice – Originally, African peanut stew is topped with scotch bonnet peppers (a West African pepper), which are the hottest of hot! Trust me, we tried them. WOWZA! If you’re up for the spicy challenge, feel free to add them. If not, you can use mild green chilies, diced jalapeños, or for extra spicy flavor, finely mince a Serrano or Habanero pepper.
How to make West African peanut stew
Make the Sauce Regardless of which method you’re going use to cook the stew, you’ll need to make the sauce first.
- Add all the sauce ingredients to a blender or food processor and pulse to combine. If you don’t have a blender or food processor, just place everything into a large mixing bowl and use a whisk to combine them.
Stove Top Instructions
- Heat a large, heavy bottomed pot over medium-high heat. I like to use a 4-quart sauce pot. When the pan is hot, add the oil and diced onions.
- Saute the onions for 3-4 minutes, stirring often. If you’re going to add meat, this is when you’ll add it to the pot. Brown or sear the meat, then use a wooden spoon to scrape any browned bits from the bottom of the pot.
- Add the ginger and garlic and saute them, then add the sweet potatoes and stir well to combine everything. Add the sauce you made earlier, along with the peanut butter, spices, spinach, and broth, then stir everything again.
- Simmer (cover the pot after the stew comes to a simmer) until the sweet potatoes are tender and meat is cooked through. This can take anywhere from 40-60 minutes, depending on the size of your sweet potato chunks.
- Garnish and serve! Transfer the meal to serving bowls and top with crushed peanuts and cilantro, if desired
Instant Pot Instructions
- Set your Instant Pot to saute and add the cooking oil. When oil is hot, add onion and garlic, and cook until onions are brown, about 2 minutes.
NOTE: If you’re adding meat, brown that in the oil first, then add the onion and garlic, and continue to cook until the onions are golden brown, 2-3 minutes or so.
- Add the remaining ingredients (minus any toppings) and the sauce, then stir to combine.
- Pressure cook on high power for 20 minutes, then allow a natural release of the pressure.
- Garnish and serve! When the pressure has released, remove the lid and transfer the stew to serving bowls. Garnish the bowls of African peanut stew with cilantro, chopped peanuts, and optional spicy peppers of choice.
Crock pot / slow cooker instructions
- Add vegetables and stock to slow cooker. Place the sweet potatoes, carrots, and broth in the crock pot. Set on low while you make the rest of the stew.
- Optional step (if using meat) Brown the meat with a tablespoon of oil in a skillet on the stove top. Cook for 5 minutes, then add the onion and garlic, and continue to sauté until onions are brown, about 2 minutes. Place browned meat and onion in the crock pot with the veggies and broth. Mix together.
- Make the sauce. Place all sauce ingredients into a blender, or use a whisk to mix by hand. Blend until creamy and smooth.
- Add sauce to the slow cooker. Then, add the spinach and seasonings and stir to combine.
- Cover and cook on low for 4 ½ to 5 hours, or on high for 3 hours. If you cook it using high power, check for doneness after 2 hours.
- Garnish and serve!
HOW TO MAKE AFRICAN PEANUT STEW (VIDEO)
African Peanut Stew (Stove Top, Crock Pot, or Instant Pot)
- Total Time: 4 hours
- Yield: 5-7 1x
This peanut stew is a wholesome dairy free and gluten free meal that’s packed with nourishment and warming flavors. It’s delicious over rice and feeds a crowd. Freezer friendly and made with healthy, real food ingredients!
Sauce (for crock pot, Instant Pot, and stove top methods)
- 1 cup tomato sauce or plain diced canned tomatoes
- ½ cup natural creamy peanut butter (no stir work best)
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika (adjust as needed)
- ½ teaspoon ground coriander (see note)
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional
- ½ teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
Remaining Ingredients for stew
- ½ to 1 Tablespoon cooking oil as needed – Use 1 Tablespoon if you are not browning meat.
- 1 lb diced stew meat (chicken, beef, or pork), optional
- 2 cups broth (2 ½ cups if adding meat)
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic (3 small cloves)
- 1 Tablespoon grated fresh ginger or 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 10 ounces (2 small) sweet potatoes, peeled and diced into cubes
- ⅔ cup peeled and sliced carrot, optional
- 2 cups spinach leaves or 3 cups baby spinach
Make the Sauce
- Add all the sauce ingredients to a blender or food processor and pulse to combine. Alternatively, you can place them in a large mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside.
Stove Top Instructions
- Notes before you begin. If you are using meat, brown it in the pan first, before adding the other ingredients.
- Heat a large, heavy bottomed pot over medium-high heat. When pan is hot, add the meat and brown for 5 minutes, turn meat once to evenly cook. When meat is almost cooked through, remove from pan and place on a large plate or bowl. Set aside.
- In the same pan, add ½ tablespoon to 1 tablespoon oil and onions. Sauté the onions for 3-4 minutes, stirring often and scraping any browned bits off the bottom of the pot. Add the ginger and garlic and sauté another 1-2 minutes, then add the sweet potatoes and stir well to combine.
- Add the tomato sauce, peanut butter, spices, spinach, and broth. Stir to combine. Simmer and cover for 1 hour or until sweet potatoes are tender and meat is cooked through.
Instant Pot Instructions
- Set your Instant Pot to sauté and add cooking oil. When oil is hot, add onion and garlic, and sauté until onions are brown, about 2 minutes. NOTE: If adding meat, first brown the meat in the oil, then add onion and garlic, and continue to sauté until onions are brown, about 2 minutes.
- Add remaining ingredients (minus toppings) and sauce, then stir to combine. Pressure cook on high power for 20 minutes, then allow a natural release of the pressure.
- After pressure is released, remove the lid and transfer contents to bowls for serving.
Crock Pot – Slow Cooker Instructions:
- Place diced sweet potatoes, carrots, and broth into the crock pot. Set on low while you make the rest of the stew.
- OPTIONAL STEP (if adding meat). Place meat of choice in frying pan with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Brown for 5 minutes, then add onion and garlic. Continue to saute until onions are brown, about 2 minutes. Place browned meat and onion to the crock pot with the veggies and broth. Mix to combine.
- Make the sauce by placing all sauce ingredients listed into a blender or food processor. Alternatively, use a whisk to mix by hand. Blend until creamy and smooth.
- Add sauce to the crock pot, along with spinach and remaining seasonings, then stir to combine.
- Cover and cook on low for 4 ½ to 5 hrs or high for 3 hours. Note: If you cook on high, check for doneness after 2 hours
- When the stew is ready, ladle it over individual bowls of hot rice. Garnish with cilantro, chopped roasted peanuts, and optional spicy peppers of choice.
- If you don’t have ground coriander, you may use ¾ teaspoon ground cumin.
- You can make this with beef, chicken, pork, or turkey. Or, to make it vegetarian/vegan without meat, simply add in chickpeas.
- Nutrition shown below is for 1 serving, without meat or rice
- Prep Time: 1 hour
- Cook Time: 3 hours
- Category: main
- Method: slow cooker
- Cuisine: African
- Serving Size:
- Calories: 264
- Sugar: 9.3 g
- Sodium: 396.9 mg
- Fat: 14.4 g
- Saturated Fat: 2.9 g
- Carbohydrates: 25.3 g
- Fiber: 5.4 g
- Protein: 12.1 g
- Cholesterol: 8.4 mg
Keywords: African peanut stew, crockpot stew, spicy stew, West African peanut stew
OTHER HEALTHY SOUP RECIPES HERE! This recipe is part of our 10 Healthy Soups, Chili and Stew Instant Pot / Slow Cooker Recipes collection. Check it out!
Alright my friends, let me know if you have questions or give this stew a whirl!
So what is the serving size? shows nutritional information but not size.
Good question! So it makes 5 servings, around 1 1/4 cup to 1 1/2 cups each serving, give or take. Depends on how big you cut the potatoes and add chicken. Does that make sense?
My family loved this easy IP recipe! I kept it vegan by using a can of chickpeas for added protein. My 14 month old ate it up. Sweet potatoes AND peanut butter?! His favorites! I left off any spice to make it more family friendly 👍
**spice meaning heat**
I added some sriracha to my bowl for a kick.
I’m so glad! and yes, it’s an odd combo that totally works! haha. We top it with jalapeno but sriracha sounds perfect. Thanks Kathryn!
This was outstanding! Thank you for sharing. I was skeptical after mixing the peanut butter and tomato but after cooking for an hour it was delicious. I think this will be on my menu for my next dinner party. By the way it pairs great with Prosecco. Merry Christmas.
Oh I’m so glad! Love that wine pairing too! 🙂 Cheers Lisa! Merry christmas
Would this pair well with coconut rice in your opinion? I am going to make this tomorrow.
I think so! It’s heavenly on everything. 🙂
Wow, this was delicious! I just found your blog while searching for naturally dairy-free & gluten-free recipes & I’m so excited to try more after this hit. I made it with chicken thighs, had kale instead of the spinach, but otherwise followed the recipe. I doubled it for my family of 7 & I’m thrilled that I will have enough for leftovers tomorrow. Everyone from my 2 year old up to my adult “kids” said it needs to be on our regular rotation. Thank you!
Yay for leftovers and a family favorite! This soup also freezes well so you can make it ahead of time if needed. Love that your 2 year old approved it too Beth 👏
I made this recipe just as written, and it is wonderful! I will definitely make it again and again!
I’m so glad! Thanks for feedback Andrea!
Can kale be used instead of spinach?
Sure! Just might need to be trimmed and massaged a little before adding to pot. That way it cooks similar to spinach with the soup. Does that make sense? . .
Could you substitute sweet potatoes for regular potatoes?
I use sweet potatoes in the recipe. Did you mean to ask if you could use regular potato?
Yes. Could you use regular potatoes In place of the sweet potatoes? 🙂
Sure! I think that should work just fine. KEep me posted!
This was so delicious! We used chicken thighs and paired it with brown jasmine rice for a hearty winter meal. Our 7 year old loved it and asked for seconds. Next time we will try the chickpeas for a veggie version. Love that it can be made mild or spicy to taste.
Oh I love that! yes, i’ve had many kiddos try (and love) this dish. Must be that peanut butter. Hehe.
I used to frequent a little african restaurant downtown Seattle and most often got their vegetarian mafe. That was years ago and living in northern Maine, you r not likely to get mafe and oh how I have missed it. This is the best recipe for mafe I have tries. It is closest to my memories if that little restaurant. It is easy, so tasty and it’sperfectly balanced. Thank you so much
Oh yaayy!! I love hearing this! You’re welcome, Robin!
I really wanted to like this recipe and the flavors were there. However, I made it in the IP and it turned out so soupy. I used 1 lb of chicken so I added 3 cups of liquid. However, I was thinking about it and the IP does not really allow for liquid evaporation like the stovetop method would so I am wondering if the liquid amount needs reduced for the IP. Just a thought! I will make again but on the stovetop next time!
Just sent you email! Hope it helps. Try 2 cups next time in IP. THanks for feedback!
There is an incredible amount of flavor in this awesome stew! I loved it! I am always thrilled when I try something out of my comfort zone and it is wonderful!
Hello! This looks and sounds wonderful!!! I do need your thoughts…. I am unable to eat tomatoes and peanuts. Severe allergic reaction. What would you suggest instead of tomato’s??? And could I use a different nut butter, perhaps Almond or cashew? Thank you in advance!
Just emailed you! You could try using beet/pumpkin puree instead of tomato. Or maybe even pureed roasted bell peppers? I have tried this with almond butter and sunflower seed butter as well. Totally works! Hope that makes sense.
This was a huge hit at my house!! It quickly became a favorite!
This is so warm and comforting. I absolutely love the flavors!
So glad you love it! Thanks, Lauren!
Excellent!!! Will definitely make again! I made the mistake of adding 2 tablespoons of cayenne pepper and two tablespoons of crushed red pepper instead of two teaspoons of each but I think it gave it the right amount of heat. Loved it!
Nice! Haha, love the extra heat. 🙂
I used to make this recipe all the time in my crock-pot, but since moving to a mirco-sized apartment, my crockpot no longer fits in the world’s smallest sink to wash, and I don’t have a dishwasher! Any tips if I can cock this on a stovetop?
Oh no! We need to get you a larger sink. Do you have an instant pot? There is a slow cooker setting. But for stove top, I would brown meat with onion, drain the grease, and add to a large stock pot. Then add veggies and broth. Stir together. Cooking on medium heat. Once your sauce is ready, add that to the stock pot and bring to a quick boil for 1-2 minutes, then reduce to medium low and simmer for 20-30 minutes or until sweet potatoes are cooked through. Serve over rice and garnish with same herbs/peanuts, salt/pepper to taste. Does that make sense? I haven’t tried it but I think that should work! Keep me posted!
This recipe is amazing! Great flavor, excellent bit of heat, hearty. I froze it and am now having it for lunch. So good!
This is delicious. My family loved it. I make a similar peanut butter chicken curry that they love so I figured it would be a hit. Left out a lot of the chillies/chilli flakes as my kids wouldn’t eat it otherwise, but it was still really full of flavour and will definitely be something we make again!
Oh I’m so glad you’re family approved Claire
This looks delicious, and I will definitely be trying this (with modifications), but I thought I would mention that this recipe is not Low FODMAP. The sweet potato, onion and chicken broth (contains onion and ‘spices’) all make it not a LOW option. However, I’m sure substitutions can be made and it will still taste lovely. Thanks for sharing!
Also the garlic, but it looks like that could be easily replaced by garlic infused oil.
Very true! I will make note of that. I should have said easily adaptable. Thanks for feedback Amey!
According to Monash sweet potatoes are a low FODMAP food. Although there is a limit of 75-100g for a low FM diet it’s a great source of Vit A and an important component of many low FODMAP recipes. You can obtain low FODMAP chicken broth or like me make your own.
This recipe is great and I couldn’t care less about the anti-gluten religion — provided one knows that most North Africans are Muslim and don’t eat pork. Neither do Jews (me); so, I substitute chicken thighs. Very tasty
Glad it worked out Stephen! Chicken sounds perfect
HI! Your recipe says it freezes well – do you cook and then freeze or just do all the prep and freeze the ingredients? Thanks!
I usually cook it first, then freeze. Then just reheat before serving. Does that make sense?
Hi Lindsay! I just discovered your site through a link on the MyFitnessPal.com website.
I eat gluten and dairy free AND I am trying to loose a bit of weight!
I too used to live in West Africa, Ghana in fact, a long long time ago! Lovely people!
I would like to try your Fiery Slow Cooker Peanut Stew. Can you tell me if the recipe would work in any size crock pot?
Mine is a 5qt oval shape. any adjustments required?
Thanks – great site!
Hi Louise! Great to connect! Love that you lived in West Africa! FUN! As far as the soup goes, I used a 6 quart slow cooker so i think 5 quart will do just fine. No prob! keep me posted
Hi there, what do you mean by tomato sauce? like ketchup or passata?
So in the UK or Australia it’s probably similar to salsa or ketchup. Either would work! Does that makes sense?
sounds good to me, thanks
I looked at several recipes for African peanut stew before deciding to try yours, because I liked that I could use a crock pot! I found it bland as-is; note that I made this vegetarian with chickpeas. I added a lot more coriander, cayenne pepper, and ginger. I also added cumin and a pinch of turmeric for an “earthy” flavor. If I make it again, I’ll add more garlic and ginger and a pinch more salt.
I’m sorry to hear that. I will definitely take note and suggest that in recipe. Did you use crushed red pepper flakes And the bonnet peppers?
I made it per the recipe, and got bland too, the only spice was the serrano pepper I put on top (didn’t feel like driving to the international grocery for a scotch bonnet or other pepper). Swear I followed the recipe other than just a bit more spinach–didn’t want to waste it so I tossed it in so it wouldn’t die in my veggie drawer! I’ll still tag it on instagram, even if I prob will try a different recipe instead of this one. Made the crab-avocado-cucumber salad last night and enjoyed it.
Thanks for the feedback Stacy! I’ll be sure to make more notes in the recipe. I added bonnet peppers on top, extra cayenne, and red pepper flakes. It was spicy. But I also know a lot of readers like me to post the blander versions first. Good to know that you prefer a kick of spice! Updating recipe in a bit and I hope you continue to try my recipes. Feel free to comment or reach out ANYTIME you have questions or need substitutes, tips, etc.
Hi! I am confused about the prep time. It says 10 hours but it does not seems like it should take very long at all. Is there a step that I am missing?
lol sorry! It’s suppose to be 1 hr. Sorry! Typos . Will fix. Thank you!
when i lived in west africa it was always made with chicken (so many muslims you didn’t see a lot of pork in dishes) and we always had toppings to add…bananas, peanuts, coconut flakes, etc kinda like if you wee making curry… beaux actually thinks this sounds good so we are gonna buy a crockpot just so we can make this 🙂 thanks!!
Oh same here! We usually had it with chicken but I thought pork would give it a little more tender meat texture. Hope you guys enjoy! Hi to beaux!!
I love my crock pot. So versatile. The west african peanut stew looks yummy!
It so is! let me know if you try it friend!
The Wooden Spoon
Perfect timing- I’m just about to make this. I agree about West African food- SO GOOD and pretty easy on a GF diet! Going back in a few weeks and I can’t wait!
oh fun! keep us posted on your travels!
Kristy from Southern In Law
This looks amaaaaaaaaaaazing! I loveeee experimenting with different cuisines so I’ve got to try this!
You’d love Kristy! Let me know if you try it!
When I hit the lottery I am hiring you as a personal chef, start planning;)
let’s do it!
What an amazing story Lindsay! I love experiencing the cooking of other cultures.. This looks so perfect for a warm and cozy fall night. 🙂
This is making me miss Africa; wow it looks and reminds me of the peanut stew we had there with chicken and peanut butter. It was AMAZING. And the simplicity of the food was so easy on my system. I think it made me crave more simplicity when I got home.
you went too? Oh how i miss the people and simplicity! let’s go back!
Sarah- A Whisk and Two Wands
If I didn’t already tell you think looks amazing! So delicious and full of spice, serious comfort food! My husband would love this and honestly if my tummy did I would too but I bet I could modify it for me.
oh no, what’s your tummy not like? maybe we can fix that!
I love African peanut stew but haven’t had it in ages and have never made it in a crockpot. Definitely a must try, though I may have to tone down the “fiery” for our wimpy taste buds 🙂
totally do-able! it’s easy to make less spicy.
YUM!!!!!! Adding this to the menu this week!!!!!
yay! let me know whatcha think
Lauren @ The Bikini Experiment
This is another wonderful recipe. Sweet potato, spinach and peanut butter, all my favs.
mine too friend!
I might have to make this with NuttZo…I wonder how it would turn out! Looks DELISH! XOXO
OMG pure genius! so so try it and report back!
Laura @ Mommy Run Fast
I have a global cookbook with an African peanut stew recipe- I think we only made it once, but yum! Love your story too- I also did a few missions trips in high school and college that were some of the best memories I have… challenging, but amazing, like you said!
oh you so make it again! let me know whatcha think if you do!
Made a version of this with Sunbutter but now that I’ve reintroduced peanut butter I’m making this Monday!!! Yum!
That’s genius! I must try with sun butter!
Erin @ The Almond Eater
These photos are stunning and this recipe sounds to die for– so so so much flavor!
gretchen | kumquat
looks delicious! and i’m a sucker for anything with a peanut sauce… this one may just find its way onto my dinner table next week.
Oh please do! And keep me posted
One of my favorite stews was at an African restaurant. It was a black eyed pea stew and the flavors were so amazing. I could have bathed in it. This reminds me of that. Happy Friday Love.
Love all the combo of spices- this looks so comforting and filling! Pinned for later 🙂
Brittany @ Delights and Delectables
I’ll be over tonight. YUM! How did you know that this is my favorite soup?!?
Megan @ Skinny Fitalicious
Now you’re making me miss my peanut butter quinoa soup! I need to try your version looks extra spicy!
let’s trade! PS you website is back! YAY!
Cara's Healthy Cravings
can we just be neighbors already? I would love sharing and learning with you!!
Cara's Healthy Cravings
How fabulous would that be!?
Hopefully I will be back in your neck of the woods again in the near future and the timing will work out a bit better 🙂
Peanut butter, slow cooker, and sweet potatoes all in one recipe? Sounds like a dinnertime win!
And I can’t believe that you have been to Africa. You are a well-traveled lady!
haha i am. I started living abroad when I was 12. My parents didn’t like me. Kidding.
Susie @ SuzLyfe
You know I love spicy! I find African flavors really interesting–I love the spice blends, and the textures are so intriguing!
OMG it’s freakin amazing. Like really! We made it for my whole family and they loved it. Like they don’t even like spicy and they did. Gah… make it. For reals!