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How to Cook Jamaican Chicken Foot Soup

Learn how to make the traditional Jamaican chicken foot soup.

Learn how to make the traditional Jamaican chicken foot soup.

Making the Most of Chicken Feet

I don't know how many people actually use chicken feet in their cuisine, but many of my people do. The only way I will eat it is if it is in soup. There are other methods of cooking chicken feet, but I must admit I don't like them much at all. Some people curry the feet, stew them, or add them to stewed peas—but not me.

In my household, we only make this dish once in a while, maybe every four to six months or so. The only reason why we use it is that it adds a nice richness to the soup, and it does taste like chicken.

Making This Soup

The only difference between making the chicken foot soup (as it's called in Jamaica) and making the beloved dish is that you cook the foot first by boiling it for a while. You use the same water it was cooked in to make the soup.

You have two choices for making the soup:

  1. Partially cook the chicken feet, then add veggies, and let it finish cooking.
  2. Cook the feet until it's very soft and falls apart, then remove the bones. Use stock to cook the soup.

Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

20 min

1 hour

1 hour 20 min

4 to 6 servings


  • 1 1/2 pounds chicken feet, cleaned and trimmed
  • 1 pound pumpkin, cut into chunks
  • 2 medium, chopped
  • 2 large white potatoes, cut into chunks
  • 1 medium chayote, cut into chunks
  • 1 pound yellow yam, cut into chunks
  • 1 green Scotch bonnet pepper
  • 2 stalks scallion
  • 1 bunch fresh thyme
  • 1 packet of soup flavoring/soup mix
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon pimento seed
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Water
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour, for dumplings
  • 1 cup plain flour, for dumplings


You can reduce cooking time by using a pressure cooker for your chicken feet, but before you start, you have to decide on your approach. If you are using the pressure cooker, it will cut your cooking time in half, but you would need to prepare your vegetables beforehand.

You don't need to peel the pumpkin or the potatoes. Leaving the skin on will add more nutrients to the dish. So just use a soft bristle brush (I sometimes use a Scotch-Brite pad) to scrub the potato. You can rinse the pumpkin skin thoroughly before cutting.

Chop and cut your veggies and set aside. Let's start cooking!


  1. In your favorite stock/soup pot, place 8 cups of water with your pimento seeds and smashed garlic cloves. If you are opting for the pressure cooker, use 4 cups of water and pressure for 10 minutes.
  2. Bring water to a boil, then add chicken feet that have been cleaned and prepped. If you're using a pressure cooker, after pressuring, add 4 more cups of water and bring to a boil.
  3. When chicken feet are tender, add pumpkin and cook for 15 minutes or until the soup starts to turn the color of the pumpkin.
  4. Add your other vegetables and dumplings and cook on medium, covered, for 20 minutes.
  5. Add soup mix, scallion, and green Scotch bonnet pepper (this will not be spicy). Add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Cover and let simmer on medium-low until soup starts to thicken and all vegetables are cooked.

Make the Dumplings

  1. Combine both flours and add a pinch of salt. Add water a little at a time and use your fingers to form the dough.
  2. When the dough is formed, use the heel of your palm to knead for two minutes. The dough should not be too sticky or dry.
  3. To make dumplings, pinch off a golf-ball-sized amount and make a ball with your hands. Slightly flatten the balls with your fingers, and add them to your soup!

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© 2012 Carolee Samuda