Jamaican Food Recipes Jerk Chicken

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Jamaican Food Recipes Jerk Chicken

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Jamaican Food Recipes Jerk Chicken

Jamaican Jerk Chicken Recipe: A Taste of the Caribbean

Jerk chicken is one of Jamaica’s most famous and beloved dishes. Known for its spicy, smoky, and flavorful profile, jerk chicken combines a variety of spices and ingredients to create a dish that’s bursting with taste. This recipe will guide you through making authentic Jamaican jerk chicken at home. Enjoy it with traditional sides like rice and peas, fried plantains, or festival bread.


For the Jerk Marinade:

  • 4-6 chicken thighs or drumsticks, skin-on
  • 3 tablespoons jerk seasoning (store-bought or homemade)
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 scotch bonnet pepper, minced (optional for extra heat)
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh thyme leaves


Step 1: Prepare the Jerk Marinade

  1. Combine the Ingredients:
    • In a blender or food processor, combine the jerk seasoning, soy sauce, vegetable oil, minced garlic, ground allspice, dried thyme, ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, ground ginger, black pepper, minced scotch bonnet pepper, lime juice, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, chopped scallions, chopped onion, and fresh thyme leaves.
    • Blend until the mixture forms a smooth paste.
  2. Marinate the Chicken:
    • Place the chicken thighs and drumsticks in a large resealable plastic bag or a bowl.
    • Pour the jerk marinade over the chicken, ensuring each piece is well coated.
    • Seal the bag or cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight for maximum flavor.

Step 2: Cook the Jerk Chicken

  1. Preheat the Grill:
    • Preheat your grill to medium-high heat.
    • If using a charcoal grill, set up a two-zone fire for indirect grilling.
  2. Grill the Chicken:
    • Remove the chicken from the marinade, shaking off excess marinade.
    • Place the chicken pieces on the grill, skin-side down.
    • Grill for about 6-8 minutes per side, or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F (75°C).
    • For a smoky flavor, add soaked wood chips to the charcoal or use a smoker box for a gas grill.
  3. Rest the Chicken:
    • Once the chicken is cooked, remove it from the grill and let it rest for a few minutes before serving.

Step 3: Serve the Jerk Chicken

  1. Traditional Sides:
    • Serve the jerk chicken hot with traditional Jamaican sides such as rice and peas, fried plantains, festival bread, or a fresh salad.

Tips for Success

  • Marination Time: For the best flavor, marinate the chicken overnight.
  • Control the Heat: Adjust the amount of scotch bonnet pepper to control the spiciness. For a milder version, remove the seeds or use less pepper.
  • Smoky Flavor: Using a charcoal grill and adding wood chips will give the chicken an authentic smoky flavor.

Homemade Jerk Seasoning Recipe

If you prefer to make your own jerk seasoning, here’s a simple recipe:


  • 1 tablespoon ground allspice
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar


  1. Mix the Spices:
    • In a small bowl, combine all the spices and mix well.
  2. Store the Seasoning:
    • Store the jerk seasoning in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. Use as needed.

Enjoy this authentic Jamaican Jerk Chicken recipe, a flavorful and spicy dish that brings the taste of the Caribbean to your kitchen!