Jerk Chicken Marinade Recipe

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Jerk Chicken Marinade Recipe

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Jerk Chicken Marinade Recipe

Jerk Chicken Marinade Recipe

Jerk chicken marinade is the heart and soul of Jamaican cuisine, known for its vibrant, bold flavors and spicy kick. This marinade combines a mix of spices, herbs, and aromatics to create a tantalizing blend that transforms ordinary chicken into an explosion of flavor. Follow this simple recipe to make authentic jerk chicken marinade at home.


  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice (freshly squeezed)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1-2 Scotch bonnet peppers, chopped (adjust to taste)
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoons ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt


Preparing the Marinade

  1. Combine Liquid Ingredients: In a medium bowl, mix together soy sauce, olive oil, and lime juice until well combined.
  2. Add Aromatics: Stir in the minced garlic, minced ginger, and chopped green onions. Mix thoroughly to ensure even distribution.
  3. Incorporate the Scotch Bonnet Pepper: Carefully add the chopped Scotch bonnet peppers. Remember, these peppers are very hot, so adjust the quantity based on your spice tolerance. For a milder marinade, use only one pepper or remove the seeds and membranes.
  4. Blend the Spices: Add the dried thyme, ground allspice, ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, ground cloves, brown sugar, black pepper, and salt to the bowl. Stir well to combine all the ingredients.
  5. Mix Thoroughly: Ensure all ingredients are well mixed to create a smooth, consistent marinade.

Marinating the Chicken

  1. Prepare the Chicken: Use this marinade for approximately 4 chicken breasts or an equivalent amount of chicken thighs or drumsticks.
  2. Marinate the Chicken: Place the chicken pieces in a large ziplock bag or a shallow dish. Pour the marinade over the chicken, making sure each piece is thoroughly coated. Seal the bag or cover the dish and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight for the best flavor.

Tips for Perfect Jerk Chicken Marinade

  • Adjust Spice Level: The Scotch bonnet pepper is very hot. Adjust the quantity to suit your heat tolerance. For a milder version, use a milder pepper or remove the seeds from the Scotch bonnet.
  • Fresh Ingredients: Use fresh ingredients like lime juice, garlic, and ginger for a more vibrant and authentic flavor.
  • Marinate Longer: The longer you marinate the chicken, the more intense the flavor will be. Overnight marination is highly recommended.
  • Versatility: This marinade isn’t just for chicken. Try it with pork, shrimp, or tofu for a different but equally delicious experience.


This jerk chicken marinade recipe is a fantastic way to infuse your chicken with the rich, spicy flavors of Jamaican cuisine. With its perfect balance of heat, sweetness, and savory notes, this marinade will elevate your meals and impress your guests. Enjoy the bold and aromatic taste of the Caribbean right from your kitchen.