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There’s no Jerk Here Jerk Chicken!

Rich, caribbean, soul bending flavor that will delight your next dinner party or feed your family to total satisfaction because there’s No JERK HERE jerk chicken. 

Close up of a platter of grilled jerk chicken thighs

Jerk Chicken Marinade

Why This Recipe Works

  • Intensely flavorful
  • Easy Make Ahead Marinade
  • Toasted and ground spices always work BEST! 

Here’s How to Make Jerk Chicken

STEP 1. 

Collect your spices and toast them.

Whole spices in pan for toasting

Making the Jerk Chicken Marinade

 

STEP 2. 

Grind your ingredients in the blender and pour over the chicken placed in a ziplock type bag. 

"Chicken

STEP 3. 

Marinate overnight in the refrigerator and then bake in the oven. Finish off on the grill.

Chicken thighs on the grill with grill marks and flames

How to Make Jerk Chicken

 

What Do I Serve With Jerk Chicken? 

OH man! The sky’s the limit here! We recommend some sweet potato hash browns or classic mashed potatoes

Fruit Salsa makes a wonderful splash! French Fries are perfect as well and finish off with some lovely Southern Lemon Iced Tea! Just learning how to make Jerk Chicken will have you hosting dinner parties and feeling like an accomplished chef!

How to Make Jerk Chicken

To make jerk chicken, first toast the spices. Then using the blender, make a jerk chicken marinade by combining the other ingredients and spices. Place in a resealable bag, refrigerate up to 24 hours. Bake the jerk chicken and then finish on the grill.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) about How To Make Jerk Chicken.

Why Is Jerk Chicken Called Jerk? 

Jerk refers to a way of preparing meat that comes from Jamaica and involves making a Jerk Chicken Marinade out of pimento (pepper) but often scotch bonnet peppers and allspice. 

You’ll notice when eating jerk meats that you can often catch a hint of cinnamon which is especially true in this jerk Chicken. 

What Does Caribbean Jerk Chicken Taste Like? 

Caribbean Jerk Chicken marinade has a smoky, toasty, slightly sweet and slightly spicy flavor with a taste of cinnamon, pepper and cloves. Jerk Chicken is a complicated flavor that is much better than any commercial BBQ sauce you will find.

Can I Freeze This Jerk Chicken? 

Yes! Once this dish is cooked, place it in a freezer safe container and freeze for up to three months. Do not freeze the raw meat in its marinade. If for some reason you need to freeze the meat once it has been marinated, discard the marinade and freeze the meat for up to 3 months.

If the raw chicken was previously frozen, it’s best not to refreeze as the meat will lose quality. Here is an article from the USDA about that very thing. 

Is This Recipe for Jamaican Jerk Chicken Healthy? 

This probably depends on your definition of healthy! If you are a vegetarian, then no. However, if you like to eat foods with whole ingredients, flavored with seasoning that you know the contents of, then yes! Grilling meats is one of the more healthy ways to prepare foods! 

How Long Do I Marinate Jerk Chicken? 

The recipe calls for you to marinate it overnight, which means for up to 24 hours. However, you can safely marinate this chicken for just 2 hours and still have awesome flavor! 

Be sure to reserve some of the marinade before pouring it into the bag with the chicken so that you can paint some on while on the grill. 

Why Do I Bake or Roast This Chicken Before Grilling It? 

We want the chicken to be done all the way through without over cooking the skin of the chicken. You’ll find that this method works best for accomplishing that goal. 

If for some reason you MUST grill the chicken instead of using the oven (like you are camping), that is fine too. Just ensure that the chicken is cooked through completely. 

What If I Am Afraid that the Scotch Bonnet Pepper Will Be TOO Hot? 

If you are concerned about the heat of the scotch bonnet pepper, then make sure to white ribs and the seeds from the pepper completely. It is not really hot at all this way.

You can always add a less hot pepper like a poblano or a jalapeno pepper instead, but you will also want to make sure to remove the seeds and ribs. 

Why Do I Need To Toast the Spices First? 

Toasting the spices brings out extra flavor and adds a certain smokiness to the chicken. 

How Do I Grind the Spices? 

I use this coffee grinder. You can click the photo to go straight through to Amazon to compare prices, I am an Amazon affiliate so I do receive a commission should you decide to purchase (and if so, thanks!).

But mostly I want you to know what kind of grinder I am talking about and you can probably find one at your local big box store. 

black spice grinder with coffee beans in background

Why Do I Need to Grind My Own Spices When Those Spices Are Available Already Ground?

Because you will want to toast the whole spices for the best flavor. If you are in a hurry and need to add already ground spices and skip the toasting, then add 1/2 tsp of cinnamon and 1 Tbsp allspice and 1/2 tsp of black pepper. 

However, the flavors won’t be as intense or smoky in your final cooked dish. 

Tips and Tricks How to Make Jerk Chicken

  • This recipe really is best if you prepare the marinade the night before and allow the chicken to marinate overnight. 
  • You’ll be so happy with yourself if you toast the spices and then grind them yourself. You can use a coffee grinder to grind the spices.
  • I didn’t include photos of the marinade over the chicken because it is a greeny brown color and really isn’t appetizing at all. 
  • Starting these in the oven and then finishing on the grill gives the skin the PERFECT level of crunch and ensures that they inside of the chicken gets done.
  • I recommend using this recipe with chicken thighs as these are the most flavorful, however, it will work perfectly fine with chicken breasts bone in or out either one or even wings and drumsticks. Just adjust your cooking time. 

White platter holding 8 grilled jerk chicken pieces

If You Enjoyed This Recipe, You Might Also Enjoy…

Zesty Drunken Chicken

Easy Chicken and Veggies

Easy Oven Baked Fried Chicken

Simple Cha Cha Chicken

Sriracha Lime Chicken Skewers

 

grilled chicken thighs on white plate

How to Make Jerk Chicken

This is a knock your lips off delicious jerk chicken recipe that will be in your "fix for company" file and your "fix every week" file from now on.
5 from 7 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: main
Cuisine: American
Keyword: How to Make Jerk Chicken, jerk chicken
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 197kcal
Author: Loaves and Dishes

Ingredients

  • 1 nutmeg
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 Tbsp. whole coriander
  • 1 tsp. whole cloves
  • 6 allspice pods
  • 1 tsp. whole black peppercorns
  • 1 bunch of scallions
  • 1 large onion
  • 2-3 Scotch Bonnet Peppers
  • 10 sprigs of fresh Thyme
  • 10 garlic cloves
  • ½ Cup lime juice
  • 1 Cup Soy Sauce
  • ½ Cup Raw sugar
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 8 pieces of chicken. If doing all wings - 16 whole wings or 32 wingettes

Instructions

  • Combine nutmeg, cinnamon, coriander, cloves, allspice, black peppercorns in a frying pan and heat on medium high until toasted and fragrant. 3-4 minutes.
  • Place all of the ingredients listed in step one in a spice grinder and grind until powder. Set aside.
  • Combine scallions, onion, peppers, thyme, garlic in a blender or food processor and puree. Add lime juice, soy sauce and raw sugar and pulse until well combined. Add spices from step 2 and pulse till combined. If you do not want your chicken to be so spicy – remove seeds and ribs from pepper. You may use a different type of hot pepper if Scotch Bonnets are not available.
  • Score the chicken in a hash mark design on both sides. Salt and Pepper the chicken to taste. Place in a large bowl. Pour mixture from previous step over the top and make sure all pieces are well coated. Place plastic wrap over the top of the bowl and place into refrigerator over night or for 3+ hours.
  • After marinating overnight, preheat oven to 350. Place in a 9x13 baking dish and bake at 350 for 35 minutes.
  • Finish the chicken on the grill on medium heat until juices run clear
  • Allow to rest x 10 minutes before serving.

Notes

  • This recipe really is best if you prepare the marinade the night before and allow the chicken to marinate overnight. 
  • You'll be so happy with yourself if you toast the spices and then grind them yourself.  You can use a coffee grinder to grind the spices.  
  • I didn't include photos of the marinade over the chicken because it is a greeny brown color and really isn't appetizing at all. 
  • Starting these in the oven and then finishing on the grill gives the skin the PERFECT level of crunch and ensures that they inside of the chicken gets done.
  • I recommend using this recipe with chicken thighs as these are the most flavorful, however, it will work perfectly fine with chicken breasts bone in or out either one or even wings and drumsticks.  Just adjust your cooking time. 
PRO TIP:  If you don't have a grinder, substitute like amounts of the ground spice but do not attempt to toast those.  The result will be a slightly less intense seasoning flavor and you will lose the smoky flavor from the toasted spices.  Don't let that hold you back from making this dish though, because it is still one of the best on this site! 

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
How to Make Jerk Chicken
Amount Per Serving
Calories 197 Calories from Fat 18
% Daily Value*
Fat 2g3%
Saturated Fat 1g5%
Cholesterol 2mg1%
Sodium 3252mg136%
Potassium 336mg10%
Carbohydrates 42g14%
Fiber 5g20%
Sugar 28g31%
Protein 8g16%
Vitamin A 211IU4%
Vitamin C 26mg32%
Calcium 97mg10%
Iron 3mg17%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Tried this recipe?Mention @loavesanddishes or tag #loavesanddishes!

 

***This dish originally appeared on Loaves and Dishes on September 23, 2014 and has been entirely updated with “why this recipe works”, “Here’s how its done”, FAQ’s, New Alt tags for the photos, updated step by step instructions, nutrition information and video***

A VERSE TO SHARE

Just for fun, I thought I would look up verses about being a “jerk”. One of the verses was Matthew 10: 34. 

I have no idea why this verse is labeled “jerk” by Google, but there it is. 

This is the story where Jesus giving his charge to the disciples. I’ve reread this chapter 3 times in the past 10 minutes and it has such an ominous feel to it.

There’s nothing to be afraid of though, as a believer, you know where you are going and what your purpose is. 

Matthew 10:34

Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.

 

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Recipe Rating




Wendi Spraker

Friday 15th of November 2019

aggregate rating test two

Wendi Spraker

Friday 15th of November 2019

aggregate rating test

Kayla

Sunday 6th of October 2019

Made this for my Inlaws!! They were super impressed with my cooking abilities!

Wendi Spraker

Sunday 6th of October 2019

Hi Kayla, Glad you enjoyed it!

Moxie

Friday 2nd of February 2018

wondeful!

Mona

Thursday 28th of May 2015

Hmmmm can't wait to try....as I live close to you..can you tell me where you find these spices whole? Love this blog..thank you!

wendi.spraker@yahoo.com

Thursday 28th of May 2015

Sure! Our local grocery may or may not have the whole spices but I have had very good luck with finding these at Whole Foods, Fresh Market and Trader Joes. Whole Foods is my favorite for spices though. This chicken is awesome! I fixed it for my family again recently and everyone enjoyed it!

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