Jerk Chicken Recipe – Spicy marinated chicken that is grilled to perfection! Bring some of the Caribbean home with this super easy recipe.
This post is sponsored by Princess Cruises. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.
I am kind of excited to share this recipe with you today. It has been on my list of recipes to make for a couple years now! But after the recent Caribbean cruise it had to make it to the top of my list of things to make right away. I was on the Caribbean Princess sailing with Western Caribbean in March and enjoyed quite a few local meals on different islands.
While in Cozumel we had the most epic lunch where I had to recreate the Homemade Corn Tortillas from. When we visited Roatan and Belize we also had a delicious spiced chicken with rice and beans that was delicious. So a Caribbean style chicken was definitely on the menu when I got home.
This is a Jamaican Jerk Chicken, which is traditional to Jamaica, but is also pretty prevalent around the Caribbean. A couple years ago when I went on the Panama Canal cruise we had jerk chicken while in Jamaica, and it was so good! Seems fitting that I am finally sharing it after another Caribbean cruise.
So what is Jerk Chicken?
Jerk is a style of cooking in Jamaica. It can be a wet marinade usually made with scotch bonnet peppers or it can be a dry rub of spices. Then the meat is grilled. It gets a smoky taste from the grill with spice from the peppers and tons of flavor from the other spices that are involved.
This jerk chicken marinade is full of garlic, onion, ginger, salt, pepper, brown sugar, nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon, lime, olive oil and peppers. I used a jalapeno pepper, because that is what is easy to find, but a scotch bonnet pepper is traditional. So if you can find that, definitely swap it out! To make the jerk marinade you just add all the ingredients into a small food processor or blender and process until it is smooth.
The longer the chicken sits in the marinade the more flavor it is going to have. I like to let it sit for at least 4 hours, but up to overnight works well too! I usually mix it together in the morning and let it sit in the fridge all day. The chicken is super tender, spicy, and full of so much flavor after it is grilled at dinner time.
How to Make Jerk Chicken
- Throw all of the ingredients together in a small food processor and process until smooth
- It helps to have the onion, garlic, ginger, and jalapeno chopped adding to the food process. It just makes the marinade smoother.
- Chicken thighs are my favorite to use for Jamaican Jerk chicken. The chicken stays super moist.
- Chicken thighs have a lot of fat on them, so I do remove a decent amount of the skin before marinading. The help does keep it moist and tender, so don’t remove all of it!
- Place the chicken and marinade in a plastic storage bag and squish everything around until the chicken is coated.
- Store in the fridge for at least 4 hours up to overnight.
- Grill chicken over high heat for about 10 minutes per side until cooked through.
Jamaican Jerk Chicken is great served with rice, beans, and even some homemade guacamole. I love grilling in the summer. These Chicken Skewers are one of my favorite, but this chicken might take over that spot. My family loves things spicy, so this is a huge hit with them. If you like things a little milder, you can omit the cayenne pepper. And if you like it hot, add more! And if you love jerk flavors check out these Jerk Salmon Burgers.
I am excited that I can bring part of the Caribbean home with me! Getting to make favorites from your vacations at home is one of the best parts of traveling. You get to experience the world and then continue to enjoy it at home.
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- 2 pound chicken thighs
- 2 Tbls olive oil
- 1 lime, juiced
- 2 Tbls onion, finely chopped
- 1 Tbls ginger, minced
- 1 jalapeno, finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 Tbls brown sugar
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp allspice
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- In a small food process or blender mix all of the ingredients for the marinade together and process until smooth.
- Add chicken and marinade to a plastic bag and squish around until everything is well coated. Place in fridge for 4 hours to overnight.
- Heat grill to high heat. Grill chicken for about 10 minutes per side until fully cooked.
- Serve immediately
Cooking time is for bone in chicken thighs, adjust if using boneless or a thicker different cut of chicken.
If you like this mild, omit the cayenne pepper.
Amount Per ServingCalories 391 Total Fat 26g Saturated Fat 7g Trans Fat 0g Unsaturated Fat 19g Cholesterol 194mg Sodium 1041mg Carbohydrates 7g Fiber 1g Sugar 3g Protein 36g