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The Best Authentic Jamaican Jerk Chicken Recipe

by Nellie

This is the Best Authentic Jamaican Jerk Chicken recipe you will ever try! Made with flavorful spices, it’s a great dinner or lunch recipe!

Being the first American born in a Jamaican family means that we eat a LOT of Jamaican food all the time. One of the biggest staple recipes of jamaica is the infamous Jerk chicken!

If you have ever visited Jamaica, you will see plenty of Jerk Chicken spots on the sides of the road being smoked to perfection.

Today I am excited to share some of my culture with you and your family!

What is Jamaican Jerk Chicken?

Jerk chicken is a traditional Jamaican dish that is typically made by marinating chicken in a mixture of spices, including allspice, thyme, and Scotch bonnet peppers. The chicken is then grilled or roasted over a fire, giving it a smoky flavor.

Why is it called jerk chicken?

The term “jerk” comes from the Spanish word for ” dried,” which is ” charqui .” Jerk chicken is so named because the spice mixture used to marinate the chicken helps to preserve it, making it last longer.

What are the benefits of eating Jamaican jerk chicken?

Jerk chicken is a healthy dish that is packed with protein and flavor. The spice mixture used to marinate the chicken is also known to have health benefits, including aiding in digestion, relieving muscle pain, and boosting immunity.

You can either purchase a premade spice mixture (liquid) or make the marinade yourself with this homemade recipe.

Jerk Chicken FAQs

What are some helpful tips for making authentic Jamaican Jerk chicken?

1. Use scotch bonnet peppers for a signature spicy flavor. The heat of the pepper can be adjusted according to taste.

2. Gather spices like allspice, thyme, nutmeg, garlic, and onion powder to create a unique jerk seasoning blend.

3. Another option is to Marinate chicken pieces with a blend of jerk seasoning, oil, and citrus juice such as lime or orange for maximum flavor.

5. Take care not to overcook the chicken, as it can dry out in the oven.

6. Serve with coconut rice and peas, plantains and a cucumber salad for a complete meal. Enjoy!

7. To add an extra layer of flavor, brush the cooked chicken with a glaze made from the marinade, brown sugar and butter. This will give the chicken a delicious caramelized coating.

8. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different ingredients and spices to make each batch of Jamaican Jerk chicken unique. Consider adding herbs such as cilantro or parsley for added flavor or try using other types of poultry. Have fun with it! Enjoy the flavors of Jamaica in your own home kitchen. 

Can you freeze jerk chicken for later?

Yes, you can definitely freeze jerk chicken for later. After the chicken is cooked and cooled, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or an airtight container. Store it in the freezer for up to 3 months. To reheat, remove from the freezer and thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating in an oven or microwave until heated through.

Are there any health benefits associated with eating Jamaican jerk chicken?

Yes, there are several potential health benefits associated with eating Jamaican jerk chicken. The combination of spices in the jerk seasoning blend is known to have anti-inflammatory properties and can help boost the immune system.

Additionally, since the chicken is typically cooked in the oven or on a grill, it can be a healthy alternative to fried chicken. Finally, dark meat poultry like thighs and drumsticks are higher in iron than white meat, providing an additional source of nutrients. Enjoy this flavorful dish with its potential health benefits!

What are some different ways to prepare jerk chicken?

Jerk chicken can be prepared in a variety of ways. It can be grilled, roasted, or even steamed. You can also prepare jerk chicken using different types of poultry, such as turkey or duck. Additionally, you can bake your jerk chicken in the oven for a finished product that is crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.

No matter which method you choose, make sure to marinate the chicken for at least an hour in a blend of jerk seasoning and oil to ensure maximum flavor! Enjoy experimenting with different ways to prepare your delicious Jamaican jerk chicken.

What if I don’t have any scotch bonnet pepper?

If you do not have any scotch bonnet pepper, you can substitute with another type of hot pepper such as habanero or jalapeno. You may also want to adjust the amount of heat used in your jerk seasoning blend accordingly. Alternatively, if you prefer a milder flavor, you can use bell peppers instead.

What do you serve Jamaican Jerk chicken with?

There are many different ways to enjoy Jamaican jerk chicken. It is often served with authentic Jamaican rice and peas, as well as a variety of vegetables. Jerk chicken can also be served on its own as an entrée or added to sandwiches, wraps, and salads.

How long can you store Jamaican Jerk Chicken?

Jerk chicken can be stored in the fridge for up to four days. It can also be frozen for up to three months.

What is the best way to reheat Jamaican jerk chicken?

The best way to reheat Jamaican jerk chicken is in the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and place the chicken on a baking sheet. Bake for about 10-15 minutes, or until the chicken is heated through.

Is Jamaican Jerk Chicken gluten free?

Yes, Jamaican jerk chicken is naturally gluten free.

Is Jamaican Jerk Chicken dairy free?

Yes, Jamaican jerk chicken is naturally dairy free.

Is Jamaican Jerk Chicken keto friendly?

Yes, Jamaican jerk chicken is a great option for those on a ketogenic diet. The chicken is high in protein and low in carbs, making it a perfect keto-friendly meal.

Is Jamaican Jerk Chicken Paleo friendly?

Yes, Jamaican jerk chicken is a great option for those following a Paleo diet. The chicken is high in protein and free of grains, dairy, and legumes.

What is the nutritional value of Jamaican Jerk Chicken?

One serving of Jamaican jerk chicken (four ounces) contains approximately:

Calories: 200

Fat: 10 g

Saturated Fat: 2 g

Cholesterol: 70 mg

Sodium: 610 mg

Carbohydrates: 6 g

What ingredients are needed for the best Jamaican Jerk Chicken recipe?

  • 1 whole chicken cut in 10 pieces
  • salt and freshly ground pepper, to season
  • 1 tablespoon Jerk Seasoning
  • ½ tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon or 6g onion powder
  • 1 cup jerk marinade or jerk sauce

You can also buy Jerk Seasoning in the store just make sure you know which type of heat style you like, mild, medium or hot. It can get very hot so be careful!

My family absolutely loves this recipe and I hope you will too!

The Best Authentic Jamaican Jerk Chicken Recipe
Yield: 6 servings

The Best Authentic Jamaican Jerk Chicken Recipe

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Additional Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 45 minutes

This authentic Jamaican Jerk Chicken recipe is so good and easy to make!


  • 1 whole chicken cut in 10 pieces
  • salt and freshly ground pepper, to season
  • 1 tablespoon Jerk Seasoning
  • ½ tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 cup Jerk Marinade


  1. Trim chicken of excess fat and pat dry with a cloth or paper napkin.
  2. Rub with salt and freshly ground pepper, jerk seasoning, garlic, and onion powder. Set aside while you make the marinade (if applicable).
  3. Soak the chicken in the jerk marinade
  4. Drench the chicken with jerk marinade, place in a zip lock bag and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, preferably overnight. Try not to touch the jerk blend with your hands because it is can get hot. If possible, use gloves. Avoid touching face.
  5. When ready to bake, remove chicken from the jerk marinade and bake in oven at 425 degrees F. Reserve the remaining marinade.
  6. Bake the chicken for 25 minutes, until juices run clear with an internal temperature of 165 degrees F, turning often to optimize cooking and browning.
  7. In a small saucepan, simmer the remaining marinade and the one from the chicken for about 7 minutes. Serve with the chicken or put some on top before serving with rice and peas.

Nutrition Information



Serving Size


Amount Per Serving Calories 344Total Fat 22gSaturated Fat 5gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 15gCholesterol 88mgSodium 994mgCarbohydrates 7gFiber 0gSugar 3gProtein 29g

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Before you go, check out these great posts!

The Best Jamaican Rasta Pasta Recipe: Add Your Favorite Protein!

Delicious Authentic Jamaican Rice and Peas Recipe

Chicken Wings 3 Ways: Dry Rub, Buffalo & Caribbean Style

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Ledunkley September 5, 2022 - 1:46 pm

Can’t be authentic if you are using jerk powder and pre made marinade. To make your own seasoning is not that hard.

Nellie September 5, 2022 - 2:56 pm

I included a recipe for homemade jerk marinade


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