Jerk Chicken is a delightful Caribbean chicken recipe that is spicy, sweet, zesty, and has the most delicious crispy skin. Marinating the chicken overnight makes it flavorful and juicy.
If you love grilled chicken recipes, try this Grilled Honey Balsamic Chicken, Grilled Chipotle Chicken with Pineapple Salsa, Grilled Hawaiian Teriyaki Chicken Skewers, or this Southwest Grilled Chicken Salad with Candied Bacon.
Hi! It’s Natasha here from Salt & Lavender bringing you this tasty grilled jerk chicken recipe. It’s actually pretty easy to make your own jerk seasoning blend. There’s many different variations out there. This version makes it easy by using a combination of ground spices plus fresh lime juice, ginger, and chili peppers. Allspice is a key ingredient that I would not leave out when making this marinade. It’s easily found in most grocery stores in the spice aisle.
Jerk chicken ingredients
- Chicken thighs and drumsticks
- Brown sugar
- Ground allspice, cinnamon, and nutmeg
- Garlic powder
- Dried thyme
- Fresh ginger
- Lime juice
- Chili peppers (use habanero, scotch bonnet, or serrano)
What cut of chicken to use?
I recommend using bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs and/or drumsticks. They hold up well to grilling, and they remain moist. You could even cut up a whole chicken if you feel comfortable doing that. You can use boneless skinless chicken breasts, but they tend to dry out.
How to make jerk chicken
- Combine marinade ingredients in a bowl. Stir until everything is combined.
- Add chicken pieces to a large ZipLoc bag.
- Pour the marinade into the ZipLoc and toss until the chicken is coated.
- Marinade at least 12 hours (up to 24 hours or so). Overnight works well.
- Grill or roast the chicken in the oven (further instructions are provided in the recipe card below).
- Garnish with chopped scallions.
How to grill jerk chicken
Oil the grill’s grate and cook the chicken pieces over medium-high heat until they’re cooked through (approximately 25 minutes). Every grill varies, so it’s important to use your best judgement so it doesn’t burn. I recommend keeping an eye on it while it’s cooking (don’t just leave it), turning it frequently, and if it looks like the skin is getting too charred, turn down the heat and/or move it to a cooler part of your BBQ. Internal temperature of the chicken should reach 165F before you eat it.
How to make jerk chicken in the oven
Preheat oven to 400F. Arrange chicken pieces in a baking dish or a foil-lined baking sheet. Roast chicken for 35-45 minutes. Ensure the chicken’s internal temperature is 165F prior to eating it. For extra crispy skin, broil it for a few minutes at the end if needed.
What to serve with jerk chicken
You can’t go wrong with rice, pasta, or a salad. Or try these Garlic Parmesan Green Beans with Bacon.
- If you can’t find habanero peppers, try serrano peppers or scotch bonnet peppers. I’ve also made this with jalapeno peppers, but they aren’t quite as spicy, so I suggest using one jalapeno if you want this recipe to be milder.
- I always keep a piece of fresh ginger in my freezer (in a resealable bag or Tupperware container). It makes it so much easier to grate, and I’m never without ginger that way.
More tasty chicken recipes you may like:
- 8 pieces bone-in skin on chicken (I used drumsticks and thighs)
- 2 tablespoons (packed) brown sugar
- 1/2 tablespoon ground allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
- 3 habanero or serrano peppers (chopped finely)
- Juice of 1 lime
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- Scallions, for garnish (to taste)
- Mix all the marinade ingredients (everything except the scallions) together in a bowl.
- Add the chicken pieces to a large ZipLoc.
- Pour the marinade over the chicken and toss to coat. Let the chicken marinade at least 12 hours (up to 24 hours). I like to rotate the bag once halfway through if I remember just so the marinade is evenly distributed.
- Oil the grill's grate and cook the chicken pieces over medium-high heat until they're cooked through (approximately 25 minutes). Every grill varies, so it's important to use your best judgement so it doesn't burn. I recommend keeping an eye on it while it's cooking (don't just leave it), turning it frequently, and if it looks like the skin is getting too charred, turn down the heat and/or move it to a cooler part of your BBQ. Internal temperature of the chicken should reach 165F before you eat it. Oven method: Preheat oven to 400F. Arrange chicken pieces in a baking dish or a foil-lined baking sheet. Roast chicken for 35-45 minutes. Ensure the chicken's internal temperature is 165F prior to eating it. For extra crispy skin, broil it for a few minutes at the end if needed.
- Serve chicken with chopped scallions.
- This chicken is meant to be spicy. If you want a milder version, use one jalapeno pepper instead of the suggested spicier peppers.
All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods and portion sizes per household.
Very nicely written blog. I am a big fan of your blog and writing style.
thank you for this recipe, I always meant to make this dish since I love the flavors in jerk chicken, so thank you for the recipe and the inspiration!