Jamaican food to me is full of bold and sometimes spicy flavors, it's ssoooo good and making my mouth water thinking about it. One of my favorite Jamaican dishes is jerk chicken (next would be Jamaican Oxtail Stew). I prefer spicy chicken but since everyone in my house doesn't tolerate as much spice like I do I went for a milder spice. This Caribbean jerk chicken recipe does not disappoint in flavor because it's packed with all types of spices. You need to make this for dinner TONIGHT!
Jerk Chicken Ingredients
Chicken- I use chicken legs aka drumsticks only in this recipe but you could use any part of the chicken you'd like. You could use individual pieces like chicken thighs, wings, leg quarters, or a whole chicken! Cooking time is going to vary for the whole chicken. Also if you want to use boneless skinless chicken breasts that will cook quicker as well. You do not want it to get dried out which happens easier with white meat, we want juicy chicken.
Vegetables- Green onions are used in the marinade as well as garnish. If you didn't have it on hand I would use red onion. Traditionally scotch bonnet peppers ,which is a very spicy pepper, is used. I use jalapeño peppers because I everyone does not like spicy foods in my house hold.
Fresh Herbs & Spices- Fresh thyme is used in this recipe and best but if all you have is dried, use 2 teaspoons. Brown sugar is used which doesn't make the chicken sweet at all but adds balance and helps caramelize the chicken skin. The spice mixture found in jerk seasoning dry rub is allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, salt, and black pepper.
Liquids- Lime juice provides great acid, olive oil adds fat, and soy sauce adds more salt and umami.
Let's Make Some Jerk Chicken!
Add all ingredients except the chicken into a food processor or blender and mix well to create a Jamaican jerk marinade. You can also mix everything together in a mixing bowl as seen in the photos. I’ve tried both ways and it comes out the same.
Add chicken and jerk sauce to a large resealable plastic bag. I sit the bag in a container just incase anything leaks and it's not all over the fridge. Marinate for at least 4 hours and up to overnight for maximum flavor.
Take the marinated chicken out of the fridge at least half hour before cooking to allow to get up to room temperature. Preheat oven to 350° and line a baking sheet with foil. Spray with cooking spray so chicken doesn't stick. Remove the chicken from the marinade and place chicken on the baking sheet with most skin side up. Discard the remaining marinade because it had raw chicken in it. Put the baking sheet in the oven and cook for 1 hour.
It's time to hit the broiler but watch the chicken under the broiler because it can burn FAST. Just need a couple minutes on each side. It will look like the real deal like it's straight off the grill.
You can serve coconut rice, rice & peas, white rice, brown rice, black beans, fresh pineapple salsa, fresh mango salsa, and/or plantains.
Hot peppers like scotch bonnets are typically used in a jerk marinade. The closest pepper would be a habanero. If you want it less less of a fiery heat, using a jalapeño would be the choice. I've even used a serrano pepper and it's been a flavorful sauce.
Other Chicken Recipes You May Enjoy!
- 10 chicken drumsticks
- 4 stalks of green onion
- 2 jalapeno peppers seeds removed and diced
- 8 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 4 tbsp soy sauce
- 4 tbsp light brown sugar
- 1 lime juiced
- 4 tsp allspice
- 2 tsp ground ginger
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 2 tsp nutmeg
- 2 tbsp fresh thyme
- 2 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp salt
- Add all ingredients except the chicken into a food processor or blender and mix well to create a jamaican jerk marinade.
- Add chicken and jerk sauce to a large resealable plastic bag. Marinate for at least 4 hours and up to overnight for maximum flavor.
- Take the marinated chicken out of the fridge at least half hour before cooking to allow to get up to room temperature and preheat oven to 350°.
- Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray so chicken doesn't stick. Remove the chicken from the marinade and place chicken on the baking sheet with most skin side up then discard the remaining marinade. Put the baking sheet in the oven and cook for 1 hour.
- Place chicken under the broiler for a couple of minutes on each side. Serve while hot.