Jamaican Jerk Seasoning – Save your money and make your jerk spices right at home. This deliciously volatile spice blend with garlic, onion, allspice, ginger, thyme, and cayenne pepper, among other fabulous spices, is super easy to customize. It’s so versatile that you can use it for fish, chicken, meat, and even pasta.
Did I mention what happened when I cleaned my pantry? Several jars of spice mixes were sitting on the shelf, patiently waiting for me to use them. And it broke my heart to see the expiration date had come and gone. One more reason it’s better to make these blends yourself.
Not only do homemade seasonings taste way better, but they’re also cost-effective!
Take this Jamaican jerk seasoning, for example. I already had the spices I needed for this mix, and I didn’t have to get more.
The Advantages of Homemade Jamaican Jerk Seasoning
Did you know I had two jars of jerk spices just chilling in the pantry? Has that happened to you, too? Yeah, I know it was money down the drain. So I’ll think twice before buying spice mixes again because every penny counts. In addition, homemade tastes way better!!!!
After the money consideration, then comes the customization advantage.
You can adjust the spices to your likes, leaving out the ones you can’t stand and adding more of what you adore.
My son had fun making his own unique blend. He thought it needed some sweetness, so he added a tad more coconut sugar. I was happy he enjoyed the time we spent cooking together.
Jamaican Jerk Seasoning Ingredients
I don’t want the list to scare you because it’s just a bunch of herbs and spices that go great together. And if you don’t have one or two, don’t worry, it will still be great.
- Onion and Garlic Powder – These aromatics may not be as intense as the next group, but you’d still miss them if they weren’t there.
- Ginger, Cinnamon, Allspice, and Nutmeg – You may think these are a little weird, but trust me, they add zing to the not-your-ordinary spice mix.
- Thyme, White Pepper, Smoked Paprika – The minty earthiness of thyme and smokiness of paprika always make savory dishes better. But you can replace the smoked paprika with ground chipotle if you really love the heat.
- Coconut Sugar – A natural sweetener that happens to be acceptable on many healthy diets. However, you can replace it with brown sugar if you prefer.
- Bouillon Powder – Vegetable, chicken, Maggie, it’s all good.
- Hot Pepper – Chili, cayenne pepper, pepper flakes, whatever you happen to have on hand will work.
- Dried Green Onion Flakes (optional) – These are easy to make at home. Just chop green onions and let them dry 2-3 days out in the sun during the summer months (or in a low oven for a few hours). Store in an airtight container, and save them for garnishes or add flavor.
How to Make Jerk Seasoning
Mix the ingredients in a medium bowl, then store your Jamaican jerk seasoning in an airtight jar. How easy is that?
This recipe is fun because you can play with the ingredients. As long as you have hot pepper (Scotch bonnet is usual), thyme, and allspice, you can add just about anything else you want.
Jerky comes from the Quechua word charqui, dried and preserved meat. The name stuck to the spice mixture that resulted from the fusion of Amerindian and African cultures, and it’s a particular method of spicing and slow roasting meat over a smokey fire.
No, it isn’t. Cajun seasoning is mainly herbs and hot pepper. Jerk seasoning enjoys spices such as allspice, ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg that you won’t find in Cajun mixes.
How to Use and Store It
It’s typically used for chicken and pork, but, honestly, it goes great on just about any meat or fish. You can use it to replace Cajun or blackened seasonings for delicious results. Grilled jerk chicken is one of my absolute faves. Then Caribbean jerk BBQ ribs are a must-have for cookouts. And leftovers from either one make drool-worthy jerk tacos.
I store my jerk seasoning sealed in a glass jar on my spice rack. It should last two years if you don’t use it before that.
More Easy Seasonings to Try
Whenever I use this spice, which has been on a weekly rotation (with diverse proteins and sides), my son wants to use his creation, so I let him. It makes me feel good that he wants to be involved with meal preparation. Oh, and don’t forget, this spice mix is perfect for BBQ season. Enjoy!!!
Watch How To Make It
This blog post was first published in April 2015 and has been updated with an additional write-up and a video.
Jamaican Jerk Seasoning Recipe
- 1½ tablespoon (15 g) onion powder
- 1½ tablespoon (15 g) garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon ( 5 g) ground ginger
- 1 tablespoon ( 5 g) dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon (2 g) white pepper, freshly ground
- ½ tablespoon (3.5 g) cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon (7 g) ground allspice
- 1 tablespoon (7 g) smoked paprika
- ½ tablespoon (3.5 g) ground nutmeg
- 2-3 tablespoons (28-42 g) coconut sugar, or replace with brown sugar
- ½-1 tablespoon (5-10 g) vegetable bouillon. chicken, or Maggi powder and adjust to suit tastes
- 1 tablespoon ( 5 g) hot pepper, or more (Scotch bonnet, cayenne pepper, or pepper flakes) adjust to tastes
- 2 tablespoons (10 g) dried green onion flakes, optional (see notes)
- Mix all ingredients in a bowl, then pour them into a glass jar with a lid. The mix should last up to two years on the spice shelf.
Tips & Notes:
- Dried Green Onion Flakes are easy to make. Just chop green onions and let them dry 2-3 days out in the sun during the summer months (or in a low oven for a few hours). Store in an airtight container, and save them for garnishes or add flavor.
- Please keep in mind that the nutritional information is a rough estimate and can vary significantly based on the products used in the recipe.