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+ servings
6 pieces of jerk chicken on a plate

Jamaican Jerk Chicken

Jamaican Jerk Chicken – a well-seasoned grilled chicken with Jamaican jerk marinade that has the perfect balance of heat and sweetness. Amazingly tender, moist, and juicy chicken bursting with savory flavors on every bite.  You’ll want to make this all year round!
Course Main
Cuisine Caribbean, Jamaican
Prep Time 3 hours 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 35 minutes
Servings 6 -8
Calories 84kcal
Author Imma


Chicken Rub

  • 1 whole chicken cut in 10 pieces
  • salt and freshly ground pepper, to season
  • 1 tablespoon or 15g Jerk Seasoning
  • ½ tablespoon or 5g garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon or 6g onion powder

Jerk Marinade

  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 3 green onions, green and white parts chopped
  • 6-8 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • tablespoon fresh ginger, chopped
  • 2-4 habanero pepper, chopped
  • tablespoon or 22.5ml soy sauce
  • 2-4 tablespoon or 30 - 60g brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoon or 12g allspice, coarsely ground
  • 1 tablespoon or 8g cinnamon powder
  • ½ tablespoon or 3.5g nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon or 6g chicken bouillon powder, optional
  • ¼-½ cup or 60 - 120ml water or pineapple juice, adjust to a desired consisteny


  • Trim chicken of excess fat and pat dry with a cloth or paper napkin.
  • Rub with salt and freshly ground pepper, jerk seasoning, garlic, and onion powder. Set aside while you make the marinade.
  • In a food processor or blender, combine the following: thyme, green onions, garlic, ginger,  habanero pepper. Pulse for about 30 seconds until blended.
  • Soak the chicken with a mixture of soy sauce, brown sugar, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, chicken bouillon, and water or pineapple juice, and then add the blended herbs and seasonings to complete the jerk marinade. Note: You can combine and blend all the ingredients all at once, especially when making the Jerk Marinade ahead of time. No need to separate the soy sauce mixture. 
  • 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 extremely spicy hot. If possible, use gloves.
  • When ready to grill, remove chicken from the jerk marinade and place on medium to high lightly oiled grill. Reserve the remaining marinade.
  • Cook chicken on the prepared grill for 12- 20minutes, until juices run clear with an internal temperature of 165 degrees F, turning often to optimize cooking and browning. You may also broil or roast the chicken in a hot oven (425 degrees F).
  • In a small saucepan, simmer the remaining marinade and the one from the chicken for about 7 minutes. Serve with the chicken or mix it before serving with the plantains.


  • Dried seasoning powders like onion and garlic powders are best to use for chicken rubs for the best absorption of flavors.
  • Use fresh ingredients in making the jerk marinade to achieve an authentic Caribbean taste.
  • Skip the habanero peppers to make it more kid-friendly.
  • Marinate your chicken for at least 3 hours and up to 24 hours for best-tasting Jerk Chicken. Marinating it for more than 2 days may make your chicken mushy because the acids of the marinade will start to break down the fibers of the chicken.
  • Rub some jerk marinade underneath the chicken skin carefully to maximize the flavor.
  • When grilling, do not rely on the cooking time and temperature alone. Be sure not to leave the chicken and always keep an eye on it to prevent burning the chicken.
  • Remember to wear gloves when cutting chili peppers like habanero and scotch bonnet peppers.
  • You can easily make this paleo by using water instead of pineapple juice and omitting the sugar and using honey and/ or coconut sugar instead.
  • Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy only. Please keep in mind that it is a rough estimate rather than a guarantee. Ingredients can vary greatly based on the products used.


Calories: 84kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 711mg | Potassium: 189mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 135IU | Vitamin C: 18.2mg | Calcium: 61mg | Iron: 1mg