Super easy & tasty recipe for oven-baked Jamaican jerk chicken that takes you back to the Caribbean! The marinade is the perfect blend of seasoning & heat! Pairs well with Coconut Lime Rice and Pan-Seared Broccoli.
Do you ever feel like dinner is boring and you need a massive burst of flavor?
Even though I’m always trying to come up with new, family-favorite yet frugal recipes to share with you guys, I sometimes get in “blah” rut too and everything tastes the same.
Let me assure you – this Jamaican jerk chicken recipe is anything but boring!
It’s a bit of a feat because jerk chicken lovers know that finding a good jerk chicken recipe is NOT an easy task.
What is Jerk Chicken
Jamaican jerk chicken is flavorful, tangy, sweet, & juicy. It is full of delicious spices and is far from boring. It is loved in a variety of ways, however.
Some recipes call for sugar, which I understand will combat the heat…
I really don’t want to add sugar or brown sugar to dinner if at all possible. We’re on a mission to quit sugar, and if we’re going to eat it, I want it to be in a dessert (like in homemade peanut butter cups or black bean brownies).
There are some jerk chicken recipes that are CRAZY hot.
And when I say hot, I don’t mean “spicy” in the traditional sense. I mean burn-your-mouth-I-cannot-eat-it-pass-the-milk type of heat. This definitely doesn’t work for sensitive palates or for most kids, in general.
Some jerk grilled chicken recipes aren’t that flavorful.
They have a great list of ingredients, the marinade smells great, the chicken looks like it has good potential… but then you put it on the grill and you take a bite and the flavor just isn’t there. Bleh… what a waste of ingredients!
Finally, we have the perfect balance of sweet, heat, spice and flavor.
That’s this Jamaican jerk chicken recipe, which will be the last marinade you ever try. Once you try this recipe, I promise you’ll never have boring chicken again!
Why Make Jamaican Jerk Chicken
As a food blogger, I have a “three times” rule. This means I don’t share anything with you guys that my family has not successfully eaten and enjoyed at least 3 times.
In the case of this jerk chicken recipe though, we’ve made it no less than 10 times. Seriously.
And you know you have a winner when a certain person (me!) asks for this for her birthday dinner.
This jerk chicken recipe is:
- Easy. The level of work involved is minimal.
- Great for leftovers or feeding guests. This recipe uses 5-6 pounds of chicken. You can definitely halve the recipe if you have less meat on hand. Note: Drumsticks are one of the cheapest cuts and they work really well on the grill. Costco has the best price locally for organic chicken, but if you can’t find organic meat in your area, I recommend Butcher Box!
- Well balanced. I love that it isn’t too spicy or sweet, it is just right!
Ingredients for Jamaican Jerk Chicken
Heads up – don’t freak out at the long list of ingredients. There’s a lot, but it’s mostly stuff you already have in your pantry.
If you don’t have it, you can probably substitute with something that’s pretty close.
- Jalapeno peppers
- Lime juice
- Soy sauce
- Olive oil
- Dried thyme
- Ground cloves
- Ground nutmeg
- Salt and pepper
How to Make Jamaican Jerk Chicken
This easy recipe can be made in 3 simple steps:
- Blend all the ingredients together in a high powered blender or food processor (I use this Blendtec).
- Pour the jerk marinade over the chicken and marinate.
- Cook the chicken.
After testing various cooking methods, I achieved the best results after marinating the chicken overnight. It produces the best flavor!
If you forget to pull the chicken out in time for dinner, set this aside for tomorrow and make something else that’s quick and easy, like weeknight mushroom pasta, vegetable fried rice or mexi-lentil macaroni.
I promise you won’t regret waiting, and this Jamaican jerk chicken recipe will not disappoint!
Another option is to make the marinade as-is and use half for dinner now, and the remaining marinade for dinner later. Just stick the marinade and chicken in a freezer-safe container and the sauce will do its magic as the chicken thaws.
Psst! Want to kick this up a notch? Try finishing this recipe with a pinch of finishing salt! I love Ava Jane’s Kitchen because it doesn’t have microplastics (gross, right?) and it’s SO GOOD! Plus, you can get a bag for just 1¢!! Just add a pinch when you pull those tasty legs out of the oven!
(Get your penny bag of salt on this page.)
What to Serve with Jamaican Jerk Chicken
Other Easy and Delicious Chicken Recipes
- Instant Pot Honey Garlic Chicken
- Almond Crusted Baked Chicken
- Lemon and Herb Sheet Pan Chicken
- Homemade Buffalo Wings
- Sweet and Sour Chicken
Jamaican Jerk Chicken Recipe
Super easy & tasty recipe for oven baked Jamaican jerk chicken that takes you back to the Caribbean! The marinade is the perfect blend of seasoning & heat!
- Prep Time: 8 hours
- Cook Time: 45 mins
- Total Time: 8 hours 45 minutes
- Yield: 5–6 lbs 1x
- Category: Main Meals
- Method: Oven
- Cuisine: American
- 2 Tbsp garlic (about 4 large garlic cloves)
- 1 onion, halved
- 2 fresh jalapeno peppers, halved (keep seeds and membranes for added heat)**
- ¼ cup lime juice (about 2 large limes)
- 2 Tbsp soy sauce (we use liquid aminos)
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 ½ Tbsp salt
- 1 Tbsp honey
- 1 Tbsp dried thyme
- 2 tsp ground cloves
- 2 tsp black pepper
- ¾ tsp ground nutmeg
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- 5–6 pounds of chicken, rinsed and dried (we’ve used thighs, breasts, and drumsticks)
- Combine everything but the chicken in a blender. Blend until the mixture is smooth.
- Combine marinade and chicken in a container and keep in the fridge overnight. If you can’t marinate overnight, marinate for as long as possible for the best flavor in the end.
- Cook chicken on the grill using your preferred method, OR preheat the oven to 400F and place chicken pieces in large, shallow baking pans. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until juices run clear.
** If you like the extra heat, use habanero instead of jalapeno.
Adapted from Epicurious.