Authentic Jamaican Recipe with Easy Homemade Jamaican Jerk Marinade

Jerk chicken is most commonly related with Jamaican cuisine. The term “jerk” in traditional jerk chicken doesn’t refer to the way it is cooked as most people think, but refers to the spicy dry rub or marinade that is applied to the chicken before it is cooked. This authentic recipe for Jamaican jerk chicken uses a homemade jerk marinade to give the chicken the traditional fiery taste. Try out this easy to make recipe.

Jamaican Jerk Chicken Recipe

This step by step recipe teaches readers how to make a homemade jerk marinade to create great, traditional and spicy Jamaican jerk chicken.

  • Prep Time: 15 Minutes plus 6 hours to marinade chicken
  • Cook Time: 45 Minutes

Ingredients for Homemade Jamaican Jerk Chicken

  • 1 whole chicken, sectioned and with each piece containing a few ½ inch deep slashes
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 seeded and finely chopped habanero or Scotch bonnet pepper for a very hot flavor or a jalapeno pepper for a milder spice
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar

Cooking Directions for Jerk Chicken

  1. Combine all the ingredients, except the chicken, in a food processor and blend into a smooth puree to form the jerk marinade.
  2. Place the sectioned chicken in a large bowl and cover each piece completely with the marinade.
  3. Cover the chicken and marinate for at least six hours. Leave overnight for best results.
  4. When the chicken is fully marinated, remove it and grill it over a hot grill until the chicken is fully cooked.

If one does not have a grill, the chicken can also be baked in a 425° oven until it is fully cooked.

For the perfect meal, pair this jerk chicken with a cold, crunchy coleslaw or salad and Jamaican rice. Make sure to have plenty of cold drinks on hand as this recipe is spicy. For a less spicy version, leave the hot pepper out all together. This marinade can also be used with pork if desired.