The best Jamaican Jerk Chicken including oven and grilling instructions! It’s incredibly flavorful thanks to hours of marinating in a vibrant and deliciously seasoned marinade. And who can resist that light char and crave-able spicy kick? A must try recipe!
Pair it with coconut rice and fresh pineapple to create a tasty and simple Caribbean meal!
Jamaican Jerk Chicken Recipe
This is one of the best marinade recipes you’ll ever try! It’s brimming with fresh flavor and it may seem like a strange combination of ingredients but together they create incredible, well balanced flavor. And it all compliments chicken perfectly.
Jerk Chicken Video
It’s a great recipe to make for a summer cookout yet it’s easy enough for a weeknight dinner. Just prep the marinade the night before or morning of, add the chicken and let it soak while you’re at work, then when you get home pop it in the oven or throw it on the grill (simmer the rice while the chicken is cooking) and you’ve got a dinner that’s sure to satisfy!
Chicken and Marinade Ingredients
- Chicken pieces (bone-in skin-on) – I recommend using 5 thighs and 5 legs
- Green onions – 1/2 small red onion could be substituted.
- Garlic – only use fresh garlic.
- Ginger – this adds so much flavor, only use fresh.
- Habanero peppers – scotch bonnet peppers will work too if you can find them. The amount used can be adjusted to taste, these are spicy!
- Lime juice – in a pinch lemon juice will work too. Don’t use bottled.
- Soy sauce – if you have low sodium on hand that will work, just add a little salt to the marinade.
- Brown sugar – honey could be substituted.
- Thyme leaves – preferably use fresh, in a pinch 1 tsp dried will work.
- Allspice, cinnamon and nutmeg – these may seem strange with chicken but they’re key ingredients, don’t omit them!
- Black pepper – it’s a hassle to grind it but it does make a difference.
How to Make Jerk Chicken
- Place chicken pieces in a gallon size resealable bag.
- Make marinade: add green onions, garlic, ginger, habaneros, lime juice, soy sauce, brown sugar, thyme, and spices to a food processor and plus to chop (it should be slightly coarse not pureed).
- Pour marinade over chicken: pour mixture over chicken in bag, seal bag while pressing out excess air then rub marinade over chicken.
- Allow marinating time: rest in refrigerator 3 – 24 hours.
How to Bake Jerk Chicken – Oven Method
- Heat oven and prepare baking sheet: preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a 18 by 13-inch baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray.
- Arrange marinated chicken on sheet: remove chicken from marinade and arrange pieces on baking sheet leaving space between them.
- Bake to 165 degrees in center: bake in preheated oven until cooked through, about 45 – 50 minutes, while broiling during the last few minutes for better browning.
How to Grill Jerk Chicken
Heat grill, clean and oil grates: preheat a gas grill to medium-high heat (about 400 degrees.) Clean grill grates and rub lightly with oil using tongs and an oiled paper towel.
Cook through to 165 degrees: grill until chicken is cooked through, turning occasionally (and reducing burning temperature slightly if it’s browning too quickly) about 30 minutes.
Can I Use Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts or Thighs?
Yes. I’ve also made this with boneless skinless chicken breasts as well if grilling. If doing so don’t marinate longer than 6 hours.
Grill over medium high heat (425 – 450) about 4 – 5 minutes per side keep a close eye on it because if it goes past 165 degrees in center it will start to dry out. Baking isn’t recommend for breasts as you won’t get any browning.
Boneless skinless thighs should work fine here too – for grilling or oven roasting. If doing so marinate up to 12 hours. Grill over medium-high heat (425 – 450) about 5 – 7 minutes per side. If baking cook in preheated 400 degree oven on an oiled baking sheet until cooked through about 30 – 35 minutes, broil during last few minute to help brown as needed.
Can I Make the Marinade in Advance?
Yes, the marinade can be made up to 4 days in advance. Store in refrigerator.
Tips for the Best Jerk Chicken
- Only use fresh ingredients for best flavor (no dried powders). You’ll notice most everything is fresh in the recipe that’s what makes this chicken so good!
- Allow enough time to marinate so those flavors can really soak into the chicken, at least 3 hours and up to 24 hours.
- Skip the chicken breasts and go for thighs for the most flavorful and tender end result.
- Want to maximize the flavor? Rub some of the marinade underneath the chicken skin (just be careful not to tear it off).
- If grilling, remember every grill cooks a little differently so just keep an eye on it. You want some char but not overly charred chicken so reduce the temperature slightly as needed.
What Sides to Serve with Jerk Chicken?
More Tropical Dinners You’ll Love:
- Grilled Lime Salmon with Mango Avocado Salsa
- Hawaiian Chicken Kebabs
- Fish Tacos
- Cilantro Lime Shrimp with Coconut Rice
- Salmon with Sweet and Sour Sauce
Follow Cooking Classy
- 10 bone-in skin on chicken pieces, thighs and legs (about 3 lbs), trim excess fat and skin
- 6 green onions, cut into 2-inch pieces*
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
- 2 habanero peppers (or scotch bonnet), stem removed**
- 1 1/2 -inch piece ginger, peeled and sliced
- 1/3 cup fresh lime juice
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1 1/2 Tbsp brown sugar
- 1 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tsp ground allspice
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- Place chicken pieces in a gallon size resealable bag.
- Add remaining ingredients to a food processor and plus several times to chop (it should be somewhat coarse). Pour mixture over chicken in bag, seal bag while pressing out excess air then rub marinade over chicken. Let rest in refrigerator 3 - 24 hours.
- Oven instructions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a 18 by 13-inch baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray.
- Remove chicken from marinade. Arrange pieces on baking sheet leaving space between them. Bake in preheated oven until cooked through, about 45 - 50 minutes, while broiling during the last few minutes for better browning.
- Or grill instructions: preheat a gas grill to medium-high heat (about 400 degrees.) Clean grill grates and rub lightly with oil using tongs and an oiled paper towel.
- Grill until chicken is cooked through, turning occasionally (and reducing burning temperature slightly if it's browning too quickly) about 30 minutes.