jerk chicken

Jerk Chicken

Jerk chicken is full of different spices and flavors that will make you feel like you are in the Caribbeans! This recipe uses very little ingredients and time, making it a great option for a last-minute dinner.

There are many premade jerk marinates and seasonings on the market but I think we can all agree using fresh ingredients always taste better! 

jerk chicken

If you want the chicken to have more of a kick you can add any time of peppers like habanero or cayenne peppers. This recipe has a mild spice in my opinion but I also love spicy food so if you are like me go ahead and add the extra peppers but if your not a huge fan of spice just leave it is as it is. 

You can either grill or bake the jerk chicken but I preferred it grilled to get a nice crispy outside. 

How to Make Jerk Chicken

  • Add olive oil, soy sauce, green onions, onion, habanero peppers, lime juice, ginger, garlic, brown sugar, and all of the seasonings into a food processor.
  • Pulse all of the ingredients together until it turns into a thick paste.
  • Add chicken legs into a ziplock bag and pour marinade over the chicken. Make sure to pat dry the chicken before adding to the bag.
  • Seal the bag by pushing out all of the excess air. Massage the outside of the bag to get the marinade all over every piece.
  • Marinate in the refrigerator for 2-24 hours. The longer the better.
jerk chicken

How to Bake Jerk Chicken 

  • Allow chicken to reach room temperature before cooking.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
  • Add chicken to the baking dish with the skin facing up and pour the rest of the marinade evenly over the chicken.
  • Cook uncovered for about 45 minutes till an hour or until the internal temperature reaches 165°.

How to Grill Jerk Chicken

  • Allow chicken to reach room temperature. 
  • Heat grill to 400° or medium-high.
  • Place chicken on the grill and brush the marinade over the chicken.
  • Cook for 10-12 minutes covered for a smokey flavor.
  • Flip the chicken over and brush the rest of the marinade on the other side of the chicken. 
  • Cook for about 8-10 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F

Recipe Video 

Do you want to see how to make jerk chicken? Here is a youtube video where I show you all of the steps so you can easily follow along!

What to Serve with Jerk Chicken

I like to serve jerk chicken with a salad if I am trying to keep it light. But it also goes very well with rice and black beans to really have that Caribbean taste.

Jerk Chicken

This jerk chicken is the best recipe to make if you want to feel like you are in the Caribbean. There are instructions on how to grill or bake the chicken for a crispy outside and a juicy inside.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 8


  • 8-10 chicken drumsticks
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 4 green onions roughly chopped
  • 2 habanero peppers
  • 1 lime use all of the juice
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp all-purpose seasoning
  • 1/2 tbsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp thyme


  • Put all of the ingredients for the marinade in a food processor and pulse until everything is combined to create a thick paste.
  • Pat dry the chicken drumsticks and add to a ziplock bag.
  • Pour the marinade into the ziplock bag and squeeze out all of the extra air. Make sure every piece of chicken is covered with the marinade.
  • Place in the refrigerator for 4-24 hours.


  • Preheat grill to medium or about 400 degrees and allow the chicken to reach room temperature.
  • Add the chicken to the grill and brush with the leftover marinade in the bag on top of each piece. Cook for 10-12 minutes.
  • Turn the chicken over and brush the other side with the marinade as well. Cook for another 8-10 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.


  • Heat oven to 350 degrees and allow the chicken to reach room temperature.
  • Add chicken to a baking dish and pour the marinade all over the chicken. Place the chicken in the oven uncovered and allow to cook for about 45 minutes till an hour. If you want the skin to be crispy broil the chicken for a few minutes before removing.
  • Let the chicken sit for about 5 minutes then garnish with cilantro if desired.

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