Jamaican Jerk Chicken Recipe

Updated on April 28, 2017
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Carolee is a passionate writer with a love for learning and teaching. She is a published author, poet, blogger, and content creator.

I have been asked many times to share our Jamaican recipes with the world, and I have decided to do just that. Jamaica is the land of wood and water. We take pride in our culture and our food is a big part of that culture.

Our cuisine is world class and many people around the world love it. Here are two Jamaican chicken recipes that you can make at home from scratch. They are not very hard to make, and they can be done in less than two hours.

Jerk chicken and curry chicken are two Jamaican classics. I will give you an estimated time when each dish can be completed.


Cook Time

Prep time: 25 min
Cook time: 45 min
Ready in: 1 hour 10 min
Yields: 6-8

Easy Jerk Chicken Recipe

Chicken Ingredients:

Chicken prep time 5 - 8 minutes.

  • 1 whole chicken quartered (or cut into your preferred sizes)
  • A coal or gas grill
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar or lime juice
  • Paper towel
  • 6 cups water

Seasoning Ingredients:

For the seasoning, prep time 15 minutes.

  • 2 medium onions shredded
  • 3 large stalks scallion mashed in a mortar
  • Large branch of fresh thyme or 2 tablespoons dried thyme leaves (if using fresh thyme break up the sprigs and get off as many leaves as possible)
  • 1 scotch bonnet pepper deseeded or your preferred hot pepper finely minced
  • 1 head of garlic peeled and crushed to a paste
  • 3 tablespoons pimento seeds ground coarsely or ½ tablespoon pimento powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon powder (optional)
  • 1 tbsp sugar (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon cloves, grounded

OR just use a couple tablespoons of the prepared jerk spice!


  1. Combine all your seasonings together in a large bowl and set aside. After dissecting your chicken, rinse it in water and the vinegar or lime juice solution, then pat dry with paper towel. Add chicken to seasoning and use your hands to rub seasoning into each piece of chicken until all pieces are coated. Marinate chicken while you fire up your grill.
  2. When grill is very hot, you can place your chicken on.
  3. If using a gas grill, leave the flames on medium low. If using coal, make sure that you are not using too many coals because you'll burn the chicken. Keep the lid on the gill covered so that the moisture remains in the chicken. If your coals are too hot, consider using a spray bottle to mist the coals to cool them down, you can also use beer for this. The smoke from the beer and the coals give a great flavor.
  4. Keep turning your chicken until all sides have a nice dark color. You will know when your chicken is done when a fork is inserted and the juices run clear or if there is no fluid at all. Enjoy.

Note: Vinegar or lime juice solution consists of 4 cups water to 1/2 cup vinegar OR juice of two limes to three cups water.

Bonus: Curry Chicken Recipe

Curry Chicken Ingredients

Curry Powder Ingredients:

  • ½ tsp. cumin seeds roughly grounded
  • ½ tsp. coriander seeds roughly grounded
  • ½ tsp. pimento seed roughly grounded
  • ½ tsp. fennel seeds roughly grounded
  • 2 tsp. turmeric powder
  • ½ tsp. black pepper

Curry Powder Instructions:

  1. Combine all ingredients.
  2. After using what you need, store remainder in an airtight container.
  • You can double or triple the recipe so you will have curry for a while. If you like your curry bright yellow, you can use more turmeric.
  • Prep time 10 minutes with mortar & pestle and a few seconds with an electric grinder.

Season Your Chicken

  • 1 whole chicken cut into small pieces; for example cut the thigh into three pieces and cut the rest of the chicken into similar sizes. (remove skin and excess fat from chicken when cutting)
  • 2 stalks scallion chopped
  • 1 stem fresh thyme
  • 1 medium onion finely chopped
  • 1 green scotch bonnet pepper seeded and chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • 6 cups water
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons sunflower oil

Prep time 15 minutes


  1. Cut your chicken in two, and clean the inside by removing excess fat and the organs in the backbone.
  2. Add vinegar to water and submerse your chicken, rinse and drain.
  3. Cut your chicken into small (two bite sizes, if you cut the chicken too small your curry will become too mushy).
  4. Place your chicken pieces in a bowl and add 2 teaspoons curry, salt, pepper, onion, scallion, thyme, and garlic.
  5. Using your hands, rub seasoning into chicken pieces.
  6. In a pot, heat oil over medium flames. When oil is heated, add chicken to pot and cover for five minutes then stir chicken to coat in oil and curry. Continue turning over chicken for three minutes and replace lid. Turn flames down to medium low and let chicken steam its own juices, all the while stirring. Add water only if the chicken gets too dry but with the right temperature your chicken should be cooking in its own juices and making its own gravy.
  7. Cook chicken for 25-30 minutes or until tender.

Total prep time under 60 minutes.

Questions & Answers

    © 2012 Carolee Samuda


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      • Cardisa profile image

        Carolee Samuda 4 years ago from Jamaica

        Hi Kelly, I hope you get a chance to make it! Wish I could send it to you...lol

      • RealHousewife profile image

        Kelly Umphenour 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO

        Cardisa I was just out hunting for dinner and look what I found! I wish I could take it right off the page...I would!

      • Cardisa profile image

        Carolee Samuda 5 years ago from Jamaica

        Hello Darrylmdavis, I am gad you like jerk chicken. That is a great way to do the chicken, it does help to keep in the moisture. Thanks for stopping by.

      • Darrylmdavis profile image

        Darrylmdavis 5 years ago from Brussels, Belgium

        Great hub! Jerked chicken is one of my all-time grill favorites. :-) One variation to the above that I employ is to spatchcock the bird instead of quartering it. It complicates the cooking process slightly but I find it helps the bird stay moist. ;-)

        Thanks for sharing!

      • Cardisa profile image

        Carolee Samuda 5 years ago from Jamaica

        Thank you Culinary Traveler. Have a great day.

      • culinary traveler profile image

        culinary traveler 5 years ago

        Glad I found you - this sounds amazing!

      • Cardisa profile image

        Carolee Samuda 6 years ago from Jamaica

        Hi Vespawoolf, I am so happy you can now make this very tasty and popular Jamaican dish. Thanks for visiting.

      • vespawoolf profile image

        vespawoolf 6 years ago from Peru, South America

        One of my friends makes the most wonderful jerk chicken. Now I have the recipe and can try it myself. Thank you!

      • Cardisa profile image

        Carolee Samuda 6 years ago from Jamaica

        Hi David, I think that part of the culture has evaporated because I can't honestly say I am familiar with it. It could have been influenced by some foreign culture at the time since we gained independence in 1962. Since then we have tried to create our own unique brand. I will have to talk to some older folk and ask about that particular treat though.

        Thanks for visiting.

      • Russell-D profile image

        Russell-D 6 years ago from Southern Ca.

        I didn't note the use of salted coconut slivers in any of your cooking, yet in the l950's when I worked on the Island of Jamaica advertising campaign, all the high end dishes I enjoyed used the flavoring to give food a bit of an edgy, interesting taste. Also, in a bowl by the handful with ahead of dinner cocktails. For me, what came from the sea in Jamaica was deliciously special - though your jerk chicken seems equally delicious. Much like Jerk in Cuba. David Russell

      • Cardisa profile image

        Carolee Samuda 6 years ago from Jamaica

        Hi Jenubouka, I like making stuff from scratch. I really don't like pre-made spices. When you use fresh ingredients you get a cleaner flavour. Thanks for stopping by.

      • profile image

        jenubouka 6 years ago

        Awesome just awesome. Authentic curry and jerk seasoning recipes look amazing and the methods ensure a great product. I love the scotch bonnet component. These Jamaican are sure to liven up any bird, and can't wait to fire up the grill to try them out.

      • Cardisa profile image

        Carolee Samuda 6 years ago from Jamaica

        Thanks Dexter. I am happy you love jerk chicken, glad to share the recipe. Please enjoy!

      • Cardisa profile image

        Carolee Samuda 6 years ago from Jamaica

        Thnaks Green Lotus. I had no idea that so many people loved jerk chicken! I am happy to share the recipe with you and I hope your family enjoys it too.

        Thanks for the compliment.

      • Dexter Yarbrough profile image

        Dexter Yarbrough 6 years ago from United States

        Cardisa! Great, great recipes! I love me some jerk chicken! I am bookmarking as well! Voted up, up and away!

      • Green Lotus profile image

        Hillary 6 years ago from Atlanta, GA

        This is just what I was looking for! We love jerk chicken (and beef) and those prepared jerk seasonings and marinades we get in the supermarket are simple dreadful :( Thanks!! I will share this one with family too.

        Cool divider bar photo and hub format too!

      • Cardisa profile image

        Carolee Samuda 6 years ago from Jamaica

        Agreenworld, you are welcome.

        Thank you for stopping by and commenting.

      • Cardisa profile image

        Carolee Samuda 6 years ago from Jamaica

        Xethonxq, thanks, I hope you enjoy it. You can substitute the freshly made for the jerk spice. Please tell me how it turns out.

      • agreenworld profile image

        Dawn A. Harden 6 years ago from CT-USA

        Love the jerk and curry! Thanks for the recipes!

      • xethonxq profile image

        xethonxq 6 years ago

        This is fantastic. I went to Jamaica last spring and I loved their jerk chicken. I picked up some seasonings while I was there and am really ready to give this recipe a try. Thank you for the hub!