Jamaican Jerk Chicken

This Jamaican Jerk Chicken is packed full of flavor and tons of heat. If you are in the mood for something different you need to give this dish a try. Welcome to flavor town!

Jamaican Jerk Chicken by Nutmeg Nanny

I eat a lot of chicken. Not because I think it’s super healthy or anything, but mostly because I actually like chicken. However, the one thing I hate is boring chicken. Chicken that lacks spice or flavor – no thank you. We ate a lot of venison, beef and pork growing up but not a lot of chicken. Occasionally I could talk my dad into making fried chicken or BBQ grilled chicken but that was about it.

I’m not really sure why parents hated the other other white meat but it is what it is. 

Jamaican Jerk Chicken by Nutmeg Nanny

Now that I’m grown up you can find me making chicken at least 3 times a week and always my Honey Spiced Glazed Chicken at least once a week. It’s spicy and sweet, the perfect balance of flavors. Sometimes I make it extra spicy by throwing in even more chipotle chile powder. Yeah, I’m dangerous like that.

When I made this Jamaican jerk chicken I was expecting a good amount of flavor and heat but I wasn’t expecting to love it AS MUCH as I did. It was bursting full of flavor and it was nice and spicy. If you do not like heat simply bump down the pepper amount. You will still be left with flavorful chicken that will rock your socks.

I threw together this recipe after reading a ton of different types of traditional jerk recipes. I was a little thrown off by the combination of allspice/cinnamon and heat but I gave it a shot. Turns out cinnamon is pretty kick ass in savory dishes. Traditional recipes also call for scotch bonnet peppers but that is not something I can easily get my hands on. So that is why I subbed in habanero peppers instead.

Now, I have to admit that I mostly wanted to make Jamaican jerk chicken because they talk about it all the time on Psych. Man I love that show. Do you ever love a show so much that you wish the characters were real? I know that sound borderline stalker, but seriously, I would so love for Shawn and Gus to be real. You know you all agree.

Jamaican Jerk Chicken by Nutmeg Nanny

Looking for more delicious chicken recipes? Try my Sheet Pan Garlic Lemon Chicken and MushroomsApple Butter Honey Mustard Chicken WingsSheet Pan Moroccan Chicken and PotatoesSlow Cooker Honey Soy Sriracha Pulled Chicken or my Honey Spiced Glazed Chicken


Jamaican Jerk Chicken

This Jamaican Jerk Chicken is packed full of flavor and tons of heat. If you are in the mood for something different you need to give this dish a try.

Yield: 2-4 servings

Prep Time: 15 minutes + marinade time

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes + marinade time


  • 1 small yellow onion, quartered
  • 3 green onions, cut in half
  • 1-2 Habenero peppers, seeded
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoons allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Olive oil
  • 6 chicken drumsticks (legs)


In a blender or food processor add yellow onion, green onions, Habenero pepper, garlic, soy sauce, lime juice, thyme, allspice, black pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon, coriander and salt.

Blend just until combined and the onion has broken down. Drizzle in enough olive oil to make a thick marinade.

Pour marinade into a large 1 gallon ziptop bag and add chicken. Secure the top of the bag and move the chicken around in the bag to make sure it's completely coated.

Add bag to a bowl or dish and marinade over night or at least 4 hours. {Keeping the bag in a bowl/dish helps keep your fridge clean in case there is a leak in the bag}

Once the chicken is done marinading heat your grill to medium heat. Since you are using bone-in chicken you need to cook it long enough to fully cook in the inside meat without burning the outside.

Grill for about 30-35 minutes until the outside of the chicken is crisp and the inside is fully cooked.

Serve with a sprinkle of cilantro and wedge of lime if desired.

23 Responses to “Jamaican Jerk Chicken”

  1. #
    Barb — June 11, 2014 at 7:29 am

    I had never had any jerk chicken until we went to Jamaica and I fell in love. I’ve never made it at home. I might just have to give it a try!! Thanks for sharing.

  2. #
    Liz @ The Lemon Bowl — June 11, 2014 at 7:44 am

    I want this for breakfast.

  3. #
    Beth @ The First Year — June 11, 2014 at 8:20 am

    I am drooling over your photos, yumm!! I will keep this recipe handy for a weekend grill out!

  4. #
    claire @ the realistic nutritionist — June 11, 2014 at 9:36 am

    I seriously love me some jerk chicken!!

  5. #
    janelle — June 11, 2014 at 10:15 am

    i love, love jerk chicken. yours looks out of this world.

  6. #
    Rebecca — June 11, 2014 at 2:56 pm

    this looks wonderful so enjoyed this when we were in Jamaica

  7. #
    Christine from Cook the Story — June 12, 2014 at 9:18 am

    This is some seriously delicious looking chicken!

  8. #
    Martha @ A Family Feast — June 12, 2014 at 12:33 pm

    My husband would totally go for this dish – great flavors!!

  9. #
    Stephanie @ Back For Seconds — June 12, 2014 at 2:32 pm

    This sounds AWESOME

  10. #
    Marjory @ Dinner-Mom — June 12, 2014 at 3:50 pm

    So tender and juicy. A delish dish!

  11. #
    Amanda ( The Kitcheneer) — June 12, 2014 at 6:57 pm

    Love Jerk Chicken!! This looks so good!

  12. #
    Ginny McMeans — June 12, 2014 at 7:54 pm

    Sooo good! I just love jerk!

  13. #
    Carol at Wild Goose Tea — June 12, 2014 at 11:14 pm

    You certainly made a case with this recipe. Awesome combo of spices and who could resist salivating at the photos. However I will admit that probably is partly due that I haven’t had dinner yet.

  14. #
    Connie — June 13, 2014 at 2:28 am

    This looks great.

  15. #
    valmg @ From Val's Kitchen — June 13, 2014 at 8:47 am

    What a nice looking plate, the color really pops on the chicken! My son loves spicy things so this will be right up his alley.

  16. #
    Lauren Kelly Nutrition — June 13, 2014 at 9:08 am

    These pictures are amazing! I want to eat this NOW! 🙂

  17. #
    Angela {Mind Over Batter} — June 13, 2014 at 1:06 pm

    Giiiiiiiiiiiiiiiirrrrrrrrrlllllllll!!! I love this. I would go pac man on this. Love the combination of flavors. For SERIOUS! I love that you added habaneros here to increase the heat situation. Scotch bonnet peppers are a staple in every Dominican household, but I don’t find them as hot as habaneros. I’d go habanero all the way!

  18. #
    Kim Beaulieu — June 13, 2014 at 10:50 pm

    Want it, need it, have to have it. Love your photos too. Just so gorgeous.

  19. #
    Kirsten/ComfortablyDomestic — June 13, 2014 at 11:37 pm

    Fab-yooo-las! Girlfriend, I would totally sit on a landmine to share a platter of jerk chicken apology nachos with you.

  20. #
    grace — June 14, 2014 at 4:20 pm

    that marinade sounds great! i’ll bet this is some of the juiciest chicken ever made.

  21. #
    Bill — June 20, 2014 at 7:57 am

    Try Walkers Woods Jerk Seasoning, real jerk from Jamaica.

  22. #
    Erin — August 17, 2014 at 8:16 pm

    This was outstanding! Made it for dinner tonight with avocado and cilantro lime rice and it was a great success. I stumbled on your website and so glad I did!

    • nutmegnanny replied: — August 22nd, 2014 @ 11:26 am

      Hi Erin! Thank you so much for letting me know! I’m so happy you love it. Plus that rice sounds delicious!

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