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Jamaican Jerk Chicken

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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
Jamaican Jerk Chicken by Nutmeg Nanny

Jamaican Jerk Chicken

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Marinating Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 50 minutes

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.


  • 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
  • 8 chicken leg drumsticks


  1. 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.
  2. Blend just until combined and the onion has broken down.
  3. Drizzle in enough olive oil to make a thick marinade.
  4. Pour marinade into a large 1-gallon ziptop bag and add chicken.
  5. Secure the top of the bag and move the chicken around in the bag to make sure it's completely coated.
  6. Add bag to a bowl or dish and marinate overnight 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.
  7. 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 the inside meat without burning the outside.
  8. Grill for about 30-35 minutes until the outside of the chicken is crisp and the inside is fully cooked.
  9. Serve with a sprinkle of cilantro and a wedge of lime if desired.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 330Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 173mgSodium: 870mgCarbohydrates: 10gFiber: 2gSugar: 3gProtein: 36g

This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.

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Sunday 17th of August 2014

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!


Friday 22nd of August 2014

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


Friday 20th of June 2014

Try Walkers Woods Jerk Seasoning, real jerk from Jamaica. Excellent!


Saturday 14th of June 2014

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


Friday 13th of June 2014

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

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