Caribbean Jerk Chicken

5 from 7 votes

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Caribbean jerk chicken is a one pan meal flavored with exotic spices, herbs and citrus flair. Make this quick and easy Jamaican chicken recipe for the perfect midweek meal!

jerk chicken cooking in skillet

Some people are beginning to feel safe enough to travel again, which is great, but not everyone feels the same way. If you’re not quite ready to hop on a plane to the Caribbean, that’s okay! You can simply cook up this quick Jamaican chicken recipe, then sit down to a delicious Caribbean meal at home instead!

What is jerk?

Jerk is a style of cooking native to Jamaica, but popular in countries throughout the caribbean. In jerk-style cooking, the meat first marinates in either a wet marinade or a dry rub. The marinade is very spicy, but the addition of citrus juice helps to balance the flavors.

Authentic Jamaican jerk flavors are big and bold! If jerk seasoning had a personality, you wouldn’t find it sitting alone in a corner waiting to be noticed.
The flavor is extroverted and spicy, but not in an overpowering way, with a hint of sweetness from tropical citrus fruits. Depending on the recipe, jerk dishes can have spicy, sweet and sour notes, all in one bite.

What does Caribbean jerk chicken taste like?

My version of Caribbean jerk chicken delivers the authentic sweet and spicy flavors, but in a milder way. The chicken is perfectly tender and juicy, and because we use boneless skinless chicken breast, it’s a healthy meal, too!

As mentioned above, authentic jerk dishes are much spicier than this chicken dish. If you like super spicy Caribbean food, make my Jamaican jerk pork ribs. I use a thick, paste-like rub that includes scotch bonnet peppers, so you’ll definitely feel the heat!

That isn’t the case for this Caribbean jerk chicken recipe, though. With savory aromatic herbs and spices, plus citrus for the marinade, it’s a comforting dish with noticeable island flavor.

Jamaican chicken dinner on white plate


Jerk seasoning

The seasoning for this jerk recipe is a spicy concoction of herbs and spices like thyme, nutmeg, allspice and cinnamon.

For some recipes like garlic chili spicy edamame, I use a hot chile sauce. My homemade Jamaican pepper sauce is fantastic for adding spicy heat, but to be honest, this dish doesn’t need it. The tantalizing flavors from the jerk seasoning and citrus marinade are perfect on their own.

If you’re a fan of extra spicy food, feel free to serve the pepper sauce on the side.

Brown rice

In this dish, white rice gets substituted with healthy long grain brown rice. Brown rice is actually white rice that has not been stripped of its nutrients. Two of those nutrients are fiber and magnesium, both of which have been shown to help regulate blood sugar. As a result, replacing white rice with brown can reduce your risk of diabetes by up to 16%. (source)

If you aren’t a fan of rice, you can substitute it with a healthy grain like barley, farro, or even quinoa.

overhead: caribbean jerk chicken in black skillet

Marinating the chicken

This recipe for Caribbean jerk chicken marinade is super simple to make; it’s just a combination of dry jerk seasoning and orange juice. If you’re able to use freshly squeezed orange juice, do so; the flavor of fresh juice is always the best.

🎯 Important tip on marinating chicken:

Please, forget everything you’ve ever been told about chicken needing to marinate for hours or days on end; it isn’t necessary!

The purpose of marinating chicken is not to tenderize the meat, it’s to create flavor. Sadly, the longer chicken sits in an acidic marinade, the more likely it is to become chewy, rubbery, and/or mushy.

To summarize, for the best Caribbean jerk chicken, do not marinate the boneless chicken breasts for longer than 1 hour. That’s all it takes!

After removing the chicken from the marinade, shake off any excess, then immediately discard the used marinade.
It contains bacteria from the raw chicken, so it is not safe to eat or to use as a marinade again.

Jerk Chicken Recipe Video

Watch the video in the recipe card below to see the entire cooking process from start to finish!

overhead image: Caribbean chicken breasts plated on bed of brown rice

Frequently Asked Questions

What do you serve with Caribbean jerk chicken?

This Jamaican chicken recipe creates a light and healthy meal. It tastes delicious with authentic Caribbean side dishes like Jamaican rice and peas or roasted sweet potatoes. To cool down the flavor, add a dollop of mango salsa. You could also serve it with some grilled pineapple or grilled watermelon and shrimp skewers.

What drinks go with Caribbean food?

Spicy grilled chicken dishes pair well with light, fruity drinks. If you’re serving wine, make sure it’s a white variety like Pinot, because the tannins in red wine can make a spicy dish taste even spicier!

Other Caribbean Chicken Recipes

If you love tropical island flavors, be sure to try this pineapple chicken recipe and make this Baked mango BBQ chicken, too!

Jamaican jerk chicken recipe shown close up
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jerk chicken cooking in skillet

Caribbean Jerk Chicken + Video

5 from 7 votes
Caribbean jerk chicken is a one pan meal with homemade jerk seasoning and citrus flavor. Make this easy Jamaican chicken recipe for dinner!
Servings: 4 servings
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 55 minutes
Marinating Time: 30 minutes
Total: 1 hour 30 minutes


Jerk Seasoning


  • In a small bowl, whisk together jerk seasoning ingredients. Place chicken in a Ziploc plastic bag or bowl and add half the spice rub and the orange juice. Massage the chicken, spices and juice inside bag or bowl. Marinate for 30-60 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Remove chicken from marinade, and discard marinade. Heat one tablespoon olive oil over medium high heat in a cast iron skillet, or any oven-safe skillet or pan. Place chicken in pan and cook until browned, then flip chicken over and cook until browned. Remove chicken from pan and set aside on plate.
  • Heat remaining tablespoon of olive oil in same skillet over medium high heat. Add chopped bell peppers and onion. Sauté for a few minutes, then add brown rice and toast for 2 minutes. Add chicken stock and remaining half of jerk seasoning.
  • Bring to a boil and add the browned chicken thighs. Nestle the chicken on top of rice and press down slightly. Cover with lid or aluminum foil. Bake in preheated oven for 50 minutes.
  • Caramelize/brown orange slices in a dry saute pan over medium high heat. Set aside.
  • Remove the lid or foil and continue to cook for 5-10 minutes. Check to see if all of the liquid has been absorbed. If not, continue to bake for 5 minutes, uncovered. Internal temperature of chicken needs to be 165°F.
  • Remove pan from the oven, fluff the rice and serve garnished with the caramelized orange slices and chopped cilantro leaves.



Calories: 525kcal | Carbohydrates: 53g | Protein: 40g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 164mg | Sodium: 866mg | Potassium: 851mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 287IU | Vitamin C: 45mg | Calcium: 80mg | Iron: 3mg

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

Course: Dinners
Cuisine: Jamaican, Melting Pot
Have You Made This Recipe? Let Me Know on InstagramTag @keviniscooking or tag me #keviniscooking!
titled image for Pinterest: close up of pan seared chicken thighs


Whether in the kitchen or on the grill, you’ll find me cooking American favorites with a love for BBQ, Mexican and Tex Mex. I’m passionate about making tasty food because life’s too short to be bland!

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  1. I’m not one to jerk a chicken, but I could (and do) eat plain brown rice out of a bowl just for kicks. Love it.

  2. 5 stars
    I’m really into one-pot meals right now and this looks like it’s bursting with flavor!

    I’m a super fan of brown rice, I can honestly say that I prefer it to white. But it’s a fun idea to use barley or even farro in this.

    p.s. really loving the look and feel of your new site Kevin!

    1. Thanks Marissa. I think sometimes the need for washing less dishes instigates me to come up with new ways to make new recipes. The other day I even found some wonderful long grain brown basmati rice!
      As for the new site look, thank you. It’s been a goal for 2016 for a new look and direction. 🙂

  3. This looks so scrumptious Kevin! I could easily stuff myself to a coma on this 🙂 That chicken looks amazing, and the hint of orange flavours with jerk seasoning? That’s got me wanting this even more!

    1. Thanks Dini! Not only is that chicken super flavorful and tender, but the rice is just as tasty! Have a great weekend.

  4. 5 stars
    Major drool over here, Kevin. I love the combination of flavors in this and definitely need to make it ASAP. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks Olivia. So happy you stopped by here and now I’ve found another international food lover! Your site is wonderful.

      1. Oh, thanks! You’re too sweet! I’m glad I stumbled upon your blog today – even though I have been here before through sharing threads on FBC. It is my goal in 2016 to keep up with wonderful blogs like yours. I definitely need the inspiration! 🙂 🙂 🙂

      2. You’re sweet, thanks and I am working on that interaction more myself. I hope you’re safe and warm out there in NY this weekend!

  5. 5 stars
    I love jerk anything, Kevin… well aside from people. 😉 And this chicken looks scruuuuuumptious!! Loving that it is one pan and the hint of citrus in here is just perfect! I totally want to devour this, close my eyes and imagine being in the Caribbean! Dinner perfection up in here! Cheers, buddy!

    1. Yes, aside from jerk people indeed. Like I said to John, it’s amazing how a few spices can transport one to another part of the world. That’s what I love so much about food, besides enjoying eating it. 🙂

    1. Thanks John, love the spice blend for this one, works so well. It’s amazing how a few spices can transport one to another part of the world. Have a great and tasty day!

  6. Hey Kevin! I am loving all the flavors going on here! I always have brown rice in my pantry – the only time I eat white rice is when we go out for sushi. This is a pan full of happiness! 🙂

  7. I’m loving that you posted the recipe for jerk seasoning. It must be like 100x better than store bought. I need to make in happen in my kitchen asap.
    And I do love me a one-skillet uber tasty meal that comes together in a flash and tastes amazing!

    1. Thanks Mike, appreciate it. This is great on pork chops too, and then a quick grill or broil. I sure love flavor with a lil bit o’ heat!

  8. I love brown rice…it has so much more flavor than it’s white cousin! And I’m just sitting here imagining how much flavor this jerk chicken has. It sounds incredible, Kevin. So incredible that my mouth is watering for savory food at 9am. Well done, my friend, well done. #WolfpackJerks

  9. 5 stars
    Kevin,this looks so insanely good! Always love a good one pot meal especially when it’s hot and spicy. Love the citrus addition here. Am hungry.