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Authentic Baked Jamaican Jerk Chicken

March 25, 2024
Shanika | Orchids + Sweet Tea

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Savor the vibrant taste of Jamaica with this Authentic Baked Jamaican Jerk Chicken. Marinated in homemade Jamaican Green seasoning and jerk rub, it's a spicy delight that brings Caribbean flair to your table.

Authentic Baked Jamaican Jerk Chicken

Get ready to take your taste buds on a journey to the sunny shores of Jamaica with our Authentic Baked Jamaican Jerk Chicken recipe! Made with a blend of Jamaican Green seasoning and a fiery jerk rub, this dish brings the heat and flavor of the Caribbean right to your table. It makes for an amazing main dish that will have everyone asking for seconds! Dairy-free + Air-fryer option.

Jerk chicken on white parchment paper with bread and a fork.

Jerk Chicken is a Jamaican classic, and I've shared quite a few jerk recipes, including the beloved Authentic Jamaican Curry Chicken, which happens to be one of my top-viewed recipes ever. I love that y'all enjoy it when I share more recipes from my roots. And this Authentic Baked Jamaican Jerk Chicken recipe is something special. It's bursting with flavor + so easy to make. You'll want to keep coming back to this recipe time and time again—it's that good!

This Jamaican Jerk Chicken is made with my homemade green seasoning and jerk dry rub, giving it that authentic Caribbean flavor. While grilled jerk chicken is more traditional, living in NYC, I've found that baked chicken is just as delicious. It's a perfect main dish, served alongside your favorite sides like basmati rice, brown rice, or more traditional hard-dough bread. Or you can totally use it for meal prep and toss it into a salad, grain bowl, or even whip up some rasta pasta!

For more delicious Jamaican-inspired dishes, give these a try next: Jamaican Pineapple Jerk Chicken, Baked Jamaican Jerk Chicken Salad, Baked Jamaican Jerk Chicken Wings, or Spicy One-Pot Jerk Chicken and Dumplings. They're sure to satisfy your cravings!

Jump to:

What is Jamaican Jerk Chicken?

Traditionally, Jerk chicken is a staple Jamaican dish that is often enjoyed with hard-dough bread or sometimes rice and peas. The chicken is usually seasoned well with a jerk seasoning and marinade and is left to fully marinade 1-2 days (or overnight) so that everything soaks in and the chicken is nice and tender when cooked.

My favorite store-bought brand of jerk marinade is by Grace Foods, which is available to purchase at your local grocer or online via Amazon, however, when making your own sauce, it consists of blended spices and seasonings and the spiciness can be adjusted based on preference.

Marinated chicken in a silver bowl being held.

How To Make Authentic Baked Jamaican Jerk Chicken

To get the chicken ready, toss those freshly cleaned pieces into a big bowl. Then, sprinkle on some Jamaican Green seasoning, jerk seasoning, and jerk seasoning paste. Give it all a good mix until every bit of chicken is covered. Once that's done, pop it in the oven to bake. Later on, you can even whip up a quick sauce with those delicious chicken juices, toss the chicken back in, and let it cook a bit more. Easy peasy!

Ingredients

CHICKEN:

  • Organic chicken. Drumsticks, Breasts, + Thigh pieces work great; See Jerk Chicken Wings for wing option.
  • Jamaican Green seasoning. Store-bought or homemade
  • Jerk dry rub seasoning. Again you can use a homemade blend if you want to be in control of the heat levels and overall flavor a little more or use a storebrought version.
  • Jerk seasoning paste. I love using a store-bought paste from Grace foods, however, you can always make your own homemade seasoning.

JERK SAUCE (OPTIONAL):

  • Unsalted butter This adds additional flavor to the sauce. For a dairy-free option, feel free to use vegan butter.
  • Broth from baked chicken. See instructions on how to retrieve chicken broth from cooked chicken.
  • Fresh thyme sprigs. Adds another layer of flavor.
  • Jerk seasoning paste.
  • Cornstarch + warm water. Used for the thickening of jerk sauce. You can sub with arrowroot starch, flour, tapioca flour, etc.

GARNISH:

  • BBQ sauce. I use my Homemade BBQ Sauce but you could also use your fave store brought one!
  • Lime wedges. Adds a nice pop of citrus zesty flavor.
  • Chopped scallion. Aka green onions.

SHOP MY FAVORITE TOOLS FOR COOKING, ESPECIALLY FOR THIS CHICKEN!

Here, I’ve curated a list of cooking + baking essentials that I use to achieve my favorite baked goods or cooked meals, especially with this Authentic Baked Jamaican Jerk Chicken. Everything from my fave baking sheet, skillet, mixing bowls, cooking thongs, cooking utensils, and more. SEE THEM HERE!

Up close shot of marinated chicken in a silver bowl.

How To Make Homemade Jerk Seasoning Paste

To make your own jerk seasoning paste instead of using a store-bought version, you'll need to add all of the following ingredients in a high-powdered blender or food processor until completely broken down and smooth:

  • 3 scotch bonnet peppers
  • ½ red onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • handful of scallions (aka green onions)
  • 2 Tbsps white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt + black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 2 Tbsps brown sugar
  • 1 carrot, peeled + chopped
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsps pimento seeds (aka allspice)
  • ¼ cup filtered water

How to Prep + Season Jerk Chicken

Baking Jamaican Jerk Chicken is generally an easy process—in total about 1 hour due to the process of cooking the chicken wings and "drying out" of the sauce. You first start by cleaning and washing your chicken pieces to ensure that they are clean and ready to be seasoned. I like to wash my chicken wings with both vinegar and lemon to help keep things clean + sanitized.

Once your chicken wings are clean, then it’s seasoning time! I’m all about seasoning every “layer” of my food, therefore, the chicken gets direct seasoning and so does the sauce. Let everything marinate for 10-15 minutes or 1-2 days (or overnight tightly wrapped in the refrigerator) for the best results.

Marinated chicken lined in a baking dish on a brown wood table.

What Does Jamaican Jerk Chicken Taste Like?

Basically, Jamaican baked jerk chicken is super packed with flavor that is spicy and sweet with a smoky, char taste if made on a grill. Overall, jerk seasoning has warm, complex, and salt undertones, which makes it the perfect flavor for any taste buds.

Is Baked Jamaican Jerk Chicken Very Spicy?

This chicken is spicy, but not overly hot. When it comes to making jerk anything, the amount of spicy and hot flavors would depend on the amount of scotch bonnets you add to both your marinade and sauce. You can always adjust the amount of peppers based on your personal preference.

Baked jerk chicken in a baking dish.

Baked Chicken Vs. Air-Fried

Of course, both methods of making jerk chicken are effective. However, if you’re wondering whether you’d be able to also make this chicken in an air-fryer—-then yes! Absolutely!

Simply do all steps the same (minus the sauce) and cook them in your air-fryer for the amount of time needed (somewhere between 15-20 minutes I believe). Once crisp, make the BBQ jerk sauce in the saucepan, brush or spoon on the sauce onto the chicken and cook again for 2-3 minutes.

As you know, this recipe is for baked wings and honestly, they’re just as crispy as using them in the air-fryer (especially when you broil them in the last round), so the choice is yours!

Tips for the Best Jerk Chicken Results

When it comes to make Jerk Chicken, there are a few tips that ensure that the results are finger licking good---no matter what cut of the chicken is used.

The type of chicken matters. It's always best to use juicier cuts of chicken like the drumsticks, wings, or thighs. If using another cut like breasts, you'll want to ensure that you keep it moist throughout the baking process by adding liquid to the chicken in intervals. Personally, I like to add chicken stock mixed with 1-2 Tbsps of jerk seasoning paste to keep it moist----brushing on the mixture every 15 minutes or so.

Marination is key. Like any other dish, I love to marinate my chicken or meat 1-2 days prior to cooking for the most flavorful results.

Grill vs Oven. Traditionally, jerk chicken is made on a grill with charcoal for that smoky, char flavor and look which is undeniable. However, when making your jerk chicken in the oven, ensuring that you allow for the liquid to dry out mostly, gives you the similar char-like results as the grill-----hence why using juicier cuts of chicken is more recommended.

Keep the skin on. Usually, when making my chicken recipes I like to remove the skin which doesn't affect the delicious results at all. However, to keep things authentic and to create more of that "charry", crispy feel---keeping the skin on is super important.

Chopped jerk chicken on a cutting board with bread and a fork.

What Meat is the Best to Jerk?

Making traditional jerk doesn't have to be left to only chicken or chicken wings. In Jamaica, it's also used for other types of meat and the possibility of switching things up with another meat or alternative is also a good idea:

  • Pork (often done in Jamaica as well. Perfect combination of grilling and jerk flavors)
  • Beef
  • Tofu
  • Chickpeas
  • Other beans (black beans, kidney beans, etc.)
  • Lamb
  • Fish (also done in Jamaica)
  • Other seafood (lobster, shrimp, etc.)

How to Serve Baked Jamaican Jerk Chicken

If you're thinking about serving this baked jerk chicken with something to create a complete, full meal, then I recommend trying my favorite ways to incorporate them:

Chopped jerk chicken on a cutting board with BBQ sauce, bread, and a fork.

Authentic Baked Jamaican Jerk Chicken Q + A's

How to store jerk chicken?

Any leftovers can be kept in a tightly sealed container and refrigerated for up to 3-4 days. To reheat, you can do so in the microwave or in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until warmed through. 

Can i make this jerk chicken recipe dairy-free?

Yes! To make this recipe entirely dairy-free, be sure to sub butter with vegan butter. Also, ensure that other ingredients are DF.

Can i make this extra spicy?

If you'd like, you can increase the amount of scotch bonnet peppers used in the jerk sauce and/or marinade to as much as 4 total, if you love extra spice!

Can I grill the chicken instead of baking it?

Definitely! Grilling is a traditional method for cooking Jamaican Jerk Chicken. Simply follow the same marinating process and grill over medium-high heat until cooked through.

Can I use boneless chicken instead of bone-in?

Yes, boneless chicken works well too. Just adjust the cooking time accordingly as boneless pieces may cook faster than bone-in cuts.

How do I know when the chicken is done?

Use a meat thermometer to check for an internal temperature of 165°F (75°C). The juices should run clear, and the chicken should no longer be pink in the center.

Can I freeze Jamaican Jerk Chicken?

Yes, you can freeze cooked Jamaican Jerk Chicken for up to 2-3 months. Thaw it in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.

New to Jamaican Cuisine? Try these Next!

Now that you're on a Jerk flavor kick with this Authentic Baked Jamaican Jerk Chicken recipe, give these other Jamaican recipes that your entire family will love a try next:

MADE OUR RECIPE(S)?

If you tried this Authentic Baked Jamaican Jerk Chicken recipe or any other recipe on my website, please please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how you go in the 📝 comments below. And don't forget to tag @orchidsnsweettea_ on Instagram  and hashtag it #orchidsandsweettea! I love hearing from you!

Chopped jerk chicken on a cutting board with BBQ sauce, bread, and a fork.

Authentic Baked Jamaican Jerk Chicken

March 25, 2024
5 from 1 vote
Get ready to take your taste buds on a journey to the sunny shores of Jamaica with our Authentic Baked Jamaican Jerk Chicken! Made with a blend of Jamaican Green seasoning and a fiery jerk rub, this dish brings the heat and flavor of the Caribbean right to your table. It makes for an amazing main dish that will have everyone asking for seconds! Dairy-free option.
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Ingredients

CHICKEN:

  • 3-4 lbs. organic chicken (Drumsticks, Breasts, + Thigh pieces work great; See Jerk Chicken Wings for wing option)
  • 2 Tbsps Jamaican Green seasoning, store-bought or homemade
  • 2 Tbsps Jerk dry rub seasoning
  • 3-4 Tbsps Jerk seasoning paste (See Post for How to Make; I love using the Grace brand)

JERK SAUCE (OPTIONAL):

  • 2 Tbsps unsalted butter
  • 1 ½ cups broth from baked chicken (See instructions on how to retrieve chicken broth from cooked chicken)
  • 2 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 2 Tbsps Jerk seasoning paste (I love using the Grace brand)
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch + 3 Tbsps warm water

GARNISH:

  • 1 Premium BBQ sauce, store-bought or homemade
  • Lime wedges
  • Chopped scallion (aka green onions)

Instructions

MARINATE THE CHICKEN:

  • In a large bowl, add your freshly cleaned + rinsed chicken along with Jamaican Green seasoning,  jerk seasoning, and Jerk seasoning paste, mixing everything together until chicken is fully coated. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes. NOTE: For best results, it's best to marinate chicken overnight or up to 2 days in the refrigerator. Be sure to let it sit at room temp. for 20 minutes or so before baking.
  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and get a non-stick standard 9x13 baking dish. Set aside.

BAKE THE CHICKEN:

  • Add the chicken to the prepared baking dish, spreading them out side by side, and tightly cover the top with foil paper. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until chicken is mostly cooked through and the skin is "dry" and crispy looking. NOTE: If you'd prefer the traditional Jamaican Jerk Chicken, no need to add the jerk sauce. Simply remove the chicken from the oven at this point and follow serving instructions.

JERK SAUCE OPTION:

  • Carefully, drain the chicken broth "liquid" from the chicken into a bowl and set aside. Return the chicken back to the oven and bake for another 5 minutes.
  • In a saucepan over medium-high heat, add the butter and let it melt. Add the chicken "liquid" broth, jerk seasoning paste, and thyme and mix together until combined. Let everything boil for 2-3 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add in the cornstarch mixture, stirring the sauce until it thickens. Remove from heat.

COMBINE + BAKE AGAIN:

  • Generously brush (or spoon) the jerk sauce atop chicken just until fully coated and bake for another 5-10 minutes for until the sauce has "Baked unto" chicken wings. NOTE: I like to broil the wings for the final 5-6 minutes for the best results. Just be sure to keep an eye on them to avoid burning. Remove from oven.
  • To serve, enjoy cut up your jerk chicken into roughly chopped pieces, drizzle with BBQ sauce, and enjoy with a side of bread (hard-dough bread is traditionally used), fried dumplings, rice & peas, or with your favorite side (i.e. grilled corn, Naan bread, potatoes, white rice, coconut rice, veggies, etc.).
  • Bon Appétit!

Tips & Tricks

  • STORAGE: Any leftovers can be kept in a tightly sealed container and refrigerated for up to 3-4 days. To reheat, you can do so in the microwave or in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until warmed through. 
  • JERK SAUCE/MARINADE: Store any leftover sauce in an airtight jar or container and refrigerate for up to 1 week.
  • SCOTCH BONNET PEPPER: If you'd like, you can increase the amount of scotch bonnet peppers used in the jerk sauce and/or marinade to as much as 4 total, if you love extra spice!
  • JERK SEASONING PASTE: If you can't find this at your local grocer, see post for homemade ingredients or purchase via my Amazon Shop!
  • DAIRY-FREE OPTION: To make this recipe entirely dairy-free, be sure to sub butter with vegan butter. Also, ensure that other ingredients are DF.

Nutrition

Calories: 3128kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 253g | Fat: 228g | Saturated Fat: 73g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 45g | Monounsaturated Fat: 91g | Trans Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 1081mg | Sodium: 956mg | Potassium: 2591mg | Fiber: 0.3g | Sugar: 0.02g | Vitamin A: 2700IU | Vitamin C: 25mg | Calcium: 165mg | Iron: 13mg

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Xx, Shanika in script writing

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