If you have ever had Jamaican food in general, you know it’s all about flavor + spice! Embrace the heat with my Baked Jamaican Pineapple Jerk Chicken, cooked in a beautifully spicy homemade jerk sauce along with sweet pineapple chunks, and a nice BBQ jerk sauce topping for a delicious marriage of flavor. A real nostalgic comfort food dish for many Jamaicans. No need for a grill with the recipe while keeping the same amazing results.
When it comes to Jamaican jerk chicken, there's a special place in my heart. I grew up eating perfectly charred jerk chicken on a grill that were often chopped into the most perfect bites from a machete (large butcher knife) and served with hard-dough bread and generous squirts of BBQ sauce and jerk sauce.
Honestly, this has to be one of my top favorite Jamaican food to eat, especially since chicken in general is a MUST for me. Haha.
Although, I still enjoy a good authentic dish of Jamaican jerk chicken from the grill when eating out in Brooklyn, unfortunately, the fact that I don't have a grill has lead me to create this Baked Jamaican Pineapple Jerk Chicken. There's still a way to enjoy delicious jerk chicken without the use of a grill and I hope that you love this recipe as much as my family and I do.
Traditionally, as I've mentioned, 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.
In the most recent years, another trend in Jamaica has been the addition of pineapple to staple flavors such as jerk, ginger beer, etc.-----which is why I chose to make pineapple jerk chicken as opposed to the tradition version.
Believe me when I say that adding pineapple is a nice offset to the spice AND it's such a killer combo, ya'll. SO good!
In jerk sauce or marinade, the 3 main ingredients that MUST be present are: scotch bonnet, thyme, and allspice (aka pimento seeds). You can't remove any of these ingredients or else it wouldn't be considered "jerk".
Baking Jamaican Pineapple Jerk Chicken is generally an easy process—in total about 1 hour due to the process of cooking the chicken 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 with both vinegar and lemon to help keep things clean and sanitized.
Once your chicken is 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.
Blend your pineapple jerk sauce ingredients and massage unto seasoned chicken and let the cooking process begin.
To make your own jerk seasoning dry rub, you'll need the following:
Making traditional jerk or pineapple jerk doesn't have to be left to only chicken. 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:
You can easily make this dish ahead by making the homemade pineapple jerk sauce/marinade a few days in advance and storing it tightly in a sealed jar or container and refrigerated for up to 1 week.
In addition, you can season and marinade your clean chicken for 1-2 days prior to making this recipe as well.
Once ready to cook, let the chicken sit at room temperature for 20-25 minutes before combining the homemade sauce and chicken and then baking.
You can serve this pineapple jerk chicken as-is. Also, enjoy this pineapple jerk chicken with a side of bread (hard-dough bread is traditionally used in Jamaica) or with your favorite side (i.e. rice and peas, brown or white rice, veggies, salad, etc.).
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to four days. Reheat servings in the microwave or in the oven to serve.
You can also freeze leftover chicken for up to six months. Then defrost in the fridge overnight and reheat to enjoy.
Because I love spicy flavors and whenever making anything Jamaican, I’m always inclined to add scotch bonnet peppers—–this specific pineapple jerk chicken is spicy. However, just know that the pineapples and BBQ sauce helps to offset the heat a bit. If you'd like, you can increase the amount of scotch bonnet peppers used in the jerk sauce to as much as 6 total, if you love extra spice!
If you make this Jamaican Brown Stew Chicken, be sure to tag me on Instagram with your photos @orchidsandsweettea!
Tag @orchidsnsweettea_ on Instagram and hashtag it #orchidsandsweettea
Baked Jamaican Pineapple Jerk Chicken.
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Was wondering if I can use boneless thighs for this recipe? How much would I alter the cooking time?
Hi Natasha! For boneless thighs, it should cook a few minutes quicker depending on how thin they are. Maybe about 25-30 minutes until cooked through. 🙂
What pepper could I substitute if scotch bonnet peppers are not available?
Hi Kim! You can definitely use habanero peppers! 🙂
I bet this is one of the most delicious ways to make chicken. It certainly looks like it is nobody's business!
We had this jerk chicken for dinner last night and it was amazing! That pineapple flavor is incredible
Love how easy this recipe is. It’s perfect for our family!
Every bite does indeed look amazing! All of the flavors are incredible. And I love these vibrant colors.
I have been searching for the best Jamaican jerk chicken recipe ever since I visited Jamaica years ago and I finally found it! This chicken has sooo much flavor and is so easy to prepare, everyone in my house loved it so much!