This Best Jamaican Jerk Chicken Pizza is one of the best versions of pizza where taking a traditional staple like jerk chicken and using it to re-create something phenomenal for the entire family. It comes based in a sweet BBQ sauce and then loaded with mozzarella cheese, roasted bell peppers, tomatoes, kale, and shredded jerk chicken. Perfect for any lunch or dinner, especially during weeknights. Gluten-Free option.
It's insane to think that I created this recipe originally over 4 years ago and so I've decided to remake it, enhance it, and re-create a new found beauty from my original idea.
I love doing this lately because it really shows me how far I've come, the amount of practice that it's taken to get better, and just overall how much my love for food has evolved.
This Jamaican Jerk Chicken Pizza is one of those recipes which is dear to my heart because it's one of those recipes that speaks to my Jamaican heritage and I always enjoy sharing that with you all. This homemade pizza is topped with gooey, melted mozzarella with sweet roasted bell peppers, tomatoes, chopped kale, and BBQ sauce to help offset the heat from the jerk seasoning. And best of all, the entire recipe (including a homemade crust) takes less than an hour to get on the table!
However, I must say that this jerk chicken pizza took it to a whole other level for me. Honestly, whenever I get a chance to share some personal faves from my past and upbringing, whether from my Jamaican background or Southern roots, I'm the most excited. Moreover, this pizza was inspired by my love for jerk chicken and equal love for spicy flavors (I got that from my Grandfather---haha).
Ingredients for Homemade Pizza Crust
For the best pizza, make your own crust! It’s easier than you might think, and my recipe takes just a few ingredients and little time to rise. Plus, the dough is seasoned for added flavor!
Here’s what you need:
All-purpose flour. I use organic flour. If you want to make gluten-free pizza dough, check out the notes section below the recipe!
Raw honey. All of the sugar will be consumed by the yeast in the dough.
Yeast. Use rapid-rise or instant yeast for dough that rises quickly.
Extra virgin oliveoil. This is a neutral oil, but you could also use Grapeseed oil.
Oregano, Thyme, and smoked paprika. For added flavor and spice.
How to Make Jamaican Jerk Chicken Pizza
The awesome thing about this recipe is that most of the ingredients are household staples. Plus, it’s easy to mix and match ingredients with whatever you have on hand, so there’s no need to make an extra trip to the store. Instead, embrace the laid-back nature of this healthy meal.
Here’s what I like to toss on my homemade pizza:
Chicken breasts. Choose organic chicken for this recipe. If you have time, I recommend marinating them overnight before you prepare the salad. You could also use chicken thighs for this recipe if you prefer dark meat.
Jerk marinade or seasoning. You can buy this or make your own using the recipe below!
Kale. I love the combination of kale and cheese. However, you can substitute the greens with another leafy base, such as spinach or arugula.
Bell pepper. I love the splash of color from red and yellow sweet mini peppers. Of course, you can use any color bell pepper you like. And larger peppers work just as well as the mini ones.
Tomatoes. In the summer, I can’t get enough vine-ripe tomatoes, and this pizza is the perfect opportunity to eat even more, especially when roasted!
BBQ sauce. I like to offset the heat of the jerk flavors by adding a bit of BBQ sauce for a sweetness factor.
Roasted Bell Peppers for Pizza
The topping for this Jamaican jerk chicken pizza is sweet, smoky roasted mini sweet/bell peppers. I like to season mine with garlic powder, dried oregano, dried basil, and dried parsley. These Italian herbs together add a complex, herby and earthy flavor to the pizza. And bell peppers become so sweet and silky-smooth to add depth to your pizza.
In a pinch, make this pizza even easier by using jarred roasted red peppers!
HOW TO MAKE HERB ROASTED TOMATOES
The key for this recipe is to start with great-quality tomatoes. Choose a mix of large and cherries, and several different colors if you can find them.
Tomatoes. You can add as many tomatoes as will fit on your baking sheet.
Olive oil. Don’t skimp on the oil! It helps concentrate the tomato flavor and makes a nice jammy texture. You can use these roasted tomatoes like a dressing or sauce.
Dried herbs. I like a mixture of Italian herbs like oregano, basil and parsley. But you can mix up the seasonings with other fresh or dried herbs. Thyme, rosemary, marjoram and tarragon are all delicious with tomatoes.
Spices. Likewise, feel free to play with different spices in your roasted tomatoes. I like paprika, garlic powder and a pinch of red pepper flakes for a slight kick.
HOW TO ENSURE THE PERFECT PIZZA CRUST EVERY TIME!
When it comes to making the perfect pizza crust, it only really takes a FEW HACKS/TRICKS for this to happen. However, it is imperative that you follow these exact steps every time, so that the perfect crust is achieved!
Make sure that your oven is preheated and is HOT!! This ensures that everything bakes evenly and cooks pretty fast to avoid anything that could possibly cause your pizza to be soggy or undercooked (like the dough!).
Never EVER use cold dough! Using cold dough changes the hydration and makes it more aggressive to stretch and work out. This isn’t good for your crust at all.
Always, Always use a Pizza Sheet Pan. For a crispy pizza, I suggest using a pizza pan with holes to allow the crust to bake through nicely. I used the AirBake Pizza Pan, which can be found at Target!
DO NOT over roll dough! When following the step of rolling out the dough slightly to flatten it, never roll out the dough too much! Be sure to follow the steps of stretching it out with your hands the rest of the way.
Never add TOO MUCH sauce! This step is super imperative (trust me, I learned the hard way!) and it’s such truth. Never add all the sauce entirely to avoid a soggy middle or crust.
Precook any toppings that might require a longer cook time! This is especially true for certain veggies (and of course meats) that require a longer cook time that the allotted short amount of minutes that an actual pizza takes to cook. That way you aren’t trying to overcook your pizza because the toppings aren’t fully cooked.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Wash and pat dry the chicken breasts and add jerk seasonings: onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne, salt, black pepper, thyme, brown sugar, allspice, parlsey, smoked paprika, red pepper flakes, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and cumin, mixing everything together until combined and chicken becomes marinated.
Place chicken breasts unto prepared baking sheet and pour any marinade "juices" atop chicken. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until chicken is fully cooked through and golden brown on the outside. Once done, remove chicken from oven and let it rest for 5 minutes or so before"shredding" them using a kife and fork (or two forks) by pulling them apart.
ROAST THE BELL PEPPERS:
Prepare another baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper.
Add the sliced bell peppers unto the baking sheet (in a single layer) and drizzle with olive oil and season with seasonings (salt, black pepper, garlic powder, oregano, basil, smoked paprika, thyme, and parsley) and bake for 25-30 minutes or until peppers are charred, wilted, and tender. Remove and let cool slightly.
In the bowl of an electric mixer (with a dough hook attachment), mix together the warm water, honey, olive oil, and yeast (you might need to use a whisk to ensure that everything combines together well). Let is sit for at least 5 minutes, until yeast begins to activate and foam.
Slowly add the flour, dried oregano, garlic powder, thyme, and salt (on low speed!), until fully incorporated and a soft dough is formed. NOTE: if dough is too sticky, add ½ cup of additional flour at a time).
Now, increase the speed to medium-high and knead the dough for about 5 minutes in the mixer.
Once done, add the dough onto a floured surface and slightly roll out the dough until it’s flat enough to form a flat circle the rest of the way with your hands, about 11 inches in diameter. Lightly grease your pizza pan with extra virgin olive oil and place dough on one end of pan, evenly pressing it and flattening it out to fit the entire pan. Gently use your finger to stretch dough until pan is fully covered and gently pinch the edges of the dough together to form the crust.
In a bowl, add the shredded jerk chicken and ½ cup BBQ sauce together and stir until combined.
Preheat the oven to 475 degrees Fahrenheit and place top rack into the middle of oven. NOTE: be sure to use a great pizza pan to ensure that your crust is crispy and not soggy.
Spoon a generous amount of the BBQ sauce (about ½ cup) over the top of the crust until evenly coated.
Generously sprinkle on the mozzarella until crust is fully covered in the middle, leaving a bit of crust for the edges. Add the chopped kale, roasted peppers, roasted tomatoes, and sheredded jerk chicken a top the cheese----spreading it out evenly.
Lightly brush the tops of the edge of the crust with 1 tablespoon of olive oil (and sprinkle with thyme, if desired) to ensure that it becomes a nice golden brown.
Transfer the pizza pie to the hot oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or so, until the mozzarella has melted (and becomes bubbly) and the crust is crispy and golden brown.
Once done, allow pizza to rest/cool for a few minutes (about 2-3 minutes) so that the mozzarella sets before cutting into generous slices, using a pizza cutter.
Serve and enjoy!
Tips & Tricks
PIZZA CRUST: For a crispy pizza (especially on the bottom), I suggest using a pizza pan with holes to allow the crust to bake through nicely. I used the AirBake Pizza Pan, which can be found at Target!
STORAGE: Leftover pizza is best kept tightly wrapped in foil paper, refrigerated for 3-4 days for optimal freshness.