Jamaican Jerk Chicken was probably one of the first recipes that I cooked with my husband when we were newly married! It was an adaptation of one of Bobby Flay’s recipe. I remember, I made the spice rub from scratch, marinated the meat overnight, and we grilled it on a charcoal grill. It was juicy, spicy, sweet and simply amazing!
Traditional Marinade: In the traditional recipe for Jamaican Jerk Chicken, a wet marinade is prepared with fresh thyme, scotch bonnet pepper, ginger, garlic, spring onions, oil, soy sauce, orange juice, red wine vinegar, brown sugar and a unique spice-rub that includes cinnamon, cloves, all-spice, nutmeg, black pepper and salt. Everything is blended together in a food processor and the chicken is marinated in it for 30 mins-12 hours. Whenever I have time, I like to make this marinade from scratch, but on busy days, I love to take a shortcut and use a dry pre-mixed Caribbean Jerk Seasoning. I combine a few tablespoons of the pre-mix with orange juice, soy sauce, olive oil, red wine vinegar and brown sugar, and marinade is done.
Cooking methods: Oven/Skillet/Grill/Instant Pot: I have cooked Jerk Chicken in the oven, in a skillet, on an outdoor grill, and now, in my electric pressure cooker, Instant Pot. It takes about 15-20 minutes to grill it on the stove, outdoor grill or under the broiler (oven). With an Instant Pot, it takes about 30 minutes, BUT, that’s hands-free time. You don’t have to monitor it, or flip it half way through, you just dump it in and walk away for the next 30 minutes. However, after cooking it in the pressure cooker, I do like to do an optional extra step which takes another couple of minutes. I heat a grill pan on medium-high heat, and then sear the cooked chicken for 30 secs-1 minute on one side, to get the nice grill marks on the chicken. By doing that, the sugars in the marinade caramelize and create a nice char on the chicken, that tastes heavenly and looks phenomenal.
Serving suggestion: Jamaican Jerk Chicken goes really well with a simple mango salsa, or my favorite, Kale & Mango Slaw with Chickpeas. The crunchy slaw and the ripe and juicy mangoes compliment the sweet and spicy chicken really well. Click on the following link to get the recipe of this spring-time favorite, Kale & Mango Slaw.
Here’s how easy it is to put Jamaican Jerk Chicken together:
Jamaican Jerk Chicken Recipe (Instant Pot/Oven/Skillet)Print Recipe
- 1 lb. boneless, skinless Chicken breast or thighs
- Marinade for Chicken(mix everything together in a bowl)
- 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
- 3 tablespoons orange juice
- 3 tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar, or, Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1 tablespoon brown packed Brown Sugar
- 1 tablespoon Soy Sauce
- 2-3 tablespoons thinly sliced spring onions
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped, or 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 inch ginger, grated , or,
- 2 tablespoon Caribbean Jerk Seasoning
- Alternatively, you can create your own Jerk Seasoning Blend by putting together the following spices (this is a replacement for the 2 tablespoons of Caribbean Jerk Seasoning)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon Dried Thyme
- 1 teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper (adjust to taste)
- 1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
- 1/2 teaspoon Ground Ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon Allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon Ground Cloves
Marinate chicken In a small mixing bowl, combine all marinade ingredients. In a gallon size ziplock bag, pour in the marinade. Add chicken, remove the air by pressing on the bag gently and reseal it. Turn the bag a few times over to coat the chicken with the marinade. If you have time, refrigerate the marinated chicken for 30 mins-12 hours.
INSTANT POT method Turn instant pot ON. Pour in the chicken along with marinade. Close lid. Set vent to "sealing". Cook on Manual/Pressure Cook for 6-8 minutes, depending on the thickness of the chicken breast. For chicken thighs, set a cook time for 6 minutes. Wait for 10 minutes, before releasing the pressure naturally (NPR 10). Remove chicken and rest. Turn on SAUTE and simmer sauce for 3-5 minutes to thicken it. As an optional step, heat a grill-pan on medium-high heat. Place chicken down on it's 'presentation side', for 30 seconds to a minute, to get the gorgeous grill marks.
OVEN method Turn on the broiler. Place drained chicken breasts on a lined baking sheet and reserve the marinade. Place baking sheet under the broiler such that the chicken is about 4 inches away from the broiler. Cook chicken 7-8 minutes per side, flipping half way through. Chicken is done when internal temperature of chicken reaches 165 degrees F. In a small sauce pan, bring the reserved marinade to a boil. Simmer for 4-5 minutes till the sauce thickens.
SKILLET method Heat a wide, heavy bottom skillet on medium-high heat. Add drained chicken breast and reserve the marinade. Cook chicken roughly 6-8 minutes per side, flipping it half way through. Cook till internal temperature of chicken reaches 165 degrees F. Remove chicken and rest. Pour in the reserved marinade, bring it to a boil and cook it for 4-5 minutes on medium heat, till the sauce thickens.
OUTDOOR GRILL method Place the drained chicken on a medium-high heat zone of your outdoor grill and reserve the marinade. Cook chicken roughly 6-8 minutes per side, flipping it half way through. Cook till internal temperature of chicken reaches 165 degrees F. Remove chicken and rest. In a small sauce pan, bring the reserved marinade to a boil. Simmer for 4-5 minutes till the sauce thickens.
Serve chicken Jamaican Jerk Chicken (breast or thighs), can be served whole, or sliced. Pour the sauce over the chicken and serve with your choice of rice, potato or veggie sides.