This jerk chicken marinade is a combination of olive oil, lime juice, fresh herbs, hot peppers and plenty of spices, all blended together to produce tender and juicy chicken every time. A great way to turn ordinary chicken into a gourmet meal!
When I’m looking to add tons of flavor to meat, poultry and seafood, I turn to marinades including skirt steak marinade, pork chop marinade, shrimp marinade and jerk chicken marinade. I also love that these soaking sauces come together in just minutes! If you love Jamaican flavors as much as I do, you should also make some jerk seasoning to have on hand in your kitchen.
I happen to love the sweet and spicy flavor of jerk chicken, and it couldn’t be easier to make at home. All you need is a batch of this jerk chicken marinade, some bone-in chicken pieces and a grill or oven.
What is jerk sauce made of?
This marinade contains the following ingredients.
- Olive Oil: The oil forms the base of the marinade, and helps to keep the chicken from drying out on the grill.
- Lime Juice: The acid in the lime juice tenderizes the chicken.
- Fresh Herbs: Green onions and thyme leaves lend a fresh and savory flavor.
- Spices: Traditional jerk dishes contain a variety of warm spices including cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg.
- Chili Peppers: Scotch bonnet peppers are a classic addition to jerk chicken marinade, and they pack quite a bit of heat!
How do you make jerk chicken marinade?
Place all of the marinade ingredients in the bowl of a food processor or in a blender. Puree until mostly smooth. Place bone-in chicken pieces in the marinade and toss to coat. Let the chicken sit for at least one hour, or up to 12 hours. Grill or bake the chicken until it is cooked through and golden brown, then serve and enjoy.
Tips for the perfect marinade
- This marinade can be prepared up to 2 days before you plan to use it. The olive oil may solidify in the refrigerator, but will liquefy again at room temperature.
- I recommend using bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces such as thighs or drumsticks. Boneless skinless chicken pieces will be more likely to dry out, especially leaner cuts such as chicken breast.
- Scotch bonnet peppers are are small orange chili peppers that are traditional in Jamaican cooking. If you can’t find them at your store, substitute habanero peppers instead. For a less spicy dish, choose jalapeno peppers and remove the seeds and ribs.
- Grill your chicken over indirect heat for 35-40 minutes or until cooked through. You can also bake your chicken at 400 degrees F for 40 minutes.
Ways to Use Jerk Chicken Marinade
You can obviously use this marinade for chicken, but it also works with other types of meats!
- Beef: Marinate a quick cooking steak such as flank steak or sirloin.
- Pork: This marinade is great for bone in pork chops or pork tenderloin.
- Seafood: Use large shrimp, scallops or a firm white fish such as tilapia, sea bass or halibut.
- Vegetables: Toss red bell peppers, mushrooms, zucchini or potatoes in the marinade.
This jerk chicken marinade is full of authentic flavors and produces some of the most delicious chicken you’ll ever eat!
More marinades to try
- The Best Chicken Marinade
- Tri Tip Marinade
- Chicken Fajita Marinade
- Pork Tenderloin Marinade
- Flank Steak Marinade
Jerk Chicken Marinade Video
Jerk Chicken Marinade
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup lime juice
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 4 green onions cut into 1 inch pieces
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- 1 tablespoon garlic coarsely chopped
- 2 teaspoons ginger coarsely chopped
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 scotch bonnet pepper stem removed, you can remove seeds and ribs for less heat
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- Place all the ingredients in a food processor or blender.
- Pulse or blend until a mostly smooth mixture forms.
- Pour the marinade over 3 pounds of bone in chicken pieces.
- Let the chicken sit in the marinade for at least one hour, or up to 12 hours.
- Grill or bake as desired, then serve.