This homemade jerk seasoning is a blend of herbs and spices that creates a complex and bold flavor for fish, meat and poultry. The spice mix takes just minutes to put together and tastes so much better than the store bought version!
I love jerk chicken, and the secret to a fabulous Jamaican inspired dish is homemade jerk seasoning. This spice blend contains ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry, and is so quick to make.
What is jerk seasoning made of?
Jerk seasoning is a blend of both sweet and savory spices, along with dried herbs and some chili peppers for heat.
- Savory Spices: Garlic and onion powder form the basis of this spice mix. It also contains both sweet and smoked paprikas. The other savory spices include cumin, salt and pepper.
- Sweet Spices: Cinnamon, allspice, ginger and nutmeg make up the spices that form a sweet undertone to the seasoning. A spoonful of brown sugar also goes into the mix to offset the heat from the chilies.
- Dried Herbs: Dried thyme leaves and dried parsley are classic additions to jerk spice and add a fresh flavor.
- Other Ingredients: Crushed red chili flakes and cayenne pepper bring a blast of heat! If you’re not a fan of spicy food, you can reduce the amounts by half.
How do you make jerk seasoning?
Place all the ingredients in a bowl. Stir until well combined, then transfer the seasoning to a jar or other airtight container. Use immediately, or store in a cool, dark place for up to 6 months.
Tips for the perfect spice mix
- This recipe can easily be doubled or tripled. I always make at least a double batch so that I have extra on hand for quick meals.
- I use freshly ground black peppercorns and I grate my own whole nutmegs for the best flavor.
- This seasoning mix contains salt, which means you will not need to add any extra salt to your meat when you cook it. I recommend using kosher salt for best results.
- It’s worth it to use both the sweet and smoked paprika varieties in the seasoning blend. The smoked version adds a ton of extra flavor and is readily available in the spice aisle of many grocery stores.
Ways to use jerk seasoning
This seasoning blend can be used in so many different ways!
- Classic Jerk Chicken: Mix 2 tablespoons of jerk seasoning with 4 tablespoons of olive oil. Rub the mixture all over 1 1/2 pounds of bone in chicken pieces. Let the chicken marinate for up to 8 hours if possible. Bake or grill until chicken is tender and cooked through, then serve.
- Marinades: Add 1 tablespoon of your seasoning blend to 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup lime juice, 2 teaspoons minced garlic, and 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce to make a versatile marinade that works with chicken, pork or shrimp.
- Steak: Mix together 2 tablespoons of butter with 1 teaspoon chopped chives and 3/4 teaspoon jerk seasoning. Place a spoonful of the seasoned butter onto a cooked steak.
- Potatoes: Cut potatoes into eights to create wedges. Toss the potatoes with 1/4 cup olive oil and 2-3 teaspoons of seasoning. Bake on a greased sheet pan at 425 degrees F for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown and crispy.
- Veggies: Toss broccoli, carrots, zucchini or cauliflower with 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1-2 teaspoons jerk spice. Roast at 425 degrees F for 20-25 minutes or until vegetables are browned and tender.
I hope your family loves this easy and versatile seasoning as much as mine does!
More spice blends to try
Jerk Seasoning Video
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper cut this in half if you don't like spicy food
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 3/4 teaspoon allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg freshly ground if possible
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes
- 2 teaspoons dried parsley
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- Place all the ingredients in a small bowl. Stir until thoroughly combined.
- Use immediately or transfer to an airtight container. Store in a cool, dark place until ready to use.