Jamaican Jerk Chicken

Original recipe from RecipeTinEats.com


  • chicken (whole cut-up chicken or parts)


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 lime or 1/2 lemon, juice only (about 2 tbsp)
  • 1 onion coarsely chopped (brown, yellow or white)
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger chopped (or 1 tsp dried ginger powder)
  • 1 serano pepper (or other type of pepper to increase heat - original receipt called for a scotch bonnet pepper) Note 2
  • 6 garlic cloves roughly chopped
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp cinnamon powder
  • 1/2 tbsp allspice powder
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg powder preferably freshly grated
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme or 1 sprig of fresh thyme


  • Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel and place in a large ziplock bag.
  • Place Marinade ingredients in a food processor and whizz until smooth. Try not to touch the Marinade with bare hands to avoid getting chili on your hands.
  • Pour the Marinade into the ziplock bag. Close the bag, squeezing out excess air. Massage the bag from the outside to disperse the Marinade throughout the chicken. Marinate for at least 4 hours, or up to 24 hours.
  • When ready to cook, remove the chicken from the Marinade but reserve the Marinade.


  • Preheat the oven to 180C/350 (fan forced).
  • Place a wire rack on a baking tray lined with foil. Place the drumsticks on the rack and baste the top with half the Marinade. Bake for 25 minutes.
  • Turn the drumsticks and baste the top with the remaining Marinade. Bake for a further 20 to 25 minutes, until the drumsticks are very dark brown.
  • Rest for 5 minutes before serving, garnished with coriander/cilantro if using.


  • Preheat the grill side of the BBQ on medium (or medium low if your BBQ is strong). Brush the grill with oil, if required.
  • Place the chicken on the grill. Brush the top with 1/2 the Marinade. Cook for 10 minutes, then turn.
  • Brush the top with the remaining Marinade and cook for a further 5 to 8 minutes.
  • Then turn the chicken again (to cook the side that you just brushed Marinade on) and cook for a few minutes. (Total cook time around 20 minutes in total)


1. This recipe works really well with a cut up whole chicken - with or without skin, with or without bone. It works but is not as good with chicken breast - you really need fat for the Marinade to mix with and to caramelize.
2. The original recipe calls for 1+ scotch bonnet peppers (adjust according to taste). Scotch bonnet peppers are a very hot chili that are commonly used in African and Caribbean cooking. Scotch Bonnet Peppers have a 100,000-350,000 heat units on the Scoville Scale.
The best substitute is habanero peppers which is about the same level of spiciness (same rating on the Scoville Scale).  Just do a taste test of the marinade to get the spiciness to your taste.
Serano peppers are very mild - 6,000-23,000 on the Scoville Scale.
(For reference, bell peppers are a 0 on the Scoville Scale.)