The Pretend Chef

Jamaican oven baked Jerk chicken

Spicy, hot, tender, juicy oven baked jerk chicken

Jamaican oven baked jerk chicken is spicy, hot, mildly sweet, tender, juicy with crispy skin and packed full of flavour. Jerk chicken is traditionally Jamaican, there is also jerk pork, jerk burger, jerk shrimp, jerk cauliflower etc.

Authentic Jamaican jerk chicken made in jerk joints use a jerk grill made out of old oil drums or barbecue grills, they use pimento wood to fire it up. The wood adds to the flavour of the jerk chicken but the pimento (allspice) seeds used in the marinade mimic this very well.

If you don’t have a barbecue grill or you don’t have the will to fire one up, it should not be a reason not to enjoy scrumptious jerk chicken whenever you want to. This oven-baked jerk chicken is just as delicious and hits all the right notes and the aroma that envelopes your kitchen will get your juices pumping anytime you remember it.

I have a recipe for authentic Jamaican jerk seasoning which I have used to prepare this chicken.

Spicy, aromatic and mildly sweet Jamaican Jerk Marinade

You can give the chicken a rinse in a vinegar-water mix like the Jamaicans do before marinating. Leave the skin on the chicken it will crisp up and add to your eating pleasure.

Do line your baking sheet with aluminium foil before placing the chicken on it, it makes cleaning up a breeze. You can use a well-oiled wire rack over your baking sheet if you have one.

Go ahead impress your family and friends.

To make Jamaican oven baked jerk chicken

1.5 kg Chicken
2 tablespoons chicken seasoning or any seasoning powder or cubes
1 cup Jerk marinade (sauce)

Cut chicken to the desired size, wash and pat dry.

chicken in a bowl for oven baked jerk chicken

Use a paring knife or fork to pierce the chicken pieces.

Place chicken in a large bowl and sprinkle chicken seasoning all over.

seasoned chicken for oven baked jerk chicken

Pour 1 cup of jerk marinade all over the chicken, stir the chicken around to coat it well. Get the marinade into all the nooks and crannies of the chicken pieces and under the skin, best to use your hands.

jerk marinade on raw chicken

Cover with plastic wrap or the bowl cover. You can also use a large freezer bag or put it directly on your baking sheet.

chicken in jerk marinade for oven baked jerk chicken

Place in the fridge to marinate for a minimum of 3 hours but best left overnight.

keep the remaining jerk marinade in the fridge for use in basting chicken halfway through.

Line a baking sheet with aluminium foil and set aside.

Pre-heat oven to 180 deg. C

Place chicken pieces skin side up on the lined baking sheet.

chicken marinated in jerk sauce ready for the oven

Bake in the oven for 45 minutes, turn chicken pieces spread some jerk marinade on them.

Bake for a further 30 minutes until chicken is cooked.

jamaican oven baked jerk chicken ready

The chicken juices should run clear when a knife tip is inserted into the flesh of the chicken and the meat is not pink or an internal temperature of 75 deg. C if using a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken.

Boil down remaining jerk marinade and serve as a dip.

Serve your delicious Jamaican oven baked Jerk chicken with a sweet Beetroot coleslaw, it goes well with the spicy heat of the meat, Jamaican rice and peas, Johnny cakes, festival, cornbread etc. or serve with a drink like my Carrot-Orange drink, Virgin Pina Colada, Beetroot juice mocktail or Mango Lassi to help calm the heat .


  • Lining baking sheet with aluminium foil makes cleaning up easy.

If you enjoyed my Jamaican oven baked jerk chicken, you will also enjoy my Fried barbecued turkey wing, Peppered Gizzard, Asun, spicy goatmeat, Peppered Ponmo (cowskin) and Peppered snail.

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Spicy, hot, tender, juicy oven baked jerk chicken

Jamaican Jerk Marinade (sauce)

Spicy, aromatic and mildly sweet Jamaican Jerk Marinade

Jerk marinade (sauce) is hot, spicy, aromatic and mildly sweet. Any time Jamaican food is mentioned, we instantly think Jerk! Jerk seasoning has been developed over centuries by the Jamaicans with locally available ingredients and others added due to different influences.

It reminds me so much of the versatile Nigerian suya spice. It can make or break your barbecue, it can also be incorporated into so many dishes and everyone is trying to get the perfect recipe. This recipe is far better than any you can get in a jar. Really, there are two key ingredients in the Jamaican Jerk marinade, Allspice (Pimento) and scotch bonnet. Others are spring onions (scallions), thyme and ginger.

Spicy, aromatic and mildly sweet Jamaican Jerk Marinade

Jerk is both a method of cooking and a spice mix, there is the Jerk marinade (sauce) and the Jerk seasoning (dry rub). Although Jerk marinade has a long list of ingredients, most of which you are likely to already have in your kitchen, it is very easy to make.

Jerk marinade is most commonly used on chicken and pork but is also used on fish, goat, seafood, even vegetables and fruits.

About Allspice or Pimento seed used in Jerk Marinade

Allspice is not a mixture of spices but the dried berry of the pimenta tree, they look like large peppercorn or uziza seeds. It has the flavour profile of a combination of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. If you can’t get Allspice seeds, use the ground allspice (do not confuse it with mixed spice).

In the absence of both the seed or powder, combine 1 teaspoon cinnamon + 1 teaspoon cloves + pinch of nutmeg. Allspice is also used to spice up rich fruit cakes, zobo drink etc. I always stock up anytime I come across the seeds.

Other Possible ingredients used in Jerk Marinade

Worcestershire sauce, Mango, Kiwi, rum, bitters, lime juice, pineapple, liquid smoke etc.

To make Jamaican Jerk Marinade (Sauce)

Makes about 1 1/2 cups

3 teaspoons allspice (about 40-60 allspice seeds)*
4 stalks spring onions
1 small red onion
4 garlic cloves
5 scotch bonnet
fresh ginger (about 1-inch)
2 tablespoons brown sugar (packed)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons thyme
1-2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup dark soy sauce
1/2 cup orange juice or juice of 1 lime
2 tablespoons vinegar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
*The number of allspice seeds that make 1 teaspoon of powder depends on the size of the seeds.

vegetables and spices for Jamaican jerk marinade

Using a dry mill, grind allspice seeds.

Roughly chop spring onions, red onions, garlic, scotch bonnet and ginger.

Into a blender, food processor or mortar, place allspice, spring onions, red onions, garlic, scotch bonnet, ginger, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, thyme, salt and black pepper.

vegetables and spices in a blender for Jamaican jerk marinade

Pour in the soy sauce, orange juice, vinegar and vegetable oil.

Blend till everything is well pureed.

Spicy, aromatic and mildly sweet Jamaican Jerk Marinade

Pour your Jerk marinade into a jar, store in the fridge or use in your recipe.

Store Jerk Marinade in the fridge for a few days and in the freezer for much longer.


  • If the scotch bonnet is too hot for you, remove the seeds and white membrane inside (You might need to use gloves) or use a less spicy pepper like the jalapeno.
  • Grind the allspice seeds before adding the other ingredients for a smoother blend.
  • The addition of fruits will decrease the intensity of the jerk flavour but add extra sweetness to the marinade.
  • In the absence of allspice, combine 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon + 1 teaspoon ground cloves (Kanumfari) + pinch of ground nutmeg.
  • If you don’t have brown sugar use white.
  • Use either white vinegar or apple cider vinegar.

If you enjoyed my Jamaican Jerk Marinade, you will also enjoy my Spicy roasted green pepper sauce, Coconut curry sauce, Jamaican Goat curry, Simple sofrito.

Do you have any comments, questions or suggestions, please leave a comment below.

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Spicy, aromatic and mildly sweet Jamaican Jerk Marinade


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