Jamaican Jerk Seasoning Recipe (for chicken or pork)
Jan 21, 2021, Updated Sep 01, 2022
Jamaican Jerk Seasoning blend is a flavorful Jamaican inspired spicy dry rub with heat, savory, and herbal flavors. And it’s such an easy recipe to make yourself at home to use for a number of jerk recipes. It’s an awesome blend of spicy that’s perfect with any savory dishes on your menu.
- Versatile spice blend historically used on chicken and wild boar and can be used as a base for a Jamaican Jerk Marinade
- The moderately spicy blend of exotic flavors historically features spice from scotch bonnet peppers
- If your looking for an alternative with minimal heat try our Cajun seasoning
Table of Contents
What is Jerk Seasoning?
Jerk seasoning is a combination of spices that provides a balance of sweet, heat, aromatics, and savory flavors. Authentic Jamaican Jerk may apply to mixes of jerk spice, jerk marinade, and the basic style of cooking that comes from Jamaican cuisine over historically live fire cooking with pimento wood.
This spice blend consists of brown sugar, heat from cayenne, savory flavors like onion and garlic, and balanced with allspice (a dried berry that has been ground into a powder) and other baking spices.
Traditional jerk technique is about grilling hot and fast over wood or charcoal using the seasoning or a jerk marinade. We have a recipe for jerk grilled chicken that is an easy way to use the seasoning.
Jerk Seasoning Ingredients
- Sweet – We use light brown sugar for our sweet element. Dark is fine too, but it brings a richer flavor.
- Savory – Onion and garlic powder are the primary savory flavors. Note we use garlic powder in this (not granulated garlic), which is a more intense garlic flavor. Granulated garlic is fine as well, just adjust to taste since the grains are larger.
- Salt – Our go-to is kosher salt for every seasoning we make.
- Heat – We use dried cayenne pepper to bring in some heat.
- Herbal – Dried thyme bring an herbal component.
- Aromatics – This is one of the main components with the key being allspice, followed by ground ginger. We round that out with some ground cinnamon and cloves. This is what distinguishes a jerk inspired seasoning.
The flavor profile of the heat level can very depending on the dried hot peppers used. Consider substituting based on your heat tolerance. One of the best ways for a hotter spice mixture is to use dried habanero peppers or scotch bonnets. You can find the more unique dried peppers online or at a local specialty spice shop.
How to Make Jerk Seasoning
- Like any spice blend, simply combine all the ingredients together in a bowl to combine.
- Using a funnel, place the jerk seasoning into a mason jar or other container that can be sealed tightly.
- Serve as needed in recipes.
For more heat add more cayenne. We have tried this as well with red chili pepper flakes, but we did not like the larger flake consistency in the rub compared with adding more cayenne.
We also made this same portion with 3 tablespoons of brown sugar. This does add a sweeter element to the seasoning. If you want more sweet balance with small increments of salt.
Storing Spice Blends
To preserve the jerk chicken seasoning spice blend, store in mason jars (or any airtight container) in a cool dark part of the pantry. This prevents light from hitting the jar causing heat or any liquid to dilute the spice over time. This seasoning will last up to three months properly stored.
A good way to tell if your spices are beginning to go stale is to keep an eye on the color. If you notice the pigment of your blending starting to fade then this can indicate it to be stale.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
The health benefits of jerk seasoning results from the nutrients consisted in the herbs and spices. Important minerals such as calcium, iron, and magnesium are found in abundance within most spices. Our spice blend is also a very good source of manganese.
Jerk seasoning can have a positive effect on your daily energy production, new blood cell formation, sleep better, and improve brain functioning. It has also been found to keep your skin and hair strong and healthy, including fighting infection in your body.
There might not be a suitable substitute for jerk chicken seasoning at your local grocery store, so your best choice is to make sure you’re using this recipe. That being said, if you can’t find those particular ingredients, try to get as near as possible.
In any other case, just try using one of the following ingredients right down below that might get you fairly close.
Other Grilled Chicken Recipes
- Jerk Grilled Chicken
- Marinated Jerk Chicken
- How to Grill Chicken
- Grilled Chicken Lollipops With BBQ Sauce Glaze
Other Seasonings and Rubs
Jerk Seasoning Recipe
- 8-Ounce Mason Jar (for storage)
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar, Dark works as well
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon coarse black pepper
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground allspice
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients and mix together.
- Using a large funnel or spoon, transfer the rub into a small 8-ounce mason jar. Seal and store in a cool, dry part of your pantry. Will last for 2 months before clumping. Use on grilled chicken or pork.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.