Categorized | Bits and Bites, Chicken, Fish, Pork

A Classic Jamaican Jerk Marinade.

jamaican jerk chicken

I just love the variety of exciting and scrumptious dishes you can find as you work your way up and down the islands that make up the Caribbean. To date I’ve not been to Jamaica, even though my friends who hails from there have  extended several invitations the past few years. Hopefully I can make the trip down the next time they plan a vacation and finally get to see “jerk” done the traditional way. Until then, I’ll keep making my homemade marinade/sauce and hopefully you’ll give it  a try. Beware! You won’t go back to the bottled stuff you get in the grocery store once you do though. You won’t believe how simple this is.

You’ll Need…

5 scallions (green onions)
5 sprigs of fresh thyme (about 1 tablespoon chopped)
2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 scotch bonnet peppers
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/4 cup vinegar
1 onion
1/2 cup orange juice
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon grated ginger

Notes: If you’re using dried thyme, use about 1/2 table spoon. This makes about 3 cups of marinade and it can be stored in the fridge for about 1 month.

Basically  all you’ll be doing is making a puree with all the ingredients I mentioned above. So you’ll need a blender or food processor.

jamaican jerk marinade

Rough chop the scallions, peppers, garlic, onion and thyme and place in the food processor to make it easier to puree. Remember when working with these hot peppers to wear gloves (the natural oil is deadly). Also note that most of the heat is within the seeds and the membrane that surround the seeds. So to control the heat, discard those. However, for that true authentic Jamaican feel.. keep the entire peppers.

jamaican jerk marinade (2)

jamaican jerk marinade (3)

Now add all the other ingredients and pulse to start. Then run the puree speed for about 2-3 minutes until everything breaks down to a smooth consistency.

jamaican jerk marinade (4)

jamaican jerk marinade (5)

For best results use this sauce immediately, but marinate your pork, chicken or fish (haven’t tried beef yet) for at least 2 hours before grilling or roasting in the oven. The next recipe I post I’ll show you how simple it is to use this marinade/sauce to make the Ultimate Oven Jerk Chicken. Stay tuned.

In the coming months I’ll also show you a secret ingredient I use to give this a Canadian twist.. I can’t right now as I’m sending off a challenge to Bobby Flay (he’s taking entries for a new show he’s working on). Wish me luck.

Don’t forget to join us on Facebook and check out the cooking videos – see on the upper right side of the page for links to those. And before you go, do leave me your comments below – it’s appreciated.

BTW, as we “Trinis” do… you can always add our signature to this by adding a couple shots of rum (I would use a dark rum), a little shado beni and how could we forget a drop or two of Angostura bitters.

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100 Responses to “A Classic Jamaican Jerk Marinade.”

  1. Jenny Ma says:

    Just made this with chicken drumsticks last night and it went over quite well! I used a jalapeno instead since my grocery store didn’t have Scotch bonnet or habanero peppers, and also subbed soy sauce for coconut aminos for a soy/wheat allergic guest. It was delicious and a hit with everyone, including my toddler! Thanks for this great recipe!

  2. Big Nick says:

    I used this recipe today…. It is amazing instead of the Bonnet peppers i used a couple bhut jolokia out of my garden. It was…. HOT, but amazing.

  3. Valeried1111 says:

    Love, love, love this “Jerk” marinade. I Have used this recipe several times. I grill the chicken using mesquite charcoal (wish I could get the pimento wood) and the color is gorgeous. I like a little char (burnt) on the chicken skin. Mmmmm, yummy!

  4. Kristen says:

    This turned out great! Made it to go with beef patties and my husband practically drank it. He put it on hamburgers with mayonnaise (not something I would eat but he loved it). Also great to add some more kick to Jamaican rice and beans. Thanks.

  5. Jack says:

    Hi, just a quick question what type of vinegar do you use? thanks.

  6. Marcin says:

    Hi Guys,

    I have prepared this marinade few times, but each time it comes out very watery, and because of it it doesn’t really stick to the meat (it runs to the bottom of the baking tray). I am wondering what am I doing wrong?

    • admin says:

      Hello Marcin,

      once you marinate the chicken with the marinade for a while it should absorb the flavors. You have a couple options.. cut back on the amount of liquid and blend until chunky (not puree). this way you have pieces of the herbs etc to hold onto the chicken pieces.

  7. Alan says:

    Could I use this as a squirty sauce like a spicy jerk ketchup?

  8. alan says:

    will this work if I am using a BBQ?

  9. Nathania says:

    I’m allergic to soy sauce. Can I make this without soy sauce or use a substitute?

    • Ben says:

      I run into the same issue, but not due to allergies. I eat paleo, so I substitute coconut aminos for all recipes with soy sauce. Try it out, very similar taste but all natural! You can find it at Whole Foods or online.

  10. KERRI says:

    Every time I’ve made this it’s been different could you suggest how many mls instead of 1/4 or 1/2 cups please ?

  11. Anne says:

    This recipe is awesome just awesome.
    The flavor is amazing. I do like it spicier and use 5-6 habanares since stoch bonnets are not easily available.

  12. ChristineL says:

    Is there another pepper you can use to substitute for the scotch bonnet peppers? I don’t think I can can get them here.

    • Ali says:

      Hey Christine, I live in Australia now and use habenero chillies instead of scotch bonnets. They are simarlarly firey yet fruity. I dont see them that often so I buy a batch and keep them in tbd freezer. Hope this helps :)

  13. John says:

    You think I could use this for a jerky marinade?

  14. Theresa Anazodo says:

    Tried several jerk resiepes, by far this is the best ever. Thanks

  15. Harry says:

    Love this receipe! Last night I switched out the orange juice for cloudy apple juice (lack of ingredients) and it was beautiful. Thanks


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