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.

Recipe Name
A Classic Jamaican Jerk Marinade.
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134 Responses to “A Classic Jamaican Jerk Marinade.”

  1. Mike says:

    Far exceeded our expectations! Cooked 1.5 lbs chicken tenders in a covered skillet for about 20 minutes. Made the house smell great and was crazy delicious. Served with sweet peas and some black beans and rice.

  2. Carolyn says:

    Made this for Christmas Eve. Family has requested it again for July 4th! It’s very good!

  3. Steve says:

    This looks like it would work really well for beef jerky. I plan to marinate the beef in the refrigerator over night before putting it in the food dehydrator. Would you suggest any changes in proportions? I ask because the drying process sometimes accentuates some flavors more than others.

  4. Mused says:

    So essentially I want to make just enough marinade for a chicken breast, or a couple of drumsticks, 250gm approx. (skin on, bone in)
    Can you PLEASE pare down the quantities, I’d rather make fresh marinade every time. I tried but the flavour wasn’t quite right.

    Thanks so much. :)

  5. Angelina says:

    Hi Chris..I made your marinade and it was amazing, first chicken then shrimp…when kids ask for seconds that’s confirmation right there it’s good…so tell me what’s the secret ingredient to give it a Canadian twist? :) Thanks!

  6. Rowan says:

    how long can you keep the puree? Can you store it in the fridge and use it again if you have some left over?

  7. sya says:

    I found this recipe a little earlier and I had to come back to this site to say how good it is. I was really surprised how good it tasted and the chef is right I probably will be making my own jerk marinade with this recipe from now on.

  8. paige says:

    roughly how much would you say this recipe served??:)

  9. Dee says:

    I followed this recipe to a T. In fact the chicken is in the oven as I type this comment. I noticed my marinade was a bit on the green side, not sure how the chicken will come out (colour wise). Could I have missed something?

    Can’t wait to taste it…


  10. Anita Cwynar says:

    The recipe doesn’t call for regular onions, yet they’re in the photo and instructions. Those who want to add them (not I) don’t have any guidance as to quantity.


    • admin says:

      Be sure to read again. There is 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

  11. You made me a cook my wife is happy. From Arima living Bronx NY

  12. Jemma-Lynn says:

    Fantastic marinade. I upped the amount of peppers from 2 to 6 because I really like it spicy. I leave it at 2 for my husband who is less inclined. Will be bringing this to a Canada Day celebration coming up. Thank you.

  13. Camilla says:

    I made a batch of this and whilst nice and hot- I really didn’t like the nutmeg. Way too overpowering! Will omit that next time.

  14. Jared says:

    I see a lot of comments on here saying they didn’t use the orange juice. This ingredient, along with fresh scotch bonnets and brown sugar, is critical. Do not substitute lime juice or Lemmon juice. It’s too acidic and will not get the right flavor. It’s the difference between a Caribbean flavor and a “this is some decent chicken that you spiced with everything on the rack.”
    Also, marinate over night. Personally I cut chicken breasts into strips and cook on the grill. Boiling off the marinade for sauce is a good touch as well.


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