Simple Jerk Chicken Marinade

Here are two ways on how you can make a jerk chicken marinade which is easy and simple. Most ingredients might already be in your pantry or requires a local supermarket trip, whilst you can prep this marinade for recipes beyond chicken.

What is a jerk Spice?

Traditionally, jerk is a cooking style native to Jamaica as the meat is marinated in a jerk spice which is either dry-rubbed or marinated, then cooked over an open fire.

That is right, it is not just for chicken recipes because it is also traditionally marinated with pork, although you can use it with beef or fish, or if you are a vegetarian with tofu or vegetables.

However, jerk spice is commonly used with chicken recipes because it is a friendly ingredient to work with because you can use it in bulk, it is high in protein and it is mostly healthy (especially if using breasts).

For example, here is a jerk chicken recipe with mango salsa I made recently.

There are many variations but the jerk seasoning primarily features allspice, scotch bonnet, thyme, and various other spices.

The list can go on which means it can seem intimidating if you want to make this at home right? The good news is that there are shortcuts that do not compromise on taste or flavour.

Although you may look at this shortcut list and still think “this is a long list” most ingredients you will most likely already have a home and can easily be purchased at low cost in supermarkets.

Why use a shortcut for jerk seasoning?

In the perfect world, preparing and cooking jerk chicken the traditional way is the best method but if you are looking for ways to reduce the time and cook it faster, you will need a shortcut.

Shortcuts can be controversial and are sometimes frowned upon, from what I hear, especially with a traditional and famous ingredients, but they can be a great solution for busy people or if you do not have access to certain ingredients or equipment.

This is why marinades are manufactured, like the reggae-reggae sauce, which you can buy in the supermarket to save time.

However, one of my main motivations behind this food blog is to post recipes which are home-made opposed to relying on store bought marinades.

Yes, I want to save time and cook quickly, but I also want to use fresh ingredients and keep the flavour.

This is why I have featured two ways on how you can prepare a jerk marinade at home by either using a basic spice rub with oil or blending the majority of the ingredients to store in a mason jar.

How to make a shortcut jerk marinade:

1) Fast and most simple way

The fastest way to make a jerk chicken marinade, which could be just from your pantry without having to leave the house is by using a simple spice blend, olive oil and a citrus juice.

You do not need to use a blender, just a mixing bowl or freezer bag which you can add your chicken, meat or vegetables to.

  • Spice blend: Allspice, dried thyme, cayenne pepper, cumin powder, cinnamon, garlic powder, ginger powder, salt, black pepper.
  • Brown Sugar: Sweetener helps balance out spices.
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Helps make a wet marinade.
  • Citrus Juice: Lime or lemon, but acidity key for the marinade.

2) Slightly long way but still easy

This method is slightly longer but is a great alternative if you want to extra flavour and taste. I use a high speed blender which is required for these ingredients.

Here is what I use:

  • Scotch Bonnet Pepper: Freshly purchased from my local supermarket.
  • Fresh Ingredients: Onion, garlic, ginger, scallions.
  • Spice Blend (from powders): Allspice, nutmeg, thyme, cinnamon, pepper,
  • Sweetener: Brown sugar or honey.
  • Wet Ingredients: White vinegar, soy sauce and extra virgin olive oil.
Jerk marinade in a mason jar

How to use this marinade?

Apply it to chicken, or your preferred meat, or even vegetables. The second version is good if you want to store it in a mason jar or airtight freezer bag, which will keep well for the week.

Easy and Simple Jerk Chicken Marinade Recipe (2 ways)

Here are two shortcut ways to make a jerk chicken marinade. The list may seem long but most ingredients are pantry-friendly and budget-friendly. This is a great way to save time.
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Prep Time 5 minutes
Course Spice Blend
Cuisine Caribbean


Version 2


Version 1

  • Add all ingredients to a mixing bowl or freezer bag. Apply to meat or vegetables of your choice.

Version 2

  • Add all ingredients to a high speed blender. Apply to meat or vegetables of your choice.


  • For version 2, you can keep this stored in a mason jar, and in the fridge, for up to a week.
Read more nutritional information values.

Data source: USDA

Keyword easy jerk marinade, jerk chicken marinade recipe, quick jerk marinade, quick jerk seasoning, shortcut jerk marindae
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