Jerk Chicken Kebabs

July 22, 2011
2 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves 4 to 6
Author Notes

I had jerk chicken for the first time while on vacation in Jamaica, and I decided to try to recreate this dish. I have been tweaking different recipes, and this is my version of a classic Jamaican jerk chicken. Instead of grilling it on the bone, I skewered chunks of chicken from the breast and thigh. I like to serve it with rice and beans cooked in coconut milk. The rice provides a nice balance to the heat of the jerk chicken.

If you really like it hot, add more of the scotch bonnet peppers. I am a bit of a wimp so one is all I could handle. You can make it to suite your own comfort level.

I am including the link to the recipe I created for Caribbean rice and beans: - sdebrango

Test Kitchen Notes

Just when you think you've run out of summer chicken marinade recipes, some new inspiration arrives! This marinade allows citrus fruits to temper and enhance the bite of the sometimes unruly habanero pepper. A little sweet, a little hot, and oh so flavorful! It comes together quickly in the whir of your blender, which is an extra bonus. Don't skip the coconut rice and beans -- that will make your summer on the porch or patio dinner complete! I might try it on swordfish or salmon next time around. Thanks for such a great addition to my summer repertoire. —sticksnscones

What You'll Need
  • Jerk sauce and marinade for chicken
  • 1 scotch bonnet pepper, chopped (remove seeds for less intense heat)
  • 2 jalapeño, chopped (remove the seeds for less intense heat)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 teaspoons Jamaican allspice (whole)
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar packed
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon (I use Vietnamese)
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon powdered ginger
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 pounds chicken, cut into chunks
  • Grilling the chicken
  • 12 to 16 bamboo skewers, soaked in water (the number of skewers depends on how many pieces you put on each skewer.)
  • Marinated jerk chicken
  • Reserved jerk sauce
  1. Jerk sauce and marinade for chicken
  2. Chop your peppers, removing seeds if desired. In a mortar, smash the Jamaican allspice. Add everything to a blender and blend until incorporated. To a large ziplock bag add the chicken and enough of the jerk sauce to completely cover the chicken. Smash it around in the bag so that the sauce covers every piece of chicken, Refrigerate at least 4 hours, overnight is even better.
  1. Grilling the chicken
  2. After the chicken has been marinating for at least four hours, remove from refrigerator. Place 4 to 6 pieces on your wet bamboo skewer. Either grill, broil in the oven, or grill on the stovetop -- I highly recommend grilling. When the grill is hot, brush with oil and place each skewer on the grill. Baste with more jerk sauce. Depending on your grill, it should only take 3 minutes per side.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Luana Paiva
    Luana Paiva
  • Ashley Marie
    Ashley Marie
  • KvellintheKitchen
  • ErinC
  • foxeslovelemons
I have loved to cook for as long as I can remember, am self taught learning as I go. I come from a large Italian family and food was at the center of almost every gathering. My grandfather made his own wine and I remember the barrels of wine in the cellar of my grandfathers home, I watched my mother and aunts making homemade pasta and remember how wonderful it was to sit down to a truly amazing dinner. Cooking for me is a way to express myself its my creative outlet. I enjoy making all types of food but especially enjoy baking, I live in Brooklyn, NY, and I share my home with my two dogs Izzy and Nando. I like to collect cookbooks and scour magazines and newspapers for recipes. I hope one day to organize them.

13 Reviews

Luana P. February 24, 2024
I absolutely loved this recipe! The instructions were very clear and easy to follow. I used boneless chicken breasts and marinated them in the sauce for a few hours before grilling them on medium heat. The end result was fantastic - tender, juicy, and full of flavor. I can't wait to make this dish again!
sdebrango February 24, 2024
Thank you Luana you just made my day. I am so happy that you made and liked my recipe. Thank you so much!!
Ashley M. May 23, 2016
This was fantastic. We left out the scotch bonnet pepper, only because I couldn't find one, and marinated boneless/skinless chicken thighs over night. So, so, so very good. Can't wait to make again!
Lizziemac69 January 1, 2016
I have been unsuccessful in really nailing the jerk flavor, until this recipe. Chicken thighs, marinated overnight. PERFECT New Year's Day protein with ginger braised greens, and black eyed peas. Delicious!
KvellintheKitchen September 8, 2015
I made these with both chicken and tofu and they were a total crowd pleaser! With an ingredient list that's mostly pantry items, this marinade sure does deliver: the flavors were bold, exciting and new. I felt like I achieved total perfection in the oven, and I'm sure on the grill they're even better!
ErinC July 28, 2014
What a great marinade! I love it! My boyfriend is a big jerk chicken fan--I made this for his b-day and he loved it! Definitely will make again!
foxeslovelemons May 24, 2013
Congrats on the CP, Suzanne! These look great, and I have a feeling they might work at my annual sangria party this summer! Spicy chicken, cold sangria? I think it works :)
QueenSashy May 23, 2013
Yay! I had my eye on this one!
Kukla May 23, 2013
Congratulations Suzanne! The whole dish, Kebabs and Rice and Beans, sound like it’s been created and cooked by a real Islander. Love all the citrus in your marinade!
QueenSashy April 21, 2013
I so wish I did not live in a city, I so wish I had a backyard, I so wish I had a grill in my (hypothetical) backyard, so that I can grill this dish over and over again. In the meantime, it goes under broiler right away!
zoemetro U. September 15, 2011
you are definitely the goddess of the grill. i'm definitely making this over the weekend.
lorigoldsby August 12, 2011
Ya mon! This takes me back to the islands! I Will definitely be trying your marinade...but I usually soak my skewers in the marinade for a couple of hours or overnight BEFORE marinading the meat. I think this allows me to keep the heat of the peppers down but the flavor profile UP! Thanks S!
fiveandspice July 25, 2011
Oh yum! I have got to try this.