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Putting a Caribbean spin on taco night with these jerk chicken tacos. Topped with a gold kiwi salsa and jerk crema and served with a side of coconut plantains. They're great for grilling season, easy to make, and ready in just 45 minutes!
Fire up your barbecue and get outside for dinner! These jerk tacos are perfect for grilling season and will put a delicious, healthy spin on your taco routine.
We use our homemade jerk seasoning to marinate the chicken. It's filled with traditional island flavors like allspice, nutmeg, thyme, brown sugar, black pepper, and lots of lime.
We layer the jerk chicken on a corn tortilla with a bed of cabbage, top with gold kiwi salsa, drizzle on some jerk crema, and serve with a side of coconut plantains. These crazy tasty tacos will take your tastebuds to the tropics!
What to serve with jerk chicken tacos
These jerk chicken tacos taste especially delicious in summer when you can enjoy a refreshing drink while you grill.
They're a complete meal on their own but they pair well with any Mexican or Caribbean-inspired sides like chili lime grilled corn on the cob, spicy Mexican rice, coconut rice, or Mexican cucumber salad.
Jerk chicken taco ingredients
There are a few delicious components to this jerk chicken tacos recipe: the jerk chicken, jerk crema, coconut plantains, and gold kiwi salsa. They're all easy to make so don't let the longer list of ingredients alarm you.
First, let's talk about making juicy jerk chicken at home. You'll be making a jerk marinade that yields the most delicious and tender chicken. If you're cooking for a crowd, you can double the chicken without doubling the marinade. Here's what you'll need:
- Onion – this aromatic adds lots of flavor to the jerk marinade.
- Oil – any neutral cooking oil will work. Our go-to's are usually either olive or avocado oil.
- Soy sauce – this adds a deep, rich, and salty flavor to the chicken.
- Jerk seasoning – we use our homemade jerk seasoning but you can use a store-bought mix if that's what you have on hand.
- Garlic – for its unique pungent flavor and a little extra kick.
- Limes – fresh lime juice acts as a tenderizer while adding lots of bright citrus flavor.
- Jalapeño pepper– add as much or as little jalapeno to your desired heat level.
- Chicken thighs – the dark meat from chicken thighs tends to be slightly more tender and flavorful, but you can use chicken breasts if that's what you prefer.
The gold kiwi salsa is a sweet and delicious topping that offsets the heat of the jerk. Here's what you'll need for it:
- Gold kiwis – we like to keep the skins on gold kiwi fruits. It's tender and thin, not like regular kiwis.
- Red onion
- Sea salt
How to make jerk chicken tacos
There are a few steps to making these jerk chicken tacos. The recipe flows really well because you can prepare the rest of dinner while the chicken marinates. Here's a quick rundown of how they come together:
- Blend the marinade ingredients until smooth then pour it over the chicken and let it marinate for at least 30 minutes.
- Make the jerk crema by mixing the sour cream, mayonnaise, lime juice, jerk seasoning, and salt in a small bowl.
- Make the gold kiwi salsa by mixing together diced kiwi, red onion, cilantro, and salt.
- Caramelize the plantain by tossing it with oil and a little sugar before cooking the slices in a pan.
- Now it's time to grill your chicken. Remove chicken from the marinade and cook it on a hot grill for about 10 minutes. Once it's cooked, remove it from the grill and let it rest for a few minutes then slice it into bite-sized pieces.
Now all that is left to do is pile all the tasty ingredients onto a warm tortilla and dig in!
How do I adjust the heat?
You can omit the jalapeño pepper and cayenne from the seasoning to make a less spicy jerk marinade. On the other hand, if you love heat, you can use hotter peppers like habaneros or scotch bonnets.
Can I make the marinade ahead of time?
Absolutely! You can make the marinade and store it in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.
- ½ medium yellow onion
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil
- 2 tablespoon soy sauce (gluten-free if needed)
- 2 tablespoons jerk seasoning (see notes)
- 4 cloves garlic
- 2 limes (juiced (¼ cup))
- 1 jalapeño pepper (optional)
- 8 boneless skinless chicken thighs
- ¼ cup sour cream
- ¼ cup mayonnaise (can be light)
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 2 teaspoons jerk seasoning
- 1 pinch sea salt
- 2 kiwis (see notes)
- 2 tablespoons diced red onion
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro
- A pinch of sea salt
- 1 ripe brown plantain
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 12 4-inch tortillas (warmed)
- 2 cups thinly sliced cabbage
- Put the onion, oil, soy sauce, jerk seasoning, garlic, lime juice, and jalapeño into your blender and blend on high speed until mostly smooth.½ medium yellow onion, 2 tablespoons cooking oil, 2 tablespoon soy sauce, 2 tablespoons jerk seasoning, 4 cloves garlic, 2 limes, 1 jalapeño pepper
- Put the chicken into a shallow bowl or baking dish and pour the marinade over the top. Mix it around a little so it is well-coated then let it marinate in your fridge for at least 30 minutes, or up to 24 hours.8 boneless skinless chicken thighs
- While the chicken is marinating, prepare the rest of dinner. In a small bowl, mix the sour cream, mayonnaise, lime juice, jerk seasoning, and salt.¼ cup sour cream, ¼ cup mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons lime juice, 2 teaspoons jerk seasoning, 1 pinch sea salt
- Dice the kiwi (we like to leave the skin on gold kiwi fruits) then mix them with the red onion, cilantro, and salt in a medium-sized bowl.2 kiwis, 2 tablespoons diced red onion, ¼ cup chopped cilantro, A pinch of sea salt
- Slice the plantain into ½-inch thick rounds and toss them with sugar. Heat the coconut oil in a large frying pan over medium heat then add the plantains and cook, turning once, until they are soft and caramelized, about 3 minutes per side.1 tablespoon coconut oil, 1 ripe brown plantain, 2 tablespoons sugar
- Preheat your grill to medium-high. Remove the chicken from the marinade and put it onto the grill. Grill for 10 minutes, turning once, until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Remove the chicken from the grill and let it rest for 5 minutes before slicing it into bite-sized pieces.
- To serve the jerk chicken tacos, pile some cabbage onto a tortilla then top with some jerk chicken and crema. Serve the sweet plantains on the side.12 4-inch tortillas, 2 cups thinly sliced cabbage
- 1 teaspoon EACH: onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne (spicy!) OR paprika (mild!)
- ½ teaspoon EACH: sea salt, black pepper, brown sugar, parsley, thyme
- ¼ teaspoon EACH: all-spice, cinnamon, nutmeg, cumin
We have thoroughly tested this recipe for accuracy. However, individual results may vary. See our full recipe disclosure here.