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Add bold flavor and a spicy kick to chicken, meat, tofu, and veggies with this homemade jerk seasoning. It's a versatile Caribbean blend of allspice, nutmeg, thyme, garlic, cayenne, and brown sugar. It's easy to mix together, and keeps in your pantry for up to a year!
We're big fans of homemade spice blends. We love opening the pantry and having a variety of fresh seasonings to choose from. Not only do they add so much flavor to dishes, but they save time, too!
If you like a bit of heat, you'll love the warm, spicy, and sweet taste of Jamaican jerk seasoning! It adds lots of complex flavor and a spicy kick to chicken, pork chops, fish, and vegetables.
It's super easy to mix up in a bowl. Simply store it in a sealed glass jar or container in a cool, dark pantry and it will keep for up to a year!
What is jerk seasoning?
Jerk is a style of cooking originating in Jamaica where meat (mainly chicken) is dry-rubbed with a hot jerk seasoning then cooked on an open fire. It's a popular and flavorful way of preparing meat in the Caribbean, and among diaspora communities throughout North America and Europe.
Jerk chicken seasoning contains allspice and hot peppers, and may include other ingredients such as cloves, cinnamon, thyme, garlic, brown sugar, and salt. It is traditionally used on meats such as chicken and pork but is now widely used on other foods such as tofu, fish, shrimp, sausage, and vegetables.
Why you'll love this jerk seasoning
- It's simple to make.
- It's ready in under 10 minutes.
- It adds heaps of delicious flavor to dishes.
- It's versatile – use it on meat, fish, seafood, tofu, or vegetables.
- It will keep for up to a year in your pantry!
Jerk seasoning ingredients
Fortunately, it's easy to replicate the taste of jerk at home with the right ingredients. You might be wondering, what's in jerk seasoning?
This jerk seasoning blend is a mix of herbs, warm spices, cayenne, aromatics, and brown sugar. Jerk seasoning is really versatile so you can add more or less of an ingredient depending on your taste.
Here's everything you'll need:
- Aromatics – onion and garlic powder.
- Heat – from cayenne pepper (for a kid-friendly jerk seasoning, swap the cayenne for sweet paprika).
- Seasonings – salt and pepper.
- Sweetener – brown sugar.
- Dried herbs – parsley and thyme.
- Warm spices – ground all-spice, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cumin.
How to make jerk seasoning
It couldn't be easier to make your own jerk seasoning at home. It's a simple and affordable way to add lots of complex flavor to meat and veggie dishes. When stored in a cool, dry pantry, it will keep for about a year. Here's how to make it in a couple of easy steps:
- Add all the ingredients to a small bowl.
- Mix well and store in a sealed glass jar or container.
- Store in a cool, dark pantry for up to a year!
Full recipe instructions are in the recipe card below.
Is jerk seasoning spicy?
This jerk seasoning recipe is a hot spice mixture. It gets its kick from the cayenne pepper powder. You can adjust the heat by adding more or less to your desired heat level. For a kid-friendly (not spicy!) version of jerk seasoning, use sweet paprika instead of cayenne.
How long can I store jerk seasoning?
When stored in a sealed glass jar or container in a cool, dry pantry, jerk seasoning will keep for up to a year.
Can I use a different type of sugar?
Yes, we recommend raw cane sugar or coconut sugar in place of brown sugar.
What to serve with jerk chicken
Jerk meats like chicken, pork, fish, and prawns pair perfectly with simple sides and sweet flavors to offset the spice. Serve jerk chicken or other meats with a side of our favorite coconut rice and some sweet summer peach salsa.
Once you have jerk chicken seasoning on hand, you'll find lots of ways to use it. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Use it to add a spicy kick to grilled corn on the cob.
- Dust it over hard boiled eggs to add a punch of flavor.
- Sprinkle it over easy hummus or sweet potato hummus.
- Dust it over avocado toast.
- Jazz up homemade pita chips.
- Sprinkle it over a salad with a creamy dressing like our creamy cucumber salad to add some zing.
Favorite seasoning blends
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon cayenne powder (see notes)
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- 2 teaspoons black pepper
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons dried parsley
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon ground all-spice
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- Add all of the ingredients to a small bowl.1 tablespoon onion powder, 1 tablespoon garlic powder, 1 tablespoon cayenne powder, 2 teaspoons sea salt, 2 teaspoons black pepper, 2 teaspoons brown sugar, 2 teaspoons dried parsley, 2 teaspoons dried thyme, 1 teaspoon ground all-spice, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- Mix well then transfer the jerk seasoning to a clean glass jar.
- This seasoning blend will keep well for 1 year in a cool, dark pantry.
We have thoroughly tested this recipe for accuracy. However, individual results may vary. See our full recipe disclosure here.