You’re probably already familiar with jerk chicken, but did you know that jerk-style cooking isn’t at all limited to poultry? While this seasoning blend was originally used on chicken and pork, you can use it on any protein! Fish, beef, even tofu and vegetables are great candidates for this sweet yet spicy Caribbean style. But in our house, we just love baked chicken. We eat it all the time! And this easy jerk chicken recipe is a great way to spice things up and serve up something out of the ordinary. You can make our jerk dry seasoning blend in double quantities, store in an airtight container, and use at your leisure for up to a year on any meats or veggies that can use some extra flavor.
Spice Level Adjustments:
This is a traditionally spicy dish. The scotch bonnet peppers, or habañeros, give it a real kick! Luckily, this easy jerk chicken recipe is also easy enough to make more or less spicy depending on your preferences. 1 pepper will keep things pretty mild — just be sure to remove the seeds! They hold all of the spice.
Use 3 peppers for the standard level of heat. Of course, you can always add more. But try starting with 3 — it might be spicier than you expect!
The Best Cuts for Baked Chicken:
We use a mix of thighs and legs. They’re a bit fattier, which makes them juicier and more flavorful. But chicken breasts are fine to use as well! Keep in mind that cooking time will vary from cut to cut, so it’s extra important to keep an eye on that internal temperature when using a variety of cuts. A digital meat thermometer will help you keep track!
Can I Marinate Chicken Overnight?
Normally, marinating overnight is a great way to set yourself up for an easy dinner the next day. For this recipe, however, we wouldn’t recommend it. Our marinade contains orange juice, and letting chicken sit for too long in citrus is a bad idea. It begins to break down, become mushy, and take on an unappetizing texture. The maximum amount of time we should marinate chicken in orange juice is about 2 hours, but 1 hour is plenty of time to soak up that flavor.
Is Jerk Chicken Supposed To Be Sweet?
It is a bit sweet, but not overly so. The sweetness comes from a mixture of brown sugar in the dry seasoning and the orange juice in the marinade. However, we’re only using a couple tablespoons of brown sugar and a half cup of orange juice. So it certainly shouldn’t be overly sweet!
If you’re worried about the sweetness, reduce the amount of sugar by a tablespoon. You can also use fresh squeezed orange juice, which tends to be less sweet than the concentrate you’d buy in the store.
Can I Make This Recipe on the Grill or in an Air Fryer?
You sure can! Not only is it easy to do, but it’s actually quicker than baking. It is slightly more hands-on, however, so pay attention to the changes in the recipe.
For the grill, set it to high heat. For the air fryer, preheat to 400 degrees. Using either method, cook for 12-18 minutes until you reach that safe internal temperature of 165 degrees. Flip halfway through the cooking time to make sure the meat browns evenly on all sides.
So many sides go well with this easy jerk chicken recipe!