Last updated on July 9th, 2019 at 10:55 am
Flavored with allspice, cinnamon, and spicy pepper, Jerk Seasoning is perfect for a multitude of dishes. Make your own spicy Jamaican Jerk Seasoning at home and use it to spice up your wings and chicken dishes!
What is Jerk Seasoning?
The first time I ate anything with Jerk seasoning on it, we were on our honeymoon in Jamaica. We booked a week at a Beaches resort where everything was included. Good thing, because we love to eat! We ate at every restaurant, every time they were open, tried all the dishes and gained a few “love pounds.”
Brooks and I also made sure to try all the included cocktails and after an unfortunate Bloody Mary binge, Brooks had to spend quite a bit of time in the bathroom. I scaled back on the tomato-based drinks but kept trudging on with the food and once I tasted their Jamaican Jerk Chicken, I was hooked.
What is Caribbean Jerk Seasoning and why is it so freaking delicious?
Just take me to the Jerk Seasoning Recipe Already!
If you’d rather skip my (very helpful, I think) tips and tricks, essential cooking info, and similar recipe ideas – and get straight to this delicious easy Jamaican Jerk recipe – simply scroll to the bottom of the page where you can find the printable recipe card.
Jerk Seasoning Recipe
I had always been scared to try Jamaican Jerk Spice because it contains allspice, cinnamon, and hot Scotch Bonnet peppers which I believed to be hotter than Habanero peppers. You guys know that I have not been a fan of cinnamon in large quantities, or on anything savory, and allspice has a strong flavor too.
My palate is dull from all the sugar I was eating, and once I had my stint with the paleo diet, I grew to love it. Cilantro still tastes like soap if I eat too much of it at one time, but cinnamon, ginger, and allspice are now friends of mine.
Even thought the Jerk Seasoning contains these few spices that I am not keen on eating, having them in combination with other spices and herbs tempers their individual qualities and enhances the flavors of the other ingredients to make a perfectly balanced spice mix.
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What spices are in Caribbean Jerk Seasoning?
Jerk seasoning is built around two mainstay ingredients found in the area, allspice and Scotch Bonnet peppers. Both of these are now readily available all over the world but still hold the greatest influence in terms of the authentic Jerk recipes and overall flavor profile.
The Scotch Bonnet pepper is similar in heat to the Habanero but depending on where the peppers are grown, along with climate and other environmental factors, the strength and flavors can vary greatly from pepper to pepper. So use with care!
The other spices that are typically found in jerk recipes include: cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, salt, brown sugar, cloves, and thyme. The sweet spices like allspice and thyme mix well with the hot peppers and ginger making this Jamaican Jerk Rub a sweet heat that everyone will love!
Jamaican Jerk Seasoning
Having seen quite a few Jerk recipes on Pinterest lately, I decided to give it another shot. My version of Homemade Jerk Seasoning doesn’t have as much heat as some of the other ones I have tried so it can be used by more people but feel free to add as much heat as you like.
I substitute dried jalapeño, cayenne, and red pepper flakes to make up for not using Scotch Bonnet Peppers. If it is too spicy for you, feel free to cut back or eliminate these. I have not been able to find dried Scotch Bonnets, but if you do please let me know!
Jerk recipes can be made “dry” or “wet” depending on how you like them. The “wet” version is more of a marinade that the meats are soaked in for a few hours and then basted or “sopped” on the meats during the cooking process. The “wet” Jerk marinade can be thin or more of a thicker “paste” that is smeared on the meats prior to cooking.
This “wet” version usually contains garlic, lime juice, scallions, and the fresh Scotch Bonnet peppers but I leave these out for the long term storage factor.
FAQ about Jamaican Jerk Seasoning:
- Q: Can I leave out some spices that I don’t like?
A: Feel free to any of the spices that you don’t like but you must leave in the allspice to have that authentic Jerk flavor
- Q: How long does the spice mix last?
A: If you store it in a cool dry place it will last a few weeks in an airtight container.
- Q: Can I use it to make a marinade?
A: Sure thing! Mix it with olive oil, lime juice, fresh garlic, and green onions, and pour it over your meat. Let it sit for a few hours or overnight and then cook your meat as planned!
- Q: Where do you find dried jalapeño?
A: I use the ground version of jalapeño but feel free to use the dried jalapeño flakes if you prefer.
The dry version that I have made here is very similar to authentic and can be used by sprinkling on the meats and vegetables. Because it is a spice rub, I just sprinkle in on the food, pretty liberally, and after grilling and smoking the meats or vegetables, the jerk rub forms a crispy “crust” on the outside of them.
Now you can always make a wet marinade out of this recipe by adding the lime juice and other fresh ingredients and then dust the meat with the dry rub right before adding to the heat.
This recipe makes about 1 cup of the Homemade Jerk Seasoning mix, but it will last for a few months in your spice cabinet. Don’t worry, you will use it up before then!
Other great Spice Mixes to try!
- All Purpose Steak Seasoning
- BBQ Seasoning
- Italian Seasoning
- Greek Seasoning
- Everything Bagel Seasoning
- Cajun Seasoning
- Pork Dry Rub
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Easy Jerk Seasoning Recipe
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1.5 tablespoons garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon ground ginger
- 2 tablespoons onion flakes
- 1 tablespoon thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons allspice
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoons nutmeg
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons Boullion
- 2 teaspoons cayenne
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 teaspoons parsley
- 2 teaspoons black pepper
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried jalapeno
Mix all the ingredients together and store in an air-tight container in a cool, dark, place.
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