Jerk chicken breast is juicy, tender white meat marinated with homemade jerk seasoning (that also happens to be whole30 compliant). Enjoy this Caribbean staple as an easy weeknight entree.
Caribbean Jerk Chicken Breast
Jerk chicken is one of my favorite ways to make chicken because it is so versatile. I make it on the grill during the summer. And when it’s cold in the winter, I bake leg quarters in the oven. But today I made jerk chicken breast on the stovetop in a frying pan.
Why You’ll Love This Jerk Chicken Breast Recipe
- Quick: Marinate chicken in as little as 30 minutes. It takes just 15 minutes to cook so dinner is ready in less than an hour.
- Flavorful: You don’t have to worry about bland meat with this recipe. My homemade jerk seasoning is spicy, and smoky, with subtle sweet notes and warm, mouthwatering depth.
- Versatile: There are so many ways to serve this classic Caribbean dish! Serve with rice, plantains, or steamed veggies. Alternatively, add it to a burrito, sandwich, or salad.
What is jerk?
Jerk is a popular cooking style in the Caribbean that originated in Jamaica. It involves marinating meat, usually chicken or pork, in a flavorful and spicy blend of ingredients, then grilling or smoking it. The key component of Caribbean jerk seasoning is the “jerk spice,” which gives the dish its distinctive taste.
- Caribbean Jerk Chicken Breast
- Why You’ll Love This Jerk Chicken Breast Recipe
- What is jerk?
- Ingredients for Jerk Chicken Breast
- How to Make Jerk Chicken Breast
- What to Serve with Jerk Chicken Breast
- Tips for the Best Jerk Chicken Breast
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Pan Cooked Jerk Chicken Breast
Jerk spice typically includes ingredients like allspice (also known as pimento), scotch bonnet peppers, thyme, garlic, onions, cinnamon, and nutmeg. These ingredients are blended together to form a spicy, aromatic, and complex seasoning mixture.
The marinated meat is usually grilled or smoked over wood charcoal, which adds a smoky flavor to the dish. The result is a flavorful, spicy, and slightly smoky dish.
Ingredients for Jerk Chicken Breast
Prepare jerk seasoning blend ahead of time so you can grab it from your pantry anytime you want to make a jerk recipe.
- Whole chicken breasts: This cut of meat is leaner than chicken thighs or chicken legs.
- Jerk Seasoning: This homemade marinade penetrates the chicken, making it moist and flavorful.
- Salt: Just a pinch, for taste.
- Olive oil: Use this to sear the chicken.
See recipe card for quantities.
How to Make Jerk Chicken Breast
Seasoning the chicken breasts is really key for this dish. I used three tablespoons of my homemade jerk seasoning per chicken breast. I cut a slit into the side of each breast and filled it with one tablespoon of jerk seasoning.
Then I used two additional tablespoons of the seasoning to rub seasoning over the outside of the chicken breasts. I wrapped the breasts up in plastic wrap and let them marinate overnight. If you don’t have that much prep ahead of time, then let it marinate for at least 30 minutes.
Cook on the Stovetop
Remove the chicken breasts from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before you are ready to cook so that it can come up to room temperature. Then pan sear on medium heat before covering and letting chicken breasts cook at a reduced temperature.
Let Chicken Rest
It is important to let the chicken breasts rest (outside the pan) after cooking. This allows the juices to settle and prevents the chicken breasts from drying out.
What to Serve with Jerk Chicken Breast
This chicken breast is perfect for salads or as a main protein for any dish. I had mine over a bed of mixed romaine, some sweet potatoes, tomatoes, and baby bell peppers with a drizzle of Tessemae’s Lemon Garlic Dressing. It was a perfect mid-week, no-hassle lunch.
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 4 days. Reheat leftovers in the microwave or air fryer until warmed through.
Tips for the Best Jerk Chicken Breast
- Taste your marinade before using it. Adjust the seasonings to balance the flavors according to your preference.
- Marinate for at least 30 minutes. That’s enough time to sufficiently season the chicken breasts.
- Let the chicken rest for a few minutes after grilling. This allows the juices to be redistributed, keeping the chicken moist and flavorful.
Frequently Asked Questions
Nothing tastes quite like it. Jerk seasoning combines fresh herbs, spices, and scotch bonnet peppers for bold, spicy, sweet, and warm qualities.
Cut a slit into the side of each chicken breast and fill them with one tablespoon of jerk seasoning. Then rub two additional tablespoons of jerk seasoning on the outside of the chicken breasts.
Wrap the breasts with plastic wrap and let them marinate overnight. If you don’t have that much prep ahead of time, then let it marinate for at least 30 minutes.
Jerk chicken breasts are a lean protein. When you prepare this recipe at home, you have control over the jerk marinade ingredients, allowing you to make healthier choices (like omitting sugar or using less salt).
Pan Cooked Jerk Chicken Breast
- 2 whole chicken breasts
- 6 tablespoons Jerk Seasoning
- pinch salt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Season chicken breasts with jerk seasoning and let marinate over night or for at least 30 minutes.
- Add oil to a medium sized frying pan or skillet on medium heat.
- When oil is hot add place the marinated chicken breasts into hot oil and cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until golden brown.
- Turn over and cook on other side until golden brown.
- Then reduce heat to low and continue to cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until the internal temperature of the chicken is 165°F.
- Remove chicken from heat and let rest in a plate for 5 minutes before slicing up and serving.
The information listed in the recipe card is an estimate provided by an online nutrition tool. The tool evaluates ingredient names and amounts then makes calculations based on the number of servings listed for the recipe. It is provided as a general guideline and not as a precise calculation. For precise nutrition information please feel free to add the ingredients to your preferred nutrition calculator or consult a doctor or licensed nutritionist.