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This Jamaican jerk seasoning recipe adds a tangy and flavorful kick to any dish. With its origins in the Caribbean, this seasoning mix has an irresistible aroma and unique taste you can use on a variety of meats — and it only takes a few minutes!
Use this mix to spice up grilled meats and vegetables for a burst of heat and flavor, including my jerk salmon recipe. It’s a must-try for spice lovers!
What Is Jerk Seasoning?
Jerk seasoning is a mixture of herbs and spices used to give a spicy kick to dishes, like pork and chicken. Although this seasoning originated in Jamaica, it is popular in other Caribbean countries as well. It can range from mild to very spicy, depending on the ingredients.
Why You’ll Love This Jerk Seasoning Recipe
- Spicy, zesty, and aromatic
- Common spices found at any grocery store
- No preservatives, artificial ingredients, or sugar
- Ready in 5 minutes
- Lasts a long time in the pantry
- Perfect for seasoning meats, vegetables, and even pasta
What Is In Jerk Seasoning?
This section explains how to choose the best jerk seasoning ingredients, what each one does in the recipe, and substitution options. For measurements, see the recipe card below.
- Aromatics – Onion powder and garlic powder add flavor, aroma, and depth.
- Smoked Paprika – Adds a smoky flavor and a vibrant reddish-brown hue. You can substitute sweet paprika if you like.
- Hot Peppers – Both cayenne pepper and crushed red pepper flakes bring heat to the seasoning. If you want even more fiery flavor, use ground habanero pepper or ground scotch bonnet peppers instead of the 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper.
- Dried Herbs – Dried thyme and parsley provide herbal flavors that balance the smoky and spicy elements.
- Cumin – Adds intense, smoky flavor to the seasoning blend, while balancing the sweetness and heat.
- Sweet Spices – Nutmeg, ground allspice, and ground cinnamon create a well-rounded, complex flavor that also adds warmth and sweetness to the blend. You could also add ground ginger or brown sugar (or Besti Brown for a sugar-free option).
- Sea Salt & Black Pepper
Does Caribbean jerk seasoning have salt?
Some jerk seasoning recipes have salt and some do not, but most do. This makes it easy to use without having to add salt, but you could also omit the salt and add it to your dish separately.
How To Make Jerk Seasoning
Stir the homemade jerk seasoning ingredients together in a small bowl, then place in an airtight container or small glass jar.
If you prefer a powdery texture, you can grind the spices in a coffee grinder, spice grinder, food processor, powerful blender, or even mash with a mortar and pestle.
Store jerk seasoning in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.
You can use spice jars with lids, small multi-purpose jars (I love these), or spice organizers in the pantry. This mix will last 1-2 years, but is best used within a year for the best flavor.
Ways To Use Homemade Jamaican Jerk Seasoning
This seasoning is a flavorful blend of spices that can take your dishes from ordinary to extraordinary. Here are some ways you can use it to make a delicious dish:
- Chicken – This spice mix makes the best jerk chicken seasoning! Simply replace the spices in roasted chicken and vegetables, Mediterranean grilled chicken kabobs, quick and easy air fryer chicken wings, or juicy baked chicken breast with this blend.
- Fish – This Jamaican jerk spice mix adds a kick to grilled salmon, but it’s just as good with pan seared halibut, or baked cod. For a more intense flavor, you can marinate your fish in the seasoning (with oil and lime juice) before cooking.
- Vegetables – Try it on oven roasted potatoes, replace the garlicky flavor in roasted broccoli, make a Caribbean vegetable stir fry, or add it to roasted cauliflower.
- Soups and Stews – Add this mix to hamburger soup (for a Jamaican burger soup), vegetable soup, or even pork stew.
TIP: Use a rule of thumb to decide how much to use.
Use 1 tablespoon of seasoning per pound of meat or chicken, 3/4 tablespoon per pound of seafood, or 1/2 tablespoon per pound of vegetables. The amount needed for soup and stews can vary.
More Spicy Homemade Seasonings
If you like this mix, try these other peppery spice blends you can make in just a few minutes:
Jerk Seasoning Recipe
Jerk Seasoning Recipe (5 Minutes!)
This 5-minute Jamaican jerk seasoning recipe blends Caribbean-style herbs and spices together for a zesty addition to meats and vegetables.
Tap underlined ingredients to see where to get them. Please turn Safari reader mode OFF to view ingredients.
Tap on the times in the instructions below to start a kitchen timer while you cook.
Stir all ingredients together.
Store in an airtight jar.
Use 1 tablespoon of seasoning per pound of meat, or 3/4 tablespoon per pound of seafood. (Serving size is 1/4 tablespoon because this is the amount of seasoning for 1/4 pound of meat, which is a typical serving.)
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Serving size: 1/4 tablespoon
- Makes ½ cup.
Nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy. Have questions about calculations or why you got a different result? Please see our nutrition policy.
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Loved this. So easy to make. We used it on chicken breasts and it was loaded with flavor.
No more store-bought jerk seasoning with this recipe! Glad it was so easy to make and so satisfying. Must try!
Thanks for sharing this recipe! I was looking to try something different for wing night and this was perfect!