Caribbean Jerk seasoning, also known as Jamaican Jerk, is an easy spice blend to make at home for sprinkling over chicken, shrimp, fish, or pork. Warm and a little bit sweet but not too spicy, this is a great addition to your dinner routine.
Whenever I spot Caribbean jerk chicken on a menu at a restaurant, I'm immediately drawn to the dish.
I've always loved how the warm and not-too-spicy spice blend added to chicken or fish pairs with grilled pineapple and bell peppers.
I usually keep a jar of pre-mixed Jerk Seasoning in my spice cabinet to keep things easy, but when I don't have time to run to the store, this is an easy spice blend to mix up using spices I usually have stocked in the pantry.
If you're interested in making my jerk chicken quesadillas for dinner tonight, you can have this spice blend ready to go in just minutes.
Is Jerk Seasoning Spicy?
This is one of my favorite reasons for using Caribbean Jerk seasoning on my dinner recipes: it adds so much flavor to the dish, a tiny bit of heat, but isn't a hot spicy that would trigger my kids.
In fact, if you pair Caribbean Jerk with the right dishes, it can actually add a bit of warm sweetness to the meal.
What Goes with Caribbean Jerk Flavor
My favorite proteins to use with a homemade Caribbean Jerk seasoning blend include:
- Pork Tenderloins
Then I pair those seasoned proteins with:
- Bell Peppers
- Sweet Onions
To make homemade Caribbean jerk seasoning, you'll need a few spices in your pantry.
This is a convenient spice blend to make from scratch if you already have them on hand like I do.
But it is important to consider whether you'd save money by buying a pre-mixed jerk spice blend at the store or if it is worth making from scratch at home.
Thankfully, all the spices on the list are used fairly heavily on recipes throughout my site so you will definitely find other ways to use each of them.
- White Pepper: This is not the same ingredient as black pepper and has a unique flavor that is important to the spice blend.
- Dried Onion Powder
- Cayenne Pepper
- Black Pepper
- Garlic Salt
- Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
- Kosher Salt
- Dried Orange Peel*
- Dried Lemon Peel*
*While the spices on the list are all essential, the dried orange and dried lemon peel I would consider to be optional. If you don't have them on hand, just make a note to add some fresh orange and lemon zest to your jerk marinade or dinner recipe.
Once you've measured all the ingredients and stirred them together, you'll have about ¼ cup of jerk seasoning to store.
You could store it in an airtight jar like a mason jar or spice jar.
However, since I measure my spice blend with teaspoons or tablespoons, I simply stored mine in a plastic zip top baggie which makes it easy to get my spoon in for measuring.
It's not the fanciest solution, but it is practical, budget-friendly, and space saving in my pantry.
Unless you plan to make a lot of jerk recipes, don't increase the quantity of the spice blend. You'll only want to store it for 6 months or the spices will lose their vibrancy.
¼ cup of seasoning blend will make about 6 dinners that require 2 teaspoon spices each.
How to Use Jerk Seasoning
The easiest way to use homemade jerk seasoning is to toss your protein with a little bit of olive oil to coat it and then sprinkle the spice blend over the top and cook.