Flavorful oven-baked jerk chicken takes the "boring" out of chicken! Bold, sweet-and-spicy, jerk seasoning is one of my favorite ways to season chicken.
I cook chicken fairly often for my family. It's tasty and affordable, and everyone around here seems to like it. So I am always looking for new and interesting ways to make it (besides the always reliable baked drumsticks)!
The idea to make this wonderfully flavorful chicken recipe came to me while reading the fascinating memoir by chef Marcus Samuelsson, "Yes Chef." Mr. Samuelsson mentions "jerk seasoning," and of course I was intrigued.
What is jerk seasoning?
A quick internet search taught me that it's made of an interesting list of various spices. The following jerk chicken recipe is my own interpretation of the classic preparation.
Jerk seasoning is phenomenal - bold, sweet-and-spicy, and full of flavor. Generally, I find chicken bland, but with these spices, it is anything but.
In fact, this tasty recipe has quickly become a family favorite. It is now one of the chicken recipes most requested by my family (another one is this honey baked chicken).
The ingredients you'll need
You'll only need a few simple ingredients to make this tasty chicken recipe (the exact measurements are included in the recipe card below):
Coconut oil: Refined is probably best given the oven's temperature. You can also use avocado oil. It's a neutral-tasting oil with a high smoke point.
Honey: I haven't experimented with a sugar-free substitute so I don't know if that would work, but it's certainly an option if you need to keep your carbs to a minimum.
Spices: Allspice, cinnamon, red pepper flakes, ground cloves, and ground cumin. Make sure they are fresh! A stale spice can easily ruin a dish.
Kosher salt and black pepper: If using fine salt, you should probably reduce the amount you use, or the dish could end up too salty.
Chicken drumsticks: Skin on or off, it's up to you. I leave the skin on. You can also use chicken thighs or chicken legs, possibly baking them for 5-10 minutes longer (loosely cover the top with foil if you do bake them for longer).
How to make jerk chicken
It's so easy! Scroll down to the recipe card for the detailed instructions. Here are the basic steps:
1. Combine all the ingredients except for the chicken to make a very flavorful seasoning paste.
2. Spread the paste all over the drumsticks.
3. Bake the chicken until cooked through, 35-45 minutes at 400°F, basting it midway through baking. In my old oven it took 45 minutes, in my new and hotter oven it takes 35 minutes and I need to loosely cover the chicken with foil after the first 30 minutes. So ovens do greatly vary in their temperature!
How to serve jerk chicken
It's a truly versatile main dish that pretty much goes with anything. I tend to serve it with mashed cauliflower or with cauliflower rice, often with a leafy green vegetable such as steamed spinach or steamed broccoli.
It's also convenient to serve it with a side dish that needs a 400-degree oven, such as roasted frozen cauliflower.
Can I substitute anything for the honey?
Despite the honey in the marinade, a serving of this recipe has just 8 grams of carbs. And the honey does add great flavor and balances out the other flavors in this dish.
However, if you need this recipe to be even lower in carbs, you could try using a sugar-free honey substitute. I haven't tried it myself, though. The nutrition info for this option is included below in the recipe card.
How to store leftovers?
You can keep the leftover jerk chicken in the fridge, in an airtight container, for 3-4 days. To avoid drying out the chicken, reheat the leftovers very gently, covered, in the microwave on 50% power.
More tasty chicken recipes
These spicy baked chicken thighs are excellent. The seasoning in that recipe is another great way to ensure your chicken is not bland.
And another very flavorful chicken recipe is blackened chicken. Again, the spices make a big difference!
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- 2 tablespoons coconut oil melted
- 2 tablespoons honey or a liquid sugar-free substitute
- 1 tablespoon allspice
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 10 (4 oz each) chicken drumsticks skin on
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil and grease the foil well. It's important to line the pan to prevent some major cleanup as the honey caramelizes.
- In a small bowl, using a fork, combine the first nine ingredients (all of them except the chicken) to make a paste.
- Arrange the chicken pieces in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Spoon the paste on top, spreading it all over the drumsticks. (See important comment in the Notes section below).
- Bake until the chicken is fragrant, well-browned and cooked through, 35-45 minutes, depending on your oven. Baste the chicken midway through baking, and keep a close eye on it after it's been 30 minutes in the oven. If it's darkening too much on top, loosely cover it with foil and continue baking until it's cooked through. Aim for an internal temperature of 165 ºF.