With a spicy and smoky taste, these tasty jerk chicken skewers marinated in classic ingredients like scotch bonnet peppers, allspice, garlic, ginger, and thyme.
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Table of Contents
- About Jerk Chicken Skewers
- What is jerk chicken?
- How long are chicken skewers good for?
- Can you freeze chicken skewers?
- Can you bake these skewers in the oven?
- What to serve with jerk chicken skewers
- Notes & tips for jerk chicken skewers.
- More spicy recipes
- Other recipes with chicken
- How to make jerk chicken skewers
- Recipe Details
About Jerk Chicken Skewers
Whether you’re serving it as an appetizer or dinner, these jerk chicken skewers pack a ton of flavor, are simple to make, and go well with light sides or grilled fruits.
What is jerk chicken?
Jerk chicken originated in Jamaica, where the term “jerk” actually refers to a cooking method – called “jerking,” it’s the practice of cooking meat over an open flame.
And even though it’s become more acceptable to prepare jerk chicken in different ways – like these skewers – to stay true to the dish that people expect Jamaican jerk chicken to be, there are some key flavors that are native to Jamaica that should always be present, such as:
- Scotch Bonnet Peppers – Also known as Caribbean red peppers or bonney peppers, these chili peppers are named after their resemblance to a tam o’ shanter hat. Their heat level is known to be very hot and they’re and native to West Africa. If you can’t find scotch bonnet peppers, you can use a habanero pepper as a substitute.
- Allspice – A common ground spice that has a flavor profile that’s like a combination of clove, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
- Garlic and Ginger – Their potent flavors are ideal for marinades like this.
- Thyme – With sharp grass, wood, and floral notes, thyme helps give the spiciness of this dish more depth.
How long are chicken skewers good for?
Once prepared, these chicken skewers should remain good in a sealed container in the refrigerator for one or two days.
Can you freeze chicken skewers?
Yes, you totally can!
Once prepared and cooled, arrange the chicken skewers on a plate and allow them to freeze until solid (about three hours.) Wrap each individual frozen skewer in aluminum foil, then store them in a sealed container or freezer bag in the freezer for up to three months.
Can you bake these skewers in the oven?
This recipe is written for grilling, but it’s possible to bake these skewers in the oven instead.
To do this, follow these instructions:
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. If you have a baking rack, feel free to use that as well, setting it on top of the aluminium foil.
- Prepare the jerk chicken skewers per recipe instructions, then arrange them in a single layer on the aluminum foil (or baking rack).
- Bake skewers for 15 minutes. Once done, set the oven to broil and place the baking sheet on the top rack. Broil skewers until the far edges start to brown, about 1 minute.
What to serve with jerk chicken skewers
With such a spicy and flavorful main dish, you definitely want to pair it with the right sides. I’d recommend trying any of the following:
- Mango salsa
- Grilled pineapple
- Coconut or cilantro lime rice
- Rice and beans
- Roasted potatoes
- Potato salad
- Sweet potatoes
- Baked Mexican corn
Notes & tips for jerk chicken skewers.
- To make this recipe, you can use either metal skewers or wood skewers. If using wood skewers, be sure to soak them in water for at least 20 minutes so that they don’t catch fire while grilling.
- To prepare the marinade, you will need a food processor.
More spicy recipes
Other recipes with chicken
How to make jerk chicken skewers
This next part is only a photo tutorial of the recipe steps. If you’re looking for the full recipe measurements and instructions, scroll down to Recipe Details.
Step 1 – In a food processor, blend up the following ingredients: scallions, garlic, scotch bonnet pepper, ginger, lime juice, soy sauce, vegetable oil, light brown sugar, thyme, salt, pepper, allspice, and nutmeg. The consistency should be like runny salsa.
Step 2 – Add the cubed chicken and sauce to a large bowl, toss to coat the chicken, then cover and marinate for two hours (minimum) to 24 hours (ideal).
Step 3 – When ready to cook, fire up your grill to medium-high. And if you’re using wooden skewers, be sure to soak them in water for about 20 minutes first (to help keep them from catching fire on the grill.)
Step 4 – Thread the cubes of chicken on the skewers. You should be able to fit anywhere from six to eight cubes of chicken on each skewer.
Step 5 – Grill the skewers until the insides are no longer pink or the internal temperate is 165 degrees F.
Step 6 – Serve immediately with fresh cilantro as garnish or cilantro lime ranch dressing for dipping.
Jerk Chicken Skewers
- 3 scallions, ends trimmed and cut in 3 pieces
- 2 tsp garlic, minced
- 1 scotch bonnet pepper, or habanero pepper, stem removed
- 1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
- 3 tbsp lime juice
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 1/2 tbsp light brown sugar, packed
- 1/2 tbsp fresh thyme, minced
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp ground allspice
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 1/2 lbs chicken breasts, boneless and skinless, trimmed of fat and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
- 1 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped, for garnish (optional)
- 1 cup cilantro lime ranch dressing, for dipping (optional)
- In a food processor, add scallion, garlic, scotch bonnet pepper, ginger, lime juice, soy sauce, vegetable oil, brown sugar, thyme, salt, pepper, allspice, and nutmed. Pulse a few times to break up the big ingredients, then process until consistency is like runny salsa, about 2-4 minutes.
- In a large bowl, add sauce and chicken, then toss to coat. Cover bowl and let marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or ideally up to 24 hours.
- When ready to cook, preheat grill to medium-high. If using wooden skewers, prepare them by soaking 6 skewers in water for 20 minutes.
- To prepare chicken: thread marinated chicken on a metal or water-soaked wooden skewers. Each skewer should be able to hold anywhere from 6-8 cubes of chicken. Repeat this step until all the chicken is threaded on a skewer. Discard any extra marinade.
- Grill assembled skewers until the chicken is filly cooked, about 5-6 minuts per side. Chicken is done when inside is no longer pink and internal temperature is 165 degrees F.
- Serve jerk chicken skewers immediately with cilantro as garnish (optional) and/or cilantro lime ranch dressing for dipping (optional).
I do my best to provide nutrition information, but please keep in mind that I’m not a certified nutritionist. Any nutritional information discussed or disclosed in this post should only be seen as my best amateur estimates of the correct values.