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Jerk Marinade

This homemade Jamaican Jerk Marinade is a wet paste made from scratch using ingredients like pineapple juice, lime, allspice, cinnamon, ginger, and more. Use it on Caribbean dishes for chicken, seafood, fish, and shrimp. 

jerk marinade in a glass measuring cup

Jamaican Jerk Cooking

Jerk cooking is native to Jamaica. Meat is either dry-rubbed or marinated with wet ingredients (or a combination of both as I prefer in this recipe) in jerk spices. The style of cooking is popular throughout the Caribbean and West Indies. The meat is typically cooked over coals in a pit.

The main ingredients usually include scotch bonnet peppers and allspice. Scotch bonnet peppers can be really hard to find in the US, so you typically have to use a substitute. Other common ingredients include cinnamon, nutmeg, sugar or sweetener, thyme, garlic, and ginger.

Spice Blend Ingredients

Detailed measurements and full instructions can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.

spices for jerk seasoning and rub in separate white bowls

Marinade Ingredients

Detailed measurements and full instructions can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.

  • Pineapple Juice
  • Soy Sauce (Liquid Aminos or Coconut Aminos)
  • Scotch Bonnet Pepper or Habanero Pepper
  • Lime Juice
  • Ginger
pineapple juice, soy sauce, lime juice, liquid smoke, habanero pepper, and ginger in separate bowls

Is it Spicy?

Jerk does have a kick to it. The dish is traditionally prepared using scotch bonnet peppers (often called Caribbean red peppers). They are almost impossible to find in the United States. Scotch bonnets have a heat rating of 100,000–350,000 Scoville heat units (the measurement of the heat of chili peppers), which is similar to habanero peppers, making it a close substitute.

These peppers are hotter than poblano, serrano, and cayenne peppers. If you don’t like spicy dishes, feel free to modify the servings used or substitute for a pepper that is less hot. The recipe calls for 1 habanero, you can always use half, 1/4th, etc.

Is it Sweet?

As written, the recipe is more middle of the road. It has a hint of sweetness from pineapple juice and 1/2 tablespoon of brown sweetener or sugar. If you are looking for sweet shrimp, add additional brown sugar or sweetener to suit your taste.

I love to eat jerk dishes with fresh pineapple. That adds an additional touch of sweetness to the meal.

jerk marinade in a glass measuring cup
raw shrimp in a glass bowl with jerk marinade

How to Store the Marinade/How Long Will it Last

You can store the marinade tightly covered and sealed for up to a week in the fridge.

Use the Marinade on These Recipes

Jerk Shrimp
Jerk Chicken Thighs
Air Fryer Frozen Wings

More Homemade Seasoning and Spice Blend Recipes

Homemade Jerk Rub and Seasoning
Homemade Blackened Seasoning

Homemade Chili Seasoning
Homemade Ranch Seasoning
Homemade BBQ Seasoning and Rub

Homemade Taco Seasoning
Homemade Burger Rub and Seasoning

jerk shrimp on lettuce with pineapples, limes, and fresh peppers

Jamaican Jerk Marinade

This homemade Jamaican Jerk Marinade is made from scratch using ingredients like pineapple juice, lime, allspice, cinnamon, ginger, and more. Use it on Caribbean dishes for chicken, seafood, fish, and shrimp. 
Save this recipe here.
Course spice blend, Spice Rub
Cuisine Caribbean, Jamaican
Keyword Jamaican jerk marinade, jerk chicken marinade, jerk marinade
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 27kcal

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Add all of the jerk spices, habanero, soy sauce, pineapple juice, lime juice, liquid smoke, and ginger to a blender or food processor. Blend until the mixture is well combined. I typically add the ingredients to a bowl and combine using a hand immersion blender.

Notes

  • The marinade makes enough to use for 1 pound of meat or seafood.
  • Avoid touching the marinade with your hands or wear gloves, especially if you have to touch your eyes, wear contact lenses, etc.
  • Jerk does have a kick to it. The dish is traditionally prepared using scotch bonnet peppers (often called Caribbean red peppers). They are almost impossible to find in the United States. Scotch bonnets have a heat rating of 100,000–350,000 Scoville heat units (the measurement of the heat of chili peppers), which is similar to habanero peppers, making it a close substitute.
  • These peppers are hotter than poblano, serrano, and cayenne peppers. If you don’t like spicy dishes, feel free to modify the servings used or substitute for a pepper that is less hot. The recipe calls for 1 habanero, you can always use half, 1/4th, etc. You can make it less hot by omitting the seeds.
  • The recipe has a hint of sweetness from pineapple juice and 1/2 tablespoon of brown sweetener or sugar. If you are looking for sweet shrimp, add additional brown sugar or sweetener to suit your taste.
Recipe Tools Used in this RecipeAs an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Nutrition (displayed with net carbs)

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 27kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 1g
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Nutrition DataMacros are provided as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. This information is calculated using MyFitnessPal.com. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator. You are solely responsible for ensuring that any nutritional information provided is accurate, complete, and useful.
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