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

Easy Jerk Shrimp

This Easy Jerk Shrimp is a Jamaican and Caribbean favorite. This dish includes a homemade spice blend and rub with cinnamon, allspice, and more. Drizzle the shrimp in a spicy jerk marinade using pineapple, lime, peppers, and ginger. 
Course dinner, lunch
Cuisine Caribbean, Jamaican
Keyword Caribbean shrimp, Jamaican jerk shrimp, jerk shrimp
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 130kcal


Jerk Seasoning and Rub (You can also use a store-bought rub)

Jerk Marinade

  • 1 habanero Authentic Jerk uses scotch bonnet peppers. If you have access to these, feel free to use them. Habanero is a close substitute
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce Can substitute liquid aminos or coconut aminos.
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup pineapple juice
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger You can use 1/4 teaspoon of ground ginger.
  • 1 teaspoon liquid smoke Optional for smoky flavor



  • 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.
  • Drizzle the marinade and jerk seasoning over the shrimp. You can marinate the shrimp in the fridge if you wish, it's optional. (30 minutes to overnight)

Pan Seared Shrimp

  • Heat a skillet on medium-high heat with olive oil.
  • When hot, add the shrimp.
  • Cook for 3-4 minutes on each side or until the shrimp are opaque.
  • Remove and cool before serving.

Air Fryer Shrimp

  • Add the shrimp to the air fryer basket.
  • Air fry the shrimp on 370 degrees for 4 minutes.
  • Open the air fryer and flip the shrimp. Cook for an additional 4-6 minutes or until the shrimp are opaque.
  • Remove and cool before serving.



  • If you have a favorite Jerk spice blend or rub, feel free to use it. It can be hard to find one that tastes exactly like what I'm used to eating when I visit Jamaica, so I like to make my own.
  • 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.
  • Jerk chicken, shrimp, etc. is almost always marinated in advance. Marinating will allow the spices and ingredients to penetrate into the shrimp. This adds additional flavor and will make them juicy as well. You can marinate for up to 24 hours in advance.
  • If pan searing I recommend a cast iron skillet or stainless steel pan. A non-stick pan likely won't give you the crust on the shrimp you want for jerk shrimp.
  • Raw and frozen shrimp are translucent gray. When it’s cooked, it should be an opaque white with some pink and bright red accents. This is the best indicator of whether or not shrimp is fully cooked.
  • When shrimp cooks, the muscle contracts, so the shrimp shrinks and curls. I find that it’s perfectly cooked when it has a C shape. I remove the shrimp from heat immediately when it reaches this shape. Often, if it reaches an O shape, and completely curls in, it will taste overcooked.
  • If your shrimp is dry, rubbery, or mushy, you cooked it too long.


Serving: 4oz | Calories: 130kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 2g