Sizzle and Spice: Jamaican Jerk Chicken Tacos

You’re looking for a new recipe to spice up your weeknight dinners. Something with a little kick and a lot of flavor. Look no further than these Jamaican Jerk Chicken Tacos. They take a classic taco and infuse it with the sizzle of Jamaican jerk seasoning. The chicken gets a quick marinade in a blend of spices like allspice, thyme, garlic, and scotch bonnet peppers to give it some heat. Nestle the spiced chicken into warm corn tortillas and finish it off with a creamy, cooling sauce made with mango and avocado. Crunchy cabbage and fresh cilantro add texture and bright flavor. These tacos will bring a taste of the islands to your dinner table with just 30 minutes of prep. Keep reading for the full recipe that will give your weeknights a jolt of flavor.

Jamaican Jerk Marinade: The Secret to Flavorful Chicken

The key to authentic Jamaican jerk chicken is in the marinade. You’ll want to let the chicken soak up all that flavor for at least 2 hours, or ideally overnight.

For the marinade, combine scallions, thyme, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, chili peppers, brown sugar, and soy sauce. Use a blender or food processor to make a paste. The spices provide a warm, earthy heat, while the chili peppers bring the sizzle. Adjust the amounts to your desired spiciness.

  • 3-4 scallions, chopped

  • 1/2 cup packed fresh thyme

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

  • 1-2 habanero or Scotch bonnet chili peppers, seeded and chopped

  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar

  • 1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce

Place the chicken pieces in a large resealable plastic bag. Add the marinade and seal, turning to coat. Refrigerate, turning occasionally, at least 2 hours or up to overnight.

When ready to cook, drain the chicken, discarding the marinade. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. The jerk flavors have penetrated the meat, so you just need a quick sear in a hot skillet with some oil to lock in juices before transferring to a platter. Your taste buds will thank you for the extra time you gave that marinade. Sizzle and spice, island-style!

Assembling the Best Jamaican Jerk Chicken Tacos

Now for the fun part – building your tacos! Once the chicken is cooked and cooled slightly, here are some tips for creating the ultimate Jamaican jerk chicken tacos:

You’ll want to start with soft flour tortillas or corn tortillas. Flour tortillas tend to hold up a bit better to juicy fillings, but either will work great.

• heap the shredded or chopped jerk chicken onto the tortillas. Feel free to add as much or as little as you like! The chicken is the star here, so pile it on.

•top it off with your favorite taco toppings. Some great options include:

  • Diced mango or pineapple for a bright burst of fruitiness. The sweetness pairs perfectly with the spicy jerk seasoning.

  • Shredded cabbage or lettuce for some crunch.

  • Black olives, jalapeños, or sliced radishes for a kick of spice and saltiness.

  • Crumbled goat cheese or feta for a creamy, tangy finish.

  • A drizzle of lime juice, cilantro, and a bit of mayonnaise or sour cream. The lime juice adds a bright, citrusy accent and the cilantro provides an authentic Caribbean flavor.

With all these delicious toppings, your Jamaican jerk chicken tacos will be bursting with flavors of the islands. Your taste buds will thank you! Now grab a cold glass of rum punch, sit back, and enjoy your tropical tacos. The flavors of Jamaica have never been closer!