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How to Make Homemade Jerk Seasoning

March 31, 2008

There are a variety of jerk seasonings out there as there are great cooks and real chefs who really know how to jerk chicken the right way. Now, jerk seasonings are not always made for just cooking chicken, in fact Jerk seasonings were developed in Jamaica and were made primarily to cook both goat and pork originally. If you are interested, click on the link above to learn more about the history of jerk cooking and its origins in cooking processes.

There are both dry rubs and and wet rubs known as as jerk marinades to use in your cooking. And like Gumbo from the South, each person may have their own version of what makes up their jerk seasoning. But the primary ingredients include allspice (Jamaican pimento) and Scotch bonnet peppers (among the hottest peppers on the Scoville scale). Other ingredients include cloves, cinnamon, scallions, nutmeg, thyme, garlic, which are mixed together to form a marinade which is rubbed onto pork, chicken, or fish.

This is just one version of the dry seasoning mix- I am sharing it here since it’s used in several of my recipes, and wouldn’t want to leave anyone out in the cold. Use it as a rub, or use it combined with your other spices for great outrageous marinades! Enjoy!


  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon dried garlic or garlic powder (not salt)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon or less of chili flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon of dried chives


  1. Mix all these ingredients in a bowl, stir till well combined.
  2. Place in empty spice jar – and your ready! Get going and go jerk!

For a Jerk Marinade here’s another recipe:

  • 2 cups vegetable oil
  • 2 lg yellow onions coarsely chopped
  • 4 scallions coarsely chopped
  • 3 habanero peppers or jalapeno peppers stemmed
  • 3 tbsp fresh ginger root peeled & grated
  • 6 cloves garlic coarsely chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh thyme finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 3 tbsp light brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg freshly ground
  • pinch ground cloves
  • 2 tsp ground allspice
  • 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
  1. Process all ingredients in a food processor until smooth.
  2. May be refrigerated, covered, for 1 day. Makes about 3 cups.

The above recipe for the marinade I found at

4 Comments leave one →
  1. marti permalink
    January 23, 2010 7:51 pm

    In the dry mix I noticed two notations for garlic powder:
    1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
    1 teaspoon dried garlic or garlic powder (not salt)

    Should I be putting 1 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder into the mix?

    Thanks! 🙂

  2. chefmaven permalink
    January 23, 2010 7:58 pm

    put up to 1 teaspoon of garlic powder – and I will fix the recipe right now! thanks for pointing that out!~chef maven

  3. February 19, 2011 5:29 pm

    Thank you for being my tutor on this subject matter. My partner and i enjoyed the article very much and most of all preferred the way in which you handled the aspect I thought to be controversial. You are always incredibly kind towards readers really like me and help me in my lifestyle. Thank you.

    • February 19, 2011 5:43 pm

      Deanna – that was so thoughtful of you in terms of complimenting me on my writing style – plus enjoying the recipe – Come on back!

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