Bright, fiery, and incredibly tasty, these Jamaican jerk chicken wings are such a pleasant change from the usual buffalo and honey garlic wings.
Marinated and roasted with a spice-loaded jerk seasoning sauce, these babies are drool-worthy.
Jerk chicken is a super popular Jamaican dish. And if you haven’t tried it yet, this is the perfect recipe to start with.
Crispy on the outside and oh-so-tender in the middle, you really can’t beat chicken wings.
But then they’re smothered in a smoky, savory, spicy sauce; they’re impossible to resist.
So try these stunning jerk chicken wings tonight. I guarantee you’ll be hooked!
Easy Jerk Chicken Wings Recipe
Jerk chicken wings explode with hot and fiery flavors in the best way possible! Seriously, they’re kind of addictive.
Originally, jerk (or jerking) was a style of Jamaican cooking where meats were poked with holes to help them absorb more flavor.
Over time, the term became associated with a specific spice rub used to flavor the meats, hence the name of this dish.
And while the ingredient list is a little long, it’s more than worth the effort!
- Chicken Wings – I use just the drumettes (the wing part that looks like a small drumstick), but you can use the wingettes if you prefer.
- You can also use other cuts like thighs, breasts, and drumsticks. You’ll just have to adjust the cooking time.
- Habanero Peppers – Habaneros are the main heat source for this recipe. Most call for Scotch Bonnet peppers, but I use habaneros because they’re more accessible.
- Luckily, both taste spicy with notes of sweet and fruity flavors. So you can swap Scotch Bonnets and habaneros, and most people won’t notice.
- Aromatics: Scallions, yellow onion, and garlic
- Herbs & spices: Thyme (fresh and dried), allspice, cinnamon, cumin, and nutmeg
- Seasonings: Salt and ground black pepper
- Sweetener: Brown sugar
- Wet Ingredients: To create a sauce, you’ll need vegetable oil, soy sauce, and lime juice.
What Is Jerk Seasoning Made Of?
Jerk seasoning is made of a variety of peppers (Scotch bonnets or habanero peppers), onion, garlic, scallions, salt, black pepper, allspice, thyme, cinnamon, cumin, nutmeg, and brown sugar for sweetness. Add oil, soy sauce, and lime juice to make the dry rub into a wet marinade.
Is Jerk Chicken Spicy?
Jerk chicken is spicy thanks to the Scotch bonnet (or habanero peppers). The additional dried spices make it even spicier. They include allspice, cinnamon, and cumin, giving it a smoky finish.
The flavor isn’t one-dimensional, though. There’s also brown sugar for sweetness that balances the flavors.
And when you add lime juice, it helps to cut through the spice nicely. So, while these wings are spicy, the heat isn’t too overwhelming.
If you’re not a fan of spicy food, you can still enjoy these jerk chicken wings.
That’s the beauty of making your own jerk seasoning: you get to control what you’ll add to it.
Simply ditch the habaneros (or add fewer), and you’ll be fine.
Tips and Tricks for the Best Jerk Chicken Wings
- Be careful when handling the habaneros. It’s best to use gloves to keep from accidentally burning your eyes with residual pepper oil. And don’t forget to wash your hands right after!
- Jerk wings are spicy, but you can adjust the spice level according to your taste. Simply add fewer habaneros to make them mild, or throw the seeds in the mix if you like it really hot.
- Don’t freak out if the jerk marinade is a little too hot for your liking. It will mellow when it absorbs into the chicken.
- Marinade the wings for 2 hours instead of 8 if you’re in a rush. Flip them over every 15 minutes to ensure all sides get soaked.
- Air Fry the wings for a slightly healthier version. Cook at 385 degrees Fahrenheit (195°C) for 20 minutes, basting and flipping them over halfway through.
- This recipe works well with other chicken cuts, such as thighs, legs, and breasts. You can also use turkey, shrimp, pork, and fish.
- Jerk marinade is super versatile, so double or triple the recipe and save some for later. Pour it into an ice cube tray, freeze it, and take it out whenever you need.
More Chicken Wings You’ll Love
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