Wondering what to serve with jerk chicken? Here are 18 side dishes that will transform your sweet and spicy chicken wings into an unforgettable meal!
Jerk chicken is a traditional Jamaican dish that has flavor combinations to die for. One bite of this succulent dish gives you a perfect combo of sweet, spicy, and smoky flavors.
It’s perfect for backyard BBQ’s, picnics, or dinner – any day of the week!
For those unfamiliar, jerk chicken is chicken rubbed with a variety of herbs and spices, from allspice to Scotch bonnet peppers. It’s then grilled to perfection, bringing out all the delicious flavors and adding a touch of smokiness.
Now that we’ve established just how delightful jerk chicken is as a main dish, it’s time to talk sides. Because while jerk chicken tastes superb all by itself, it needs a few savory side dishes to round out the meal.
If you can’t figure out what flavors go well with this impeccable dish, don’t fret, because we are here to help!
For starters, you can never go wrong with the classic flavor combos. For instance, sweet and spicy is always an excellent combination.
Serve jerk chicken with ripe mango slices to give your earthy chicken a sweet and refreshing companion.
Grilled pineapple is another tasty side dish that pairs perfectly with jerk chicken.
But that’s just for starters. Read on for 18 side dishes that will transform your jerk chicken into an unforgettable meal!
The less sweet cousin of bananas, plantains have a nice soft consistency that marries well with crispy Jamaican chicken. Saute or deep fry them to perfection and you’ll get a sweet and colorful companion to your chicken.
2. Mango Salsa
While ripe mango slices are enough to complement jerk chicken, you can take it to yet another level by making mango salsa.
Apart from the mango, you’ll also be treated to the flavors of avocado, jalapeno, and cilantro. A spritz of lime juice and a sprinkle of cumin complete this light and refreshing dish.
Ahh, just the thought of perfectly charred and caramelized pineapple is making me drool. Grilled pineapple has sweet and tangy flavors that complement the heat and spices of your main dish.
To make, slather pineapple slices with a butter and brown sugar glaze and start grilling! You’ll get a sweet, crunchy, and juicy fruit that marries well with that smoky chicken.
4. Coconut Rice
Adding coconut milk to your rice gives it a wonderfully sweet and creamy flavor that will give your meal even more Carribean feel.
Red beans and rice have subtle sweet and savory flavors that go amazingly well with the heat of jerk chicken. If you’re not too fond of spicy food, then this is the perfect side dish for you.
Scotch bonnet peppers are spicy, so you’ll want something to tame its strong flavor. While you can’t eliminate the heat of the chicken, red beans and rice is your best ally to tone it down a bit. And it’s delicious to boot!
Picture eating smoky Jamaican chicken with some Hasselback baby potatoes with garlic slathered in butter and roasted to perfection. Now isn’t that just divine?
This pairing works so well because both dishes are seasoned with garlic. Aside from the similar flavors, they also look great together. A picture-perfect plate!
7. Potato Salad
Chicken and potatoes? Heck yes! While mashed potatoes are probably the most popular side dish, let’s not forget how delicious chunky and creamy potato salad is.
Potato salad is sweet, creamy, and deliciously rich. Plus, when combined with bacon, corn, and onion, you get a savory, smoky, and crunchy bonus.
As we’ve mentioned, sweet always tastes great with spicy. This is why sweet potatoes go so well with jerk chicken.
So, how to cook them, you might ask? Well, since mashed potatoes are so fantastic with crispy food, why not try making mashed sweet potatoes?
Together, jerk chicken and sweet mashed potatoes will fill your mouth with an explosion of flavors. Plus, the vibrant yellow mash will look so beautiful with the earthy colors of the chicken. An Instagram-worthy plate.
We can’t get enough of sweet potatoes because they’re terrific with jerk chicken. So, here’s another cooking method for our favorite crop: frying them to a perfect crisp.
Sweet potato fries give you a medley of sweet, savory, and crispy. Isn’t that just fabulous with hot and smoky chicken? All those flavors and textures make them the perfect combination.
And, since you won’t be deep frying the sweet potatoes, and instead, baking them, you can eat them without the guilt.
10. Collard Greens
Leafy greens are another classic side that goes well with almost any main dish, and jerk chicken is no exception. The best greens to pair with jerk chicken, though, are collards.
Why you ask? Well, unlike most greens, collards have subtle salty, savory, and sweet flavors that mesh really well with jerk chicken.
Making it is easy too: it requires an instant pot that will take care of all the work for you. Toss the collard greens in the pot and let it do the magic.
Coleslaw is another one of those side dishes that taste well with any main. It is fantastic with jerk chicken because it is crisp and refreshing – two things that work well with fiery herbed chicken.
The medley of crispy cabbage and carrots and tangy mayo dressing is a classic and fool-proof way to round out your chicken dinner. Plus, all those colors together make the dish even more appetizing.
12. Maque Choux
Say what? Don’t worry, while the name sounds strange, Maque Choux comprises familiar flavors – flavors that taste incredibly well with jerk chicken.
So what is Maque Choux? It’s a dish primarily made of corn, flavored with bell peppers, jalapeno, bacon, and heavy cream. Now that sounds fantastic, am I right?
Maque Choux is a traditional southern Louisiana dish. But, just because it’s not from the Carribean doesn’t mean it can’t go well with jerk chicken.
We’ve talked about how rice and beans, collard greens, and fried plantains all make a wonderful side dish to jerk chicken. But you know what’s even better? If you put them all together!
Flavor your heavenly bowl with cilantro, lime, and cumin, and they’re good to go.
Tamarind balls are a classic Jamaican snack, so it is just fitting to serve them as an appetizer. These delightful balls are sweet and tangy – a great way to start your meal.
15. Ginger Beer
As for beverages, you’ll want to pair your jerk chicken with something that’s both sweet and spicy. A great refreshing option is a glass of cold ginger beer!
Want to give your drink a nice kick? Add some dark rum to make things more exciting.
Apart from ginger beer, you can also infuse rum with your favorite fruit juices. How about a spiked mango juice? Or pineapple juice with a spritz of lime?
Instead of rum, make your drink more elegant by using wine instead. Place fresh fruit slices into a pitcher and fill it up with your favorite white wine. Add some fresh thyme for a more herby flavor.
But, if you’d rather drink wine on its own, no problem! We suggest a glass of Pinot Gris or Riesling to go with your dinner because its mild sweetness balances out the heat of the chicken well.
And last, you can never go wrong with a nice cold mug of beer. It’s the perfect beverage for any grilled meal, just like jerk chicken.
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