Making your own Jamaican Jerk Seasoning blend at home is easy with a mix of simple spices.
This recipe allows you to adjust the heat level to your preference, which is important if you have kids at home or are a spicy-food aficionado.
What is Jerk Seasoning
This Caribbean favorite seasoning blend is the perfect balance of aromatics, dried herbs, smoky spices, and spice. It’s great for rubbing on meats, seasoning seafood, and even sprinkling over scrambled eggs!
Don’t let the long list of ingredients intimidate you and keep you from making this wonderful seasoning. The best part about making it at home is that you can adjust the level of heat and even make a salt-free version.
Ingredients in Jerk Seasoning
Walk over to your spice drawer or cabinet right now and check the list. To make jerk seasoning you’ll need:
- Brown sugar: gives it that perfect balance to all the heat. Also helps caramelize the seasoning into whatever you add it to during cooking.
- Onion & garlic powder: aromatics that adds aroma to the dish and depth of flavor.
- Garlic powder: an aromatic that adds aroma to the dish and depth of flavor.
- Parsley: this dried herb adds flavors and seasons.
- Cayenne pepper: adds heat. Keep reading to see how to adjust.
- Paprika: use smoked for depth of aroma or flavor. You can also use regular paprika.
- Allspice: this complex spice adds flavor to the seasoning and the “I want more of this food!” feel.
- Salt: seasons food and this mix. Can be omitted if you need a salt-free jerk seasoning mix.
- Thyme: this herb pairs fantastic with just about any protein.
- Ground black pepper: for seasoning.
- Red pepper flakes: adds heat, different spice rating than cayenne.
- Cumin: this spice adds lots of flavor to the seasoning.
- Nutmeg: adds complexity to the seasoning.
- Cinnamon: balances out the spice in savory dishes.
Keep reading for tips and more about the ingredients used as well as a printed recipe card with measurements below.
Is Jerk Seasoning Spicy
Storebought Jerk seasoning tends to include ground habaneros, which are at the spiciest end of the scale. This recipe uses cayenne pepper, and while it’s spicy, it’s not nearly as hot, not even close! making it perfect for a homemade blend.
The best part of making jerk seasoning at home is that you can control the level of spice and in the recipe card below I’ve noted how to adjust it yourself.
Jamaican Jerk Recipe
A good Jamaican Jerk recipe has the right blend of spices, aromatics, seasonings, herbs, and a level of heat that suits your eating preferences.
To make this recipe you’ll:
- Gather your spices
Open up your spice drawer or cabinet and grab all the bottles at once. I like to organize them in order so I don’t miss or add the same one twice.
- Measure & mix
Grab your favorite measuring spoons and add the spices into a bowl one by one. With a whisk or a fork, mix to combine.
Transfer the seasoning mix into a spice jar and store it in your spice drawer or cabinet for up to a year.
How to User Jerk Seasoning Powder
It pairs perfectly with any protein and the end result is the type of recipe you want to make again and again! Here are some recipes to try:
- In Jerk Chicken Tacos
- Grilled fish tacos (instead of the blackened seasoning)
- Add 1 teaspoon to Homemade Ranch
- Use it as a rub in my pork roast
- Added when cooking chicken pieces in a pan
- Add ½ teaspoon to my plain hummus recipe
How to Tell if Spices are Still Fresh
If the color is dull and the texture is cakey or the spices stick together, it’s time to toss it since it’s a sign it might have gone stale which means your recipe will not have the flavors you seek.
Jamaican Jerk Seasoning Blend
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon parsley, dried
- 1-2 teaspoons cayenne pepper*
- 2 teaspoons paprika, smoked or regular
- 1 teaspoon allspice, ground*
- 2 teaspoons salt, omit for salt-free
- 1 teaspoon thyme, dried
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- In a bowl, combine all spices. Transfer into a lidded spice jar and store in the pantry or spice drawer.