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Skillet Jerk Chicken: Easy Weeknight Dinner Recipe

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Skillet Jerk Chicken

Skillet jerk chicken is a delicious and easy-to-make dish that brings the vibrant flavors of the Caribbean right to your kitchen. The mix of spices like allspice, cinnamon, and thyme, combined with a touch of brown sugar and lime juice, creates a marinade that can turn simple chicken breasts into a mouth-watering meal.

The key to perfect skillet jerk chicken is marinating the chicken for at least two hours to ensure the flavors deeply penetrate the meat. Whether you’re serving it with rice and beans, shredding it for a sandwich, or pairing it with pineapple-coconut rice, skillet jerk chicken is versatile and satisfying.

Get ready to enjoy a burst of flavor in every bite. Cooking the marinated chicken in a skillet not only makes it super convenient for a weeknight dinner but also gives the chicken a beautiful sear and locks in all the flavorful juices.

Exact Ingredients (+ Possible Substitutes)

Main Ingredients:

  • Chicken: Typically, chicken breasts or thighs work best. You can also use drumsticks or legs if you prefer.

Spice Mix:

  • Allspice: Essential for authentic jerk flavor. Substitute: Mixed spice blend.
  • Cinnamon: Adds a warm note. Substitute: Nutmeg or cloves.
  • Thyme: Fresh is best but dried works too. Substitute: Oregano or basil.
  • Paprika: Adds depth and color. Substitute: Smoked paprika for a different taste.

Sauces and Liquids:

  • Soy Sauce: Adds umami. Substitute: Tamari or coconut aminos for a gluten-free option.
  • Lime Juice: Brightens the dish. Substitute: Lemon juice.
  • Hot Sauce: For heat. Substitute: Chili flakes or fresh jalapeños.

Sweeteners:

  • Brown Sugar: Balances the spices. Substitute: Honey or molasses.

Aromatics and Add-ins:

  • Garlic Powder: Enhances flavor. Substitute: Fresh minced garlic.
  • Onion Powder: Deepens taste. Substitute: Fresh minced onion.
  • Cayenne Pepper: Adds a kick. Substitute: Chili powder or fresh chilies.
  • Nutmeg: Another warm spice. Substitute: Cinnamon or allspice.

Cooking Oils:

  • Olive Oil: Best for cooking. Substitute: Vegetable oil or coconut oil.

Instructions

Ingredients Needed:

  • Chicken breasts
  • Spices: Allspice, cinnamon, thyme, salt, pepper
  • Others: Brown sugar, hot sauce, lime juice, olive oil

  1. Prepare the Chicken: Sprinkle the chicken breasts with salt and pepper.



  2. Make the Marinade: In a small bowl, mix allspice, cinnamon, thyme, brown sugar, hot sauce, and lime juice.



  3. Marinate: Place the chicken in a dish and pour the marinade over it. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.



  4. Preheat Skillet: Heat olive oil in a cast iron skillet over medium heat.



  5. Cook Chicken: Add chicken skin-side down to the skillet. Cook undisturbed for 2-3 minutes until skin gets crispy.



  6. Flip and Finish: Flip the chicken and cook the other side for another 2-3 minutes.



  7. Rest Chicken: Transfer the chicken to a plate and let it rest for a few minutes before serving.


Optional Additions:

  • Vegetables: Cook onions, garlic, red bell pepper in the same skillet after removing the chicken.
  • Rice and Beans: Stir in rice and beans with spices for a complete meal.

Enjoy your flavorful skillet jerk chicken!

Tips, Tricks & Storing

To make your skillet jerk chicken the best it can be, follow these tips and tricks.

Tips & Tricks

  • Preheat Your Skillet: Always make sure your skillet is hot before adding the chicken. This helps to get a nice crispy skin.
  • Don’t Overcrowd: Give each piece of chicken enough space to cook evenly. Overcrowding can lead to steaming rather than searing.
  • Oil Type: Use oils with high smoke points like canola or avocado oil for the best results.
  • Spice Evenly: Make sure to coat the chicken evenly with the spice mix to get the most flavor in every bite.
  • Rest The Chicken: After cooking, let the chicken rest for a few minutes. This helps keep the juices inside.

Storing

Fridge:

  • Store leftover jerk chicken in an airtight container.
  • It can stay fresh in the fridge for up to 4 days.

Freezer:

  • You can freeze cooked jerk chicken for up to 3 months.
  • Make sure to wrap it well or use a freezer-safe container to prevent freezer burn.

Reheating:

  • Oven: Preheat to 350°F (180°C). Heat for 10-15 minutes.
  • Microwave: Place in a microwave-safe dish, cover, and heat for 2-3 minutes.
  • Air Fryer: Set to 350°F (180°C) and heat for 5-7 minutes. Ideal for smaller pieces to ensure even heating.

Using these tips will help you make the perfect skillet jerk chicken every time!

Recipe Variations & Serving Suggestions

You can make skillet jerk chicken in several ways. Below are some tasty suggestions to try:

Variations


  • Protein Choice: You aren’t limited to chicken breasts. Try chicken thighs, pork, shrimp, or fish. Just adjust cooking times accordingly.



  • Marinade Options: Experiment with different jerk seasoning combinations. Add extra hot sauce for more heat or a splash of coconut milk for a milder flavor.



  • Cooking Method: If you have an air fryer, you can use it instead of a skillet. Air-fry at 380°F (193°C) for 25-35 minutes, flipping halfway.


Serving Suggestions


  • Side Dishes: Serve your jerk chicken with herbed coconut rice and beans. Cook rice with onions and garlic for extra flavor.



  • Salad Pairings: A fresh green salad with a lime vinaigrette pairs nicely. Add mango slices for a tropical touch.



  • Toppings: Use toppings like chopped cilantro, green onions, or a squeeze of lime. These can elevate the dish.



  • Wraps and Tacos: Try making jerk chicken wraps or tacos. Use soft tortillas and add your favorite toppings like avocado, lettuce, and salsa.



  • Grilling: If you like, grill the chicken instead. Simply marinate and cook on a preheated grill until done.


By mixing and matching these ideas, you can create multiple delicious meals with skillet jerk chicken. Happy cooking!

Benjamin Happy Muncher

Hi, I'm Benjamin. I love cooking, long walks, and my girlfriend! Here you’ll find simple and delicious recipes that you can make in 30 minutes or less.