Jamaican Jerk Marinade

jerk marinade

So here’s what you need to do before you start in on this post and this recipe.

Right now – regardless of the time of year – you need to slather on some coconut-scented tanning oil. Now go crack a (gluten-free) beer or blend up your favorite tropical girl-drink. Next, crank up the volume on your favorite Caribbean mix. You know, to get in the mood.

Okay, now go rinse off all that oil, because we’re gonna get serious and make some Jerk.

jerk marinade ingredients So you’ll notice there are about 12 habanero peppers there. I foolishly thought I’d need that many. I blame the internet for this. A lot of recipes out there called for 10 peppers. I think they’re insane. You do not need that many. Levi and I are both very much into hot flavors and peppers. (We have been known to make a batch of salsa with not one, but two, naga chilies.) Yet, for me using just four habaneros was plenty for the amount of jerk marinade this recipe makes. You’re just pulling the stem off and throwing the pepper in the food processor whole. The seeds pack a lot of heat and since they’re not getting removed you might find that four is enough for you too.

I feel like I have to emphasize this once more. We are not pansies. This recipe, as outlined below, makes a very nicely spicy jerk marinade. Don’t try to be stupid and add in 12 habaneros just to prove you are some tough badass. And if you do decide to do that, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

jerk marinade


Jamaican Jerk Marinade
Prep time
Total time
Adjust the heat by adding more or less habanero peppers.
Recipe type: Sauces & Condiments
Cuisine: Caribbean
Serves: 2 cups
  • 1 bunch green onions, trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons coconut aminos, gluten-free tamari or Bragg's liquid soy
  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil (or any other light flavored oil)
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 orange, zested and juiced
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoons ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3 inch piece of ginger
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • ½ sweet white onion
  • 2 tablespoons coconut sugar
  • 2-4 whole habanero peppers
  1. Combine all ingredients except habanero peppers in the work bowl of your food processor. Pulse to combine.
  2. Add one habanero and pulse until chopped finely with the rest of the ingredients. Sample for heat and flavor.
  3. Add another habanero and pulse to chop finely as above. Sample for heat and flavor again.
  4. If you need more heat, add another habanero and continue like above until you're satisfied.
  5. Note: As the marinade sits and the flavors meld the heat will increase. Don't try to be all hard-core and ruin your entire marinade by adding too many habaneros.
  6. Store in a clean jar with a lid that seals well in the fridge for up to 1 month.


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