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22 April 2019

This Jamaican jerk sauce recipe is made with fiery Scotch Bonnets peppers, aromatics and a number of seasonings that make it a must for spicy sauce lovers. Goes great with chicken or seafood.

We’re working our way into some Caribbean cuisine today, my spicy food loving friends. When it comes to spices and big flavors, the Caribbean has you covered, particularly Jamaica.

This part of the world doesn’t shy away from cooking with spicy chili peppers, like the wonderfully fiery Scotch Bonnet pepper that rivals the habanero pepper in both heat and flavor.

With such a lush location and prime growing conditions, the freshest of the fresh ingredients are the norm, the hot peppers are abundant, and the spices are in bloom. I  greatly enjoy visiting the Caribbean just for the food.

Case in point – Jamaican Jerk Sauce. This is a recipe you’ll like to print and keep in your back pocket for those moments when you want that flavor punch of the Caribbean. It’s a warming and rather fiery sauce, though it’s also easy to customize to your own preferred levels. I’ll discuss how you can do that below.

It’s also key to Jamaican Jerk cooking.

About Jerk Cooking

Jerk cooking is native to Jamaica. It is a cooking method where meat is either marinated or dry-rubbed with a mixture of seasonings and ingredients referred to as Jamaican Jerk Spice. Jamaican jerk sauce is integral to authentic Jamaican jerk food.

Chicken or pork are the most common foods cooked this way, though it’s great with seafood as well, just without any low and slow cooking.

Jerk sauce is so important to Jamaican cuisine that the Jamaican government wants to copyright the term “Jamaican Jerk”. They say that “just as Mexico is known for its Tequila, and France for Champagne, Jamaican Jerk is protected internationally from misrepresentation.”

I have my own personalized Jamaican jerk recipe that I’m sharing with you that includes a nice level of that heat and spice, as well as a number of other fresh ingredients and other components that make it one of my favorites. It’s definitely the best.

For now, let’s discuss how we make it, shall we?

This Jamaican jerk sauce is in a bowl with some extra in a container, luxurious and spicy

Jamaican Jerk Sauce Ingredients

Jamaican jerk sauce consists of a number of ingredients that can vary from cook to cook. These are my preferred ingredients and ratios, with some ranges to consider depending on your personal tastes.

  • 4-6 Scotch Bonnet peppers, chopped
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 4-6 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 4 stalks scallions, end trimmed
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup vinegar (use white vinegar or apple cider vinegar, to your preference)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Juice from half a lime (about 1/4 cup lime juice)
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme (or use fresh, if available)
  • Salt and pepper to taste (I usually use 1 teaspoon salt and 1 tablespoon black pepper)

Jamaican Jerk Sauce ingredients

How to make Jamaican Jerk Sauce – the Recipe Method

Add all of the ingredients to a food processor or blender – scotch bonnet peppers, red onion, garlic cloves, scallions,  soy sauce, vinegar, olive oi, lime juice, ginger, brown sugar, nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon, thyme, and salt and pepper. 

Jamaican Jerk Sauce, ready to be processed in a food processor

Process until smooth, or until you achieve the consistency you desire.

Jamaican Jerk Sauce, processed in a food processor

Boom! That’s it. Very easy, right? It’s a great recipe. Jamaican jerk sauce is an easy recipe to make.

Use immediately. Store the leftovers in the refrigerator in an airtight container.

The Taste of Jamaican Jerk Sauce

This sauce is rather piquant and will certainly bring the spice. Aside from the obvious heat, the broad mixture of spices are fresh, so you’ll get plenty of bite and fresh flavor.

It is quite herbal and notably Caribbean with the use of nutmeg, allspice and scotch bonnets. You can cook the sauce to blend the flavors more, though they will be more mellow when merged.

About the Peppers and Adjusting the Heat

This is a fairly hot sauce recipe. I rate it as medium-high because of the inclusion of the Scotch Bonnet peppers. Scotch Bonnet peppers offer quite a bit of heat. They range from 100,000 to 350,000 Scoville Heat Units (SHU) which is anywhere from 12 to 140 times hotter than a jalapeno pepper.

Scotch Bonnet Chili Peppers

If you’d like a milder version of this recipe, either reduce the amount of Scotch Bonnets used, or replace with with milder peppers. I think this is great with just about any aji chili peppers. Or, try it with the more commonly found milder banana peppers or any colorful sweet pepper.

Of course if you’re looking for something even hotter and spicier, you can incorporate hotter peppers, like ghost peppers or the crazy wildly hot Carolina Reaper. Yes!

Or just add in some spicy chili flakes or powder to achieve the spice level you desire.

Safety When Handling Hot Peppers

When working with hot chili peppers, it is important to wear gloves when handling them both in raw and dried forms. The oils can get on your skin and cause burning sensations. 

Need help? How to Stop the Chili Pepper Burn On Your Skin.

Also, the fumes from the chili peppers and/or the fine powders may get into the air if you are not working in a well ventilated room, so you may want to wear a mask and goggles. 

Jamaican Jerk Sauce in a bowl and some in a container, ready to serve

Uses for Jamaican Jerk Sauce

You can use this Jamaican jerk sauce for wings, for chicken of any type, for pork, or for seafood. Jamaican Jerk Chicken is an amazingly flavored dish, as are Jamaican Jerk Wings.

I love it slathered over shrimp or pretty much any whitefish. It’s wonderful with mahi mahi or swordfish.

It’s also an integral part of making a Jamaican Jerk Marinade.

Swirl it into soups or stews for a flavor blast. Mix it with sour cream or crema for a simple spicy dip. So many ways to use it.

That’s it, my friends! I hope you enjoy your jerk sauce! Keep it spicy for me! Let me know how it turns out for you.

Try Some of My Other Popular Recipes

Jamaican Jerk Sauce in a bowl, ready to serve

If you try this recipe, please let us know! Leave a comment, rate it and tag a photo #ChiliPepperMadness on Instagram so we can take a look. I always love to see all of your spicy inspirations. Thanks! — Mike H.

5 from 1 vote
Jamaican Jerk Sauce Recipe
Jamaican Jerk Sauce Recipe
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
1 min
Total Time
11 mins
 

This Jamaican jerk sauce recipe is made with fiery Scotch Bonnets peppers, aromatics and a number of seasonings that make it a must for spicy sauce lovers. Goes great with chicken or seafood.

Course: Main Course, sauce
Cuisine: American
Keyword: hot sauce, jamaican, sauce, scotch bonnet, spicy
Servings: 8
Calories: 63 kcal
Author: Mike Hultquist
Ingredients
  • 4-6 Scotch Bonnet peppers chopped
  • 1 small red onion chopped
  • 4-6 garlic cloves chopped
  • 4 stalks scallions end trimmed
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup vinegar (optional - use white vinegar or apple cider vinegar, to your preference)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Juice from half a lime
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme or use fresh, if available
  • Salt and pepper to taste I usually use 1 teaspoon salt and 1 tablespoon black pepper
Instructions
  1. Add all of the ingredients to a food processor. Process until smooth, or until you achieve the consistency you desire.
  2. Use immediately. Store the leftovers in the refrigerator in an airtight container.
Recipe Notes

Heat Level: Medium-Hot. You will get a good level of heat from Scotch Bonnets, which are very comparable to habanero peppers in both heat and flavor.

You can bring up the heat by incorporating more Scotch Bonnet peppers, or by using hotter peppers or chili flakes. Bring down the heat level by reducing the Scotch Bonnets, or by replacing them with milder peppers.

Nutrition Facts
Jamaican Jerk Sauce Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 63 Calories from Fat 27
% Daily Value*
Fat 3g5%
Sodium 408mg17%
Potassium 74mg2%
Carbohydrates 6g2%
Sugar 4g4%
Protein 1g2%
Vitamin A 105IU2%
Vitamin C 9.8mg12%
Calcium 21mg2%
Iron 0.5mg3%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Jamaican Jerk Sauce - This Jamaican jerk sauce recipe is made with fiery Scotch Bonnets peppers, aromatics and a number of seasonings that make it a must for spicy sauce lovers. Goes great with chicken or seafood. #Jamaican #Sauce #Spicy

4 comments

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Hi, Kristina. This will easily last a week in the fridge. You can freeze it, also, to last 3 months or so. I hope you enjoy it.

  1. Charles P.

    5 stars
    Wonderful sauce. Quite piquant, indeed. Letting this bloom in the refrigerator as we speak. Another winner.

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