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Jamaican Jerk Seasoning (Caribbean Inspired)

This homemade Jamaican jerk seasoning recipe is quick, easy, and versatile. This delicious spice blend has a unique taste and bold flavors, and is good on just about everything. Easily customize it to suit your spice tolerance.

Looking for more cooking basics? Try my taco seasoningsalt guide: types and uses in cooking, or how to make a simple vinaigrette.

What You’ll Love About This Recipe

  • Easy – Jerk spice dry rub is an easy recipe using a blend of spices you likely already have in your spice cabinet.
  • Fresh – This dry jerk seasoning blend is a great alternative to storebought because there are no anti-caking agents and you can make as much as you need so its flavor stays fresh. This is one of the reasons I prefer homemade seasonings over what you’d find at the grocery store.
  • Quick – This spice mix comes together in only a few minutes.
  • Customizable – Authentic jerk seasoning is made using scotch bonnet peppers, but because most people can’t tolerate that heat level, this jerk recipe is made with cayenne pepper instead. You can increase or decrease the amount depending on how spicy you want the seasoning mix.

Ingredients

Here’s what you’ll need to make this Jamaican style jerk seasoning blend:

  • Aromatic spices – garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika.
  • Sweet spices – coconut sugar, ground cinnamon, ground allspice, ground nutmeg, ground clove.
  • Spicy flavor – black pepper, ground ginger, cayenne pepper.
  • Herbs – dried thyme, dried parsley.
  • Kosher salt.

How To Make Caribbean Jerk Seasoning: Step By Step

Here are some quick visual instructions. The full instructions and ingredient list will be in the printable recipe card below!

1. Add all the ingredients to a small bowl.

2. Whisk until well combined and store until ready to use.

Helpful Tips

  • Make a jerk marinade – mix two tablespoons of jerk seasoning with olive oil and fresh ingredients such as lime juice, hot peppers for additional heat, and green onions.
  • Can’t tolerate spice? – use 1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder or omit.

Quick Tip: Homemade seasonings have a shorter shelf life than store-bought spices because there are no anti-caking agents or fillers. For the best flavor, use your homemade blend within 6 months.

Storage

Store in an airtight container (or airtight jar like a mason jar) at room temperature in a cool, dry place for up to 6 months.

Make It Your Way: Substitutions & Variations

Please remember that recipes are just a starting point.

How can you make this Jamaican jerk seasoning blend using what you already have? Here are some ideas…

  • No coconut sugar? – use brown sugar, organic cane sugar, or white granulated sugar.
  • No smoked paprika? – sweet paprika is fine.
  • Add-ins – red pepper flakes if you love it extra spicy or habanero pepper powder if you’re brave.

How To Use

This versatile spice blend can be used on french fries, baked fries, jerk chicken tacos, jerk shrimp tacos, seafood, pasta, wings, popcorn, rice, soups and stews, scrambled eggs, mixed into mayo, etc. The sky is the limit.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is jerk seasoning?

Jerk is a Caribbean style of cooking and seasoning meat that traces back to the late 1400s in Jamaica. The seasoning has the flavors of the Caribbean – a mix of spicy, smoky, fruity, earthy, aromatic, and complex flavors.

What’s a good substitute for jerk seasoning?

There really isn’t a direct substitute for dry Jamaican jerk seasoning. Your best bet is to make it homemade. If you can’t find certain ingredients depending on where you live, you can buy cajun seasoning and add brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and clove for a slightly similar flavor. 

More Cooking Basics

I hope you love this Jerk Seasoning! If you make it, be sure to leave a comment & a star rating so I know how you liked it!

Jamaican Jerk Seasoning (Caribbean Inspired)

A bowl of homemade Jamaican jerk seasoning with a spoon.
This homemade Jamaican jerk seasoning recipe is quick, easy, and versatile. This delicious spice blend has a unique taste and bold flavors, and is good on just about everything. Easily customize it to suit your spice tolerance.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes

Ingredients
 

  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder or garlic granules
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder or onion granules
  • 2 teaspoons coconut sugar or substitute, see notes below
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika or sweet paprika
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1-2 teaspoons cayenne pepper depending on spice tolerance
  • ¾ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground clove

Instructions

  • Add all the ingredients to a small bowl.
  • Whisk until well combined and store until ready to use.

Notes

Makes about 1/3 cup.
See the blog post for storage, helpful tips, and FAQs.

Make It Your Way: Substitutions & Variations

No coconut sugar? – use brown sugar, organic cane sugar, or white granulated sugar.
No smoked paprika? – sweet paprika is fine.
Add-ins – red pepper flakes if you love it extra spicy or habanero pepper powder if you’re brave.

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