If you love Jamaican food, then you’ll love this incredibly delicious and flavourful recipe for Jerk Sauce! It’s the only one you’re ever going to need and so good, you’ll want to use it on more than just chicken!
If you’re looking for a go-to recipe for Jerk Sauce then look no further than this one! This Jerk Sauce is authentic, flavourful and so easy to make! And yes, it’s been our go-to for years! It has just the right amount of heat and the explosion of flavour will take your taste buds straight to Jamaica without ever having to step on a plane! This Jerk Sauce is perfect for your next barbecue or cookout and can be used on waaaay more than just chicken. It’s spicy, freezable and absolutely delicious! Can you handle the heat?!
FINALLY! I’m adding one of my ALL TIME FAVOURITE things to make on the blog. This Recipe for Jerk Sauce is the REAL DEAL. Sorry to keep on shouting at you but it’s THAT GOOD. I’d shout it from the rooftops if I could!
Alright. So. This Recipe for Jerk Sauce (obviously?) goes hand in hand with my Jerk Chicken Recipe. However, PLEASE don’t let that mean that this Jerk Sauce is only made for chicken. While it is 100% mindblowing-ly delicious on chicken (and that’s a FACT), it’s sooo good on so many other things, too! I think we can all easily agree that pork, beef or fish almost go without saying. I mean, how good does Jerk Chicken Wings or Jerk Ribs sound? Cause I’m a-droolin’. Try adding it to your rice and peas or coleslaw for a Caribbean twist. Mix it with mayo to make a Jerk Aioli and use it on sandwiches. Use it as a marinade or dipping sauce for things like Tofu, Tempeh or Grilled Veggies. Seeeeee? SO many things!!!
And while I’d absolutely love to just take the credit for this one, I gotta give it up to the Boyfriend. Who, in our almost 7 years together, ALWAYS opts to cook ethnic food (when he’s lucky enough to step foot in my kitchen, that is). And this Recipe for Jerk Sauce, as well as the Recipe for Jerk Chicken, is ALL him. Don’t worry, I’ll thank him for you 😉
So, put on your sandals and sunhat and let this Jamaican Jerk Sauce transport you to the heart of the Caribbean!
WHAT YOU’LL NEED TO MAKE THE VERY BEST JERK SAUCE
With only 13 simple and natural ingredients, authentic Jerk Sauce is so much easier to make than you might think! All you need now is a blender or food processor to really get things started!
- Hot Peppers: Let me start off by saying that Scotch Bonnets are THE PEPPER to use if you’re lucky enough to get your hands on some. They’re arguably THE MOST important ingredient in this recipe for jerk sauce. Heck, in ANY recipe for jerk sauce. Scotch bonnets are a staple in Caribbean cooking. It’s where the heat and the flavour come from. Yes, scotch bonnets are definitely hot peppers and pack in quite a bit of heat. But, when blended with the rest of the ingredients, this jerk sauce has the perfect balance that even people who don’t love spicy food (i.e. the Boyfriend) can still get down with this sauce. I definitely recommend keeping the seeds and membrane in as that’s where you’ll get majority of the heat from. Recipe Note: I’ve yet to discover why…but since moving from Toronto to Vancouver Island, scotch bonnets are sadly (oh, SO VERY SADLY) non-existent. If that is also the case for you and you’re having a tough time getting your hands on some, use habanero peppers instead, like I was forced to, lol. Although habaneros are still hot, the heat is not quite the same so I definitely recommend the scotch bonnets if you can swing ’em. If you want an even milder jerk sauce, try using jalapeños…but I don’t think we could possibly be friends after that 😉
- Orange Juice: The acidity and sweetness of the orange juice balances out the heat from the peppers. You can use one with or without pulp, depending on your own personal preference.
- Olive Oil: Adds flavour and a bit of thickness to the sauce. Also helps in balancing out the heat.
- Soy Sauce: Adds saltiness and flavour to the sauce. Also helps to balance out the heat and turn it into that deep brown colour we look for in a good jerk sauce.
- Vinegar: Adds tang to the sauce and helps to balance out the rest of the ingredients. Plain white vinegar is the best option for this jerk sauce.
- Onions: Adds flavour and actually helps to thicken the sauce. White onion works best in this recipe.
- Garlic: For flavour. And yes, we use a lot of it (can you ever really have too much?!). A whole bulb!
- Lime: For it’s juice which adds acidity and tanginess to the sauce. Fresh squeezed lime is best in this recipe.
- Sugar: The added sweetness helps to balance out the heat and rest of the flavours.
- Allspice: A common, well used spice in Caribbean cooking. Also called “Pimento.” Adds an Earthy, almost cinnamon-y depth of flavour. I use ground allspice here which you can easily find in the spice section of the grocery store. However, if you’re feeling fancy, feel free to crush/grind whole allspice up yourself in either a spice grinder or a mortar and pestle.
- Thyme: Adds a savoury, Earthy flavour to the sauce. Dried Thyme works best for this recipe for jerk sauce. But, if all you have on hand is fresh, use at least double.
- Salt/Pepper: Cause, as I always say, can you really make a good tasting sauce or marinade without these two?!
RECIPE FOR JERK CHICKEN SAUCE AND MARINADE (KEY TIPS)
- Use gloves or be EXTRA careful when handling the scotch bonnet or other hot peppers. They’re HOT AF and trust me, the last thing you want to do is make contact with your mouth or eyes after you cut them. I once learned the hard way and let me tell you, I was mere seconds away from calling the ambulance on myself, lol. I laugh about it now but they’re seriously no joke! I know this isn’t kindergarten but PLEASE wash your hands with soap and water after you handle them!
- Don’t worry about perfectly chopping the scotch bonnet peppers, onions and garlic. Since they’re going straight into a food processor or blender, they’ll get finely chopped in there. A rough chop is good to start.
- Use a food processor or blender for best results. You want all the ingredients to be well combined and puréed properly and the only way to guarantee this is by making use of those kitchen tools!
- Work in batches if you have to. If you find that your blender or food processor won’t hold all the ingredients at the same time, split them up into 2 or 3 (or however many) batches you need to in order for it to fit. Then, after blending, add each batch to a large bowl and mix them altogether to ensure that the flavours and spices are evenly dispersed amongst the entire sauce.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Well, yes, jerk sauce is traditionally a little bit on the spicy side. One of the most important and main ingredients for this sauce is scotch bonnet peppers which are one of the spicier peppers. However, with all the other ingredients that go into this recipe for jerk sauce, the flavours are well balanced and the sauce is not overly spicy. I would say it’s more flavourful than spicy but definitely has a kick. However, if you are spice intolerant, you might find it a bit on the spicer side. Adjust the amount of peppers you use accordingly. Alternatively, you can remove the seeds and membrane from the peppers or use a milder pepper such as habanero or jalapeño instead.
To put it into perspective, scotch bonnet peppers range from 100,000 to 350,000 Scoville Heat Units (SHU). That’s anywhere from 12 to 140 times hotter than a good ol’ jalapeño pepper!
If stored in an airtight container, this Jerk Sauce will be good for up to 2 weeks in the fridge. Keep in mind, though, the longer it sits, the more time the flavours will have to mingle and develop and therefore, the spicier it will become!
YES! That’s the beauty of this recipe! Simply ladle out the sauce into desired freezable portions (I like using plastic soup containers or large ziploc freezer bags for this) and freeze. It’ll be good for up to 4 months. Simply thaw overnight in the fridge before use. Alternatively, you can marinate whatever you desire (i.e. beef, chicken, pork, fish) in the Jerk Sauce, portion it out into freezer bags and then freeze that, as is, for quick and easy meals any day of the week. Simply thaw in the fridge overnight before cooking as instructed in the recipe card down below.
RECIPE FOR JERK SAUCE
If you love Jamaican food, then you'll love this incredibly delicious and flavourful recipe for Jerk Sauce! It's the only one you're ever going to need and so good, you'll want to use it on more than just chicken!
- 6 Scotch Bonnet Peppers*, sliced with the seeds kept in
- 3 Onions, chopped
- 8 Cloves Garlic, minced
- 1 cup Orange Juice
- 1 cup White Vinegar
- 1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1/2 cup Soy Sauce
- 2 tbsp Dried Thyme
- 2 tbsp Allspice
- 2 tbsp Sugar
- 2 tbsp Salt
- 2 tsp Black Pepper
- 2 tsp Cinnamon
- 2 tsp Nutmeg
- 2 tsp Ground Ginger
- Juice of 1 Lime
- Coarsely chop the scotch bonnet peppers, onions and garlic. Don't worry about going too fine as the food processor will take care of that.
- Add all the ingredients into a high speed blender or food processor, working batches if you have to. Process until mostly smooth and no big chunks remain.
If Scotch Bonnet Peppers are hard to find, use habanero peppers instead. Or, for a milder Jerk Sauce, use jalapeños.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 554Total Fat: 28gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 23gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 5249mgCarbohydrates: 32gFiber: 5gSugar: 16gProtein: 5g
Nutrition is only an estimate and calculated using Nutritionix.
MORE SATISFYING SAUCE RECIPES:
JAPANESE STYLE ROASTED SESAME DRESSING
LOW FODMAP MEAT AND TOMATO SAUCE