Jerk Chicken (Gluten Free)

Jerk spice is a very hot and spicy seasoning mixture popular in Jamaica. It can be made applied to meat wet or as a dry rub. This gluten free version of jerk chicken can be made with mild peppers. I used canned green chiles. If you’re a brave sole you can use hotter chiles such as habanero and jalepeno peppers*. They pack a deadly heat, but I’ve provided some pointers for you in the tips section. Habanero peppers are the hottest chiles easily found in the U.S. and are a bit tangy. Jalepeno contain a moderate heat in comparison to habanero peppers, but is still too hot for me. They are also a bit sweet, similar to bell peppers. No matter which peppers you use, if you like a bit of spice, I’m sure you’ll enjoy this recipe.

Gluten Free Jerk Chicken


Yield: Serves 6 - 7.

Gluten Free Jerk Chicken

A spicy or mild gluten free jerk chicken recipe, a Jamaican favorite. Use your barbecue, grill or even broil.


  • 3 lbs. chicken with skin, legs and/or thighs
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 1/3 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 1 7 oz. can gluten free (La Victoria) diced green chiles (see Gluten-Free Products List for more brands (or hotter peppers*, if desired)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced or grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger (or small cube fresh, grated)
  • 1/4 cup oil extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground thyme
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon sugar (or runny honey or agave nectar)
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • Juice from 2 limes (if citrus intolerant, sub with 1 T water, 2 T extra vinegar and 1/8 t stevia or 1 Tablespoon sugar)
  • 1/2 teaspoon gluten free hot sauce
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar (optional, but recommended for caramel-like browning)


  1. To Make the Marinade:
  2. Add the onions, diced peppers, garlic, oil, ginger, thyme, allspice, cinnamon, sugar/honey/agave, lime juice, vinegar, hot sauce, and sugar, if using, to the bowl of your food processor and mix on high until it is pureed.
  3. Place the chicken in a glass casserole dish and pour the marinade on top. Coat each piece of chicken thoroughly. If you are fortunate enough to own a marinade injector, inject some of the marinade under the skin of the chicken by lifting the skin slightly. Cover, refrigerate for 8 hours, turning often.
  4. To Make the Chicken:
  5. Bring the chicken to room temperature for about 30 to 60 minutes prior to cooking. Preheat your barbecue or grill.
  6. Remove the chicken from the dish and discard the marinade. Grill or barbecue and begin testing after each side has cooked for 5 minutes each. They are fully cooked once a thermometer inserted in the meat (not near the bone) reaches 160°F and the chicken is no longer pink inside.Salt the chicken the last couple of minutes on both sides.
  7. Transfer the chicken to a plate to cool for about 5 minutes before serving.


Be sure all your spices are gluten free. McCormick brand spices are gluten free.

Avoid using plastic containers for marinating as they collect bacteria easily. Therefore, raw meat should be placed in ceramic or glass containers.

Salt draws out the juices of meat, therefore, salt them last.

*Because habanero and jalapeno peppers are so hot, please wear gloves when handling them. If you desire the flavor from the these peppers, but not the heat, boil them hole (without breaking them open). Using a slotted spoon, remove them from the sauce pan and slice and dice them. If you want to cut the heat back, remove the membrane and seeds and just use the outer flesh.

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