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Instant Pot Jamaican Jerk Chicken

Instant Pot Jamaican Jerk Chicken is incredibly easy and fall-off-the-bone delicious! This flavorful spicy chicken recipe is great to make in bulk for meal prep, and the spice level can easily be adapted to your personal taste.

This recipe includes an option for baking the chicken in the oven as well!

Instant Pot Jamaican Jerk Chicken - incredibly flavorful and tender jerk chicken recipe made easily in the Instant Pot or pressure cooker

Have you ever tried Jamaican Jerk Chicken?

It’s our new household favorite. Like, the cat’s pajamas, the bees knees, just full-tilt obsession. This is how you accidentally eat a pound of chicken in one sitting, no joke.

Before I get ahead of myself, let’s chat about the background of jerk chicken.

What is Jerk Chicken?:

Jerk chicken is a marinated grilled chicken dish popular throughout the Caribbean. Chicken is marinated in a spicy sauce made of scotch bonnet peppers (or spicy chili of choice), soy sauce, nutmeg, cinnamon, garlic, onion, ginger, and brown sugar.

The result is an incredibly flavorful chicken with a subtle sweetness, evident kick, and plenty of umami flavor. 

While the chicken is traditionally grilled, it can easily be baked, slow cooked, or pressure cooked as well. 

A changeup from the authentic version, I use liquid aminos instead of soy sauce (which has the same flavor. You can also use coconut aminos), and pure maple syrup instead of brown sugar. I love making it in the pressure cooker because it takes all the guesswork out of getting the chicken to turn out incredibly tender. It’s a guarantee!

Speaking of pressure cooking…this is not an instantaneous recipe even though it is made in the pressure cooker. Hear me out.

Pressure Cooker Jamaican Jerk Chicken - Caribbean chicken recipe with garlic, ginger, and liquid aminos

How Long to Pressure Cook Chicken:

When we use the pressure cooker, we want things to be done lickety split, but the cold hard truth is, Rome wasn’t built in a day (clichés are clichés for a reason), and meat is always more tender the longer it cooks.

That said, your chicken will be fully cooked if you pressure cook it on high for 20 minutes and allow it to naturally release for 15, but it will taste SUBSTANTIALLY more amazing if you allow it to naturally release for at least 1 hour (I do two hours!).

Follow my lead and your chicken will be fall-off-the-bone tender and have the most amazing moist texture. You can apply this method to any flavor of chicken you’re making in the pressure cooker and it will always turn out amazing!

Crispy skin lover? I feel you! No worries, I have instructions later on in the post to make the skin crispy.

Crispy Instant Pot Jamaican Jerk Chicken - incredibly tender and flavorful healthy chicken recipe made in the pressure cooker

Jerk Chicken Ingredients:

In order to make jerk chicken, you need bone-in skin-on chicken pieces, habanero peppers (or scotch bonnet pepper or chili of choice), liquid aminos (or soy sauce), lime juice, garlic, ginger, green onion, and pure maple syrup (or brown sugar).  

I use chicken thighs because they’re my favorite, but you can go with a variety of bone-in pieces. If you’re a huge fan of chicken breasts, you can also go that route but the chicken will not be as tender.

Is Jerk Chicken Spicy?:

In a word, yes. Jerk chicken is traditionally made with scotch bonnet peppers, which are a solid kick in the pants. You can replace the scotch bonnet peppers with chilies that are easier to find (such as habaneros or serranos), or you can omit them altogether for a mild flavor. 

If you like a little heat but don’t want to beg for forgiveness, simply use 1 teaspoon of chipotle chili powder or ½ teaspoon of cayenne. You’ll get a kick but not shed tears.

How to Make Jerk Chicken:

Make the Marinade:

Add the ingredients for the sauce (everything but the chicken) to a blender and blend until combined. 

Jerk Chicken sauce

Brown the Chicken:

Plug in your Instant Pot (or pressure cooker) and press the Sauté button. Add about 2 to 3 tablespoons of avocado oil to the Instant Pot and allow it to heat up for a few minutes.

Place the chicken on the hot surface, skin-side down and brown for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the chicken has a nice golden crisp on it. Flip the chicken to the other side and brown for another 2 minutes (don’t cook the chicken through just yet). 

Sear the chicken thighs in the Instant Pot

Note: You’ll need to do this step in batches if you use the full 4 pounds of chicken, as there won’t be enough room in the pressure cooker to brown the chicken in a single layer. Transfer the browned chicken to a plate while you brown the rest of it.

Pressure Cook:

Transfer all of the chicken back to the pressure cooker and pour in the sauce. Press the “Manual” button (or Pressure Cook) and set the time for 20 minutes. Be sure the pressure cooker is set to cook on high heat and be sure the pressure relief valve is set to the sealed position. 

Add the sauce to the Instant Pot with the chicken

Allow the Instant Pot to run its course (it will take a few minutes to heat up, then pressure cook for 20), then allow it to naturally release for at least one hour. I allow the chicken to sit in the pressure cooker for another two and a half hours. I know that sounds crazy to those who want their dinner done yesterday, but it is just SO GOOD when you allow it to sit! 

Open the lid on the pressure cooker and either serve the chicken immediately, or transfer it to the oven to broil it and make the skin crispy.

Instant Pot Jamaican Jerk Chicken Recipe - an easy, tender, delicious recipe for jerk chicken that will drive your taste buds wild!

How to Make Crispy Chicken Skin:

My beef with cooking chicken thighs in the Instant Pot is you miss out on all that crispy skin action, which is my favorite part. Well if you’re patient to do this extra step, you can still achieve crispy skin!

Put your oven on the high broil setting and transfer the chicken (without the juices!) to a casserole dish or baking sheet (leave the chicken in a single layer). Place it in the oven on the middle rack or the rack that is second to the top. Broil for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the skin is golden-brown and crispy.

Serve the chicken with rice and vegetables and be sure to spoon some of that delicious sauce over everything – don’t let it go to waste!

Note: If you have time, you can marinate the chicken in the sauce for 4 to 10 hours before cooking. Simply use the marinade as the sauce when you go to cook the chicken in the Instant Pot

What to Serve with Jerk Chicken:

Serve jerk chicken with rice, beans, fried plantains (platanos maduros), a salad, homemade salsa (I love mango salsa with the chicken) and/or tortillas. You can also turn it into a burrito bowl situation by making Coconut Rice, Instant Pot Black Beans, and Fried Plantains.

Jamaican Jerk Chicken Bowls with black beans, mango salsa, coconut rice, and fried plantains

Recipe Adaptations:

  • For mild chicken, omit the habaneros. You can also replace them with serranos or jalapenos if you prefer. Or substitute the fresh chilies for 1 teaspoon of dried chipotle chili powder.
  • Replace the liquid aminos with soy sauce or coconut aminos. If using coconut aminos there is no need for the pure maple syrup.
  • Use brown sugar instead of pure maple syrup.
  • Make it Whole30 or Paleo by using coconut aminos and omitting the pure maple syrup.
  • This recipe is keto, but if you want to ensure you’re getting zero sugar intake, omit the pure maple syrup.

How to Bake Jerk Chicken in The Oven:

If you don’t own an electric pressure cooker or if you prefer to bake chicken in the oven, no sweat! The make baked jerk chicken, simply do the following:

  1. Blend the ingredients for the marinade in a blender until well-combined.
  2. Transfer the chicken to a large zip lock bag (or sealable tupperware container) along with the marinade. Seal the bag and swish everything around until the chicken is well-submerged in marinade. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, up to 24 hours.
  3. When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Transfer the chicken along with the marinade to a casserole dish. Bake on the center rack of the preheated oven for 30 minutes. Increase oven temperature to 425 degrees F and bake another 10 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through and skin is nice and crispy.

And that’s it! I hope you enjoy this incredibly flavorful and easy jerk chicken recipe!

Instant Pot Jamaican Jerk Chicken - incredibly flavorful and tender jerk chicken recipe made easily in the Instant Pot or pressure cooker

Instant Pot Jamaican Jerk Chicken

Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes

Marvelously tender Jamaican-style Jerk Chicken is easy enough to make on any given weeknight, yet has that special meal vibe 🙂

Ingredients

  • 4 lbs bone-in skin on chicken pieces (I use chicken thighs)
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • ⅓ cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 cup liquid aminos
  • 2 habanero peppers (omit for mild chicken)
  • 1 ½ inch piece ginger, peeled
  • 4 stalks green onion
  • 2 Tbsp pure maple syrup, optional
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg

Instructions

    1. Add the ingredients for the sauce (everything but the chicken) to a blender and blend until combined. 
    2. Plug in your Instant Pot (or pressure cooker) and press the Sauté button. Add about 2 to 3 tablespoons of avocado oil to the Instant Pot and allow it to heat up for a few minutes.
    3. Place the chicken on the hot surface, skin-side down and brown for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the chicken has a nice golden crisp on it. Flip the chicken to the other side and brown for another 2 minutes (don’t cook the chicken through just yet). Note: You’ll need to do this step in batches if you use the full 4 pounds of chicken, as there won’t be enough room in the pressure cooker to brown the chicken in a single layer. Transfer the browned chicken to a plate while you brown the rest of it.
    4. Transfer all of the chicken back to the pressure cooker and pour in the sauce. Press the “Manual” button (or Pressure Cook) and set the time for 20 minutes. Be sure the pressure cooker is set to cook on high heat and be sure the pressure relief valve is set to the sealed position. 
    5. Allow the Instant Pot to run its course (it will take a few minutes to heat up, then pressure cook for 20), then allow it to naturally release for at least one hour.
    6. Open the lid on the pressure cooker and either serve the chicken immediately, or transfer it to the oven to broil it and make the skin crispy.
    Nutrition Information
    Yield 8 Serving Size 1 of 8
    Amount Per Serving Calories 272Total Fat 10gCarbohydrates 45gSugar 1g
    Instant Pot Jamaican Jerk Chicken - incredibly flavorful and tender jerk chicken recipe made easily in the Instant Pot or pressure cooker
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