Authentic Jamaican flavours and chicken all slow cooked until the meat melts in your mouth. Just a little bit of prep work and a really simple homemade jerk sauce, you have yourself a simple slow cooked meal with big flavours and just the right amount of heat. This slow cooker jerk chicken is something a little bit different to try in your slow cooker, and great for batch cooking.
Jerk chicken in the slow cooker couldn't be easier. You just brown the chicken in the pan a little, blend all the ingredients to make the spicy Jamaican sauce and then put it all in the slow cooker together.
No need to fire up the BBQ to make jerk chicken - let the slow cooker do all the work for you. The slow cooker makes the chicken deliciously tender and it just falls apart and you still get the char, as the chicken is browned first. This is a foolproof slow cooker recipe, and one you will want to make time and time again.
If you are looking for other ways to use your slow cooker, then why not try our Slow Cooker Beef Curry, Slow Cooker Beef Brisket or Slow Cooker Honey Mustard Chicken.
Why you will love it
- A really easy way to make jerk chicken - No need to BBQ it, you can get the char by frying it a little first and then the slow cooker does all the work.
- A simple homemade sauce - The sauce is so easy to make, you just blend it all together.
- For people that love spicy food - This is definitely a recipe for those that love their food with a kick of heat.
- A great value meal - Using chicken thighs makes this a budget friendly meal.
- Great for batch cooking - This freezes well, so make extra and freeze for quick and easy meals in the week.
- Chicken thighs - You can use any piece of chicken, like legs or breast, however we think that thighs work best in this recipe. Not only are they great value, but they are really juicy and have a lot more flavour.
- Oil - This is to cook the chicken in. We used vegetable oil.
- Lime - This adds a lovely fresh flavour. For extra lime flavour, add some zest too.
- Ginger - Did you know that can peel ginger with a teaspoon! You can use fresh or frozen ginger. You can grate ginger straight from frozen.
- Spring onions (scallions) - Use the green and the white of the onion.
- Scotch bonnet chillies - This is where all the heat comes from, but they add a nice sweetness too.
- Mustard seeds, Allspice, Cayenne, Thyme - These are what give the jerk sauce it's recognisable flavour.
- Salt and pepper - Generously season.
- White wine vinegar - This gives a nice tangy to the sauce and balances out all the flavour.
- Garlic - Fresh is always best, but frozen will work too.
- Tomato puree - This helps to thicken the sauce, and also add some colour. Don't use more than the recipes says though, as you don't want to add a tomato flavour.
- Honey - This adds a lovely hint of sweetness that cuts through the spice.
- Rum - This is optional, but it really adds to the Jamaican flavour.
A full ingredients list with measurements is in the recipe card below.
How to make slow cooker jerk chicken - Step by step
One: Put the olive oil, lime juice, ginger, spring onions (scallions), chillies, mustard seeds, salt and pepper, vinegar, garlic, thyme, tomato puree/tomato pasta, honey, rum (if using), all spice, cayenne and water in a food processor and blend until smooth. If you don’t have one, then use a pestle and mortar and stir in the water.
Two: Put the chicken in a hot pan with oil and brown for 3 minutes each side.
Three: Put the chicken in the slow cooker and pour over the jerk sauce.
Four: Put the lid on and cook in the slow cooker on high for 3 hours, or low for 6 hours.
Six: Serve the chicken on a bed of rice.
This sauce has all the quintessential Jamaican ingredients - thyme, peppercorns, chilli, spring onions, allspice and RUM! Yes, we put rum in our sauce. All the ingredients are added to a blender to make a really easy sauce, but you could buy ready made sauce instead if you prefer.
This recipe is definitely one for those that like a kick of heat in their food. The scotch bonnets in the jerk sauce are fruity, but fierce. Just the way jerk sauce should be. However, it doesn't have to be that spicy, or spicy at all. We only used 1 scotch bonnet, however you could use 2 for a spicier dish or use none at all.
Instead of adding brown sugar to the sauce, we added just a little honey so it gives the sauce some sweetness and cuts through the heat a little, but it isn't too overpowering.
What to serve with jerk chicken
If you want to keep this meal really traditional, then serve it with rice n' peas. Now, this isn't the garden green peas that you have with your roast dinner. The "peas" in rice n' peas are actually kidney beans. It's a really great side dish with jerk chicken though.
You could serve it with plain rice, or even mashed potato. We also have it in Wholewheat Wraps or Easy Naan Breads for an easy lunch and have served leftovers on a salad too.
Other side dishes that could go well with this (although not traditional) include:
- Roasted New Potatoes
- Oven Cooked Rice
- Paprika Chips
- Garlic Spring Greens
- Masala Chips
- Perfect Microwave Rice
- Easy Hasselback Potatoes
- Roasted Tenderstem Broccoli
- Cilantro Lime Rice
- Baked Tortilla Chips
Store: It will keep in the fridge for 2 days.
Freeze: This is a great meal for batch cooking and freezing. Just make sure it is fully cooled and then put in freezable containers (with some rice n' peas too for ease) and then you can freeze it for up to 2 months.
Defrost: Defrost in the fridge overnight.
Reheat: You can reheat the jerk chicken in a frying pan over a medium heat until piping hot all the way through. You could also reheat it in the microwave.
Frequently asked questions
This is pretty spicy - just as it should be. However, you can adjust the amount of chillies used, or even remove the seeds from the scotch bonnets so you still have all the flavour, but not as much of the heat.
If you don't want to slow cook this, you can cook it in the oven instead. Simply marinade the chicken in the sauce for at least 2 hours (overnight is better) and then put in the oven at 200°C/400°F/Gas 6 for 40 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.
There really is no rule here, just make sure that the ingredients you are using can fit in your slow cooker. We use a Crock Pot DuraCeramic Slow Cooker and we love it. What I love most about it is that you can put the bowl insert on the hob too. So, you can cook the onions on the hob, in the slow cooker bowl. I also love that it has a clear lid, as I am so impatient that I want to keep looking and seeing what it is doing. If you don't have a clear lid, then lifting it to see will release lots of the heat and add to the cooking time.
The chicken should be perfectly cooked in the slow cooker after 3 hours on high or 6 hours on low. However, we always like to use a food thermometer to check. The cooked temperature of chicken is 75°C/165°F. However, if you don't have a food thermometer, then it is best to use your judgement and stick a knife in it. It shouldn't be pink inside.
If you wanted to make a vegan version of this, then you could swap the chicken for tofu, or just add extra vegetables
• If you want an even spicier dish, then use 2 scotch bonnet chilies. If you don't want it spicy, then leave them out. You can always taste the sauce and adjust it to suit your tastes.
• Deseed the chilli if you don't want it to be as spicy.
• You can leave out the rum if you want.
• This recipe can be make with chicken breast or legs instead. Please not that the cooking times may vary.
• Serve leftovers in wraps or flatbreads with salad and a creamy sauce.
• Make sure the spices you are using haven't been sat in your cupboard for years. If you are using really old spices, they won't have much flavour and you will really notice a lack of flavour in the dish. Opened spices should be used within 6 months ideally.
More chicken recipes
If you’ve tried this Jerk chicken recipe, let us know how you got on in the comments below.
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Slow Cooker Jerk Chicken
- 400 g (14 oz) Chicken thighs
- 1 tablespoon Olive oil - for the chicken
- 2 tablespoon Olive oil - for the jerk sauce
- 1 Lime - (juice only)
- 30 g (1 oz) Fresh ginger - grated
- 4 Spring onion (Scallion)
- 1 Scotch bonnet chilli
- 1 teaspoon Mustard seeds
- 0.5 teaspoon Sea salt
- 1 tablespoon Black peppercorns
- 2 tablespoon White wine vinegar
- 2 Garlic clove - crushed
- 1 tablespoon Dried thyme
- 2 tablespoon Tomato puree
- 1 tablespoon Honey
- 1 tablespoon Rum - (optional, but it tastes even better this way)
- 1 tablespoon Allspice
- 1 teaspoon Cayenne pepper
- 5 ml (0.5 cups) Water
- Put 2 tablespoon Olive oil, juice of 1 Lime, 30 g Fresh ginger, 4 Spring onion (Scallion), 1 Scotch bonnet chilli, 1 teaspoon Mustard seeds, 0.5 teaspoon Sea salt, 1 tablespoon Black peppercorns, 2 tablespoon White wine vinegar, 2 Garlic clove, 1 tablespoon Dried thyme, 2 tablespoon Tomato puree, 1 tablespoon Honey, 1 tablespoon Rum (if using), 1 tablespoon Allspice, 1 teaspoon Cayenne pepper and 5 ml Water in a food processor and blend until smooth. If you don’t have one, then use a pestle and mortar and stir in the water.
- Heat 1 tablespoon Olive oil in a pan and once hot, add 400 g Chicken thighs and cook for 2 minutes each side to brown.
- Put the chicken in the slow cooker and pour over the jerk sauce.
- Put the lid on and cook in the slow cooker on high for 3 hours, or low for 6 hours.
- Serve the chicken on a bed of rice.
- If you want an even spicier dish, then use 2 scotch bonnet chilies. If you don't want it spicy, then leave them out. You can always taste the sauce and adjust it to suit your tastes.
- Deseed the chilli if you don't want it to be as spicy.
- You can leave out the rum if you want.
- This recipe can be make with chicken breast or legs instead. Please not that the cooking times may vary.
- Serve leftovers in wraps or flatbreads with salad and a creamy sauce.
- Make sure the spices you are using haven't been sat in your cupboard for years. If you are using really old spices, they won't have much flavour and you will really notice a lack of flavour in the dish. Opened spices should be used within 6 months ideally.
This is so excellent!! It’s such a unique flavour - had it out of the freezer tonight and now I’m eyeing up your other slow cooker recipes.
The Jerk Chicken flavors can't be beat - fantastic recipe, thank you!
Great to hear that you enjoyed it.
Nart at Cooking with Nart
Looks so delicious. I love rice with chicken. Will definitely try this recipe!
Lovely flavours but it is way too hot! I adjusted the servings to 5 people and made it exactly using 2 scotch bonnets and 2.5 tsp of cayenne pepper but it is way too hot for me. Can I add coconut milk to this? Thanks
Jerk should have a real kick of heat to it. You could add coconut milk to cool it down, but it would totally change the flavours and it wouldn't taste like jerk.
Shashi at SavorySpin
That jerk sauce is bomb! I'd lick the plate and my fingers if this jerk chicken was in front of me. Fantastic recipe!
Tania | Fit Foodie Nutter
Such a great recipe for any day of the week! Low how quick and easy it is too!