Jamaican Jerk Chicken Drumsticks and Caribbean Rice with Red Beans - the strong, spicy flavours of this chicken is the best from the Caribbean! Easy to make with everyday ingredients.
Print Recipe
5 from 44 votes

Jamaican Jerk Chicken Drumsticks

The flavours of Jamaica in your own home! These chicken drumsticks have a really punchy, strong flavour. Make them as spicy as you want - or not! These are really tasty even if you pull back - or even leave out - the chili. This recipe is adapted from Oven Baked Jerk Chicken recipe by Immaculate Bites. I served these with Caribbean Rice and Beans (see recipe below) which is also a recipe from Immaculate Bites. This recipe needs to be marinating for at least 4 hours before cooking. It can be cooked in the oven or on the grill.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time50 mins
Total Time1 hr 5 mins
Course: Baked, Grill/BBQ
Cuisine: Caribbean, Jamaican
Servings: 4
Calories: 268kcal
Author: Nagi | RecipeTin Eats


  • 8 (about 2.5lb / 1.2kg) chicken drumsticks (Note 1)


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 lime (or 1/2 lemon), juice only (about 2 tbsp)
  • 1 onion , coarsely chopped (brown, yellow or white)
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger , chopped (or 1 tsp dried ginger powder)
  • 1 or more scotch bonnet pepper or substitute with other chili (Note 2)
  • 6 garlic cloves , roughly chopped
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp cinnamon powder
  • 1/2 tbsp allspice powder
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg powder (preferably freshly grated)
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme or 1 sprig of fresh thyme


  • Fresh cilantro/coriander leaves


  • Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel and place in a large ziplock bag.
  • Place Marinade ingredients in a food processor and whizz until smooth. Try not to touch the Marinade with bare hands to avoid getting chili on your hands.
  • Pour the Marinade into the ziplock bag. Close the bag, squeezing out excess air. Massage the bag from the outside to disperse the Marinade throughout the chicken. Marinate for at least 4 hours, or up to 24 hours.
  • When ready to cook, remove the chicken from the Marinade but reserve the Marinade.


  • Preheat the oven to 180C/350 (fan forced).
  • Place a wire rack on a baking tray lined with foil. Place the drumsticks on the rack and baste the top with half the Marinade. Bake for 25 minutes.
  • Turn the drumsticks and baste the top with the remaining Marinade. Bake for a further 20 to 25 minutes, until the drumsticks are very dark brown.
  • Rest for 5 minutes before serving, garnished with coriander/cilantro if using.


  • Preheat the grill side of the BBQ on medium (or medium low if your BBQ is strong). Brush the grill with oil, if required.
  • Place the chicken on the grill. Brush the top with 1/2 the Marinade. Cook for 10 minutes, then turn.
  • Brush the top with the remaining Marinade and cook for a further 5 to 8 minutes.
  • Then turn the chicken again (to cook the side that you just brushed Marinade on) and cook for a few minutes. (Total cook time around 20 minutes in total)
  • Remove from the BBQ and rest for 5 minutes before serving, garnished with coriander/cilantro if using.


1. This recipe works really well with chicken thigh fillets - with or without skin, with or without bone. It works but is not as good with chicken breast - you really need fat for the Marinade to mix with and to caramelise.
If you use boneless chicken thigh fillets, you can also cook this on the stove.
2. The original recipe calls for 1+ scotch bonnet peppers (adjust according to taste). Scotch bonnet peppers are a very hot chili that are commonly used in African and Caribbean cooking. On the chili "heat" scale, it is about 50% spicier than birds eye chili.
The best substitute is habanero peppers which is about the same level of spiciness. Otherwise, birds eye or any other spicy chili is an adequate substitute. Just do a taste test of the marinade to get the spiciness to your taste.
You can get dried habaneros in Australia from Herbies or Fireworks Food. Just soak in a bit of warm water for 15 minutes or so, then put it straight into the food processor without sautéing.
I find 2 habaneros / 3 birds eye chillis give it a nice kick. If I'm cooking for someone who can't handle spicy food, I reduce it to 1 birds eye chilli.
If you are using scotch bonnet or habanero peppers, be aware that they are very hot! Use gloves if you can, and wash your hands, food processor and anything else that has come into contact with them. DO NOT rub your eyes!! Or any other sensitive part of your body! ;)
3. The original recipe calls for using the Marinade to make a sauce by simmering it on the stove for 7 minutes with the juices from the chicken. I changed it to use all the Marinade on the chicken so the drumsticks are coated with thicker flavour, rather than sauce on the side. The other reason I did this is that drumsticks in Australia don't drop enough juice and fat to be able to create enough liquid to turn the remaining Marinade into a sauce, and also I like the thicker, stronger flavour on the chicken.
4. Jerk Chicken goes fabulously with Caribbean Rice and Beans (see recipe below).
5. Nutrition for the Jamaican Jerk Chicken Drumsticks based on 4 servings.
Jamaican Jerk Chicken Drumsticks_Nutrition


Serving: 148g | Calories: 268kcal | Carbohydrates: 12.6g | Protein: 26.4g | Fat: 12.4g | Saturated Fat: 2.4g | Cholesterol: 81mg | Sodium: 1466mg | Potassium: 291mg | Fiber: 1.2g | Sugar: 7.9g | Vitamin A: 50IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 40mg | Iron: 2mg