This Jamaican Jerk Marinade is earthy, smokey, sweet, and mildly spicy. It’s so delicious that you’ll want to drizzle it over everything! If you love jerk food as much as I do, this recipe is perfect for you.
First, this easy slightly spicy marinade is a vegan homemade jerk-inspired sauce used weekly as one of my go-to marinades when I’m in the mood for that jerk flavor. It’s easy to whip up overnight or the day of your bbq or family gathering.
Second, jerk is a cooking style that comes from Jamaica and is now enjoyed all over the world. In this form, meat is dry-rubbed or marinated with a spice mixture called Jamaican jerk spice or jerk seasoning paste. Most recently, I made the marinade for a tempeh scramble with vegetables that I highly recommend.
Third, when I visited Jamaica, I ate plenty of authentic jerk food(this was before I was living a whole food plant-based lifestyle) and I remember the food was amazing! Also, I know many recipes call for lots of heat. I have to admit, when I visited Jamaica, the food was made by locals and it was not very spicy and I really liked that.
Scotch Bonnet Peppers are a common ingredient used to make jerk seasoning & marinade. However, for less heat, I opted for a jalapeño because it’s a bit more accessible. If you enjoy more heat and can locate them then use the scotch bonnet peppers.
What is the difference between jerk seasoning and jerk marinade
Jerk seasoning is a dry spice blend and a jerk marinade comes in a liquid form. The spice blend is meant to be rubbed into your meat of choice and left in the fridge overnight before grilling. The marinade is a quicker version of the spice blend. Both can be used on any food of your choice. Check out the Spruce Eats website, for a homemade jerk spice seasoning recipe.
3 Main Ingredients of Jerk Seasoning
The three main ingredients are scotch bonnet peppers, thyme, and allspice.
What is Jamaican Jerk Marinade Made of
This recipe comes together so quickly with a blend of herbs, spices, and other flavorful ingredients.
- Vegetable: white onion
- Herbs: thyme, scallion
- Spices: garlic, fresh ginger, jalapeño, salt, black pepper, ground allspice, cayenne pepper, ground nutmeg
- Vinegars/Oils/liquids: maple syrup, tamari, apple cider vinegar, lime juice, neutral oil (olive oil or grapeseed oil)
How to Make This Jerk Marinade
In a high-powered blender, combine the onion, scallion, garlic, ginger, jalapeno, maple syrup, thyme, black pepper, allspice, nutmeg, cayenne, lime juice, apple cider vinegar, tamari, grapeseed oil, and 1 cup of water and blend until smooth.
How long does this jerk marinade last
The jerk marinade lasts up to 4-5 days in the refrigerator. For longer use, make a batch and put it in an air-tight glass container, and store it in the freezer for up to 3 months. Just unthaw, and drizzle over your quick, and easy vegan lunch or dinner.
More Jamaican Inspired Recipes
This recipe by Ayesha Curry is made with coconut milk, thyme, allspice, and fresh ginger. Works perfectly alone or as a side dish.
My delicious Jerk Tempeh Scramble is perfect for breakfast. It’s made with broccoli, cauliflower, bell pepper, spinach, and my jerk marinade.
This recipe by Ayesha Curry for Bon Appetit is one of my favorites. The cabbage is braised in lime juice, allspice, thyme, red pepper flakes, & much more. It’s a crowd-pleaser that is sure to steal the show.
This rum cake by Bronwyn of Crumbs & Caramel is so moist, soft, and delicious for any night of the week or the holidays.
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Homemade Jamaican Jerk Marinade (Ready in 5 Minutes)
- pinch of sea salt
- 1/2 cop chopped white onion
- 1 small scallion white and green parts
- 1 small garlic clove
- one 1-inch knob fresh ginger can sub for 1 tbsp ground ginger
- 1 small jalapeno, seeded remove seeds for less heat
- 2 tsp maple syrup or coconut sugar
- 2 tsp fresh thyme sub for dried thyme
- 2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp ground allspice
- 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
- 2 tsp fresh lime juice
- 2 tbsp tamari sub for soy sauce
- 2 tbsp neutral cooking oil olive oil or grapeseed oil
- 2 tsp apple cider vinegar sub for white vinegar or lemon juice
- In a high-powered blender, combine the onion, scallion, garlic, ginger, jalapeno, maple syrup, thyme, black pepper, allspice, nutmeg. cayenne, lime juice, apple cider vinegar, tamari, grapeseed oil, and 1 cup of water and blend until smooth.
Check out more vegan dips & sauces
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Originally posted in July 2020. Updated in March 2022.