How to make homemade jerk seasoning

Written by allison boelcke
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Jerk seasoning is a blend of spices used primarily in Jamaican cuisine. It typically is applied to meat, poultry or fish before cooking. Jerk seasoning may sound exotic, but it's actually a mixture of sweet and savoury spices that you probably have sitting in your spice rack. Making your own jerk seasoning blend is more affordable than purchasing a premade variety, especially if you don't want to buy a large container. Homemade seasoning also lets you personalise the ingredients and control their quality.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Small bowl
  • Measuring spoons
  • 2 tbsp light brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp ground ginger
  • 2 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp chilli powder
  • 2 tsp dry thyme
  • 2 tsp coarse black pepper
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • Airtight jar or spice container

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  1. 1

    Measure each ingredient precisely, then place into a small bowl and stir to thoroughly combine. It is important to measure carefully and not estimate quantities because dried spices tend to be much more pungent than fresh kinds, so adding too large of quantities can make the seasoning taste overwhelming

  2. 2

    Inspect the seasoning mixture to ensure it's smooth. Use your fingertips to gently break up any lumps (especially from the dried thyme and brown sugar) or the seasoning will not properly coat food. If the lumps won't easily smooth out, use a mortar and pestle or a food processor to quickly grind the mixture.

  3. 3

    Add the seasoning mix to a spice container or an airtight jar. Securely tighten the lid and gently shake the container to make sure the ingredients evenly distribute.

  4. 4

    Apply the seasoning onto meat and use your hands to gently pat the seasoning. Jerk seasoning tends to be used most often as a rub, not lightly sprinkled like other seasoning mixes.

  5. 5

    Store any leftover seasoning in a cool, dark area in your pantry or spice cabinet. Use the seasoning mix within three months or it will begin to lose its flavour.

Tips and warnings

  • Omit the brown sugar for a more savoury version or add extra chilli powder to spice it up.
  • Mix 2 tbsp jerk seasoning with 1/4 cup olive oil to use as a marinade for vegetables.
  • Do not cook jerk seasoning-flavoured foods over extremely high heat without careful supervision or the brown sugar may burn.

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