Jerk chicken is a spicy Jamaican dish that’s a favorite among foodies. We love it because it’s got all of the flavors of the tropics—the hot, sweet, and tropical all in one. And when you add a side dish to the mix, you can really make your jerk chicken stand out from the crowd.
There are tons of ways to serve your jerk chicken, from on its own or over rice with some veggies and beans, or with a side salad or coleslaw. But if you want to take it up a notch, try serving with one of these unique and delicious side dishes for jerk chicken.
- What Is Jerk Chicken?
- What To Serve With Jerk Chicken: 17 Best Side Dishes
What Is Jerk Chicken?
Jerk chicken is a Jamaican staple, but it’s also very popular in other parts of the Caribbean. The dish can be made with pork, fish or vegetarian alternatives like beans.
The main ingredients in jerk chicken are scallions, Scotch bonnet peppers and garlic. Other ingredients include allspice berries, thyme and ginger. The sauce for this dish is typically made with a combination of soy sauce and honey or brown sugar.
What To Serve With Jerk Chicken: 17 Best Side Dishes
1. Coconut Rice
Coconut rice is a side dish that goes perfectly with jerk chicken. It’s made by combining coconut milk and rice together before adding seasonings like curry powder, cumin, and salt to taste. This recipe makes enough to serve four people as a side dish to one piece of jerk chicken.
Plantains are another excellent side dish option for jerk chicken because they’re high in potassium and magnesium — two nutrients your body needs after exercise. They’re also good sources of vitamins A and C, folate, and fiber.
Plantains are another common ingredient in Jamaican cooking as they are used to make a popular snack called “cassava pone.” These chips can be served alongside almost any type of meat dish but they go particularly well with jerk chicken because they have an earthy flavor that matches well with the spices used in jerk seasoning blends. It’s easy to make them at home too — just slice the plantains into thin slices then fry them until they turn crispy brown on both sides.
3. Mango Salsa
The fresh taste of mangoes is the perfect complement for jerk chicken.
The time of year is quickly turning to the warmer months and that means grilling season. One of my favorite summer side dishes is Mango Salsa. This salsa stands out because it has a slightly sweet mango flavor, and I love that it complements spicy jerk chicken. This dish can be handy as a meal or appetizer and you can prepare it in minutes!
To make this easy dish, start by cutting the tops off the mango then cut down one side. This will produce a flat surface for the salsa. Next, take some mango and cut it into chunks.
Grease a grill pan with olive oil and preheat on medium-high heat. Place the mango chunks into the grill pan with 3 ingredients: 1 tablespoon of fresh lime juice, 1 teaspoon of ground allspice, and 2 teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil. Mix ingredients together then bake at 450 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes or until cooked through.
4. Grilled Pineapple
The smoky flavor of grilled pineapple adds a sweet touch to this spicy dish.
The fresh flavor of the pineapple comes through, while the spice of jerk chicken takes center stage. If you’re more intimidated by cooking on a grill, try grilling this dish in your oven and just add an additional minute or two at 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
To make this recipe, start by putting a small amount of extra virgin olive oil into a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Once the oil is warm add the pineapple, 2 teaspoons of fresh lime juice, 1/4 teaspoon of ground allspice, and ¼ teaspoon of coarse salt. Cook the pineapple for about 4 minutes or until the outside starts to char.
5. Rice and Beans
This is a classic, but it’s also a great side dish for jerk chicken. You can use jasmine rice or brown rice for a healthier option that will also keep you full longer. Jasmine rice has a subtle flavor that goes perfectly with the jerk sauce. Brown rice has more fiber, so if you need more carbs to fill up, go with brown rice. If you want to add some vegetables to your meal, try steamed broccoli or cauliflower instead of regular potatoes.
6. Sweet Potato Fries
If you want something crispy and flavorful, these sweet potato fries are perfect! They are baked in the oven until they are browned and crispy on the outside, but still tender inside. You can easily find frozen sweet potato fries at most grocery stores now, but if not they should be available in the produce section of most stores too!
These are one of my favorite side dishes because they taste amazing with any type of meat, chicken, or fish dish!
7. Roasted Potatoes
Roasted potatoes are a classic side dish that goes well with just about any kind of meat. These roasted potatoes are seasoned with cumin, garlic, and lime juice, giving them a unique flavor that complements the jerk chicken well.
8. Potato Salad
This delicious potato salad is made with red potatoes, boiled eggs, and bacon, along with celery and onions for added crunchiness. The best part about this recipe is that it’s so easy to make — you can even do it on a weeknight!
9. Sweet Potatoes
The sweetness of the sweet potato is a great complement to the spicy jerk chicken. To prepare, wash and peel the sweet potato. Cut into about 1-inch cubes and boil for about 10 minutes until fork tender. Drain the excess water and then mash with a little bit of butter or margarine. Add salt and pepper to taste.
10. Collard Greens
Collard greens are another great side dish option when serving jerk chicken. To prepare, wash and cut away the stems from several bunches of collard greens. Chop into bite-sized pieces and boil in salted water for about 8 minutes or until tender (you might need more time depending on how large your collards are). Drain off any excess water and add some butter or margarine along with salt and pepper to taste.
Coleslaw is a great side dish for jerk chicken because the creamy dressing helps to cool down the spice from the chicken. It also provides a refreshing contrast to the spicy chicken.
This no-cook coleslaw recipe is made with just four ingredients. It’s a simple side dish that is perfect for any occasion, from your next BBQ to a family picnic.
The ingredients in the coleslaw are sugar, mayonnaise, vinegar, and celery salt. The vegetables used can vary depending on what you have on hand or what you like best: you could use cabbage and carrots or bell peppers instead of celery.
12. Maque Choux
Maque Choux is an Acadian dish that uses corn as its main ingredient. This side dish can be made ahead of time and reheated before serving so you don’t have to worry about cooking it at the same time as your chicken.
Maque Choux is simply corn on the cob that has been cooked in a skillet. Since there is no liquid involved, it doesn’t require any additional cooking time. To keep the corn moist and tender, you will want to add butter and a little soy sauce or vegetable broth to the skillet before adding the corn.
Maque Choux can be served with everything from barbecue chicken to salmon to pork chops. It’s also delicious with steak or in sandwiches as a burger topping.
Tamarind is a brown fruit that looks like a bean pod. It may be used fresh, dried or as a concentrate. Tamarind is an ingredient in many Caribbean dishes including jerk chicken.
Tamarind is known as a tart and tangy fruit. It also contains calcium, copper and vitamin C. Tamarind may have some medicinal purposes such as lowering the risk of heart disease, alleviating dengue fever, reducing the risk of malaria, and promoting weight loss.
14. Ginger Beer
Ginger beer is a carbonated soft drink with a ginger flavor. It has been popular in Jamaica for more than 100 years and is used to make Jamaican ginger beer float.
Ginger beer is a low-calorie, high-mineral drink. It contains no artificial additives or preservatives and is safe to use during pregnancy. Ginger beer can be used as a healthier substitute for cola drinks when making the popular Jamaican ginger beer float. In addition, ginger beer can be consumed between meals or with Jamaican patties for a spicy, sweet treat.
Jamaican rum works well with jerk chicken. The best rum to use is a dark rum, like Myers’s, but you can also use a light rum in its place.
Wine is a great choice for a side dish for jerk chicken. A dry white wine will work great, especially if you want something that pairs well with the spicy flavor of the chicken. However, if you want something sweeter, try using a sweet red wine instead.
There are a few things that go well with jerk chicken. Beer is one of them. In fact, it’s pretty much the only thing I would recommend pairing with jerk chicken.
Jerk chicken is spicy and flavorful, so it can stand up to strong flavors like hops, malt, and yeast. The sweetness in beer also helps balance the spice of the chicken. If you’re not sure where to start, try a pale ale or IPA. You can even use a dark beer if you want something with more body to cut through all that heat. Just be careful about going overboard with too many high-ABV brews: They’ll likely overpower the delicate flavor of your meal and make you feel bloated and lethargic after eating.”
The best side dishes for jerk chicken are rice, peas and rice, and potato salad.
The rice is a must-have when pairing your jerk chicken with side dishes. The rice is a great way to soak up all of the delicious sauce from the chicken and it’s also very filling.
Peas and rice are another one of my favorite side dishes for jerk chicken because it’s a nice balance between sweet and salty flavors. The peas give a nice crunchy texture as well as sweetness while having a lot of flavor on their own.
Potato salad is another good choice for pairing with your jerk chicken because it provides a freshness that helps cut through some of the heavier flavors in your meal. This can make potato salad an excellent choice for those who may have allergies or intolerances to other foods like dairy or egg products. If you’re looking for something more hearty then try pairing your dish with mashed potatoes instead!