This easy Jamaican Jerk Chicken Sandwich recipe with slaw is a quick and flavourful pulled chicken sandwich bursting with Caribbean island flavours. It’s made with perfectly seasoned and pulled apart chicken thighs, topped on a buttered bun with creamy slaw and a side of honey jerk sauce – perfect for dipping! It’s quick, easy, and a must try lunch or dinner recipe you’ll definitely enjoy!
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The Best Jerk Chicken Sandwich Recipe
This is truly one of my all time favourite chicken sandwich recipes on the blog, it’s literally bursting with flavour, texture and island vibrancy. I love creating sandwich and burger recipes not only because it’s one of my favourite things to eat, but because you can get so creative with them! This sandwich not only represents my heritage as a Jamaican, but the love I have for all things spicy, sweet, quick, easy and delicious.
These jerk chicken sandwiches are easily a crowd pleaser. They are made with well seasoned, pulled apart chicken thighs and creamy crunchy coleslaw which compliment the heat of the jerk chicken sandwiched between two buttered buns. However, it doesn’t end there, serve this with a homemade honey jerk sauce perfect for dipping!
You’ll Love This Jerk Chicken Sandwich Recipe! Here’s Why…
- Quick & Easy – simply, this recipe comes together in no time. It’s chicken, slaw and buttered buns.
- Great Crowd Pleaser – this recipe can easily be doubled or tripled to feed larger crowds without any worry or added effort.
- Simple Ingredients – that’s easy to find in major grocery stores or most likely already have on hand in the fridge and cupboards.
- Versatile – if you have leftover chicken, the options are endless with the secondary meal choices. For example, use in a wrap, toss on a salad or with by itself with a side of rice or pasta.
What is Jamaican Jerk?
This is a hot and spicy dry-rubbed or wet marinated blend of herbs and spices used on all types of meats and seafood that’s traditionally cooked over a small open coal or wood fire. It has a spicy, woodsy, smoky flavour and is made from a mix of onion, garlic, ginger, pimento, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, scotch bonnet pepper and brown sugar.
Jerk Chicken Sandwich History
It’s been said that the Maroons (descendants of Africans who formed settlements away from slavery in the Western world) jerked wild pigs in Portland, Jamaica while on the run from the British. It’s been apart of Jamaican culinary traditions for centuries, and now evolved in various unique dishes. Such as these Jerk Burgers with Pineapple Mango Salsa, Jerk Chicken Poutine, or this Jamaican Rasta Pasta!
What is a Jerk Chicken Sandwich?
Jerk Chicken Sandwich is made from flavourful and spicy jerk chicken, topped with creamy coleslaw sandwiched between two buttered buns. The heat level of the jerk chicken can be adjusted, and is served with an optional honey jerk sauce.
Is the Jerk Chicken Sandwich Spicy?
Jerk chicken is spicy, making the sandwich on the spicer side of the spectrum. The spice level can, however be adjusted by choosing the mild option of the jerk marinade.
What Makes Jerk Chicken Spicy?
The spice in jerk chicken comes from the jerk marinade or seasoning, of which the main ingredient is scotch bonnet pepper. This is the traditional pepper used and adds great flavour to the dish.
Jerk Chicken Thighs
- Chicken Thighs – use boneless, skinless thighs instead of chicken breasts for added flavour and tenderness.
- Jerk Marinade – my recommendation is to use Walkerwoods or Grace brand in either the mild or hot heat options.
- Garlic Powder – use this generously in the place of fresh garlic as it adds great flavour.
- Onion Powder – same as garlic powder, use this instead of fresh onion to add another layer of flavour.
- Dried Thyme – this adds a warm, aromatic and piney flavour.
- Seasoning Salt – this is a universal seasoning to enhance the existing flavours of this recipe.
- Ground Allspice – this is one of the main ingredients in jerk seasoning and adds a woody, cinnamon like flavour.
- Olive Oil – use to prevent the chicken from sticking to the pan or skillet.
- Green Cabbage – makes up the bulk of the coleslaw however feel free to use use just one variety of green cabbage, red cabbage, savoy cabbage or napa cabbage.
- Purple Cabbage – adds a great pop or colour to the mix.
- Carrot – adds colour as well as texture and flavour, use one large carrot or two smaller ones.
- Onion – this is a must, and adds and amazing subtle but noticeable flavour that you can’t leave out.
- Mayonnaise – this is a base and adds the creamy deliciousness to the dressing.
- Granulated White Sugar – balances the tanginess of the vinegar.
- White Vinegar – adds fresh and zesty notes to the dressing. As an alternative use apple cider or red wine vinegar.
Honey Jerk Sauce
- Chicken Broth – this is used to deglaze the pan or skillet and is the base of the sauce. Also adds so much flavour!
- Honey – adds sweetness to the sauce.
- Butter – fat adds flavour and a beautiful silkiness.
- Jerk Chicken Marinade – my recommendation is to use Walkerwoods or Grace brand in either the mild or hot heat options.
- Buns – definitely butter and toast them, after all what’s a good sandwich without great buns!
What Jerk Marinade to Use
You can make your own Jerk Marinade however, if you want to save some time, Grace Jerk Seasoning (Mild) as well as Walkerswood Jerk Seasoning (Hot) are two brands I stand by. They come in both mild and hot heat levels, so if spice isn’t your thing, you can opt for the mild selection.
Recipe Shortcut: Use Bagged Coleslaw Mix
As an alternative, you can buy a bag of pre-shredded cabbage or coleslaw mix instead of preparing your own.
What You Need to Make Jerk Chicken Sandwich
Sharp Chef Knife: this makes cutting the cabbage into thin slices much easier.
Instant Read Thermometer: this is the best way to determine the Baked Pesto Chicken doneness to ensure it is thoroughly cooked.
See My Story Below for Step-by-Step Instructions!
How to Make Jerk Chicken Sandwich
Pulled Jerk Chicken Thighs
- Season Chicken Thighs – add chicken to a large bowl and season with jerk marinade, garlic powder, onion powder, thyme, seasoning salt and allspice then mix until the chicken is well coated and set aside to marinate for at least 15 minutes.
- Cook Chicken – heat olive oil in a large non-stick pan or skillet. Add chicken thighs and cook until cooked through and juices run clear when poked. Remove and allow to sit for 5 minutes then shred using two forks and set aside.
- Combine Ingredients for Slaw – in a large bowl, combine green and red cabbage, carrots, onion, mayonnaise, sugar and white vinegar then mix well and place in the fridge until serving.
Honey Jerk Sauce
- Make Sauce for Jerk Chicken Sandwich – heat the same pan or skillet used to cooked chicken thighs over medium heat and deglaze with chicken broth. Using a wooden spoon lift any stuck-on pieces then add honey, jerk marinade and butter, bringing to a simmer and stirring occasionally until thickened to your liking.
- Assemble Sandwich – add pulled jerk chicken to each buttered and toasted bottom bun and top with coleslaw. Serve with honey jerk sauce for dipping and enjoy!
Jerk Chicken Sandwich Recipe Variations & Substitutions
You can definitely play around with the toppings for this jerk chicken sandwich. Personally, I would omit the creamy coleslaw and try these toppings:
- charred or grilled pineapple
- mango pineapple salsa
- cheese, white cheddar, provolone, havartI
Sauce for Jerk Chicken Sandwich
This recipe uses a quick and simple homemade honey jerk sauce. The honey adds sweetness and compliments the heat from the scotch bonnet in the jerk so well.
What to Serve With Jerk Chicken Sandwich (Side Options)
Trying serving these Jerk Chicken Sandwiches with these yummy salad side dishes:
- Air-Fryer Greek Fries with Tzatziki
- H-E-B Savory Kale Salad
- Orzo Salad with Sundried Tomatoes and Feta
- Creamy Italian Pasta Salad
- Tomato Avocado Cucumber Salad
- Mediterranean Pasta Salad with Lemon Basil Vinaigrette
- Vegetable & Quinoa Salad w/ Herb & Olive Oil Dressing
- Watermelon Mint Salad Recipe
How to Store
I do not recommend storing assembled sandwiches however, you can store the deconstructed components and assemble when ready to serve.
Pulled Jerk Chicken – allow to cool, place in an airtight container, cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
Slaw – store the coleslaw in an airtight container for up to 1 day in the refrigerator.
Honey Jerk Sauce – store in an airtight container, cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
Buns – follow package expiration date.
Using Leftover Chicken
If you have leftover pulled chicken, store in an airtight container in refrigerator. When ready to serve, heat in the microwave on high power until hot then toss with leftover honey jerk sauce and serve.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)
You can use any meaty part of the chicken, including the breasts. However I prefer boneless skinless chicken thighs which are naturally more moist.
You can prepare the chicken in the slow cooker, however I have not tested this method. Here is a slow cooker pulled chicken recipe you can also consider: BBQ Pulled Chicken Sandwiches (Slow Cooker Style)
Use cocoa bread instead of sandwich or burger buns to elevate these sandwiches!
Most definitely! Traditionally, jerk chicken is prepared over an open fire so you can certainly grill the chicken for this recipe.
Tips for Best Results
- Marinate Chicken, if time permits as the longer the chicken is allowed to marinate in the seasoning and jerk marinade, the more flavourful it will be. Allow to marinate for 4 hours to overnight for best results.
- Swap Mayo for Plain Greek Yogurt, instead of mayonnaise, and adjust the vinegar to your liking as the yogurt has a tangy flavour on its own.
- Coleslaw Variations, for a multi-coloured or multi-textured coleslaw, use a combination of green cabbage, red cabbage, savoy cabbage or napa cabbage varieties.
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If You Love This Jerk Recipe, You’ll Want to Check Out These Other Tasty Jamaican Inspired Recipes Next!
- Pineapple Jerk Chicken & Shrimp Skewers
- Jerk Chicken Cobb Salad with Honey Mustard Dressing
- Jamaican Rasta Pasta
- Jerk Burgers with Pineapple Mango Salsa
- Quick & Easy Jamaican Jerk Chicken
- Jerk Chicken Poutine
Jerk Chicken Sandwich
- Sharp Chef Knife
Jerk Chicken Thighs
- 7 Chicken Thighs boneless, skinless
- 1 tbsp Jerk Marinade or mild or hot walkerwood or grace brand
- 1 tsp Garlic Powder
- 1/2 tsp Onion Powder
- 1 tsp Dried Thyme
- 1 tsp Seasoning Salt
- 1/4 tsp Ground Allspice
- 2 tbsp Olive Oil
- 1/2 med Green Cabbage thinly sliced
- 1/2 sm Purple Cabbage thinly sliced
- 2 med Carrot shredded
- 1 tbsp Onion grated
- 1/2 cup Mayonnaise
- 1 tbsp Granulated White Sugar
- 1 tsp White Vinegar
Honey Jerk Sauce
- 1/2 cup Chicken Broth or stock
- 2 tbsp Honey
- 1 tbsp Butter
- 1 tbsp Jerk Marinade hot or mild
- 4 buns buttered, and toasted if desired
Jerk Chicken Thighs
- Add chicken to a large bowl and season with jerk marinade, garlic powder, onion powder, thyme, seasoning salt and allspice then mix until the chicken is well coated and set aside to marinate for at least 15 minutes.
- Heat olive oil in a large non-stick pan or skillet. Add chicken thighs and cook until for 5-7 minutes then flip and continue cooking for another 5-7 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through, juices run clear when poked. Remove allow to sit for 5 minutes then shred using two forks and set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine green and red cabbage, carrots, onion, mayonnaise, sugar and white vinegar then mix well and place in the fridge until serving.
Honey Jerk Sauce
- Heat the same pan or skillet used to cooked chicken thighs over medium heat and deglaze with chicken broth. Using a wooden spoon lift any stuck-on pieces then add honey, jerk marinade and butter, bringing to a simmer and stirring occasionally until thickened to your liking.
- Add pulled jerk chicken to each buttered and toasted bottom bun and top with coleslaw. Serve with honey jerk sauce for dipping and enjoy!