When you think about it, chicken breast isn’t too different from any other meat — except that there aren’t many different ways to cook it.
- Chicken breasts should be cooked through and have no pink color at all
- Avoid overcooking your chicken breasts so they don’t dry out and become tough
- Chicken breasts shouldn’t stick to their pan as they cook
What Is The Best Way To Cook Jerk Chicken Breast?
It seems like every single restaurant dish has a unique method of cooking because each kitchen has its own style.
One example would be stir-fry where you toss everything together on high heat and quickly flip over the food with tongs.
Another example might be grilling where you sear the outside of the meat before adding sauce and finishing off under the broiler.
And yet another could be baking which involves placing raw pieces into a preheated oven.
So what’s one thing we can say about cooking chicken breast? It’s usually done by either searing it on the stovetop (broiling) or frying it in oil (pan-searing).
But how do you actually make this happen? What kind of grill or skillet do you use? How long does it take?
Here’s an overview of the most common methods used for cooking chicken breast:
If you want crispy skin, you’ll need to turn up the heat when using this technique.
If the temperature gets below 500 degrees F, you won’t get crispier results since the outer layer will char before the inner layers finish cooking.
In order to prevent sticking, put butter on the bottom rack of the oven while also using aluminum foil underneath the chicken to catch drips.
You can also use a spray bottle filled with water if you prefer not to add more grease to your kitchen.
You can also use a microwave to help speed things along.
Be sure to remove the chicken after 3 minutes, flip it over, and continue microwaving until the internal temperature reaches 165°F.
The idea behind pan-searing is similar to broiling but instead of turning up the heat, you’re going to lower it down.
This allows the surface area of the chicken to develop a nice crust without burning anything inside.
To start, place a heavy pot (one with lots of weight like cast iron) onto top of the burner.
Then pour vegetable oil into the pot until it covers two thirds of the surface area.
Next, grab a pair of tongs and wait till the oil starts to shimmer before grabbing the chicken breast and holding it above the oil level.
Once the oil begins to bubble, place the chicken into the center of the bubbling pool.
Once the chicken has been placed into the hot oil, cover the pot with a lid and allow the chicken to fry for 5 minutes.
Afterward, flip the chicken over and repeat the process.
Continue doing this until the entire piece of chicken is browned on both sides and the internal temperature has reached 165°F.
One of the easiest ways to cook chicken breast is to simply set it on an outdoor barbecue grill.
To ensure it doesn’t stick, sprinkle some salt on the chicken prior to putting it on the grill.
After placing the chicken on the grill, let it sit for 15 seconds before flipping it over and repeating the process.
Another option is to wrap the chicken breast in tin foil, then lay it on the grill.
When cooking with foil, remember to leave plenty of space between the chicken and the coals because otherwise the chicken may burn.
After the chicken finishes cooking, brush it with BBQ sauce and serve immediately.
As mentioned earlier, you can bake chicken breast in the oven.
Just prepare it in the same manner as pan-searing, only this time you’ll do it in the oven.
For best results, season the chicken generously with kosher salt and pepper before wrapping it tightly in plastic wrap.
Place it in a roasting bag and pop it into an airtight container.
Once the chicken has cooled completely, slice it and enjoy!
What Are The Ingredients For A Jerk Chicken Breast Recipe?
Jamaican jerk spice is an aromatic mixture used to flavor meats like fish, poultry, pork, beef, seafood, vegetables, and even desserts.
It can also be made with Jamaican rum instead of water.
Here are some basic ingredients for cooking this type of dish:
- Garlic – For its pungent flavor
- Onion – To add sweetness and depth of flavor
- Curry powder – A blend of spices including turmeric, coriander, cumin, ginger, black pepper, etc.
- Allspice – Adds a warm, spicy aroma
- Chili flakes – To give the chicken a little kick
- Salt – Enhances the flavors of the seasonings
- Pepper – Helps cut down on moisture loss which helps keep the texture fresh when eating
- Ground nutmeg – Adds warmth to the dish
- Water – Makes up most of the volume of the sauce
- Lemon juice – Adds brightness and acidity
- Olive oil – Keeps the dish moist while adding flavor
What Is The Nutritional Value Of Jerk Chicken Breast?
So what does this mean when we talk about the nutrition of chicken breast?
Well, depending on how well done you like your food, here’s an idea of how much protein, fat, carbs, sodium, and calories each serving contains.
This chart was created by the USDA using data from the National Nutrient Database (NBD).
All values were rounded up to the nearest whole number.
If you want more information about these numbers, check out the US Department of Agriculture’s website.
Now let’s take a look at some of the things to know before you make this delicious meal!
What Are The Health Benefits Of Jerk Chicken Breast?
Jerk chicken has been around for decades.
It was first introduced into North America by Jamaican immigrants who brought with them this unique spice mix.
Today, jerk seasonings are available everywhere, but some people still prefer this authentic taste over anything else.
The main ingredients in jerk seasoning include paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, thyme, black pepper, cayenne, ginger, chili flakes, salt, vinegar, brown sugar, mustard seeds, cloves, bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, nutmeg, oregano, and turmeric.
Here are some of the most important health benefits of eating chicken breast prepared with jerk seasoning.
1. Jerk Chicken Breast Is Low on Fat and High in Protein
As mentioned earlier, one reason why people love jerk chicken is because of its low fat content.
In fact, according to the National Center for Home Food Preservation, a 4-ounce serving of jerked chicken contains just 0.4 grams of saturated fat per ounce compared to 3.5 grams in regular chicken.
Even though they contain less fat than plain chicken, jerked chicken recipes also tend to use leaner cuts such as thighs and drumsticks instead of whole chickens.
Protein is another thing that makes jerk chicken so good.
According to Harvard Health Publications, chicken breast is an excellent source of protein.
A single 4-ounce serving provides 8 grams of protein while only 6 grams of total fat.
2. Jerk Chicken Breasts Are Good Sources of Iron
Iron plays an essential role in our bodies since we need it to carry oxygen throughout our body tissues.
As humans age, iron levels decline which may lead to fatigue and dizziness.
On top of being rich in iron, jerky chicken breast is also high in zinc, selenium, copper, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, and vitamin B6.
3. Jerk Chicken Breast Contains Potassium, Folate, and Vitamin C
Another great benefit of eating chicken breast seasoned with jerk seasoning is that it is loaded with potassium, folate, vitamin C, vitamin E, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, thiamine, biotin, and choline.
4. Jerk Chicken Breast Has Antioxidant Properties
Studies show that antioxidant properties are found not only in fruits and vegetables but also in spices like paprika, coriander, and rosemary.
5. Jerk Chicken Breast May Help Lower Your Risk of Cancer
A study conducted by researchers at Cornell University showed that consumption of poultry (chicken) once every two weeks significantly lowered the risk of cancer by 50%.
While we cannot promise that eating jerk chicken breast will lower your risk of cancer, it certainly does help reduce inflammation and oxidative stress which promotes carcinogenesis.
How Can I Make My Jerk Chicken Breast Recipe Healthier?
Jerk chicken breast is one of those dishes where you can tweak the ingredients a little bit and still get great results.
If you want to cut down on sodium (and fat) you could try using chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts.
You’ll probably end up with more flavor from the extra seasonings used to prepare them than you would if you just substituted chicken breasts.
If you decide to go this route, however, we recommend making sure that you don’t overdo it with the spices.
Jerk chicken thigh has less sodium but also contains less protein than regular chicken breast does.
So, you might end up eating fewer calories if you use whole boneless skinless chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts.
You may also consider substituting dark meat turkey thighs for regular chicken thighs.
Turkey thighs tend to be lower in saturated fat compared to regular chicken breasts.
They do contain slightly higher levels of cholesterol though, so keep an eye on how much red meat you eat when you substitute turkey thighs for chicken breasts.
Another option worth considering is replacing some of the chicken breast with lean ground beef.
You won’t lose anything by doing this, since both meats contain roughly equal amounts of protein per serving.
However, some people find it easier to digest ground beef because it tends to break down into smaller pieces rather than having big chunks of muscle tissue.
What Are Some Other Recipes That Use Jerk Chicken Breast?
Jerk Chicken Breast Recipe (aka Jamaican Jerk Chicken) is one of those meals where everyone has an opinion on how it should taste because it’s such a classic dish.
It’s easy enough to make but requires a bit more effort than most simple dishes.
It’s also quite versatile since you can adjust the spice level depending on what kind of meal you want to serve.
There are even a few variations that include things like pork chops, shrimp, or pasta.
The main ingredient is often called “chicken” but it doesn’t really matter when it comes to this recipe since it’s just another way to prepare boneless chicken thighs or legs.
What Are Some Tips For Making The Perfect Jerk Chicken Breast?
The best way to get a juicy, tender, and delicious chicken breast is by grilling or baking them with a rub of seasonings.
Jerk seasoning, which includes chiles, spices, and herbs, does just that.
It gives this classic dish an extra kick while still maintaining its original flavor profile.
To create the perfect jerk chicken breast, start off by choosing boneless, skinless chicken breasts that weigh between 1 pound (0.45 kg) and 2 pounds (0.91 kg).
If you choose larger chicken breasts, you may need to cut them into smaller pieces before cooking.
You also want to avoid chicken breasts that are very thin or thick.
Thicker cuts will require longer cooking time, which could result in dried-out chicken flesh.
You can grill your chicken breasts on an outdoor grill or bake them in the oven.
Whichever method you decide to use, keep these handy tips in mind when preparing your chicken:
Don’t overstuff or undercook your chicken breasts
Overcrowded pans can lead to soggy chicken breasts.
To prevent this problem, place the chicken breast directly onto the surface of the pan rather than stacking multiple pieces on top of one another.
This prevents overcrowding and allows air flow around each piece of chicken.
If you do manage to overcrowd your pan, try placing two smaller pieces on top of one large piece.
Or if you prefer, simply remove the excess fat from chicken breasts before cooking, leaving behind only enough grease to ensure even browning during the process.
Use a nonstick skillet
A well-seasoned cast iron skillet works great for both grilling and baking chicken breasts.
However, if you plan on using a nonstick skillet, remember not to add oil after preheating the pan.
Oils such as olive or vegetable oil can cause food to stick to pans, resulting in burnt bottom surfaces.
Instead, pour hot water into the pan and wipe away the excess moisture with paper towels until the pan is free of residue.
Grill or bake your chicken breasts with indirect heat
Indirect heating means using a lower temperature setting for the burner underneath your chicken breasts.
For example, if you set your grill rack to medium, instead of turning up the heat, turn down the flame to medium low.
By doing this, you prevent direct exposure to high temperatures, ensuring that your chicken doesn’t burn.
If you bake your chicken breasts, you can achieve the same effect by lowering the oven temperature.
Place your chicken breasts on a sheet tray covered in aluminum foil and cover with a lid.
Bake them at 350°F (177oC), allowing the chicken breasts to slowly release steam from within the tin.
Season your chicken breasts before you sear them
Most recipes call for coating the chicken breasts in a spice mixture known as “dry rub” prior to searing them.
Dry rubbing involves tossing the chicken breasts with seasoned flour and/or breadcrumbs.
Then, once the chicken has been cleaned, pat it dry with paper towels before applying the dry rub.
This helps to evenly distribute the seasoning throughout the chicken and ensures that every part receives the same amount of flavor.
Also, don’t forget to brush the chicken with oil to help prevent sticking and burning.
How Can I Make My Jerk Chicken Breast Recipe More Flavorful?
If you’re looking to add flavor to your jerk chicken breast recipe, try adding herbs or spices like thyme, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, or even smoked paprika.
You could also try using whole peppercorns instead of ground black pepper for additional kick.
And if you want to up the ante, consider mixing things up with another spice like curry powder or chili powder.
Another option would be to use a sauce (like BBQ, honey mustard, sweet & sour) on top of the marinade before grilling or baking.
You can find these sauces in grocery stores now, but most recipes will call for homemade versions.
Finally, you could always experiment with different seasonings by trying different combinations of ingredients.
For example, you could combine lemon juice and salt together to make a brine for your chicken breasts, then throw everything into one big bowl and mix well.
Now that we understand what makes up a great jerk chicken breast recipe, let’s talk about how to make this dish taste better!
What Are Some Common Mistakes People Make When Cooking Jerk Chicken Breast?
The best way to ensure the right amount of flavor comes out of your jerk chicken breast recipe is by using fresh ingredients and following proper technique.
Here are some common mistakes that most home cooks make while preparing this dish.
Not enough time
It takes anywhere between 20 minutes and an hour of simmering time before the chicken breasts reach tenderness.
You want to keep the heat low (around 225 degrees Fahrenheit) and let the flavors meld together until the chicken reaches the desired texture.
If you start with raw chicken breasts and leave them unattended for long periods of time, you run the risk of overcooking them before they fully absorb the seasonings.
Too much liquid
Jerk chicken is traditionally made with a citrus-based sauce called jerk sauce.
It contains vinegar, soy sauce, brown sugar, scallions, garlic, ginger, black pepper, thyme, bay leaves, and other spices.
While these ingredients combine well, they also need to be cooked down slowly in order to achieve full flavor.
Overcooking will cause the acidity in the sauce to increase, which could result in an unpleasant taste.
Keep an eye on how much liquid evaporates off during the cooking process and add additional water if necessary to prevent your sauce from drying out.
Failing to remove the skin
Many recipes call for removing the skin from the chicken breasts before adding the sauce.
You may not like the idea of having to do this, but leaving the skin intact helps create a better seal around the chicken breasts as they cook.
When you remove the skin, allow the skin to cool completely before discarding it.
Overworking the poultry
You need to use good care when handling the bird because overworked chickens tend to dry out faster than undercooked ones.
A few quick turns in the oven or frying pans won’t hurt, but avoid turning the chicken constantly unless you want to end up with tough meat.
What Are Some Other Ways To Cook
There really isn’t much more to say here.
There are a few things worth noting though.
The most important thing is to use good quality ingredients.
If you can find fresh herbs like cilantro (or even just parsley), garlic, lime juice, onion powder, chili powder, smoked paprika, etc., go ahead and add them to the mix! That will give this dish an extra layer of flavor.
Second, if you want to grill this chicken, you need to prep it before you put it on the grill.
In particular, you need to remove the skin and excess fat.
Then pat the chicken dry with paper towels.
You should also salt the inside of each cavity of the chicken where the bones used to be.
This helps keep moisture in the meat while it cooks.
Finally, remember that you can always use a slow cooker instead.
Just follow the same directions above but set up your slow cooker accordingly.
- food processor
- 1 medium onion coarsely chopped
- 3 medium scallions chopped
- 2 Scotch bonnet chiles chopped
- 2 garlic cloves chopped
- 1 tablespoon five-spice powder
- 1 tablespoon allspice berries coarsely ground
- 1 tablespoon pepper coarsely ground
- 1 teaspoon thyme dried, crumbled
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg freshly grated
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 8 pound chickens quartered
- Combine the onion, scallions, chiles, garlic, five-spice powder, allspice, pepper, thyme, nutmeg, and salt in a food processor and process to a coarse paste. While the machine is running, slowly drizzle in the soy sauce and oil. Pour the marinade into a large, shallow dish, add the chicken, and coat well. Refrigerate overnight, covered. Allow the chicken to come to room temperature before continuing.
- Start a grill. Grill the chicken over a medium-hot fire, turning occasionally, for 35 to 40 minutes, or until well browned and cooked through. (For a smokier flavor, cover the grill.) Place the chicken on a serving platter and serve.