Air Fryer Jerk Chicken with pumpkin couscous. A delicious quick air fryer dinner giving you the ultimate soul food experience. A favourite in the Milner house thanks to the delicious heat of the jerk chicken with the cooling pumpkin couscous. Easy to prepare in the air fryer without much effort.
Air Fryer Jerk Chicken is an update of my one pot jerk chicken curry recipe that I originally published on the blog back in 2016. It is one of those recipes that my readers have asked me time and time again to convert to the Air Fryer and here it is!
Table of Contents
Air Fryer Jerk Chicken
Drum roll please we finally have Air Fryer Jerk Chicken on the blog!
We all have this habit when it comes to holidays. We want to recreate that amazing recipe that we had on holiday and want to get back in the holiday spirit. That Paella that we had in Spain, the croissant from France, the pot roast from America and not to mention the different curries you have throughout the world.
In the Easter of 2006, we were on holiday in Cuba. It was a fantastic two weeks all inclusive holiday with lots of days spent by the beach or by the pool. Kyle was four at the time and loved every moment of it. The only downside of it was the food was awful.
This is a pretty big drawback and in the days before TripAdvisor you were never advised about how bad the food was, it was often just potluck from what you read in the holiday brochures.
But the only food they seemed to be any good at was the jerk chicken and the rice dishes. I had never had it before, and it was that something new that you want to try out.
So, I had jerk chicken and it was absolutely delicious, then again, the next night and the next time and it soon became the theme of the holiday. That was unless you wanted sausages and chips which was never my thing!
Fast forward thirteen years and I love jerk chicken just as much now as I did then. My husband Dominic hates curries with a passion.
He says he hates the taste of the curry powder and that the smell drives him mad. Maybe it was his days cooking them? Who knows!
But what he has always liked is having non-Indian curries. So, a Thai curry (if very mild) and a jerk chicken curry have always gone down very well. The jerk chicken curry has now become a family favourite and what we love most about this recipe is how delicious it is when cooked in the air fryer.
Air Fryer Jerk Chicken
My Air Fryer Jerk Chicken is all about quickly seasoning the chicken breasts, loading them into the air fryer and then letting the air fryer work its magic.
This Jerk Chicken Has JUST 3 Ingredients
You use the extra virgin olive oil to coat the chicken with and to allow the jerk chicken rub to stick to the chicken. It also helps with giving it that beautiful Jamaican grilled look.
Jamaican Jerk Chicken Sides
You’ve got a plan to cook your air fryer jerk chicken, but you want something delicious to serve with it. Your first thought is Caribbean rice and peas, just because it is authentic, and you know it goes well with jerk chicken.
But you’re in a rush and you want something QUICK so what sides do you have with your jerk chicken?
Pumpkin Couscous of course….I was reading through my favourite Tan Rosie Caribbean Kitchen (you can get it here on the Kindle) and I was looking for a nice side dish to pair with my Air Fryer Jerk Chicken when I found a side dish for Pumpkin Couscous.
Now that is a good plan ?
Cook the pumpkin and any extras you want to throw into your couscous before you air fry your jerk chicken and then the couscous can be cooking while you wait on the chicken.
Then they will be ready at the same time and you have a full air fryer dinner, rather than just some grilled Jamaican chicken.
Children also love weighing out and adding the dried couscous. As you can see from the photo below we have 2 different hands helping mummy:
Jamaican Jerk Marinade
The Jamaican Jerk Marinade that we are using is from the British brand Tan Rosie. After falling head over heels in love with their cookery book (it was love at first sight), I decided to give their Jamaican Jerk Marinade a go.
Or you can of course, make your own homemade Jamaican Jerk Marinade, but with so many organic, gluten free options, its so much easier to buy it ready made. Plus, there is nothing more authentic than a Jamaican making a Jamaican Jerk Rub for you!
Jerk Chicken In Air Fryer?
If I was to choose the best kitchen gadget for cooking jerk chicken, I would ALWAYS suggest the air fryer. Jerk chicken in air fryer is like pulled pork in the slow cooker, it makes it taste BETTER.
You can use my favourite air fryer grill pan or cook it directly in the air fryer basket. We were using rather big chicken breasts, so we opted for cooking our jerk chicken directly in the air fryer basket.
How To Cook Jerk Chicken In The Air Fryer?
Cooking jerk chicken in the air fryer is so easy, you will be wondering why you didn’t cook air fryer jerk chicken on a regular basis.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil = Drizzle your chicken breasts with extra virgin olive oil to lightly coat them.
- Jerk Rub = Add the jerk rub to your chicken breasts and make sure they are well coated.
- Dump & Go = Place them in the air fryer and return when the air fryer beeps.
- Load it up = With your favourite side dishes such as our pumpkin couscous suggestion.
Can You Freeze Jerk Chicken?
Absolutely! In fact, I recommend it for depth of flavour. The jerk marinade is then left to marinade through the freezing and thawing process and this just makes it taste even better. Though do note, this can make the spices more intense. If you don’t like spicy food, I recommend you just use ¼ of the jerk seasoning that I have mentioned in the air fryer jerk chicken recipe below.
I recommend that you place your marinated jerk chicken into zip loc bags of 2-4 chicken breasts. Then freeze it for later. Then take it out of the freezer the night before you plan to eat it.
Why Jerk Chicken?
Jerk Chicken is one of those foods that has such an amazing flavour. When you think of Caribbean food it is delicious mix of a few countries’ food. Such as Portuguese, Spanish, African, Chinese & Indian flavours. If you like food from these countries, then Caribbean food will become a favourite.
Among tourists around the world when you think Jamaican/Caribbean, Jerk Chicken is always at the top of your list alongside rice and peas.
It is spicy like eating chicken kebabs, but the flavour is so comforting. No wonder Jamaican food is considered as soul food.
What’s In Jerk Chicken Seasoning?
Jerk Chicken Seasoning is delicious and includes these main herbs and spices:
- Dried Onion
- All Spice
- Chilli Powder
- Bay Leaves
- Brown Sugar
- Salt & Pepper
I am sure you can understand now why people prefer to buy a ready mixed authentic jerk seasoning. If I was to make it from scratch right now I would have to buy in:
But most people wouldn’t have as many seasonings in their cupboard as me. But those 2 ingredients are hard to source for me. And to pay 3€ for ingredients I would probably not use again seems pointless. So, I suggest you buy the jerk rub instead.
MORE International Air Fryer Recipe Favourites
I love international food and anyone in my family, will say that I eat more international food than I do English food. I love Caribbean food, Asian food, African food, American food and Mexican food to name a few.
Here are 5 of my favourite international air fryer recipes:
- Air Fryer Roasted Mediterranean Vegetables
- Air Fryer Chickpea Curry
- Chicken Parmesan In The Air Fryer
- Air Fryer Falafel Burgers
- Air Fryer Chicken Doner Kebab
Air Fryer Jerk Chicken
- Pumpkin Couscous – Thinly slice your pumpkin into small cubes and season with salt and pepper. Place in the air fryer and cook for 10 minutes on 200c/400f. Peel and dice a red onion and place it into a pan with lid, along with the couscous. Add the couscous seasonings, coconut water and when it beeps add the pumpkin too. Stir. Pour in 2 cups of boiling water and stir again. Place the lid on the pan and keep the lid on for 10 minutes. When the 10 minutes is up remove the lid stir and its ready for serving.
- Jerk Chicken – Place the chicken breasts on a chopping board, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and then rub in the jerk seasoning. Cook for 15 minutes at 180c/360f, followed by a further 3 minutes at 200c/400f.
- Serve the jerk chicken over the pumpkin couscous.