Jerk Chicken & Mango Habanero Jam

Blackened jerk chicken is a griller’s paradise. The skin chars up beautifully, thanks to all those jerk spices, and the meat stays unbelievably tender and juicy. Here, we tossed the chicken in a mango habanero sauce right when it came off the grill, and then finished it in the oven. It tastes amazing: salty, spicy-sweet, and so crispy. That smoky chicken with the fruity heat of the habanero sauce — sublime!

For all that showstopping flavor, jerk chicken is super easy to make. The mango habanero sauce can be whirled up a day or two ahead — it’ll be even tastier — and prepping the chicken is no harder than dumping spices in a bowl. Easy-peasy! But, you don’t have to tell anyone that: let your dining companions bask in the glow of your grill mastery.

Make this dish when you want to put together special dinner for your family or a steamy date night on the patio for your sweetie, but you don’t want to spend the whole afternoon cooking.

Our tip: to create a complete meal, you can throw a few slices of mango on the grill with the chicken, and then plate it with a simple cilantro-lime rice and a little bowl of the mango habanero jam.


½ Tbsp garlic powder

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp paprika

½ tsp cayenne

½ tsp allspice

1 tsp dried thyme

1 ½ tsp salt

½ tsp black pepper

2 lbs Gelson’s all-natural chicken thighs

4 Tbsp mango habanero jam, divided (recipe below)


  1. Preheat the oven to 425º and prepare the grill or a grill pan to medium heat.

  2. In a large bowl, mix all of the herbs and spices together to make the jerk seasoning.

  3. Pat the chicken dry, and toss it with the jerk seasoning.

  4. Arrange the chicken pieces on the grill, skin side down, so they are not touching.

  5. Cook until the chicken begins to blacken, about 5 minutes. Turn the chicken 90º and continue to cook, so that the skin is fully blackened. Flip the chicken and repeat until all of the sides have cooked evenly.

  6. Transfer the chicken to a large mixing bowl, and toss it with 2 tablespoons of the mango habanero jam (see recipe below).

  7. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and arrange the chicken on it. Bake the chicken for 10 minutes, or until the internal temperature has reached 165º on an instant-read thermometer.

  8. In a clean mixing bowl, toss the cooked chicken with the remaining mango habanero jam, and serve it hot.

Mango Habanero Jam

Yields: 2 cups

2 ripe mangoes, peeled and chopped

1 habanero, ½ the seeds removed, minced

¼ cup silver or white rum

¾ cup water

1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

½ cup sugar

1 tsp lemon zest

2 tsp lemon juice


  1. In a small saucepan, combine all of the ingredients and heat over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes.

  2. Mash the mixture with a potato masher, simmer for another 15 minutes, and mash one more time.

  3. Remove the saucepan from the heat, and allow the jam to cool completely.

  4. Transfer the jam to a jar. The mango habanero jam will keep in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.