These Jerk Chicken Tacos with Pineapple Mango Slaw are the perfect sweet and spicy Caribbean inspired tacos! Add the ingredients into your favorite tortillas, then generously drizzle with homemade jerk aioli. The loaded flavors are so irresistible!
📋 About the Recipe
- Made in the oven! A lot of jerk chicken recipes are made on the stove top. Although I do love to make Cast Iron Chicken Breasts, I prefer the tenderness and smokiness of this jerk chicken when cooked in the oven. It also requires less hands on time. Throw it in the oven and walk away.
- Easy to make in larger batches. As written, this recipe makes about 6 jerk chicken tacos. If you are making these jerk chicken tacos for a larger family, double or triple the recipe accordingly!
- Homemade pineapple mango slaw! I love the combination of the spicy chicken with the sweet, tropical flavors in pineapple and mango. Make extra pineapple mango slaw and try it on top of my Instant Pot BBQ Pulled Chicken or Loaded Burger Bowls.
A few notes about the ingredients:
- Chicken - Similar to making my Fajita Tacos, I prefer to use boneless skinless chicken breasts when making jerk chicken tacos. It's less prep work and easier to cut into cubes.
- Olive oil - An oil is essential to helping the jerk seasoning stick to the chicken. I use olive oil because I always have it stocked in my pantry. You can use another oil if you prefer - just make sure to use something that has a neutral flavor and higher smoke point.
- Spices - You can buy pre-made jerk seasoning instead of using all the seasonings listed above. However, I already had each seasoning on hand so I felt it was easier to make my own than to purchase another spice blend.
- Brown sugar - Brown sugar is used to balance the spiciness in the jerk seasoning and create a more flavorful jerk chicken taco. I prefer to use light brown sugar because it is a bit more neutral tasting, but if necessary, you can use dark brown sugar too.
- Tortillas - I used flour tortillas, but any tortillas will do. If you want to double up the tortillas like I did, plan on using about 12 tortillas (or more if doubling the recipe).
- Preheat the oven. Set the oven to preheat to 425 degrees F and line a large baking tray with parchment paper. Note: If you are marinating your chicken overnight, skip this step and do it the next day before baking.
- Prepare the seasoning. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the dry jerk chicken seasonings until combined and blended together. Set aside 1 ½ teaspoons of the jerk seasoning to add to the jerk aioli.
- Coat the chicken. Add the olive oil into the seasonings and mix to form a thick paste. Add the chicken into the bowl and coat evenly in the seasonings paste.
- Marinate the chicken. Allow the jerk chicken taco meat to marinate for a minimum of 30 minutes, but if possible, overnight for the best flavor.
- Bake. Transfer the marinated chicken to your parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the chicken reads 165 degrees F.
- Dice the spicy chicken. Allow the chicken to rest for 5 to 10 minutes before dicing into small cubes.
- Prepare the pineapple mango slaw. Add all of the slaw ingredients to a large mixing bowl and toss to combine. Allow the slaw to sit for 5 to 10 minutes to allow the flavors to blend together.
- Prepare the jerk aioli. Whisk together the 1 ½ teaspoons of jerk seasoning and mayonnaise until smooth and combined.
- Serve. Heat the tortillas over an open flame or in a skillet on the stovetop until warm and pliable. Once warm, add the spicy chicken. Top it with sweet pineapple mango slaw and jerk aioli. Optional additions include: fresh cilantro, diced onion, sliced jalapeños, and a squeeze of lime juice.
⁉️ Substitutions and Alterations
- Substitute pre-mixed jerk seasoning. If you have a jerk seasoning mix already in the pantry, you can use it in place of the homemade jerk seasoning. Substitute 3 tablespoons.
- Use your favorite tortillas. I typically go for corn or flour tortillas, but if you have grain free tortillas or any other kind of tortilla, they will work here.
- For spicier tacos: Add more cayenne pepper to the mix.
❄️ How to Store
To store: Leftovers will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Store all jerk chicken taco ingredients separately in airtight containers to retain the best freshness.
To freeze: I do not recommend freezing the slaw or aioli, but you can freeze any leftover chicken. Before freezing, cool the chicken to room temperature, then transfer to a freezer safe bag or container. If freezing in a bag, remove as much air as possible for a tight seal. Freeze for up to 3 months.
To reheat: Reheat the chicken in the microwave in 30 second bursts until warmed through or in a skillet until hot. Avoid overcooking, especially in the microwave to prevent the chicken from becoming dry.
Yes, jerk chicken is meant to be spicy. The best part of making jerk chicken seasoning at home is you can control how spicy it is. If you are sensitive to spice, lower the amount of black pepper and cayenne called for and adjust to taste. Similarly, if you want your jerk chicken tacos spicier, increase these spices.
Jerk is a Jamaican style of cooking where meat is dry rubbed or marinated with jerk seasoning, then cooked until smoky. It's traditionally served with rice, a simple green salad, plantains or potatoes, and fresh salsas.
No, this is not recommended. Fresh cilantro has a much brighter flavor than dried cilantro and the volumes cannot be substituted 1 to 1.
💭 One More Tip
Prepare the slaw fresh! If you are adding these jerk chicken tacos to your meal plan, feel free to prepare the jerk chicken and jerk aioli a day or two in advance. However, I recommend leaving time to prepare the slaw fresh the same day you plan to serve for the best crisp, juicy flavors.
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Jerk Chicken Tacos with Pineapple Mango Slaw
For the Jerk Chicken
- 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2 pounds)
- ½ tablespoon onion powder
- ½ tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon light brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon allspice
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground clove
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper add more if you like it spicier
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
For the Pineapple Mango Slaw
- 3 cups shredded green cabbage (about ½ a head of cabbage)
- 1 cup diced pineapple
- 1 cup diced mango (about 1 mango)
- 1 ½ tablespoons finely diced jalapeño (about 1 jalapeño)
- 1 ½ tablespoons finely sliced green onion (about 1 green onion)
- 3 tablespoons fresh squeezed lime juice (about 1 lime)
- 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
For the Jerk Aioli
- ⅓ cup mayonnaise
- 1 ½ teaspoons jerk seasoning reserved from chicken marinade
- 6 to 12 small flour or corn tortillas
- diced onion
- sliced jalapeño
- lime wedges
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper.
- Mix seasonings (besides the olive oil) for the jerk chicken together in a large bowl. Set 1 ½ teaspoons of the mixture aside for the aioli.
- Add olive oil to the bowl and mix to create a paste. Place chicken in the bowl and gently toss to coat in the seasonings.
- If you have time, allow chicken to marinate for at least 30 minutes or up to overnight.
- Remove the chicken from the marinade and place it on the baking sheet. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165 degrees F.
- Allow chicken to rest for 5 to 10 minutes before dicing into small cubes.
- To make the pineapple mango slaw: Add slaw ingredients to a large mixing bowl. Stir to combine. Allow to sit 5 to 10 minutes before serving so the flavors can blend together.
- To make the jerk aioli: Add mayonnaise and reserved 1 ½ teaspoons of jerk seasoning to a small mixing bowl. Whisk together until smooth.
- To serve: Heat the tortillas in a skillet or over the flames of your cooktop. When warm and lightly toasted, add jerk chicken. Top with pineapple mango slaw and a drizzle of jerk aioli. Garnish with a splash of lime juice, diced onion, cilantro, and jalapeno slices.
- I like to double the tortillas so the taco is strong enough to hold all the fillings.
- You can buy pre-made jerk seasoning instead of using all the seasonings listed above. However, I already had each seasoning on hand so I felt it was easier to make my own than to purchase another spice blend.
- If you do purchase a store-bought seasoning, taste it first and adjust any spiciness or salt accordingly.
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