Ready to spice up your weeknight with a fiery and tasty chicken dish? Perhaps you are ready to bring the heat to your next BBQ. Why not try cooking up some delicious jerk chicken?
Jerk chicken combines aromatic spices, scotch bonnets, and the char of the grill to create its unique and infamous flavor profile. This tangy, sweet, and spicy dish is like a vacation to Jamaica for your taste buds!
But, you may be wondering what to serve with jerk chicken. No worries, we have rounded up the 17 most delicious jerk chicken sides! From coconut rice to grilled pineapple, read on to discover the best sides for jerk chicken.
While trying to decide what goes with jerk chicken, it is important to think about flavor profiles.
Mangoes make a great companion jerk chicken, but why stop at something so simple? Why not try whipping up some delicious fresh mango salsa with zesty lime and fresh cilantro?
The sweet and earthy flavor of mangos will pair perfectly with the heat from the jerk chicken.
Adding fresh elements like avocado and jalapeños will create a well-rounded and complete meal that you simply won’t be able to put down!
2. Coconut Rice
Jerk chicken is a Caribbean dish right from the islands. Why not take another tip and add coconut?
Coconut rice is a delicious combination of Kaffir lime leaves and coconut. You can practically feel the ocean air on your skin as you take a bite.
Nothing pairs with the smoky, spicy chicken as well as the smooth and refreshing taste of coconut rice.
To take your coconut rice up a step, try adding some fresh coconut pieces in addition to the coconut milk.
3. Fried Rice
Coconut rice, not your thing? Everyone loves the robust and aromatic spices of a vegetable fried rice.
Whether you enjoy fried rice from your favorite take-out spot or want to try your hand at making it yourself, fried rice makes a great side dish for jerk chicken.
The sweetness from the carrots and peas marry well with the spicy scotch bonnets from the jerk chicken. You can even shred the jerk chicken and add it directly to your fried rice! Talk about delicious!
Plantains are similar to bananas and native to the Caribbean. If you are looking for the perfect Jamaican side dish to go with your jerk chicken, look no further than simple plantain chips.
These salty and crispy chips add the perfect crunch to your meal. Plantain chips are the perfect side dish for a BBQ as they are delicious on their own and pair even better with the smoky taste of the jerk chicken.
Everyone will be lining up to get their hands on this simple yet scrumptious side dish.
Sometimes, simple really is better. Take another trip to Jamaica and enjoy a side of delicious fresh pineapple. But why not take it up another notch?
Pineapple is known for its sweet and delicious fruit, but what if we made it a little sweeter and then added some smoke? Coat your pineapples in brown sugar and caramelize them on the grill!
These pineapple spears make the best side dish for jerk chicken as the sweet and smoky pineapple flavors play very well with the scotch bonnets and char from the chicken.
When trying to decide what sides to go with jerk chicken, sometimes it is better to think outside the box. While Jamaican flavors are always delicious, going with a simple roasted potato is surprisingly perfect.
The flavors of the jerk chicken are bold and can stand alone on their own, so why not let them? Serving a simple garlic roasted potato is a great way to let the spices of the jerk chicken shine!
The fluffy inner potato will also serve as a great way to cool down the heat between chicken bites as well.
Bringing it back to Jamaica with a classic dish, Jamaican steamed cabbage is a delicious and authentic dish that makes the perfect pairing with jerk chicken.
The flavors in the steamed cabbage match with the flavors of the jerk chicken, just making a case for Jamaican side dishes even stronger! Scotch bonnets, garlic, and thyme make this side dish shine and will make your tastebuds dance to a Caribbean beat.
8. Potato Salad
Creamy, cool, and full of flavor, potato salad makes a great side dish for your jerk chicken.
Playing with the combination of the heat and spices from the jerk chicken and the cool, creamy flavors of potato salad creates a unique flavor profile you won’t be able to stop eating.
The crispy crunch of celery and the soft fluffy potatoes make the charred and spicy skin of the chicken dance with flavor. A great addition to any BBQ or weeknight dinner, potato salad is a great side dish option for jerk chicken.
Another great, crunchy, sweet option for a jerk chicken side dish is sweet potato fries.
Sweet potatoes make a great companion for jerk chicken because the sweetness of the sweet potatoes marries well with the wonderful spices, helping to provide your mouth with a way of cooling off from the heat of the jerk chicken.
Making sweet potato fries in the oven will help give the fries the perfect crunch in this delectable side dish.
Homemade coleslaw is a creamy and crunchy side dish perfect for pairing with jerk chicken. The lettuce and cabbage in the coleslaw give this dish its signature refreshing crunch.
While coleslaw is traditionally made with mayonnaise, why not try adding some ranch dressing or ranch flavor packets to it?
Adding some additional cool and creamy ingredients really helps mellow out the heat and spices of the jerk chicken, making it a perfect side dish!
While deciding what to eat with jerk chicken, look no further than the basic yet versatile potato chip.
Classic, crunchy, and salty potato chips are a delicious companion for jerk chicken. For an even better experience, try using an air fryer to make homemade potato chips!
Add your own flavors like cayenne, coconut oil, or pepper in addition to salt to create a one-of-a-kind side dish!
12. Steamed Broccoli
Steamed broccoli makes a perfect side dish for your jerk chicken. The simplicity of delicious, steamed broccoli topped with butter and salt pairs well with the complicated and decadent spices.
Sometimes it is better to have a simple and classic side that won’t compete with the spices and flavors of the jerk chicken.
But, you can try adding some other flavors to your broccoli to make it more unique. Try adding some cheese sauce or even cooking your broccoli in coconut oil for a more exciting side dish.
13. Corn on the Cob
If you are struggling to decide what to serve with Jamaican jerk chicken, try going back to the basics. Corn on the cob is a versatile and often-overlooked side dish option.
You can grill the corn on your grill with the jerk chicken or serve it with the traditional butter and salt. If you want to add more to your corn on the cob, try coating it in lemon juice mixed with paprika, ground pepper, salt, and chilli powder.
Corn on the cob pairs fantastically with jerk chicken thanks to its fresh and crunchy nature.
14. Collard Greens
Collard greens are not just for southern cuisine anymore! Its delicious garlic and lemony flavors dance with the earthy greens and pair perfectly with the incredible spice of the jerk chicken
. A surprising combination at first thought, but once you try the collard greens and jerk chicken together, you will wonder why collard greens were not your first choice as a side dish!
If you cannot find collard greens, you can always use spinach as a fantastic and delicious side dish.
A traditional southern dish, Cajun Corn Maque Choux makes a perfect side dish for jerk chicken. Fresh sweet corn and sweet peppers marry well with the robust spices and smoky flavors that jerk chicken is known for.
Cajun Corn Maque Choux is normally prepared in bacon grease, making it a wonderful combination of salty and sweet. For a more Caribbean feel, try cooking your Cajun Corn Maque Choux in coconut oil!
The coconut flavor is a wonderful compliment to jerk chicken.
16. Fried Plantains
Love the idea of plantains for a side dish but I am not sold on the idea of making plantain chips? Why not try fried plantains!
When you fry plantains, they release a layer of sweetness that makes them the perfect companion for jerk chicken. Frying your plantains in coconut oil helps add the feeling of the islands to your meal.
You’ll feel like you are walking right on the sandy shores of Jamaica! You can even sprinkle a little cinnamon while cooking for an extra layer of flavor.
Still not sure what goes good with jerk chicken? How about delicious, smooth, creamy, and subtly sweet mashed sweet potatoes!
Jerk chicken is rubbed with many spices and scotch bonnets, making it a spicy and smoky delicacy. Sweet potatoes help lift the flavors of the jerk chicken and really let them shine.
If you want to keep your mashed sweet potatoes simple, butter and salt are all you need for a delicious complete side dish.
Adding some cinnamon or allspice will take your mashed sweet potatoes to the next level!
Jerk chicken has crossed oceans to find its home in our kitchens. With its fiery heat of spices, bright flavors like allspice and scotch bonnets, and smoky charred exterior, it is easy to see why jerk chicken is a favorite for home meals and BBQs alike.
But deciding on side dishes for jerk chicken can feel overwhelming. After all, will that really compliment such a stand-alone dish?
Luckily, there are many side dishes that play great with jerk chicken.
From fresh mango salsa, grilled pineapple, and corn on the cob to fried plantains, Jamaican steamed cabbage, or plantain chips, there are an endless number of combinations of pairings for your jerk chicken.
No matter which side dish you choose, you know you are going to get the perfect balance of sweet, tangy, spicy, and salty that will make your taste buds dance to the perfect Jamaican beat.
- 1/2 c chopped peeled mango
- 1/2 c chopped tomato
- 2 tbsps minced fresh cilantro
- 1 tbsp chopped jalapeno pepper
- 1 tbsp chopped red onion
- 1-1/2 tsps chopped celery
- 1-1/2 tsps lime juice
- 1/4 tsp grated lime zest
- 2 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (6 ounces each)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp pepper
- 1 tbsp canola oil
For the mango salsa:
- Combine the mango, tomato, cilantro, jalapeño, onion, and celery in a small bowl. Once combined evenly, add lime juice and lime zest over the top and mix.
- Let salsa cool in the fridge for 2-3 hours before serving
- Season chicken with salt and pepper while preheating a skillet on medium heat on the stove.
- Place chicken on a skillet and cook for 10-12 minutes, flipping once midway Chicken is ready once the juices run clear
- Remove chicken and let rest for 5 minutes before serving
- Serve with mango salsa