jamaican jerk chicken bowls

$8.93 recipe / $2.23 serving

If you’ve never had (or heard of) jerk seasoning, it is a sweet and spicy mix of flavors unique to the caribbean. I had to balance cost and convenience this weekend so I ended up using a bottled marinade. If you’d like to try your hand at making it from scratch, here is a great recipe. I was a little disappointed in the selection of pre-made jerk marinades at my local stores (I checked two stores). Even though I went with an inexpensive brand, the resulting chicken was mouth-watering delicious.

I paired the sweet and spicy chicken with some black beans that were simmered with jalapenos and garlic, sweet pineapple chunks and fried plantains all over a bed of savory coconut rice. The slight creaminess of coconut rice is perfect to mellow out the spices in the jerk marinade and jalapeno black beans. If other tropical fruits, like mango or papaya, happen to be on sale, scoop those up and use them in place of the pineapple chunks. I garnished with green onion but cilantro would also be an appropriate match.

Perhaps the best part about this recipe is that it was so quick and easy… everything came together in the amount of time that it took to cook the rice. So, although it looks complex, this could easily be a gourmet week-night dinner!

Jamaican Jerk Chicken Bowls

Jamaican Jerk Chicken Bowl

4.2 from 5 reviews
jamaican jerk chicken bowls
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Total Cost: $8.93
Cost Per Serving: $2.23
Serves: 4
  • 1½ cups long grain jasmine rice $1.31
  • 1 can (1.5 cups) light coconut milk $1.49
  • 3 cloves garlic $0.18
  • ½ tsp salt $0.05
  • 2 (about 1 lb. total) chicken breasts $2.49
  • ½ bottle jerk marinade $0.99
  • 1 fresh jalapeno $0.06
  • 1 can black beans $0.62
  • 1 large plantain $0.54
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil $0.08
  • 1 (20 oz.) can pineapple chunks $0.92
  • 1 handful green onion or cliantro (garnish, optional) $0.15
  1. Begin cooking your rice by placing 1.5 cups of long grain jasmine rice in a pot with 2 cloves minced garlic, ½ tsp of salt, one can of light coconut milk and 1.5 cups (or one can full) of water. Stir once to combine ingredients. Cover the pot and bring it up to a boil over high heat. Once it reaches a full boil, reduce the heat to warm/low and let simmer for 30 minutes. Turn the heat off after 30 minutes and let it rest until you are ready to serve. Fluff with a fork just before serving.
  2. Preheat a countertop grill for 5 minutes. Once warm, grill your first chicken breast for 6 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and grill the second breast. Slice the breasts diagonally into strips.
  3. While the chicken is cooking, mince another clove of garlic. Deseed and mince one jalapeno. Place the jalapeno and garlic in a small pot with ½ Tbsp of olive oil. Saute them for about 2 minutes over medium/high heat or just until soft. Add the can of black beans (undrained), reduce the heat to low and let until you are finished preparing the rest of the ingredients.
  4. To make the plantains, heat 2 Tbsp of vegetable oil in a heavy skillet. Peel and slice the plantain into diagonal medallions. Fry the medallions on each side until they are caramelized and brown (3-4 min on each side). Transfer the plantains to a plate with paper towels to absorb the excess oil.
  5. To assemble the bowls, begin with 1 cup of coconut rice. Top the rice with ½ of a chicken breast (about 4 oz.), ⅓ cup of black beans, ⅓ cup of pineapple chunks (with some juice) and ¼ of the plantain medallions. Garnish with chopped green onions or cliantro.
Marinate the chicken in the jerk seasoning in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours. Do this either the night before or in the morning before you leave for work.


Jamaican Jerk Chicken Bowl

Step By Step Photos

jerk chicken marinadeMarinate the chicken in the refrigerator either over night or while you are at work. The longer it marinates the better it tastes!

coconut riceBegin making your rice first. Combine jasmine rice, garlic, salt, coconut milk and 1.5 cups of water in a pot. Bring to a boil with a lid then reduce to low and let simmer for 30 minutes.

coconut riceTurn the heat off after thirty minutes and let rest until ready to serve. Fluff with a fork just before serving.

grill jerk chickenWhile the rice cooks, grill the marinated chicken using a counter top grill (6 minutes for each piece). Be sure to preheat the grill first.

sliced jerk chickenSlice the grilled chicken into strips.

saute garlic and jalapenoSaute the minced jalapeno and garlic in 1/2 Tbsp of olive oil for 2-3 minutes.

simmer black beansAdd the can of black beans including the liquid, reduce the heat to low and let simmer while the rest of the meal comes together.

raw plantainPeel and slice the plantain into medallions.

fry plantainfry the plantain slices in 2 Tbsp of vegetable oil until they are brown on each side.

raw plantain Drain plantains on a paper towel covered plate.

jamaican jerk chicken bowlAssemble the bowl with rice on the bottom, chicken, beans, plantains and pineapple on top. Dig in!

NOTE: If you are using boneless, skinless chicken breasts like I did here, make sure to buy them in a value pack. I bought a five pound package and divided it up into bags of 2 breasts each when I got home. I used one for this recipe and the rest were frozen for later use. I paid $1.98 per pound but the smaller packs (1-2 lbs.) were priced at $3.38 per pound. You could also use thigh meat for this recipe if you prefer dark meat and it is usually a lot less expensive than boneless, skinless breasts.

I used half of the bottle of marinade, which was probably even more than I needed. The rest can be saved by transferring it to a freezer bag and freezing for later use. The marinade will thaw very quickly when the sealed bag is placed under running water.

This was my first time cooking with plantains and I’ll admit, they were a little different than expected. After looking around at recipes and preparation methods (there are a MILLION ways to cook them), I decided on this pan fry method. I didn’t want to deep fry because it just required too much oil. I let the plantain ripen for a few days because I wanted it to add a slightly sweeter element to the dish. It was a little bland so I may try caramelizing regular bananas next time I make this dish!


  1. Roger says:

    Amazing meal! I usually do either the pineapple or the plantain, both is a little too sweet for me but you can’t go wrong. I also stretch the marinade to 1/3 of the bottle, it seems to be plenty.

  2. This is one of my favorite budgetbytes recipes! I used the juice from the canned pineapple with the beans; I reduced the juice with the garlic in the pan before adding the beans. I also grilled the pineapple. The coconut rice is so easy and delicious, and several friends have asked me how I make such good rice after tasting it!

  3. Miafantastic says:

    I’m the child of West Africans, and gotta co-sign the advice to let the plantains ripen until they’re pretty much black before you fry them. That’s how you get the deeply sweet, slightly tangy “maduros-style” fried plantains that are common in most of the world’s warm places. They hold up a lot better than fried bananas, and have a very different flavor profile. More acidity, more texture, yet very soft. Great for complementing whatever they’re usually sharing a dish or bowl with. Under-ripened plantains, or plantains that look “banana ripe,” are their own thing when fried — more like latin tostones — but can be a, well, underwhelming experience if you’re expecting maduros. Oh, and freaking loving this blog, by the way. Cheers!

  4. Robin says:

    This recipe is interesting. I really liked the creaminess of the rice, and the beans were super flavorful. I also liked the contrast of the pineapple. The plantains left something to be desired. They tasted like potatoes (I know that that’s really what they’re supposed to taste like if they’re not super ripe, but it was still surprising)! I think next time I will toss them in some of the jerk spices after cooking them to add some sweetness. My chicken was also not very “jerk,” which was probably the fault of the cheap marinade I had to buy (it was the only one I could find). I think next time I will cut the chicken into strips so that there’s more flavor in it and see if that helps. I still liked the basic dish, so I’m excited to experiment and see what I can do with it.

  5. Carolette says:

    I liked this recipe and would like to make it again but I feel it needs something. Separately everything was delicious but the coconut rice didn’t have a lot of flavor. All put together I felt that I needed some kind of sauce. The rice wasn’t dry but it kind of overwhelmed the dish. The black beans were the best I’ve ever tasted – surprisingly from a can with just two ingredients! Maybe I should have dressed the rice up with a bit of the marinade.

  6. Mark Hofman says:

    Made it tonight – YUM!

  7. mpararas says:

    My rice ended up burning on the bottom. I thought 30 min seemed too long b/c I normally don’t do it longer then 20 min, but decided to follow directions exactly. Plantains were a bit tricky b/c I had never cooked them before either. I think I may try deep frying next time to get a more consistant cooking/color on them.

  8. This was awesome! I couldn’t find plantains, so I used a very under-ripe banana. Not really the same flavor, but it did the job & gave a bit of sweetness that I like to this dish.

    I am really enjoying your site. Your recipes are just fantastic and are right up my alley! Thank you for all your hard work.

  9. Anonymous says:

    OMG< I made this tonight and it was sooo good, even my picky 10 year old and 12 year old liked it. I did use the suggestion of using carmalized bananas instead of plantains, this is the recipe I used for the bananas. http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes/caramelized_bananas.html

  10. jerk chicken is my favorite dish , thanks for telling the whole recipe ,I am gonna try this at home for sure

  11. Melanie ;-) says:

    Utterly delicious.

    Made everything but the plantains (none to be found here) The beans were the nicest surprise. Not what I was expecting and very flavourful. Would have been even better if I had turned off the burner when they were done instead of forgetting and walking away to fold laundry… testament to how tasty they were, even after that.

    Everything blended well together, and the coconut rice was outta this world!

    Dinner # 22 and today we are trying the buffalo chicken sandwiches. Keep it up chica!!

  12. Anonymous says:

    I hope to see more meals like this one, it has the right amount of flavor as well as filling. I have cut back on the portions of it, I have 6 ppl to feed and this recipe works for all 6 of us. It is great. I enjoy the blog, thanks for doing it.

  13. Look good and I be making this soon.

  14. I seriously cannot wait to make this! Wow I have been meaning to try jerk chicken for sometime now and this boils it down and makes it achievable. This is my Friday night dinner!!

  15. This is by far the best recipe I’ve eaten from you. And that is saying a lot because I love the stuff on this blog. Thanks.

  16. It turned out awesome, and the boy says “it’s the best thing you’ve ever made!” The real test will be to see if I can actually get him to eat the leftovers! :-P Thanks for another tasty recipe!!

  17. Yummy! This looks good! I love jerk chicken and plantains!

  18. This looks REALLY good. Great job. I love plantains and black beans together.

  19. Anonymous says:

    As for the plantains, if you want them sweeter, you need to let them sit until they are dark brown almost black – (http://www.all-creatures.org/recipes/plantain-ripe.html) this is when they are ready for making maduros.. :) The food looks great tho! Thanks –

  20. Tentacion (Candied Plantain “Temptation”)

    3 large ripe plantains
    1 cup sugar
    1 ½ cup water
    1 tablespoon oil
    1 tablespoon butter or margarine
    ½ teaspoon vanilla
    Dash of cinnamon, optional

    Hit the plantains on all sides with a wooden spoon to soften. Peel and cut into 5 pieces each. In a large skillet, melt butter and oil on high heat; add plantains. Fry until brown. Combine sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and water. Reduce heat to low and pour liquid over plantains. Continue cooking until the liquid thickens, about 15 minutes. 4-5 Servings.

    Favorite way to make plantains…mmmmmmm.
    I’m so excited about this recipe–it looks awesome!

  21. Thanks for the tip! I’m definitely going to try them again.

  22. Anonymous says:

    If the plantains were bland, try them again but sprinkle a small bit of kosher salt on them right when you pull them out of the oil. This makes a HUGE difference, and the slight salty flavor really brings out the sweetness.

    That said, this looks really tasty.

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