slow cooker jerk chicken

$8.74 recipe / $2.19 serving
by Beth - Budget Bytes
4.87 from 15 votes
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The slow cooker wins again! This incredibly easy recipe boasts big flavor and very, very little work. Just mix up a fragrant spice rub in your blender, slather it over the chicken, and then let the slow cooker do the rest. You will want to pop the chicken in the oven under the broiler for a few minutes at the end to get that nice, charred, crispy skin that is just not achievable in a slow cooker, but still… SO little effort!

Cooking the chicken in the slow cooker makes it juicy and fall-off-the-bone tender. I don’t advocate cooking this on low because even on high it takes a while for the chicken to reach safe temperatures. So, plan this dish for a day when you’ll be home and can get back to it after four hours.

This did make a LOT of chicken, but the recipe can easily be halved to fit smaller slow cooker or to feed a smaller crowd. My slow cooker is somewhere around 6 quarts and so a whole cut up chicken fit nicely. If you have a smaller slow cooker, you can buy a 2 pound pack of chicken thighs, drumsticks, or even a couple of breasts and just halve the spice rub. It’s that simple.

Jerk chicken is famous for it’s spicy heat, but you can eliminate the serrano pepper and still have some freaking delicious chicken. To make it extra spicy, add the serrano to the spices in the blender. For medium spicy, add the serrano sliced up to the slow cooker like I did. And for mild, just skip it all together!

Slow Cooker Jerk Chicken

Top view of a plate of Slow Cooker Jerk Chicken

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slow cooker jerk chicken

4.87 from 15 votes
This slow cooker jerk chicken is spicy and flavorful, yet requires barely any work!
Jerk Chicken Platter - Budget Bytes
Servings 4 to 6 servings
Prep 15 mins
Cook 4 hrs 10 mins
Total 4 hrs 25 mins


  • 5 lbs chicken pieces ($6.18)
  • 1/4 cup molasses (not black strap) ($0.55)
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil ($0.08)
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce ($0.11)
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled ($0.32)
  • 3-4 inches fresh ginger ($0.28)
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon ($0.15)
  • 1 tsp allspice ($0.05)
  • 1 tsp thyme ($0.05)
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg ($0.03)
  • 1 medium onion ($0.36)
  • 1 medium orange ($0.49)
  • 1 medium serrano or jalapeno pepper ($0.09)


  • To a blender add the molasses, vegetable oil, soy sauce, peeled garlic, ginger (cut into chunks, peeled), cinnamon, allspice, thyme, and nutmeg. Blend until smooth. If you want extra hot jerk chicken, add the serrano to the blender, too.
  • Arrange the chicken pieces in the slow cooker so that they are nestled tightly and as close to the bottom as possible. Pour about 2/3 of the spice rub over the chicken and use your hands to spread it all over the chicken pieces. Save the rest of the spice rub for later use.
  • Cut the onion into wedges and slice the orange and serrano. Add the onion, orange, and serrano to the slow cooker. Nestle the pieces down in and under the chicken so that they make close contact. Place the lid on the slow cooker, turn it on to high, and let it cook undisturbed for four hours.
  • After four hours, carefully remove the chicken and place it on a broiler pan or a baking sheet covered with foil. Tongs work best for this as the chicken will be very hot and very delicate. Spread the rest of the spice rub carefully over the surface of the chicken. Adjust the rack in your oven so that the top of the chicken is 4-5 inches below the broiler. Broil on high for about 5 minutes or until the skin is crispy and browned. Watch the chicken closely as all broilers are different. Broilers can quickly burn food because of their high heat and close proximity of the heat source.

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Serving: 1ServingCalories: 2679.5kcalCarbohydrates: 35.6gProtein: 57.38gFat: 257.38gSodium: 1470.8mgFiber: 2.8g
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A plate of Slow Cooker Jerk Chicken with a side of rice

Step By Step Photos

jerk spice rub in blender
First I mixed up the spice rub. I literally just put everything in the blender and pressed go. Everything as in: molasses, vegetable oil, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, thyme, and nutmeg.

cut chicken in packaging
I bought one whole chicken cut into pieces. So, that’s two breast halves, two drumsticks, two thighs, and two wings. If you don’t like the various pieces, you can just buy breasts, or thighs, or whatever you like. This recipe is written for about five pounds of chicken, but you could easily halve it to cook just two pounds.

chicken arranged in slow cooker
Arrange the chicken pieces in the slow cooker so that they are tightly nestled together and as close to the bottom as possible. This will help them heat and cook evenly.

2/3 of spice rub poured over chicken in slow cooker
Pour about 2/3 of the spice rub over the chicken and spread it around to all surfaces of the chicken pieces. Save the rest of the spice rub for later.

orange, onion and serrano pepper sliced up with knife
Slice up the onion, orange, and serrano.

orange, onion and pepper added into slow cooker
Add the onion, orange, and serrano to the slow cooker and nestle the slices down into the chicken pieces. The more contact the more flavor.

cooked jerk chicken in slow cooker
Put the lid on the slow cooker and cook on high for four hours. I don’t suggest cooking on low because it just takes too long for the chicken to reach a safe temperature. After four hours the chicken is super tender and juicy.

chicken removed from slow cooker and placed on baking sheet lined with tin foil
Carefully remove the chicken pieces from the slow cooker and place them on a broiler pan or a baking sheet covered with foil. Spread the rest of the spice rub over top.

broiled and browned  jerk chicken on baking sheet
Arrange the rack in your oven so that the top of the chicken will be about 4-5 inches from the broiler. Broil on high for about 5 minutes or until the skin is crispy and it has browned really well. Every broiler is different, so you have to watch it VERY closely.

Close up of Slow Cooker Jerk Chicken on plate
And then you’re ready to eat! And good thing because that smell has likely been tantalizing you ALL DAY.

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  1. Alright, I am here to tell everyone what a BANGIN’ recipe this is. I made it for dinner tonight, following the recipe to a T, and it was SO delicious! My hubby and I loved it. Here are my thoughts and how I served it:

    – I don’t have a good blender or a food processor, but I do have an immersion blender and I was able to make the sauce very easily by dicing up the ginger first, and then blending it in the tall plastic measuring cup that came with my hand blender.

    – I used one jalapeño pepper and thought the chicken was really tasty and well-seasoned. I left the jalapeño pieces off when I transferred the chicken to the broiler and served it, but I might leave them in next time for a bit more heat, and might add some salt and pepper to the sauce as well.

    – I loved the pieces of onion and will double the amount next time so there’s more to enjoy.

    – To serve, I made white rice, sauteed some sliced plantains in butter with a sprinkle of allspice, and mixed up some bagged coleslaw with homemade dressing. Next time I intend to jazz up the rice (maybe with coconut milk?) and make a sweet & spicy condiment to dress up the plantains a bit more.

    – You could probably use the leftover liquid from the slow cooker to make a bit of gravy while the chicken is broiling!

    I can’t wait to make this again and intend on sharing this meal the next time I’m able to go visit my family!

  2. I want to double this recipe. Can I bakes the chicken a low temperature for 4 hours in a cast iron casserole in the oven or is it best to cook the chicken in the crockpot.

    1. Well, I haven’t tried baking it in the oven, so I can’t really say which would be best or if it would work without having tested it.

    2. I cook this in the oven all the time. Though I do not use a cast iron just a glass casserole dish.

  3. Hi Beth!

    I’m wondering if you’ve had any success with cooking this in the Instant Pot instead of the slow cooker? I’m planning on trying that this week.

      1. I have no idea if I left the previous comment (or if it was just someone else with a great name) but this works super well in the Instant Pot–I added a cup of water and set it for 20 minutes.

  4. Do you think I could use date molasses since that’s what I have on hand?

    1. I’ve never cooked with date molasses, so I’m not sure how that would affect the recipe.

  5. I was paying attention and I blended up the onion with the spice rub. Do you think it will still taste ok?

  6. I made this tonight for supper using drumsticks. I had a mango in the fridge, so I whipped up a fresh mango salsa to go along with the chicken. Super tasty…..will definitely make this again! I also served some white rice with it. Thanks for the great recipe!

  7. Made this for the fam for dinner tonight, it was great! I really liked the idea of broiling the chicken after its stint in the slow cooker, the only downside to cooking chicken in the slow cooker is that it comes out looking kind of anaemic, so that fixed that problem. Since most other jerk chicken recipes call for Scotch bonnet peppers, I put a couple of those (deseeded) in with the marinade instead of jalapeños/serranos. I was worried it would be too spicy, but I probably could have done with another one in there!

  8. Just made this tonight and it was soooooo delicious!! Omg that sauce! I kept sampling the other third of it while the meat was cooking. In fact I had a lot extra and loved it on the side to dip the chicken in. So good and with a well stocked kitchen it was great to make a dinner that only cost me $10!

  9. This recipe is amazing! We sliced up one jalapeno for the slow cooker, and another we blended with the sauce. The perfect amount of spice.


  10. Love your website! Your recipes are user friendly and really tasty! Happy New Year!

  11. So stoked to try this out… But I was curious why blackstrap molasses is not recommended for this recipe, as that is the kind I usually have on hand…!

    1. It’s just much stronger than the type that I used, so it will definitely change the bread. :)

      1. Someone on here complained about bitterness from the orange pith, I believe. What orange did you use (recommend)?

        1. I’m sorry, I’m not sure what type of orange I used. I just grabbed whatever the store had. :( Some people are just more sensitive to bitterness than others, and I know I’m one of the few that are not bothered at all by bitterness. In fact, I tend to enjoy bitter flavors. Sugar can help dampen bitter flavors, so you can try adding a bit of sugar into the marinade (in addition to the molasses).

  12. I love this recipe! I keep making it and I would like to know if there is anything you can do with the left over broth in the crock pot? It seems like such a waste to let it go…

    Also, do you have any more “Jamaican/Caribbean” main courses? I love how you break down the recipes so that I can actually make something wonderful.

    Thank you and most of all my husband thanks you!!

    1. I don’t have any more Jamaican recipes, but I’d like to make some! My neighbor is from Trinidad and I can’t get enough of his cooking! He makes the best jerk chicken and spicy peas. YUM. You might be able to use the liquid as a broth for soup? Maybe?

  13. I thought I messed this one up because I used pumpkin spice when I couldn’t find my allspice but then found my allspice and added it too. It smelled a little too pumpkin-y so I was worried and I squeezed half a lime over the chicken with the other stuff in the slow cooker. However, it came out absolutely delicious. Definitely another keeper!!

  14. I LOVE this recipe! I love Caribbean food and this recipe was so easy to follow. Can’t beat the slow cooker. The only problem I had was getting the as crispy as I like it. I didn’t want to burn it using the broiler. Other than that it was fantastic!