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Switch up your regular chicken dinner routine with this Jamaican-inspired paleo Roasted Jerk Chicken Thighs with Sweet Potatoes! The trick is to cook a pan of vegetables under the chicken thighs, so the chicken juices drip down onto the vegetables as they cook.

easy baked jerk chicken recipe

The more I have the chance to spend time in different areas of the country, the more I realize that where you’re from is often depicted in the way you drive. In your car is where things get real.

When my sister lived in North Carolina, she told me about what she liked to call Southern charm. She said everyone is sweet as a Georgia peach pie (as in, ohhh, bless her heart) until they get into their car. And then it’s no holds barred.

It’s not that there was a lot of horn beeping like what we grew up with in New York. Rather, Southern charm in driving form involves a lot of bird-flipping and people hanging their heads out car windows to scream what they felt like was the other driver’s just desserts (read: a long string of profanities).

It gets worse though. A few years ago in Florida, I saw a guy get a gun pulled on him at an intersection after he flipped off the guy in the car ahead of him who cut him off.

jerk chicken thigh recipe

Surprisingly enough, here in DC there’s not a lot of beeping or profanities being slung. There is just so much traffic it’s expected that you’ll be cut off or nearly hit or have your car dinged almost every time you’re brave enough to venture out in your car.

But the good news is, the longer you spend in your car, the more time you have to think, or plan, or listen to podcasts.

During a very long drive last winter I realized, to my shock and dismay, that I’ve never made jerk chicken! After that I made it last winter, with a hearty sweet potato twist. And then winter slipped into spring and spring to summer and now we’re well into autumn and suddenly I feel the need to share this recipe I’ve been sitting on for the better part of a year.

jerk chicken dinner with description

The Best Roasted Jerk Chicken Thighs Recipe with Sweet Potatoes

For this recipe, first I took inspiration from classic jerk flavoring. And secondly, the cooking method was inspired by my recipe for Roast Chicken Ratatouille. In that recipe, I also cooked chicken thighs on a wire rack set over a pan of vegetables. The veggies end up cooking in the chicken drippings, and they’re so much more intensely flavorful because of it.

The spice mix is my own version of a the classic components going on in jerk spice mix. I’m not calling it authentic, but it hits the same flavor notes. And bonus, it’s easy to customize based on what herbs or spices you really like. Additionally, I whipped up a sweet and spicy creamy (with either coconut milk or cashew cream) sauce because why not?

Serve this up with rice or Smoky Roasted Garlic Cauliflower Rice to keep the meal paleo.

jerk chicken dinner

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • One-pan meal. Who doesn’t love full meal that comes together in just one pan?!
  • Flavor-packed jerk seasoning. The combination of sweet, hot, and savory jerk spices is unique and delicious!
  • Oven roasted chicken. If you’re looking for an easy way to have chicken come out perfectly tender and juicy every time, oven-roasting is the way to go and dark meat bone-in chicken is what to cook. Plus, it’s so easy; you just pop it in the oven and let dinner do its thing.
  • Roasted sweet potato with chicken drippings means rich flavor. Because we cook the chicken thighs on a wire rack positioned over a roasting pan of vegetables, as the chicken cooks and releases its juices they drop onto the veggies and add great depth of flavor.
  • Special diet-friendly. This dish is naturally paleo and gluten free.
paleo jerk chicken

Ingredients For Roasted Jerk Chicken Thigh and Sweet Potato Dinner

Homemade Jerk Spice Mix (you will use all of this for this recipe):

  • Coconut sugar, or light brown sugar
  • Ground allspice
  • Salt
  • Dried thyme leaves
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Ginger (ground)
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Nutmeg (ground)
  • Cinnamon (ground)
  • Cloves (ground)
  • Black pepper (ground)
  • Crushed red pepper flakes

Jerk Chicken Thighs:

  • Homemade Jerk Spice Mix 
  • Apple cider vinegar, or fresh lime juice
  • Coconut aminos, or soy sauce or tamari sauce
  • Avocado oil
  • Coconut sugar, or light brown sugar
  • Bone-in skin-on chicken thighs

Jerk Sweet Potatoes:

  • Sweet potato, or yam
  • Onion
  • Homemade Jerk Spice Mix 
  • Avocado oil

Creamy Honey Jalapeno Sauce:

  • Full-fat canned coconut milk, or any of the substitutes mentioned in the recipe below
  • Jalapeno
  • Mint
  • Honey
  • Salt
roasted jerk chicken

How to Make Roasted Jerk Chicken Thighs with Sweet Potatoes

  1. Make the Homemade Jerk Spice Mix. Combine all ingredients for the spice blend in a bowl. Measure out 2 teaspoons for the sweet potato.
  2. Marinade the Jerk Chicken Thighs. Whisk together the jerk spice mix, vinegar, coconut aminos, oil, and sugar in a large bowl. Stir in the chicken, cover, and refrigerate 12 to 24 hours. Let the chicken sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before cooking.
  3. Cook the Jerk Chicken Thighs and Jerk Sweet Potatoes. Preheat the oven to 350F. Prep the sweet potato. To do so, put the sweet potato in a medium-sized saucepan and cover with water by 2 inches. Cover the saucepan, bring up to a boil, and then cock the lid, turn down the heat so it doesn’t boil over, and boil 4 minutes. Drain and stir together the par-cooked sweet potato with the onion, and jerk spice mix. Brush the bottom of a large roasting pan with the oil and spread the potato/onion mixture out in an even layer. Securely fit a wire rack over the top of the roasting pan and arrange the chicken on top, skin side up. Roast until the chicken is fully cooked (there should be no pink when you cut into it), about 1 hour.
  4. Make the Creamy Honey Jalapeno Sauce. Meanwhile, stir together all ingredients for the sauce and keep refrigerated until serving.
  5. Enjoy. Serve the chicken and sweet potato hot along with the cool sauce to drizzle on top.
oven jerk chicken thighs

Tips for Making This Jerk Chicken Thigh Dinner

  • You can use regular potatoes instead of sweet potatoes. And if you do, there’s no need to par-cook them first!
  • Or go with another mix of vegetables. You can use cauliflower, bell peppers, or whatever you like. Just make sure to cut them all so that they will roast in about 1 hour.
  • Swap out the homemade spice mix for store-bought. The nice thing about making your own spice mix is that you can control the quality of ingredients that go into it. Additionally, you can use more or less of your favorite spices! However, if you don’t have a well-stocked pantry, you can use a store-bought Jerk Spice Mix instead of mixing the spices from scratch.
  • Don’t skip the marinade time. Because this helps tenderize your chicken! Additionally, marination makes the meat as flavorful and juicy as possible.
1 pan jerk chicken dinner graphic

Jerk Chicken Thighs FAQs

How Long Do You Cook Jerk Chicken in the Oven?

Chicken thighs with the bone in and skin on cook for about 1 hour at 350F. They’re done when there’s no blood in the meat. Additionally, the internal temperature taken in the thickest part of the meat should read 170F on an instant-read thermometer.

Do You Cover Chicken When Baking in the Oven?

No, you don’t need to cover this chicken when baking in the oven.

What Temperature Do You Cook Chicken in the Oven?

This recipe for Jerk Chicken Thighs cooks the chicken at 350F for 1 hour.

More Delicious Recipes Using Chicken Thighs

jerk chicken in the oven

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Roasted Jerk Chicken Thighs with Sweet Potatoes

Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time1 hour 10 minutes
Other Time12 hours
Yields: 8 servings
Switch up your regular chicken dinner routine with this Jamaican-inspired paleo Roasted Jerk Chicken Thighs with Sweet Potatoes! The trick is to cook a pan of vegetables under the chicken thighs, so the chicken juices drip down onto the vegetables as they cook. Serve it up with an easy creamy honey-jalapeno sauce to bump up the flavor even more!

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Ingredients
 

Homemade Jerk Spice Mix (you will use all of this for this recipe):

Jerk Chicken Thighs:

  • Homemade Jerk Spice Mix minus 2 teaspoons for the sweet potato portion of this recipe
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar or 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon coconut aminos or soy sauce or tamari sauce
  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil
  • 1 tablespoon coconut sugar or light brown sugar
  • 4 pounds bone-in skin-on chicken thighs this was 8 large-ish thighs

Jerk Sweet Potatoes:

  • 1 pound sweet potatoes or yams, cubed into 1/2-inch pieces (1 large sweet potato, which is about 3 1/2 cups cubed)
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 2 teaspoons Homemade Jerk Spice Mix
  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil

Creamy Honey Jalapeno Sauce:

Instructions
 

For the Homemade Jerk Spice Mix:

  • Combine all ingredients for the spice blend in a bowl. Measure out 2 teaspoons for the sweet potato.

To Marinade the Jerk Chicken Thighs:

  • Whisk together the jerk spice mix, vinegar, coconut aminos, oil, and sugar in a large bowl.
  • Stir in the chicken, cover, and refrigerate 12 to 24 hours.
  • Let the chicken sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before cooking.

To Cook the Jerk Chicken Thighs and Jerk Sweet Potatoes:

  • Preheat the oven to 350F.
  • Prep the sweet potato. To do so, put the sweet potato in a medium-sized saucepan and cover with water by 2 inches. Cover the saucepan, bring up to a boil, and then cock the lid, turn down the heat so it doesn’t boil over, and boil 4 minutes. Drain and stir together the par-cooked sweet potato with the onion, and jerk spice mix.
  • Brush the bottom of a large roasting pan with the oil and spread the potato/onion mixture out in an even layer. Securely fit a wire rack over the top of the roasting pan and arrange the chicken on top, skin side up.
  • Roast until the chicken is fully cooked (there should be no pink when you cut into it), about 1 hour.

To Make the Creamy Honey Jalapeno Sauce:

  • Meanwhile, stir together all ingredients for the sauce and keep refrigerated until serving.

To Serve:

  • Serve the chicken and sweet potato hot along with the cool sauce to drizzle on top.

Notes

  • Cashew “Cream”: My recipe for Cashew Cream is on Healthy Sweet Eats; just skip the vanilla and use water or non-dairy “milk” instead of maple syrup. Alternatively, if keeping this paleo isn’t a concern, instead of coconut milk or cashew cream, you can use plain unsweetened yogurt or sour cream thinned out with a splash of water.

Nutrition

Calories: 564kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 33g | Fat: 39g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g | Monounsaturated Fat: 16g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 189mg | Sodium: 542mg | Potassium: 673mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 8319IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 48mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutritional information is automatically calculated and should be used as an approximate.

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Jamaican
Keyword: Jerk Chicken Thighs

Share it with me on Instagram and leave a comment to let me know your thoughts!

jerk chicken dinner pin

This post was first published on An Edible Mosaic on October 28, 2016. It was updated with more information on January 9, 2022.

Faith, author of An Edible Mosaic.
About Faith

I’m the writer, recipe developer, photographer, and food stylist behind this blog. I love finding the human connection through something we all do every day: eat! Food is a common ground that we can all relate to, and our tables tell a story. It’s my goal to inspire you to get in the kitchen, try something new, and find a favorite you didn’t know you had.

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6 Comments

  1. I would read this while sitting in the hospital waiting for my mom to finish IV fluids… no food in site…?. Sounds yummy! And we just finished talking about Southern CA drivers when it rains… but NorCal drivers are worse… ?

  2. That dish looks very tasty! Perfect with those veggies.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  3. I love jerk and the idea to roast the chicken over the veggies is genius! The jalapeño coconut milk sauce is a great addition too. Great flavors going on here. Have a wonderful weekend.

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