Jerk Fish - for Jamaican week! (2023)

Welcome to Jamaican week!🏝 Kicking off our Caribbean feast with Jerk Fish – pan-fried fish coated with Jamaican jerk seasoning that adds a stack of flavour and makes it crispy. Thin white fish fillets cook in 3 minutes which makes Jerk Fish a super fast dinner!

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Every now and then, I like to do a week of recipes for a themed menu. This week, it’s Jamaican week so you can make your very own Caribbean feast at home! Who’s in the mood for some tropical vibes??

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Kicking off Jamaican week with the main – Jerk Fish!

Why you need Jerk Fish in your life

🌴 It’s Jamaican – so it’s cool. (Just ask Dozer, below).
🌴 Big, bold, Caribbean flavours using everyday spices: garlic, onion, thyme, paprika, all spice, cinnamon, nutmeg, cayenne.
🌴 It’s fine if you’re missing one or two spices cause there’s so many spices in it anyway.
🌴 Takes 3 minutes on the stove.

Don’t have fish? Use the jerk seasoning on chicken, shrimp/prawns or vegetables. Tips in the recipe.

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What goes in jerk seasoning

Here are the spices you need for jerk seasoning. The perfect blend of savoury flavour, a hint of spiciness with the signature touch of sweetness. The smell when it hits the pan is intoxicating!

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There’s so many spices in Jerk seasoning, if you’re missing one (or two…) it’s not the end of the world, you’ll still end up with a terrific Jamaican-(ish) spice blend. Here are substitution suggestions:

  • Garlic powder – more onion powder, and vice versa

  • Dried thyme – oregano

  • Brown sugar – 2 tsp caster sugar / superfine sugar

  • Cayenne pepper – Pure ground chilli, red pepper flakes, 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper or omit if you want not spicy

  • Smoked paprika – ordinary paprika

  • Allspice powder – Mixed spice

  • Cinnamon powder – Try not to leave this out! It adds an irreplaceable special touch.

  • Nutmeg powder – More cinnamon

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Fish for jerk fish

The fish pictured throughout this post is snapper, pictured below, but jerk seasoning will work with any type of fish fillet that’s suitable for pan frying as long as it is a thin fillet no thicker than 1.5 cm / 0/6″ at the thickest point. It needs to be thin so it cooks through within 3 – 4 minutes else the jerk seasoning will burn.

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Snapper is a very popular fish here in Australia, beloved for the mild, sweet, delicate flavour, which is not “fishy” at all. The flesh is moderately firm and moist, and fillets are easy to cook evenly because they are flat with an even thickness (as opposed to, say, salmon, when some fillets have a very thick “hump” (the loin) though you can find thin salmon fillets (the tail end).


Don’t have fish? You can the jerk seasoning on chicken, shrimp/prawns or vegetables. Tips in the recipe.

How to make jerk fish

In a nutshell: coat fish in the jerk seasoning then pan fry for 2 minutes on the first side and 1 minute on the second side. That’s a 3 minute dinner – we need more of these in our life!!!

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  1. Jerk seasoning – Mix the jerk seasoning spices in a bowl.

  2. Coat – Spread the jerk seasoning in a tray or plate just large enough to fit the fish fillets. Then coat each piece of fish with the seasoning, pressing to adhere. Shake off excess and put on a plate. Repeat with remaining fish.

  3. Pan fry 3 minutes – Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet over high heat. As soon as you see the first small wisps of smoke, place 2 fillets in the pan presentation side down. Cook for 2 minutes on the first side until the surface is a deep bronze colour with a reddish tinge (don’t let it burn!), carefully flip then cook the other side for 1 minute.

CHEFFY TIP: How to flip fish properly

Fish is delicate so you have to flip carefully. I used to use a spatula plus a butter knife or my free hand to control the flip so the fish wouldn’t break.

Forget that! Here’s how chefs do it:

  1. Tilt the pan slightly so the oil pools on one side and won’t splatter on you.

  2. Flip the fish with a spatula “uphill” so you have the help of gravity slowing down the flip so the delicate fish will not break.

GAME-CHANGER! (See video at 33 seconds for a demo)

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  1. Rest 2 minutes – Transfer the fish to a rack and rest for 2 minutes. It’s best to use a rack to preserve the crispiness of the jerk-crust. If you use a plate, the underside will sweat and compromise the crispiness. Not the end of the world… but a rack is better!

Once rested, transfer the fish to a plate and serve!

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Jerk Fish - for Jamaican week! (11)

Jamaican week sides for Jerk fish!

Your sides to serve with jerk fish are coming on Tuesday! There’s a Jamaican Slaw (shockingly delicious) and Jamaican Coconut Rice and Beans. Plus, a surprise dessert!

This is a spread of seriously good food. I hope you enjoy Jamaican week as much as I have creating the recipes!!! – Nagi x

Watch how to make it

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Jamaican Jerk Fish

Author: Nagi

Prep: 5 mins

Cook: 6 mins

Resting fish: 2 mins


Caribbean, Jamaican

5 from 1 vote


Tap or hover to scale

(Video) How to Make Jerk Snapper Fish//Oven Jerk Fish//Jamaican Jerk Fish Recipe//Best Jerk Snapper Recipe


Recipe video above. Jerk seasoning adds a stack of flavour and makes the surface crispy too. Quick way to make a dish that punches way above its weight for effort vs results. I've used it for white fish fillets here but it will be excellent with salmon, prawns/shrimp, chicken or turkey.

Jamaican menu week! Sides and dessert coming soon…. stay tuned!


Jerk seasoning (Note 1):

  • 3 tsp garlic powder
  • 3 tsp onion powder
  • 3 tsp cooking salt
  • 3 tsp dried thyme
  • 3 tsp brown sugar , lightly packed (Note 2)
  • 2 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika (sub ordinary paprika)
  • 1 tsp allspice powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg powder


  • 4 x 160g/6 oz thin snapper or other white fish fillets , skinless, boneless (up to 1.5cm / 0.6″ thick, Note 3)
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil


  • Jerk Spice Blend – Mix the Jerk Seasoning spices together in a bowl then spread in a small tray that is just large enough to fit one fish fillet.

  • Coat fish – Pat fish dry with a paper towel. Then coat both sides of each fillet with the jerk seasoning, pressing to adhere. Shake off excess, place on a clean plate and coat remaining fish.

  • Cook fish – Heat half the oil in a large non-stick pan over high heat. When you see small wisps of smoke, place 2 fillets presentation side down and cook for 2 minutes.

  • Flip – the spice crust should be a deep bronze colour with a reddish tinge. Cook the other side for 1 minute until the target internal temperature is 55°C/130°F, or the fish flakes easily at the thickest point.

  • Rest on a rack for 2 minutes (to preserve crispy spice crust). Then serve! Recipes for pictured Jamaican sides coming on Tuesday – stay tuned!

Recipe Notes:

SPICE LEVEL: Warm buzz but not blow-your-head-off. If you don’t like spicy food just omit or reduce the cayenne pepper.

1. Spices – There’s so many spices in Jerk seasoning, if you’re missing one (or two…) it’s not the end of the world, you’ll still end up with a terrific Jamaican spice blend! Here are substitution suggestions:

  • Garlic powder – more onion powder, and vice versa
  • Dried thyme – oregano
  • Brown sugar – 2 tsp caster sugar / superfine sugar
  • Cayenne pepper – Pure ground chilli, red pepper flakes, 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper or omit if you want not spicy
  • Smoked paprika – ordinary paprika
  • Allspice powder – Mixed spice
  • Cinnamon powder – Try not to leave this out! It adds an irreplaceable special touch.
  • Nutmeg powder – More cinnamon

Salt note: 3 tsp may sound like a lot but because we are using thin pieces of fish, there is a lot of surface area to cover. We tried this recipe with varying salt levels, and this is the right amount using cooking salt / kosher salt. If using table salt, decrease to 2 tsp.

2. Brown sugar – just scoop then level the teaspoon measure. Don’t pack the brown sugar in tightly before levelling.

3. Fish – This seasoning will be terrific with any fish fillet suitable for pan frying. The only trick here is to use thin fillets up to 1.5cm / 0.6″ at the thickest point so it will cook through in 3 minutes per recipe, before the jerk seasoning turns too dark. Remember – as soon as fish hits the hot pan, it will contract and will increase to around 2cm / 0.8″ thick.

4. Other proteins: Thin chicken breast, thighs or pork steaks (either pound or cut in half horizontally), shrimp/prawns. Toss in seasoning then pan fry.

Vegetables: Par-cook the vegetables on the stove or BBQ then add the seasoning towards the end, else it may burn before you finish cooking the vegetables. Try thick slices of large mushrooms or eggplant steaks for a “meaty” meal. Alternatively, toss vegetables in olive oil + the seasoning then roast using using directions in these recipes (skip the seasonings/flavour, just use cutting, prep, bake temp + time) – broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, eggplant,Roasted Vegetables,Garlic Roasted Mushrooms, roast potatoes.

5. Leftovers will keep for 2 days in the fridge. Not suitable for freezing.

6. Nutritionper fish assuming 2 tbsp olive oil and 2 teaspoons salt is consumed across all 4 fillets. See also Note 1 for salt note.


Nutrition Information:

Calories: 249cal (12%)Carbohydrates: 8g (3%)Protein: 33g (66%)Fat: 10g (15%)Saturated Fat: 2g (13%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 80mg (27%)Sodium: 1251mg (54%)Potassium: 574mg (16%)Fiber: 1g (4%)Sugar: 3g (3%)Vitamin A: 796IU (16%)Vitamin C: 2mg (2%)Calcium: 47mg (5%)Iron: 2mg (11%)

Keywords: jerk fish, jerk seasoning

Did you make this recipe?I love hearing how you went with my recipes! Tag me on Instagram at @RecipeTinEats.

(Video) Jerk Fish at Little Ochie, Jamaica - Best new Fish Dish @WIMMSKITCHEN

Life of Dozer

Jamaican Dozer. Ya mon!

(Video) Oven Roasted Jerk Snapper

Jerk Fish - for Jamaican week! (13)

PS It’s totally photoshopped. Just couldn’t find a Jamaican dog costume, strangely. 😂


What does jerked fish mean? ›

Jerk basically refers to a type of meat, whether it is chicken, pork, beef, fish, goat, fruit or vegetables, and in Negril, Jamaica, a Jamaican jerk is referring to how the food is cooked. This delicious style of cooking refers to using a paste or marinade that will at least include pimento.

Is Jamaican jerk seasoning healthy? ›

Yes, this spice-rich dish is loaded with nutrients and vitamins from the natural and whole ingredients used in its marinade.

What is Jamaican jerk seasoning made of? ›

The defining distinctive ingredients in Jerk Seasoning are cayenne pepper (or habanero pepper for the brave), allspice, and thyme. Garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, parsley, brown sugar, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg also round out the spice blend.

What is Caribbean jerk made of? ›

Jerk seasoning principally consists of allspice and Scotch bonnet peppers. Other ingredients may include cloves, cinnamon, scallions, nutmeg, thyme, garlic, brown sugar, ginger, soy sauce, and salt.

What does it mean when a Jamaican calls you a fish? ›

In Jamaica, "fish" is a derogatory term to describe homosexual men.

Why is it called jerk? ›

The word jerk reportedly stems from the Spanish charqui, meaning dried strips of meat similar to the modern-day jerky. In Jamaica, jerk chicken is famous for its pungent marinade, marked by allspice and Scotch bonnet peppers, which are similar to habanero chili peppers.

Is jerk chicken inflammatory? ›

Jamaican Jerk Seasoning Is Anti-Inflammatory and Great for Your Gut—Here's How To Make It. Wherever I am in the world, when I tell folks where I'm from, they almost always reply in utter appreciation for Jamaican jerk seasoning.

Is jerk good for you? ›

The clean and jerk can improve your cardiovascular health.

Since the clean and jerk works major muscle groups across your entire body and raises your heart rate, it's a great way to include cardio in your weightlifting routine.

Is jerk flavor sweet or spicy? ›

Sweet, smoky, fiery, and fruity, jerk has a flavor that is as nuanced as its history. And while it's famously delicious on chicken, it's downright profound on eggplant, potatoes, and corn.

Is Jamaican Jerk the same as Cajun? ›

No, it isn't. Cajun seasoning is mainly herbs and hot pepper. Jerk seasoning enjoys spices such as allspice, ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg that you won't find in Cajun mixes.

How is jerk traditionally cooked? ›

The meat is cooked on pimento wood or sheets of metal used as griddles and sometimes covered with plantain leaves. The typical cooking style uses a marinade or paste that includes pimento, known as allspice and scotch bonnet peppers, similar to habanero. The meat is then marinated and slow smoked over pimento wood.

What is the closest thing to jerk seasoning? ›

Here are the five best substitutes for jerk seasoning:
  • 1 – Ground Cumin.
  • 2 – Make Your Jerk Seasoning.
  • 3 – Ras el Hanout.
  • 4 – Rogan Josh Seasoning.
  • 5 – Baharat.
Jan 6, 2023

What flavor is Jamaican jerk? ›

What does Jamaican seasoning taste like? The classic Jamaican jerk seasoning contains allspice, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, and cumin. The result is always an earthy, sweet, and spicy blend of exotic flavors.

What gives jerk its flavor? ›

Jerk chicken gets its distinguishable flavor from spices that are native to the island of Jamaica. Spices like the scotch bonnet pepper give jerk chicken its spicy kick. Other spices that are incorporated into a jerk recipe are allspice, ginger, garlic and thyme.

Is jerk really spicy? ›

Is jerk seasoning spicy? The heat is one of the most important elements in the flavor of jerk dishes. Jerk seasoning is supposed to be hot, so much so that there is no mild authentic jerk seasoning. As mentioned, the heat usually comes from scotch bonnet peppers though other hot peppers may be substituted.

What does rude mean in Jamaica? ›

C20: originally Jamaican slang, from rude in the sense of coarse, vulgar, or uncouth.

How do Jamaicans say three? ›

Jamaicans pronounce the number 3 (three), like 🌳 (tree).

What is Jamaican slang for girlfriend? ›

Ooman | Patois Definition on Jamaican Patwah

| Ooman - Slang term for one's female partner (e.g. girlfriend, fiancee, wife).

What nationality is Jamaican? ›

Jamaicans are the citizens of Jamaica and their descendants in the Jamaican diaspora. The vast majority of Jamaicans are of Sub-Saharan African descent, with minorities of Europeans, East Indians, Chinese, Middle Eastern, and others of mixed ancestry.

Is Jamaican Jerk spicy? ›

While some sauces come in levels, such as mild, medium or hot, jerk is one of those take it or leave it, kickers. It's really spicy.

What Jamaican drink helps with inflammation? ›

Drinking sorrel occasionally can cut down on your flare-ups from a variety of inflammatory conditions, and promotes the production of antioxidants that clean up waste products and bacteria in your body. Jamaican sorrel wine antioxidant benefits are essential for fighting off free radicals.

Which meat is most inflammatory? ›

Red meat and processed meats, including bacon, hot dogs, lunch meats and cured meats. Refined grains, including white bread, white rice, pasta and breakfast cereals.

What meat is best for inflammation? ›

Grass-Fed Organic Chicken, Pork, Lamb & Beef

In fact, pasture-raised chickens, pigs, lambs, and cows have higher levels of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids and lower levels of pro-inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids than corn-fed animals. Research even shows less disease among people who opt for over conventional.

How do you make a good jerk? ›

  1. 1 tablespoon onion powder.
  2. 1 tablespoon garlic powder.
  3. 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper.
  4. 2 teaspoons salt.
  5. 2 teaspoons ground black pepper.
  6. 2 teaspoons dried thyme (or use 1 teaspoon ground thyme)
  7. 2 teaspoons sugar.
  8. 1 teaspoon ground allspice.
Apr 15, 2019

Is jerk chicken high in sodium? ›

An average meal of Jerk Chicken with Rice and Peas was found to contain 7.6g of salt, equivalent to 19 packets of ready salted crisps.

Can I do clean and jerk everyday? ›

You can all snatch, clean & jerk and squat to max singles every day if you do the minimum number of reps to get there. If you start adding in a bunch of extra reps in warm-ups, drop sets, accessory exercises and the like, I can't promise anything.

What does jerk style taste like? ›

What does Caribbean jerk taste like? Jerk spices are complex and pungent. Jerk rub has a unique warm and piquant flavor with subtle sweet, smokey and salty undertones.

Why is it called Caribbean jerk? ›

Jerk cooking experts like native Jamaican and author Helen Willinsky of "Jerk from Jamaica" says that the name Jerk also could have come from the turning of the meat in the marinade or from the way some folks will just jerk a strip from the roast on the BBQ.

What goes with Jamaican jerk chicken? ›

What To Serve With Jerk Chicken – Best Side Dish Options
  • White rice, brown rice or cilantro lime rice.
  • Fresh salsa.
  • Leafy green salad or cucumber salad.
  • Roasted potatoes or grilled potatoes.
  • Plantains.
  • Coleslaw.
  • Potato salad.
  • Baked potatoes or garlic potatoes.
Mar 18, 2022

Is Caribbean jerk the same as jamaican jerk? ›

While both jerk and creole seasonings are savory in flavor, they are not the same thing. Jerk seasoning is associated with Caribbean cooking and comes from Jamaica. Jerk spice blend is much hotter and more assertive in flavor. It relies on pungent spices not found in creole seasoning such as allspice and chilies.

Is jerk chicken wet or dry? ›

Jerk Chicken is native style of Jamaica. It is dry as chicken is marinated with spicy sauces and cooked over smoky wood fire.

Is jerk marinade the same as jerk sauce? ›

Jerk seasoning is a dry spice blend and a jerk marinade comes in a liquid form. The spice blend is meant to be rubbed into your meat of choice and left in the fridge overnight before grilling. The marinade is a quicker version of the spice blend. Both can be used on any food of your choice.

Does Walmart sell jerk seasoning? ›

Walkerswood Traditional Jamaican Jerk Seasoning, Hot & Spicy, 10 Oz -

Is jerk seasoning dry or wet? ›

Jerk comes in two variations - dry and wet. The dry rub is made with various dry herbs/spices and the wet rub is made with raw vegetables, along with a few of the same ingredients, as what you would use in the dry version and some liquid to form a smooth paste.

What is another name for jerk seasoning? ›

Jamaicans are proud of their trademark jerk seasoning, also known as Caribbean seasoning. Jerk is a method of cooking and seasoning meat that can be traced to the Arawak indigenous tribe that was living in Jamaica in the late 1400s.

What is jerked in cooking? ›

Jerk, as a stand-alone term, refers to the way in which meat is seasoned, smoked and grilled. Whereas a historical jerk seasoning recipe calls for bird peppers, pimento and pepper elder, modern recipes may include Scotch bonnet peppers, scallions, garlic, ginger, pimento, thyme and cinnamon.

What jerked meat means? ›

Definitions of jerked meat. meat (especially beef) cut in strips and dried in the sun. synonyms: jerk, jerky. types: beef jerky. strips of dried beef.

What does fish mean in slang? ›

Fish, appearing especially in the phrase fresh fish, is prison slang for new, first-time inmates, usually considered naive and vulnerable. Fish, often appearing in the form of fishy or the phrase serving fish, is also slang in drag culture for a very feminine drag queen.

What is a fish slang for woman? ›

fish Noun. Women. Extremely derogatory expression for females, usually heard used by homosexual mysogynists. Alludes to an unsavoury vaginal smell.

What gives jerk its taste? ›

Jerk chicken gets its distinguishable flavor from spices that are native to the island of Jamaica. Spices like the scotch bonnet pepper give jerk chicken its spicy kick. Other spices that are incorporated into a jerk recipe are allspice, ginger, garlic and thyme.


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