This Tropical Jerk Grilled Chicken with Charred Mango Salsa Verde is going to be on repeat all throughout grilling season. The chicken is marinated with tropical island flavors, garlic, fresh thyme, a touch of cinnamon, cayenne pepper, and plenty of fresh lime. Serve with a charred lemon and mango salsa verde for a fresh pop of flavor and color. All made in just about 30 minutes. It doesn’t get easier or more delicious than this grilled chicken. Perfect for everything from weeknight grilling to weekend cookouts with friends.
I am only now just realizing this, but this week has really been all about grilling and Memorial Day recipes. Which I guess is fitting, seeing as Memorial Day is Monday. Truthfully, I tend to steer clear of recipes for the grill because our grilling season here is super short. Not to mention that our nights are pretty cold. Did you know there are only about 30 frost free days per year here?
Anyway, I still love to embrace the warmer months and create a handful of delicious grill recipes…mostly with all of you in mind. Plus, we always travel back to Ohio to visit with family in the summer (hot midwest summer are the best!). Cleveland (and most of the country), has perfect grilling weather, and is where I put recipes like this to use!
Enter in this tropical jerk grilled chicken. It’s 100% inspired by my trip the Caribbean last summer. While traveling around through the different islands, we ate a lot of jerked dishes. Everything from chicken, to seafood, and even a really unique jerk chicken burrito. A lot of the dishes we enjoyed were heavily seasoned with fresh thyme and heat from chili peppers. I remember thinking that I had to recreate those flavors once I returned home, they were so delicious.
Of course, the summer got away from me, and I never got a chance to make a good jerk chicken. So I’m excited to finally being sharing this recipe today. The flavors take me back to our time in the Caribbean sun. They also get me so excited for our upcoming trip Costa Rica this summer!
Desperately craving warmth and sunshine right now! My mom has been sending me photos of very snowy Colorado. I have to say, I am so glad to be in LA this week. Kind of crazy that I’m talking about summer and snow within the same post, huh?
I love that this chicken brings back so many good memories of my family’s time in the Caribbean last summer. It’s always fun when a recipe is not only delicious, but has special memories attached to it as well!!
If you’re new to jerk chicken, it’s a Caribbean dish often made on the islands of Jamaica. They use a lot of unique spices that I wouldn’t normally think to toss on chicken. But I found them to be incredibly delicious and such a nice change from your average, everyday grilled chicken.
I will say that my jerk chicken probably is not the most traditional, but it’s my own adaption of the dish! I like to add plenty of garlic and fresh thyme, lots of lime, and include key spices like cinnamon, all-spice, and cayenne pepper. The cinnamon and all-spice really tame the chicken and give it a nice warmth and delicious flavor. With the first bite you’ll be a bit surprised by the flavor…but in the best way possible…it’s delicious.
Me being me, I of course like to take things a step further. I simply can’t resist, I guess it’s just what I do.
So, in comes the charred mango salsa verde. Honestly? This is my favorite element to this recipe, so please, please, please, do not skip it. It’s sweet, spicy, a touch salty, and takes the jerk chicken from great to something really pretty, exciting, and beyond good.
My secret? I add an extra layer of flavor by charring the lemons, shallots, and mangos I use in the salsa verde. Yes, this is an extra step. But since we already have food on the grill, it really only takes a minute or two longer. And the added flavor is so worth it.
I use the entire lemon, peel and all, which I know might sound really odd. But because we are charring the lemon, it really mellows out the bitterness, thus creating a sweet and juicy citrus punch with each and every bite. I like to pair the lemons with plenty of mango chunks and fresh herbs, making the salsa especially delicious.
The perfect topping for a jerk chicken, which is otherwise colorless when coming off the grill. I’d recommend serving this with your favorite steamed rice or even yesterday’s potato pesto salad. An equally great recipe to serve up on a busy weeknight, or for a relaxing weekend of BBQ’ing.
If you make this Tropical Jerk Grilled Chicken, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!
Tropical Jerk Grilled Chicken with Charred Mango Salsa Verde
Calories Per Serving: 744 kcal
Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.
- 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, minced or grated
- 3 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, more or less to taste
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon all-spice
- zest and juice of 1 lime
- kosher salt and black pepper
Lemony Mango Salsa Verde
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 small lemon, halved and seeded (or 1/2 of a lemon)
- 1 shallot, halved
- 1 ripe mango, sliced in 1/2 inch slices
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 fresno or jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- kosher salt
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- 1. In a gallon size zip top bag, combine the chicken, olive oil, garlic, thyme, paprika, cayenne, cinnamon, all-spice, lime zest, lime juice, and a large pinch of pepper and salt. Marinate for 10 minutes or up to overnight in the fridge.2. Set your grill, grill pan, or skillet to medium-high heat. 3. To make the salsa verde. In a medium bowl, toss the lemons, shallots, and half of the mango with a little olive oil. Place on the grill. Grill until slightly charred, about 2-3 minutes per side. Remove from the grill and let cool. Finely chop the lemon (peel and all) and shallots and add back to the bowl. Dice both the grilled and fresh mangos and add to the bowl. Then add the apple cider vinegar, jalapeño, basil, cilantro, and a pinch of salt. Add in the remaining olive oil. Stir to combine, taste and adjust salt as needed.4. Grill the chicken for 5-8 minutes per side or until the chicken is cooked through. Remove from the grill. 5. Serve the chicken topped with the salsa verde.
Delicious! The combination of the chicken and the salsa ? yum!
Awesome!! Thanks a bunch for making this recipe:) I am so glad it was enjoyed! Hope you’re off to a great Monday! xxT
Wow! This chicken is to die for! The salsa is what makes it. If you love spice, I would definitely add more cayenne and add some seeds from the jalapeño. Very mild heat otherwise. Once again, spectacular recipe! Thank you!
Happy Monday!! I love to hear that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks so much for giving it a go! xxT
This was a wonderful recipe! We’ve had jerk chicken recipes before, and they always have so much spice you can’t taste anything else. This, on the other hand, was PERFECT! And the salsa was amazing! Thank you!
Thanks so much for your comment! I am thrilled to hear that this recipe was a winner, thanks so much for making it! xTieghan
I had never made jerk chicken before and had limited experiences even eating it so wasn’t quite sure what to expect… and admittedly, I was questioning putting cinnamon on chicken LOL, but OH MY GOODNESS!! The chicken was brilliantly delicious! I bragged it up so much, that I’m making it again for our family!! I totally cheated as I already bought mango salsa from Costco, so this was a cinch to make! Thank you!!
I am so glad this turned out so amazing for you, Whitney!! Thank you so much for trying this recipe! xTieghan