Mouth-Watering Southern Fried Jerk Chicken Recipe

My dearest readers, I invite you to join me on a journey to the land of soul food and authentic Jamaican cuisine. Today, we will be exploring a recipe that is sure to send your taste buds into a frenzy of flavor – Southern Fried Jerk Chicken.

This dish is a perfect combination of two beloved staples of southern cuisine: fried chicken and jerk seasoning. Imagine the aroma of the sweet paprika and fiery scotch bonnet mingling with the crispy crunch of perfectly cooked chicken drumsticks. The spices dance upon your tongue as the tender meat falls away from the bone.

But wait, my dear friends, this is not just any old Southern Fried Chicken recipe – this is Jerk Fried Chicken. The subtle hints of cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice combined with the heat from the scotch bonnet pepper create a unique flavor profile that’s not found in traditional Southern Fried Chicken.

For those who love to experiment with flavors, this recipe offers an opportunity to dive into the world of Jamaican cuisine without overwhelming your palate. And for those who are already familiar with jerk seasoning, this is a new way to experience it – through crispy, juicy chicken!

So come along on this culinary adventure with me and let’s sink our teeth into some delicious Southern Fried Jerk Chicken.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Southern Fried Jerk Chicken
Southern Fried Jerk Chicken

Allow me to extol the virtues of this delectable southern-style fried jerk chicken recipe. Firstly, I must say that this dish is a true fusion of flavors. The Jamaican jerk seasoning, with its blend of spices and scotch bonnet pepper heat, marries perfectly with the crispy, golden perfection of Southern-style fried chicken.

Not only is the flavor profile irresistible, but the cooking process itself is also quite simple. All it takes is some basic ingredients like all-purpose flour, cornmeal, buttermilk and beer to create an extra crispy coating that forms around the juicy chicken drumsticks. With just a few simple steps, you’ll have a delicious and authentic Jamaican-inspired meal on your hands.

And for those who are health conscious, be comforted knowing that this recipe allows for versatility in terms of cooking methods. Substitute deep frying for baking or grilling to make the dish lighter and healthier while still retaining that signature flavor combination.

For cultural enthusiasts who enjoy exploring the authenticity of food from different regions, this recipe provides a chance to taste the soul food of Southern America combined with the traditions of Jamaica. Overall, this dish is perfect for anyone wanting to experience vibrant flavors and traditional cuisine from across the globe in one tantalizing bite.

Ingredient List

 Get ready to have your taste buds jump for joy with this Southern Fried Jerk Chicken!
Get ready to have your taste buds jump for joy with this Southern Fried Jerk Chicken!

Here are all of the ingredients you will need to make this delicious Southern Fried Jerk Chicken Recipe:

  • 8 chicken drumsticks
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp jerk seasoning
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp sweet paprika
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Oil for frying (about 2 cups)

For the marinade:

  • 3 tbsp jerk seasoning
  • 1 scotch bonnet pepper (seeded and chopped)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • Juice of one lime

For the beer batter:

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup beer (such as Red Stripe)

Pro Tip: For an extra crispy texture, marinate the chicken in the buttermilk mixture overnight before continuing with the recipe.

The Recipe How-To

 You won't even need a fork and knife for this finger-lickin' good chicken.
You won’t even need a fork and knife for this finger-lickin’ good chicken.

Now, we’ll get into the nitty-gritty of cooking Southern Fried Jerk Chicken Recipe. Get ready for some finger-licking good chicken!


To start off, we’ll need:

  • 8 chicken drumsticks
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tbsp jerk seasoning
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp jerk marinade
  • 6 cups of oil for frying

It is essential to note that the Jamaican Jerk Spice gets its kick from scotch bonnet peppers, so adjust the amount you use as per your preferred spice level.


  1. In a large bowl, combine buttermilk and jerk seasoning. Add in chicken drumsticks and stir until they are evenly coated in the buttermilk mixture.
  2. Marinate the chicken for at least 4 hours or even overnight for best results.
  3. In another shallow dish, mix together flour, cornmeal, sweet paprika, black pepper, salt, and cornstarch.
  4. Remove chicken from the buttermilk mixture and let any excess drip off before dipping it in the flour mix.
  5. Be sure to coat it thoroughly on both sides with the flour mix and place it in a tray.


  1. Heat oil in a deep-frying pan over medium-high heat.
  2. Once the oil heats up to between 350°F to 375°F/175°C to 190°C (use a thermometer to check), add chicken pieces carefully in batches.
  3. Fry each batch of chicken for about 12 minutes until golden brown and crispy while turning occasionally using tongs.
  4. Remove from oil with tongs and place on a wire rack to drain excess oil.
  5. Brush the chicken with the jerk marinade while it’s still hot.


Serve the Southern Fried Jerk Chicken Recipe hot and fresh, preferably with Jamaican rice and coleslaw to balance out the heat from the scotch bonnet pepper.

Substitutions and Variations

 This recipe brings a spicy Caribbean twist to the classic fried chicken we all know and love.
This recipe brings a spicy Caribbean twist to the classic fried chicken we all know and love.

My dear readers, let us now venture into the exciting world of substitutions and variations for this delectable fried jerk chicken recipe. While it is already delightful on its own, sometimes we crave a bit of variety in our culinary endeavors.

Firstly, let us consider the chicken itself. While we’ve specified using chicken drumsticks in the ingredient list, this recipe can also be made with chicken wings, thighs or even boneless chicken breasts. If you prefer a healthier option, you can opt for baked or grilled chicken instead of deep-fried.

Now let’s talk about the jerk seasoning – the star of this dish. If you do not have access to authentic Jamaican jerk seasoning, you can make your own by mixing 1 tablespoon each of ground allspice, sweet paprika and dried thyme, 1 teaspoon each of garlic powder, onion powder and dried parsley flakes, and a pinch or two of cayenne pepper or crushed red pepper flakes. This mixture can also be used to flavor fish, shrimp or vegetables.

For those who prefer a milder version, adjust the amount of scotch bonnet or habanero peppers used in the marinade. You can also try adding a tablespoon of honey or brown sugar to balance out the heat.

For an even crunchier texture, replace some of the all-purpose flour in the breading mixture with cornstarch and yellow cornmeal. You can also add your favorite spices like cumin, curry powder or smoked paprika to enhance the flavor.

Lastly, to truly experience an authentic Jamaican meal, serve your fried jerk chicken with rice and peas (red kidney beans), plantains or yams. For a refreshing contrast to the spiciness, pair it with coleslaw or pickled vegetables.

In conclusion, my dear friends, do not be afraid to experiment and make this recipe your own. With these simple substitutions and variations, you’ll be able to enjoy the soulful flavors of southern-style cuisine with a unique twist. Happy cooking!

Serving and Pairing

 Be prepared to have everyone in the house ask for seconds (and maybe even thirds!).
Be prepared to have everyone in the house ask for seconds (and maybe even thirds!).

In the South, we know that any good meal certainly isn’t complete without the perfect side dishes to go with it. And this Southern Fried Jerk Chicken Recipe is no exception!

Nothing beats pairing fried chicken with some delicious homemade collard greens or creamy mac and cheese. You can also serve it up with a side of freshly baked cornbread or fluffy mashed potatoes.

However, if you’re looking for something a bit more adventurous, try adding some Caribbean flair by serving your fried jerk chicken alongside some spicy Jamaican rice and peas or a fruit salad with tropical flavors like mango and pineapple. The fusion of flavors is sure to be a hit at your next gathering.

For the ultimate experience, pair your Southern Fried Jerk Chicken with an ice-cold beer, such as Red Stripe, to really highlight those savory jerk flavors. This chicken also goes well with a crisp white wine or refreshing citrus soda for those seeking non-alcoholic options.

So whether you’re having a family get-together, hosting a picnic or tailgating party, this Southern Fried Jerk Chicken Recipe is sure to impress everyone at the table. Be prepared for your guests to come back for seconds (and thirds).

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 The combination of crispy skin and juicy meat will have you feeling like you hit the jackpot.
The combination of crispy skin and juicy meat will have you feeling like you hit the jackpot.

A wise cook never underestimates the value of planning ahead. In fact, this southern fried jerk chicken recipe is ideal for advance preparation, so you can focus on enjoying your meal without too much fuss.

To prepare in advance, simply marinate your chicken drumsticks in jerk seasoning and buttermilk for a minimum of 2 hours or up to overnight in the refrigerator. When ready to cook, take them out of the fridge about 30 minutes before frying to allow them to come to room temperature.

If you need to store any leftovers, it’s best to keep them in an airtight container and refrigerate within 2 hours of cooking. This will help preserve the flavor and moisture of the chicken. It’s important not to forget that fried chicken should be reheated thoroughly before serving.

For optimal results when reheating your fried jerk chicken, we recommend using an oven or air fryer rather than a microwave. Simply place the chicken on a baking sheet, cover it with foil, and bake at 350°F (175°C) for around 10-15 minutes until heated through. Alternatively, you can use an air fryer at 370°F (180°C) and cook for 5-8 minutes until crispy again.

Remember that while reheated chicken may not taste quite as good as freshly cooked ones, you can still enjoy its flavorsome taste with every bite. No matter how you plan on serving your southern fried jerk chicken – be it baked or grilled – don’t forget to pair it with some authentic Jamaican jerk sauce and a side of soul food classics like macaroni and cheese or collard greens to complete your meal!

Tips for Perfect Results

 This recipe is perfect for a weekend party, potluck, or even a cozy family dinner.
This recipe is perfect for a weekend party, potluck, or even a cozy family dinner.

Now that you have a better understanding of the ingredients and steps required to make the perfect Southern Fried Jerk Chicken, I want to share some tips and tricks that will help you achieve delicious results every time.

1. Make sure the oil is at the right temperature

The temperature of the oil is crucial when it comes to frying chicken. If the oil is not hot enough, your chicken will be greasy and undercooked. If the oil is too hot, your chicken will be burnt on the outside but raw on the inside. To ensure your chicken is cooked perfectly, use a thermometer to check the temperature of the oil. The ideal temperature for frying chicken is between 350 and 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Use cornmeal for extra crunch

For an extra crispy crust on your Southern Fried Jerk Chicken, add some yellow cornmeal to your all-purpose flour mixture. The cornmeal will add a nice crunch and enhance the flavor of the jerk seasoning.

3. Marinate overnight for maximum flavor

Marinating your chicken overnight will infuse it with more flavor than just marinating it for a few hours or not at all. The longer the chicken marinades in the jerk seasoning, buttermilk, and beer mixture, the more flavorful it will be.

4. Don’t overcrowd the pan

To ensure even frying and crispy skin, do not overcrowd the pan when frying your chicken. Overcrowding could lead to uneven cooking and steaming rather than frying which could leave a soggy crust.

5. Use quality Jerk seasoning

For an authentic Jamaican taste, use quality jerk seasoning with traditional ingredients such as scotch bonnet peppers and pimento wood smoke flavors. You can opt for store-bought or make your own jerk marinade from scratch by mixing together spices such as sweet paprika, black pepper, salt, and jerk seasoning mix.

By following these tips, you’ll be able to enjoy a perfect Southern Fried Jerk Chicken every time. So, let your taste buds dance with the authentic Jamaican flavors, and don’t forget to pair it up with some soul food classics such as coleslaw, mac and cheese or mashed potatoes to complete your deliciously indulgent meal.


As you progress on your journey towards mastering the Southern Fried Jerk Chicken recipe, it’s completely normal to have some questions and concerns. In this section, we’re going to tackle some of the most frequently asked questions and provide answers that will help you troubleshoot any concerns you might have come across in the process of making this flavorful dish. Let’s dive in!

What is the secret in jerk chicken?

To achieve that authentic Jamaican Jerk Chicken flavor, one needs to have a little known ingredient known as pimento wood. While it’s possible to grill chicken over hot coals, the addition of freshly-cut pimento wood elevates its taste exponentially. This special wood is sourced from pimento trees, which are also the source of allspice berries.

What is the difference between jerk and Jamaican jerk?

The term “jerk” is commonly used to describe a dish that includes meat such as chicken, pork, beef, fish, goat, as well as vegetables and fruits. Specifically in the Negril, Jamaica region, “Jamaican jerk” pertains to the way the food is prepared. This savory cooking style involves the use of a marinade or paste that contains pimento as a key ingredient.

What gives jerk chicken its flavor?

The flavor profile of jerk chicken is uniquely Jamaican due to the use of spices that are commonly found on the island. Key spices like scotch bonnet pepper pack a spicy punch, while allspice, ginger, garlic and thyme add depth and complexity to the dish.

What makes jerk chicken so good?

Jerk chicken done right is irresistible. You get a blend of smoky and juicy flavors, along with a delightful mix of sweetness and spiciness. The secret lies in the extended period of marination and cooking, making the meat tender and succulent. To balance the richness of the chicken, it’s best served with a fiery hot sauce on the side, adding just the right kick to make you crave for more.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, this Southern Fried Jerk Chicken recipe is the epitome of comfort food with a Jamaican twist. With its crispy and flavorful coating made from a blend of spices and cornmeal, this fried chicken will surely satisfy your cravings. By following the step-by-step instructions and helpful tips provided, you will be able to recreate this tasty dish in your own kitchen. So go ahead and try it out for yourself, and impress your friends and family with your authentic Jamaican-style cooking. You won’t regret it!

Southern Fried Jerk Chicken

Southern Fried Jerk Chicken Recipe

Just when you thought fried chicken couldn't be better! from
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Prep Time 2 hrs
Cook Time 8 mins
Servings 8 drumsticks
Calories 583.4 kcal


  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup beer
  • 8 chicken drumsticks
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup caribbean jerk seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons black pepper
  • vegetable oil or peanut oil


  • Combine the Red Stripe Beer (or your beer of choice) and cup buttermilk in a large glass bowl.
  • Add chicken to the bowl and marinate in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
  • Combine the flour, cornmeal, jerk seasoning, cornstarch, paprika, salt and pepper in a bowl. Mix to combine.
  • Drain the chicken and discard the marinade.
  • Toss the chicken lightly one at a time to coat them. You can use a zip lock bag with the breading mixture to do this.
  • Place the breaded chicken on a large baking sheet lined with wax paper. Be sure they do not touch each other. Place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  • Pour oil in 2-3 inch deep skillet. Heat oil to approx 355°F (check with frying thermometer).
  • Add the chicken 2 at a time. Fry each for about 4 minutes on each side or until they are golden brown.
  • Remove each piece of chicken and place on paper towel to drain oil. Transfer to an oven safe platter once oil is drained.
  • Place in an oven set at 200°F to keep warm. Once all the chicken is cooked, it is best to serve immediately.
  • (Preparation time includes marinating).

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 358gCalories: 583.4kcalCarbohydrates: 70gProtein: 36.8gFat: 14.9gSaturated Fat: 4.1gCholesterol: 120.7mgSodium: 3690.8mgFiber: 4.7gSugar: 3.4g
Keyword < 4 Hours, Chicken, Chicken Thigh & Leg, Inexpensive, Meat, Poultry
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