Winner, winner! Chicken dinner! If your dinner is jerk chicken, then you’re truly a winner.
Jerk chicken is a traditional Jamaican grilled chicken dish known for its smoky, sweet, and savory flavors. Its unique flavor is achieved by using a variety of herbs, spices, and peppers. (*)
In Jamaica, it’s served with bread or rice to balance its rich flavors. But if you want to make this dish more interesting, you need to be creative with the side dishes you need to serve with jerk chicken.
So what to serve with jerk chicken?
- What Sides go With Jerk Chicken?
- What Vegetables Go With Jerk Chicken
- Best Drinks and Desserts to Cap Off Your Meal
- Top 3 Sauces Go With Jerk Chicken You’ll Love
What Sides go With Jerk Chicken?
Do you find bread and plain rice boring side dishes to serve with jerk chicken meal?
We get you. That’s why we’ve compiled some of the best jerk chicken sides below.
1. Coconut Rice
Do you find the flavors of Jamaican jerk chicken to be too rich and a bit overwhelming?
Well, your taste buds can take refuge in the creamy texture and mild flavor of coconut rice, making it one of the best jerk chicken sides.
You just need to cook Jasmine rice in coconut milk to prepare this.
- Pro Tip: Make this the ultimate Jamaican rice by adding peas and habanero pepper.
2. Potato Salad
Chicken and potatoes? Yes, please! Who can ever say no to this classic combination? Not us!
The go-to potato side dishes for a chicken dish are either mashed potatoes or French fries, but you may want to give potato salad a chance.
Why should you do that? Same with coconut rice, potato salad is also rich and creamy. Plus, it’s also sweet and matches the spicy flavor of jerk chicken quite well.
- Pro Tip: Top it off with crispy bacon to get a crunchy and smoky bonus.
3. Roasted Garlic Potatoes
If you don’t like a creamy potato side dish to serve with jerk chicken, then here’s your next best option—a garlicky and smoky one!
Same with Jamaican chicken, this side dish is also smothered in garlic, so there’s no doubt that their flavors will blend well together. It also has a buttery texture that will boost the chicken’s flavor.
Bonus points: It’s easy to make and would look picture-perfect on your dinner spread.
- Pro Tip: Go for Hassel-backed baby potatoes for the perfect bite and top it off with your choice of herbs for ab earthy touch.
4. Sweet Potato Fries
Do you think potatoes are the best pairing to serve with jerk chicken? Well, we have an even better idea: sweet potatoes!
Sweet potato fries pair well with Jamaican jerk chicken because they infuse a medley of flavors into the entire meal—savory, sweet, and extra crispy!
So just imagine biting into a juicy and flavorful chicken and finishing it off with the crunch and sweetness of these fries. Just heaven, right?
- Pro Tip: Bake the sweet potatoes instead of deep-frying them for a healthier alternative.
5. Mashed Sweet Potatoes
If sweet potato fries are not that appealing to you, how about sweet mashed potatoes?
Thanks to its creamy and rich texture, it’s a favorite pairing for crispy food like Jamaican Jerk chicken.
A plate of these dishes will give you an explosion of flavors and textures that you won’t forget.
- Pro Tip: The vibrant color of mashed potatoes will make your dinner spread more eye-catching too.
6. Mango Salsa
For the complete Caribbean experience, serve Jerk Chicken with a tropical side dish like mangoes. Its sweetness will be a nice contrast against the chicken’s tangy and spicy flavors.
While ripe mango slices are already good enough, you can still choose to level it up by turning it into a mango salsa.
You can make mango salsa by mixing it with cilantro, jalapeño, red onion, and avocado.
Pro Tip: Add a spritz of lime juice and a dash of cumin to make it more refreshing.
7. Grilled Pineapple
And since we’re already talking about the taste of the tropics, we shouldn’t forget about grilled pineapple! This refreshing fruit has sweet and tangy flavors that will surely complement the heat of jerk chicken.
But if you want to make it even better, grill it to give it that added smoky flavor.
- Pro Tip: Level up your grilled pineapple by slathering it with butter and brown sugar glaze to give the tangy fruit a sweet and crispy coating.
8. Fried Plantains
For those who find pineapple and mango to be too sweet, then plantains are the fruits for you.
It’s similar to potatoes in that it’s starchy, but it also gives you the slight sweetness that you can get from other fruits—the best of both worlds!
And when you pan fry it to perfection, you got a nice crust on the outside then a chewy and soft texture on the inside.
Because of the unique qualities of fried plantains, you can eat it two ways—as a side dish or a dessert.
- Pro Tip: Serve fried plantains atop of a bed of rice and with green onion or scotch bonnet peppers for a spicy touch.
9. Red Beans and Rice
Do you want to tone down the heat of the spicy jerk chicken a bit?
Serve it with red rice and beans to add a subtle sweetness to your meal.
Since it already has protein from the beans, fiber from the other vegetables, and carbs from rice, it’s already a complete meal in itself. But add in the jerk chicken, and you get a mouthwatering meal that’s both filling and highly satisfying.
Pro Tip: Add a few vegetables—corn, peas, and carrots—to boost fiber.
What Vegetables Go With Jerk Chicken
10. Collard Greens
When it comes to side dishes, leafy greens take the back seat. However, it’s about time that we pay them the attention they deserve, and let’s start with collard greens.
Why is this our favorite?
Among all the other leafy greens, collard greens are the only ones that have a mildly sweet and salty flavor which matches the rich taste of jerk chicken pretty well.
Here’s the best part: cooking doesn’t require too much work. Just season it and add the other spices. Toss everything inside a slow cooker and wait for it to do its magic,
Pro Tip: Elevate the entire dish by adding garlic and a few meat pieces.
Do you want to boost your fiber consumption but want to keep things light and refreshing? Then, coleslaw is the vegetable side dish to go for.
This classic side dish pairs well with just about any dish. Still, it’s especially recommended for a flavorful and rich meaty dish like jerk chicken because its crisp texture and refreshing taste will cut through its savory goodness.
It’s also one of our go-to side dishes because it’s very easy to prepare.
You just need to chop carrots and mix them with a tangy mayo dressing. The cooling dressing will act as a palate cleanser so you can enjoy every bite.
- Pro Tip: Add apple slices to your coleslaw recipe for a touch of sweetness.
12. Maque Choux
Maque Choux may sound like a foreign dish, but almost all of us are pretty familiar with its flavors. All of which perfectly complements the heat of jerk chicken.
The dish comprises corn, butter, and heavy cream and is topped with bell peppers, bacon pieces, and jalapeño.
13. Blackened Broccoli
Perhaps you’ve already tried roasted broccoli or steamed broccoli, but have you tasted blackened broccoli? If not yet, it’s about time you do.
If you want a tasty and crispy yet nutritious side dish for your jerk chicken, this side dish is a perfect choice. Add soy sauce and drizzle it with sesame oil or olive oil for a savory flair.
- Pro Tip: Just make sure that you don’t leave the broccoli in the heat for too long not to become bitter.
14. Frijoles Negros (Cuban Black Beans)
One of the traditional side dishes of jerk chicken is beans. But if you want to add a unique twist to it, you may want to go for Cuban black beans, which are a breath of fresh air from the usual bean side dishes.
With this, you can enjoy Latin flavors that surprisingly work with the flavors of jerk chicken.
- Pro Tip: To make the meal more complex, serve the beans over rice and with avocado slices on the side.
15. Caribbean Corn
Corn recipes are the top side dishes for barbecued meats, so it just makes sense that you try serving jerk chicken with one.
We choose the Caribbean Corn because it has spring onions and pineapple juice, giving a refreshing twist to your meal.
- Pro Tip: You can also add scotch bonnets for a spicy kick. You can also use skim milk instead of coconut milk to make the side dish vegan-friendly.
Best Drinks and Desserts to Cap Off Your Meal
And of course, no meal will ever be complete without drinks and desserts. Here are some of our recommendations on what to serve with jerk chicken:
16. Ginger Beer
The heat is intense with jerk chicken, so a glass of extra chilled drink with spicy and sweet flavors, like a cold ginger beer, is the best way to finish your meal.
Same with coleslaw, this drink can help cleanse your taste buds in between bites.
- Pro Tip: If you’re looking for an alcoholic drink, try Dark and Stormy, made of ginger beer and dark rum.
Don’t like the taste of ginger, and are you in the mood for something alcoholic?
Well, you can ditch it and go for rum instead.
Same with ginger beer, rum also has a slight sweetness, but it tastes more like toasted sugar, so it’s milder and more subdued. Plus, it has a hint of oak that most people love.
- Pro Tip: If you can’t drink rum by itself, you can make a punch out of it by mixing it with fruit juices. Another great idea is to mix rum with mango or pineapple juice plus a hint of lime.
Wine night is always a good idea, especially if there’s jerk chicken!
Our wine recommendation is a glass of white wine—either Riesling or Pinot Gris because both types have a mild sweetness that matches the heat of jerk chicken well.
- Pro Tip: Top it off with fresh fruit slices for a more refreshing flavor. You can also make it herbier by adding fresh thyme.
19. Ginger Ice Cream
This dessert features a spicy ginger kick which melds beautifully with the custard-like texture of the ice cream.
20. Tamarind Balls
These balls of sour goodness are a popular Jamaican snack. With its sweet and tangy flavor, it can also be the beautiful end to your jerk chicken dinner.
Top 3 Sauces Go With Jerk Chicken You’ll Love
Jerk Chicken is already the complete package, but did you know that it can even become more flavorful and satisfying when you serve it with sauces?
Let us help you explore the magic of serving jerk chicken with sauces. Here are some of our best suggestions:
21. Cilantro Lime Sauce
This sauce has all the flavors that your jerk chicken doesn’t have. It has the citrus flavor of lime, the fantastic fragrance of cilantro, and the creamy texture of avocado.
With all these flavors combined, it will inject a refreshing touch to your hearty jerk chicken.
22. Jamaican Jerk Sauce
If you can’t get enough of the richness and heat of jerk chicken, this is the sauce for you. It’s made from jerk chicken marinade, so you’ll never go wrong with this sauce, for sure!
23. Any Creamy Dip
Have you noticed that most of our recommended side dishes and desserts are all creamy? Well, that’s because the creamy texture cuts through the jerk chicken’s mix of seasoning.
With that said, any creamy dip will do if you want to serve your chicken with a sauce. Our top favorites are mayonnaise with green onions and sour cream.
The Bottom Line
With its spicy kick, slight sweetness, and rich, savory goodness, there’s no doubt that jerk chicken already has a complete flavor profile.
But adding a few more side dishes and serving it with the right drinks and desserts can make your meal more memorable.
So what to serve with jerk chicken?
We’ve already provided you with the best accompaniments for jerk chicken—from the sides to the desserts, drinks, and sauces. The only thing you need to do is choose which one tickles your fancy.