Weeknight dinners are among the trickiest meals to prepare. I’ve been trying to come up with more flavorful and creative meals to share, and I think I’ve done it with my latest recipe: Jamaican-Inspired Instant Pot Chicken. I don’t think I’ve ever made anything Jamaican (or Jamaican-ish) in my life, but there’s a first time for everything, and I’m really happy that this was it. Oh, and did I mention that the recipe only has five ingredients? Now things are getting good!
As I scoured Pinterest for new ideas, I came across a number of Caribbean and Jamaican-Inspired recipes that incorporated such tasty and complex flavors: hot peppers, onions, ginger, soy, and a whole host of spices. They all looked so delicious, but also…so complicated. I would have to buy a ton of ingredients, and then puree them all in the food processor, marinate the chicken, etc. I’m sure it would have been doable, but I wanted something easier.
Instead, I headed over to a kitchen store known for selling creative spices, and found a lovely jerk chicken seasoning by Gryffon Ridge, a fairly local-to-me company. The spice was actually described as mild, which is unusual for jerk, but is great for someone who’s preparing chicken for children to eat (like me). After reading through a number of other recipes, I decided to keep things simple (read: decided to eliminate all chopping and subsequent washing of cutting boards and knives), and kept the marinade to just a few liquid ingredients, the spice, and the chicken itself. I further simplified by deciding to cook it in the Instant Pot, cutting down on the cooking time required to give it that “simmered all day” flavor.
This recipe, while delicious on its own, could be doctored up in any number of ways. You could add some habanero peppers to give it more heat. You could add any of the ingredients that go into a traditional jerk seasoning, as well. I used chicken with the skin still on, but next time I might go for skinless to really get the marinade in contact with the meat of the chicken. I marinated my chicken overnight, because it was easier for me to prepare everything ahead of time, but you could marinate it for an hour or two and still achieve a similar flavor.
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- About 2 lb bone-in chicken drumsticks and thighs (skin can be on or off)
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons Jamaican jerk seasoning (without salt)
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- Place the chicken pieces in a resealable freezer bag large enough to hold them.
- Add all the other ingredients and seal the bag. Gently turn the bag to mix the ingredients and fully coat the chicken.
- Refrigerate for at least 1-2 hours, but overnight is better.
- Place the chicken and marinade in the bowl of the Instant Pot. Add ½ cup water. Close the Instant Pot and the vent on top (refer to your pot's manual if you have questions).
- On manual mode, set the timer for 17 minutes on high pressure.
- Use manual release when the timer goes off.
- Remove the pieces of chicken. Serve with white rice. You can spoon some of the cooking liquid over the chicken and rice, if desired .