You'll love these Air Fryer Jerk Chicken Drumsticks! Green onions, golden raisins, and habanero chilies are blended for a quick jerk chicken marinade!
Traditionally jerk seasoning or jerk marinade is made from scotch bonnet (habanero chilies) and allspice.
We wanted to create a recipe for jerk chicken that is Whole30 and Paleo-friendly! A small amount of golden raisins give us the sweetness we need without the added sugar.
Originally this recipe was made in the oven, but we found that the air fryer produces crispy and juicy Jerk Chicken Drumsticks!
Check out the air fryer I use to make this recipe!
⭐️ Why we love this recipe
- Cooked in the air fryer. Chicken drumsticks are marinated and placed inside the air fryer basket. Crispy and tender chicken in only 25 minutes!
- We love to meal prep Jamaican Jerk Chicken or turn them into bowls. Coconut cauliflower rice, roasted sweet potatoes, and mango salsa are all you need.
- Jerk chicken seasoning can be used for drumsticks, thighs, quarters, wings, and breasts.
📝 Marinade Ingredients
Here is a visual list of the key ingredients you'll need to make the Jerk chicken marinade.
- Raisins - a couple of tablespoons of golden raisins add a sugar-free sweetness to this Jerk Chicken Dinner!
- Scotch Bonnet - also goes by the name habanero is the chili that is traditionally used in jerk seasoning.
- Ginger - only use fresh ginger root
- Green Onions - give the marinade a thick body or texture
- Spices - a heaping tablespoon of allspice is used for the classic jerk flavor. We add coriander and fresh thyme as well.
- Avocado Oil - is used to blend everything together
See recipe card for quantities.
Tip - The first time I made this recipe, I used coconut oil, but this oil will solidify under refrigeration. I found that avocado oil is the best option.
🗒 Jerk Chicken Ingredients
- Chicken drumsticks - We recommend using drumsticks or thighs in this recipe. Chicken drumsticks cook up quickly in the air fryer, and come out crispy and tender.
📖 Substitutions and Variations
- Jerk Chicken Wings - Instead of using chicken drumsticks or thighs, you can make jerk chicken wings in the air fryer. Cook until crispy and tender, and serve it as a delicious appetizer or main course.
- Golden Raisins - If this dried fruit is not your jam, try using 4 chopped dates or ¼ cup of coconut aminos.
- Oven - Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place marinated chicken drumsticks on a parchment-lined baking tray and cook for 45 minutes or until the internal temperature is 165ºF.
- Slow Cooker - Place marinated drumsticks in the slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours. Transfer to an aluminum foil-lined baking tray and place under the broiler for a couple of minutes or until crispy.
🔪 Step-By-Step Instructions
Here's how to make Jerk Chicken Drumsticks in the Air Fryer!
Step 1: In a food processor, combine green onions, raisins, garlic, ginger, spices, thyme, and avocado oil. Pulse the mixture for 1-2 minutes until it reaches a smooth paste.
Step 2: In a large bowl, toss drumsticks with marinade. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Step 3: Preheat your air fryer to 360°F and place marinated chicken inside the air fryer basket.
Step 4: Cook for 25 minutes, turning drumsticks at the halfway point. Enjoy jerk chicken with your favorite sides.
- When working with habanero chilies, make sure to wear disposable gloves. Remember to wash your hands, cutting, board, and knife.
- Marinate chicken for a minimum of 30 minutes. The longer you marinate the chicken, the more flavorful it will taste.
- Have a tough time peeling ginger root? Using a small spoon to scrape away the skin works best.
- This recipe isn't blazing hot, but it does have a kick. Add in another habanero chili if you like it HOT!
- Make the jerk marinade in advance. This sauce will last in the refrigerator for up to a week. You can marinate chicken for 1-2 days before cooking.
What to serve with jerk chicken
Here is a list of traditional sides served with jerk chicken:
How to make Jerk Chicken in the oven
Jerk chicken in the oven is also very delicious! First, preheat the oven to 350ºF. Place marinated chicken on a parchment-lined baking tray.
Bake for roughly 45 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.
💭 Recipe FAQ's
Marinate jerk chicken for a minimum of 30 minutes. For best results, marinate between 6 - 24 hours long.
Yes! Jerk chicken is all about the marinade, and you need time for the flavor to penetrate the chicken. If you are in a hurry, marinate for at least 30 minutes.
Jerk chicken is a spicy and sweet marinated chicken popular in Jamaica. Scotch bonnet chilies are used in every jerk chicken recipe. Depending on your spice tolerance, you can increase or decrease the number of chilies.
Every jerk marinade includes scotch bonnet chilies, green onions, sugar, thyme, and allspice. You can bake or grill the chicken thighs or drumsticks.
Storage: You can store cooked jerk chicken for 5 days in the refrigerator.
Marinate: You can marinate chicken in a ziplock bag for 2 days in the refrigerator.
Freezing: Jerk chicken will last for 3 months in the freezer. Just make sure to store it in an airtight container.
Reheat In Air Fryer: Preheat the air fryer to 325 degrees. Place jerk chicken inside the basket and bake until heated through.
Reheat in Microwave: It's easy to dry out chicken in the microwave. Place chicken inside a microwave-safe dish and cover with a damp paper towel. Heat on 70% power for 5 minutes.
More recipes to make in the Air Fryer
Air Fryer Jerk Chicken Drumsticks
- 8 whole green onions roughly chopped
- 4 tablespoons avocado oil
- 1 whole habanero seeded
- 1 whole ginger 1-inch pieced sliced into rounds
- 2 tablespoons golden raisins
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme chopped
- 3 cloves garlic peeled and smashed
- 1 tablespoon allspice ground
- 1 teaspoon coriander ground
- 2 teaspoons salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper ground
- 4 pounds chicken drumsticks
- In a food processor, combine green onions, avocado oil, habanero, ginger, golden raisins, garlic, thyme, allspice, coriander, salt, and pepper.
- Blend for 1-2 minutes until the paste is smooth. Toss chicken drumsticks with the jerk marinade and refrigerate for 30 minutes or longer.
- Preheat the air fryer to 360ºF. Place chicken drumsticks inside the air fryer basket. Cook for 30 minutes turning the chicken at the halfway point.
- Chicken should be crispy and tender with an internal temperature of 165ºF
- The longer you marinate Jerk Chicken, the more flavorful it will taste.
- Make sure to wear gloves when handling habanero chilies.
- I find that chicken thighs and drumsticks make the best Jerk Chicken.
- Leave space between the drumsticks in the air fryer for proper air circulation. Overcrowding the chicken will prevent them from becoming crispy.