Jamaican Curry Chicken

Jamaican curry chicken is one of my favorite dishes from my childhood. When I realized I could make this on Whole30 it made me so happy. Its super easy to make and packs so much flavor!

Curry chicken with cauliflower rice.
Curry chicken served with cauliflower rice

What is the history of curry in Jamaica?

After slavery ended, many indentured workers came to the island looking for work on plantations. The Indians were among the first to come to the island to work on sugar cane plantations. They brought their spices and recipes with them. Curry itself is not a spice, but a mixture of different spices used to marinate meat for stews.

How is Jamaican curry chicken different from curry chicken in India?

There are two major differences. The first difference is that Jamaicans will toast curry powder in a neutral oil. This is process is called burning the curry. Raw curry powder can give some people digestive discomfort and toasting it prevents that from happening. The second is that in India, coconut milk is used to simmer the chicken whereas in Jamaica water is used. In Jamaica, we don’t always add water when making curry chicken as the chicken will release its own liquid as it cooks.

Tips for making this dish

  1. Use whatever part of the chicken you like. That can be boneless skinless thigh or breast or bone in skin on.
  2. For a more authentic meal, you could cut up a whole chicken. It’s usually cheaper to get a whole chicken than chicken parts. However, A whole chicken will take a bit longer to break down so plan extra time.
  3. As the chicken cooks it will release its own liquid so there is no need to add water in the beginning. If you choose to add water, do not submerge the chicken in water.
  4. You can reserve half of the onion, bell pepper and green onion before marinating and add that in halfway through the cooking. This is called a second seasoning.
  5. Growing up we didn’t add carrots or potato, but you absolutely can. I added carrots and chayote squash to this recipe. Other vegetables you can add are green plantain, turnip, zucchini and rutabaga.
  6. The type of curry powder you use matters. If you can find it, use a Jamaican curry powder like All Seasoning (Whole30 compatible). If you cannot find a Jamaican curry powder, then add a bit more turmeric to your curry powder to give it more of a yellow color.
  7. If you are on the AIP protocol, use turmeric instead of curry powder. Omit black pepper, bell pepper and pimento. If you cannot find an AIP compliant all-purpose seasoning, then you can omit it.

What can be served with Jamaican curry chicken?

To keep this Whole30 serve with cauliflower rice and vegetable salad. If you are not doing a Whole30, white rice is the way to go. If you added potato and carrots, you could enjoy as a standalone meal. Looking for more Whole30 Jamaican meals? Check out my recipe for Brow Stew Chicken and Chicken Chop Suey.

Whole30 Jamaican Curry Chicken

A Jamaican twist on an Indian style of cooking.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Jamaican
Servings 4


  • Cutting board
  • Knife
  • Large skillet with lid
  • Mixing bowl
  • Measuring spoon
  • Measuring cup
  • Wooden spoon


  • 3 pounds chicken breast or thigh cut in 1 inch chucks
  • 4 stalks scallion/green onion chopped⠀⠀
  • 1 small onion sliced⠀⠀
  • 3 carrots chopped⠀⠀
  • 1 chayote squash peeled and cubed ⠀⠀
  • ½ green bell pepper chopped⠀⠀
  • 4 cloves garlic chopped⠀⠀
  • 1 inch fresh ginger chopped⠀⠀
  • 1 tsp salt⠀⠀
  • 1 tsp black pepper⠀⠀
  • 1 tsp all-purpose seasoning
  • 1 tsp poultry seasoning ⠀⠀
  • 1 tbsp pimento smashed⠀⠀
  • 4 tbsp curry powder divided⠀⠀
  • 1 cup water⠀⠀
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil


  • Season chicken with half of the onion, garlic, scallion, ginger and bell pepper. Add salt, black pepper, all purpose and poultry seasonings, pimento, 2 tbsp curry powder and let marinate 30 minutes to overnight. ⠀⠀
  • In a heavy bottom pot over medium heat add oil and once melted add the remaining curry powder. Stir until fragrant (1 minute). This is called burning the curry. ⠀⠀
  • Add in chicken and marinade to the pot and stir to combine. Add water and bring to a simmer.
  • Cover and cook for 10 minutes.
  • Add in the other half of the onion, garlic, ginger, bell pepper and scallion. Also add the carrots and chayote squash.
  • Stir, cover and cook another 15 - 20 minutes until all the vegetables are cooked. ⠀⠀
  • Serve with cauli rice or your favorite sides.
Keyword caribbean food, gluten free, grain free, jamaican, jamaican food, jamaican recipe, whole30

Jerk-Style Bacon

Jerk-style bacon has been a favorite of mine for a few years now. I always loved adding jerk seasoning to premade bacon and then I realized I could make bacon from scratch and season it the way I like. It takes some preplanning but it’s totally worth the wait.

Jerk Bacon
Jerk bacon with breakfast potatoes and blueberries

Why make bacon at home?

There are many reasons! For us, we wanted to control the salt that was going into our food more. It’s also a great way to really flavor the bacon. Having the pork belly marinate in the jerk seasoning adds a great smoky flavor that you wouldn’t get by just adding jerk seasoning to premade bacon. And this way we get to control how thick or thin we want our bacon slices.

Is jerk-style bacon spicy?

It will be as spicy as you want it to be. The way I have written the recipe does not make it very spicy but feel free to add more chili flakes. This goes back to why it’s great to make your own bacon.

Things to know about this recipe

  1. It may seem like a lot of salt but it’s not. Through the curing process you need the salt to help break down the meat.
  2. Every oven is different. It may take your bacon a little longer to reach a safe internal temperature.
  3. I used regular salt instead of curing salt and had no problems. Feel free to use a compatible curing salt if you desire.
  4. This recipe is whole30 compatible. But you can add 1-2 tablespoons of brown or coconut sugar (for paleo) if you desire a little sweetness.
  5. make a double batch! You’ll thank me later.
  6. I recommend using a jerk rub instead of a jerk wet marinade. I recommend this one by All Seasoning.

What can I serve jerk-style bacon with?

It cooks just like regular bacon. I like to serve it with a vegetable and a serving of fruit for breakfast. Feel free to use it wherever you would use bacon like a BLT, or even my bacon wrapped plantain stuffed chicken thigh recipe.

Whole30 Jerk-Style Bacon

Homemade jerk bacon. This recipe takes a few days to create so plan ahead.
Course Breakfast
Cuisine Jamaican
Servings 10


  • Cutting board
  • Knife
  • Ziplock bag
  • Airtight container
  • Measuring spoons
  • Baking sheet
  • Baking rack
  • Meat thermometer
  • Mixing bowl


Jerk Bacon (makes 1/2 cup)

  • 3 pounds pork belly
  • ¼ cup salt
  • ¼ cup jerk seasoning

Jerk Seasoning

  • 1 TBSP garlic powder
  • 1 TBSP onion powder
  • 4 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 tsp ground allspice
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg


  • Season pork belly with salt and jerk seasoning.
  • Place in a Ziplock bag and refrigerate for 7 days, turning the bag every day.
  • On day 7 remove and wipe off any extra seasoning.
  • Preheat oven to 200F.
  • Place on a rack on top of a baking sheet and let cook for 3-4 hours or until the pork reaches 150F.
  • Let cool and place in the fridge to cool for up to 24 hours. Then remove and slice as thick or thin as you would like.
  • Store in the fridge or an airtight container.
Keyword bacon, gluten free, grain free, jerk, jerk bacon, soy free, whole30

Slow Cooker Jerk Carnitas

Slow cooker jerk carnitas is one of my favorite proteins to make while on a Whole30, especially in the fall and winter. It’s great to meal prep as it cooks itself. Put it in the slow cooker in the morning and its ready for dinner when you get home from work.

Slow cooker jerk carnitas
Slow cooker jerk carnitas

Can slow cooker jerk pork be cooked in the oven, instant pot or slow cooker?

While this recipe calls for it to be cooked in the slow cooker, it can also be made in the oven. Place seasoned pork in a deep Pyrex dish or Dutch oven and cook covered at 250-275 degrees Fahrenheit. I would not recommend you leave the oven on unattended. I use the oven method when I am home doing chores so I can easily get to the stove if something goes wrong. The instant pot is another great option. I use the slow cooker function, but you can pressure cook it if you wish. If you choose to pressure cook it, be sure to cut the pork into chucks and add at least 1/4 cup of liquid. I usually add water with a little bit of apple cider vinegar and coconut aminos. Let the pressure cooker naturally release for at least 10-15 minutes before manually releasing to ensure the meat stays tender.

Things to know about this recipe

  1. I prefer to use All Seasoning all-purpose and jerk seasoning. All the ingredients are Whole30.
  2. This goes well with cauliflower rice bowls, cauliflower rice and peas or use two tostones to make a sandwich.
  3. It’s even better the second day. Make the day before and let it sit in the fridge to develop more flavor.

Other similar recipes

Looking for other pork recipes? Try making my Jerk-Style Bacon or Jerk Pork recipes.

Slow Cooker Jerk Carnitas

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 8 hours 25 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Jamaican
Servings 10


  • Cutting board
  • Knife
  • Slow cooker
  • Sheet pan
  • Parchment paper
  • Measuring spoons
  • Broiler


  • 5-8 pounds pork shoulder/butt cut in 1-2 inch chunks⠀
  • 1 medium onion sliced⠀
  • 3 stalks scallion chopped⠀
  • 1 bell pepper chopped⠀
  • 5 cloves garlic chopped⠀
  • 2 tsp salt⠀
  • 2 tsp all purpose seasoning optional
  • 1 TBSP jerk seasoning⠀
  • 1 TBSP coconut aminos⠀
  • 2 TBSP compliant teriyaki divided
  • Jerk seasoning:⠀
  • 1 TBSP garlic powder⠀
  • 1 TBSP onion powder⠀
  • 4 tsp dried thyme⠀
  • 2 tsp ground allspice⠀
  • 2 tsp black pepper⠀
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes⠀
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper⠀
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg


  • Combine everything except 1 TBSP teriyaki sauce in the slow cooker and mix together and cook for 5 hours on high. ⠀
  • Once done, remove to a bowl and shred. Add the remaining teriyaki sauce and 2 tsp jerk seasoning and mix. ⠀
  • Add to a large parchment lined sheet pan and broil for 10-15 minutes. Then stir and broil another 10 minutes. ⠀
  • Serve with your favorite side.
Keyword carnitas, gluten free, grain free, jerk, jerk carnitas, soy free, whole30

Callaloo and Saltfish

This is a very popular Jamaican breakfast side, but you can enjoy this any time of day. It comes together in a blink of an eye. Perfect addition to any weekday meal. 

Callaloo and Saltfish

Easy Jamaican breakfast.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Servings 4


  • Cutting board
  • Knife
  • Medium pot with lid
  • Skillet
  • Wooden spoon
  • Tongs or 2 forks
  • Mixing bowl
  • Can opener


  • 1 can callaloo drained⠀
  • ½ medium onion diced⠀
  • green bell pepper diced⠀
  • red bell pepper diced (you can use a small Roma tomato, seeded and diced)⠀
  • ½ package or 3 filets saltfish boiled and flaked⠀
  • 1 stalk escallion green onion⠀
  • 3 cloves garlic chopped⠀
  • 1 TBSP compliant oil


  • Put saltfish in a medium pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Once it boils drain the water and taste. If it’s too salty boil again. 2. You shouldn’t need to boil more than twice because you want some saltiness to it. Remove and set aside.
  • Flake saltfish filets.
  • Heat a skillet on medium heat then add oil. ⠀
  • Sauté onion, garlic, escallion and peppers until the onion is translucent. ⠀
  • Add in callaloo and saltfish and heat through. ⠀
  • Serve with your favorite vegetables and enjoy!

Chicken Foot Soup (Saturday Soup)

A Whole30 remix of one of my favorite Saturday soups. It uses a very uncommon part of the chicken, feet. This soup was really easy to make whole30 and is perfect for meal prep. There is usually a soup mix that’s added but the ingredients aren’t Whole30, so I created a mix that’s very close.

Chicken Foot Soup (Saturday Soup)

Traditional Saturday soup
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Course Soup
Cuisine Jamaican
Servings 8


  • Cutting board
  • Knife
  • Measuring spoon
  • Measuring cup
  • Dutch pot with lid
  • Wooden spoon
  • Ladle


  • 1-2 lbs chicken feet trimmed and nails cut⠀⠀
  • 2 lbs kabocha squash peeled and diced⠀⠀
  • 1 lb yellow yam peeled and diced⠀⠀
  • ½ lb cho cho chayote squash, peeled, seeded and diced⠀⠀
  • ½ lb carrots peeled and diced⠀⠀
  • 2 stalks escallion green onion, chopped⠀
  • 6 pimento allspice berries⠀
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh ginger or powder⠀⠀
  • 4-6 cloves garlic chopped⠀⠀
  • 4 bay leaves⠀⠀
  • 3-4 sprigs of thyme⠀⠀
  • 5-6 cups water or broth⠀⠀
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Soup mix

  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp minced onion
  • 1 paprika
  • 1 turmeric
  • 1 dried parsley
  • 1 salt


  • Rinse chicken feet with vinegar 1 part vinegar and 3 parts water. ⠀⠀
  • In a large pot add pumpkin, carrots, garlic, ginger, chicken feet and water and bring to a boil. There may be fat that floats to the top, just skim it off. ⠀⠀
  • Once it’s boiling add cho cho and yam and let simmer covered on medium low heat for 40 minutes.
  • Add in soup mix, 1/2 tsp salt, thyme, bay leaves, pimento and escallion. Stir and let simmer for 10 more minutes. ⠀⠀
  • Taste for salt and pepper, serve in a bowl and enjoy!


You can add in turnips and potatoes.
If you aren't doing a Whole30 you can add corn, dumplings and some broken up spaghetti to make it more traditional.
When you dice the yam make sure you put it in cold water, this is to prevent browning.
Keyword caribbean food, chicken soup, gluten free, grain free, jamaican, jamaican food, jamaican recipe, soup, whole30

Whole30 Jamaican Breakfast (Ackee and Saltfish)

Ackee and saltfish is known as the national dish of Jamaica and is often served for breakfast but can be enjoyed for lunch and dinner. Ackee is the national fruit of Jamaica and considered a delicacy. I made this using red bell pepper to replace tomatoes, but you can add that if you wish. While traditionally this can be eaten with dumplings or bread, you can also enjoy it with roasted or boiled starches that are compatible. 

Ackee and Saltfish

Whole30 version of a traditional Jamaican breakfast.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Course Breakfast
Cuisine Jamaican
Servings 4


  • Cutting board
  • Knife
  • Can opener
  • Mixing bowl
  • Medium pot with lid
  • Skillet
  • Wooden spoon


  • 1 can ackee drained⠀
  • 2 fillets of saltfish salted cod or pollack works⠀
  • 1-2 TBSP oil⠀
  • ½ red bell pepper chopped⠀
  • ½ medium onion chopped⠀
  • 1 escallion green onion⠀
  • 4-5 cloves garlic chopped⠀
  • 1 scotch bonnet pepper optional⠀
  • 3 green banana score the peel⠀
  • 1 ripe plantain cut in large chunks and score the peel⠀
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • Put saltfish in a medium pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Once it boils drain the water and taste. If it’s too salty boil again. You shouldn’t need to boil more than twice because you want some saltiness to it. Remove and set aside. ⠀
  • In the same pot add in green banana and plantain and cover in water. Bring to a boil then reduce to a rolling boil with the lid covering half the pot for 10-15 minutes. ⠀
  • In a skillet heated on medium heat add 1 TBSP oil. Sauté the onions, pepper and garlic. If using tomato and you can add it here too.
  • Once onions are translucent you can add the ackee in. Be careful when you stir so you don’t break it up too much. Then flake saltfish filets and add in. At this point we are just heating up everything as the ackee is already cooked (5-10 minutes). ⠀
  • Peel the bananas and plantain and serve on a plate with the ackee and enjoy!
Keyword ackee, ackee and saltfish, breakfast, caribbean food, gluten free, grain free, jamaican, jamaican food, jamaican recipe, saltfish, soy free, whole30