Jerk chicken wings recipe - Baked, Grilled or Air fried

8.2.24 | Recipe by Renz

This simple Jamaican jerk chicken wings recipe will tantalize your taste buds. You’ll love how the sweet and sticky BBQ combines with the spicy jerk seasoning, a beautiful twist on a traditional Caribbean dish.

Jerk chicken wings on a large plate, garnished with cilantro and with a side of mac and cheese.

Oven-baked jerk wings are the easiest recipe. You can marinate the chicken beforehand, so all you need to do is throw it in the oven. This dish is a fantastic option if you’re having people over or want a weeknight dinner to look forward to.

The best thing about this jerk chicken wings recipe is the perfect balance of fragrant, sweet, and spicy flavors and how they complement the tender, juicy chicken. The meat is so soft it falls off the bone, and the skin is gorgeously crisp and golden brown.

Caribbean jerk chicken wings are traditionally made on the grill, but you can get the same beautiful taste in your oven at home. They’re delicious, hot, or cold, and leftovers are great in a salad or crusty roll. I also share how to get them done in the air fryer and on a grill.



Chicken wings: I like to use a mixture of flats and drums. Flats have less meat, but you’ll get more crispy skin (and we all know that’s the best bit!).

Olive oil: Extra virgin olive oil is best because of its mild flavor and high smoke point. You could also use vegetable oil.

Jerk seasoning marinade: You have a choice here. You can use a dry rub to make the chicken skin crispier or a wet marinade to make the meat more tender. I prefer a marinade because it’s more flavorful and sticks to the meat better - you also don’t need to use as much. Buy a marinade at your local grocery store, or see below for detailed instructions on making your own.

BBQ sauce/Jerk BBQ sauce: BBQ sauce is the key to smokey baked jerk wings. You can make your own, or I recommend Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ, or you can use your favorite brand.

Chicken stock: Make chicken stock by boiling chicken bones with vegetable scraps, or use a powder or ready-made stock from the grocery store.

Ingredients to make the jerk sauce to accompany the jerk chicken portioned out into containers.

Fresh thyme: Thyme is a fantastic compliment to chicken, and the aromatic flavor is amazing with jerk seasoning. If you don’t have fresh thyme, dried works well, or you could use rosemary.

Ginger: Fresh and fiery, this Jamaican jerk wings recipe wouldn’t be the same without ginger. You can peel and chop it finely yourself or buy it pre-prepared and frozen.

Cornstarch or flour: Use cornstarch to make the sauce thick and silky. You can also use flour if you don’t have any.

How to make the recipe

Begin by patting the wings dry with paper towels, separating the drums from the flats, and discarding the wing tip.

Combine the olive oil and jerk marinade in a large bowl, then add the chicken. Massage the marinade into the meat until it’s well coated. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for at least four hours, preferably overnight.

When you are ready to cook the chicken, heat the oven to 400°F. Lay the wings out in a single layer on a baking sheet and cover tightly with foil. Bake the chicken for 30 minutes, then check it. It should look nearly cooked through. If it isn’t, give it another few minutes before moving on to the next step. It should create its own juices.

Take the chicken off the baking sheet and pour the liquid left in the tray into a measuring cup (you’ll use this to create the Jamaican jerk wings sauce).

Put the chicken back on the sheet pan and re-cover with the foil. Bake for another 8 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine the reserved chicken liquid, chicken stock, BBQ sauce, jerk seasoning, fresh thyme, and ginger in a pot. Heat over medium-high for 8 minutes or until thickened. You can use a cornstarch slurry if the liquid isn’t thick enough.

Jerk BBQ sauce in a pot on a red backdrop.

Pour about half of the mixture over the chicken (just enough to coat it) and bake without foil for another 8 - 10 minutes. Then, switch to broil for the final 5 minutes.

Baked jerk wings with BBQ sauce in a baking tray.

Remove the chicken from the oven and serve with your favorite sides - see the bottom of the post for some delicious suggestions.

Recipe tips

  • Blotting away the moisture from the chicken makes the skin crispy, as does pre-heating the oven - so don’t skip these steps.
  • If you want the skin to be extra crisp, you can put the chicken on a wire rack, allowing the hot air to circulate more freely.
  • To make a cornstarch/flour slurry, simply mix a small amount of cornstarch with cold water until it forms a thick paste. Add this to sauces to thicken them.

Other cooking methods to prepare the wings

Once the wings have been marinated for 4 hours or overnight then you can also prepare them in different ways other than oven baked.


Set your grill to 350 degrees. Place the chicken wings on your grill and grill till one side gets darkened then flip to the other side and darken. After about 15 - 18 minutes your wings should be cooked. Checked the temperature for 165 degrees. 

Air fryer

Preheat the fryer to 400 degrees if needed. Place wings in the air fryer in a single layer and fry for 10-15 minutes turning every 5 minutes until completed. Time can vary slightly based on the size of the wings.

For both, you would need to create the sauce if needed. Omit the liquid that we would collect from the wings in the oven but make everything else as instructed. Then coat the wings in the sauce once thickened or used as a dipping sauce.

A close look at the jerk wings with sauce on a gray plate.

How to make jerk marinade

Make your own marinade if you want to take your baked jerk wings to the next level!

If you’re making jerk chicken marinade, you’ll need scotch bonnet peppers, brown sugar, pimento seeds, scallions, fresh thyme, nutmeg, salt, black pepper, garlic, vinegar and a little oil.

If you're not a fan of spicy foods, you can substitute the scotch bonnets for something a little less spicy, like jalapenos.

Take a food processor, whizz up all the ingredients, and you’ll have your marinade.

For the full recipe, check out my Jamaican jerk marinade post.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long can you marinate chicken wings?

When making this Jamaican jerk wings recipe, you must marinate the chicken for at least four hours. The extra time allows the marinade to soak into the chicken, flavor the meat, and make it incredibly tender.

If you can, marinate the chicken overnight, making it even more flavorful!

Don’t marinate the chicken for longer than 24 hours, as this can break down the meat too much and cause it to become tough.

How long does it take to cook chicken in the oven?

It takes around 55 minutes to cook baked jerk wings in the oven at 400°F.

First, cook the marinated chicken for 38 minutes, then add the BBQ sauce and cook for another 10 minutes. Finally, you broil the chicken for 5 minutes at the end so the skin goes crispy.

The exact cooking time will depend on your oven. To ensure that chicken is safe to eat, always use a meat thermometer to check for a safe internal temperature of 165°F.

What to serve with Jamaican jerk chicken wings

The jerk flavor is hot and spicy, so it’s lovely served with a creamy dipping sauce to cool it down. Jamaican rice and peas is also a fantastic simple side.

If you’re looking for some inspiration, try these delectable Trinidadian sides:

How to store leftover chicken wings

If you have leftovers, seal them in an airtight container and put them in the fridge within 2 hours. If you leave them at room temperature for too long, bacteria will grow, which can cause food poisoning.

Use your leftovers to make sandwiches and salads, or throw them into a pasta dish or stir fry.

Eat them up within 3-4 days to ensure safety.

A jerk chicken wing on a fork over a plate of jerk chicken wings.

Other jerk dishes

More Jamaican recipes: