This Instant Pot Caribbean Jerk Chicken is the perfect blend of intense jerk spices balanced with creamy coconut rice and sweet pineapple, then topped with a creamy cilantro lime yogurt sauce to really make it special. This recipe is the very definition of “party on the palate!”
I'm struggling to even put into words here my love for everything “JERK” flavored. Never was there a more perfect symphony of flavors or a better way to use up all those spices in your cabinet. It's a little bit of smokey, a little bit of sweet, and a dash (or more) of SPICY!
The flavors are intense, unique, and when the perfect balance is found, it will absolutely blow you away.
On a side note, does anyone else hear the words Jamaican Jerk and immediately get taken back to childhood days watching Cool Runnings over and over and over . . .? Anybody?
While you do a quick Netflix search to see if Cool Runnings can be found, let me educate you a bit.
JAMAICAN JERK SEASONING
Classic Jamaican/Caribbean Jerk seasoning typically consists of several spices such as allspice, cinnamon, ginger, paprika, thyme, cloves, coriander, etc. These spices are balanced with heat from habanero, jalapeno, or serrano peppers and then some sweet from brown sugar or honey.
The jerk style of cooking usually involves a dry rub or wet marinade to really infuse various cuts of meat with a TON of flavor. The joy of eating these layers upon layers of flavor is pure heaven!
For this recipe, I was on a mission to make it a one-pot meal, which I thought was going to be easy, but five batches later, I was ready to throw in the towel.
The flavors were on point, but the brown rice was causing me serious grief. Watery, bland, crunchy . . . all words to describe the disappointing rice inside my pot time and again.
Then one day a rainbow erupted through my kitchen and I was transported to the tropics as I cried my way through the most perfectly cooked bowl of Caribbean Jerk Chicken and Creamy Coconut Brown Rice. It didn't matter that I'd eaten it for a week straight, it was positively glorious!
I can't tell you how excited I am to finally get it into your homes. This recipe is gonna have you happy dancin' all around your kitchen!
WHY YOU WILL LOVE THIS ONE POT CARIBBEAN CHICKEN DINNER
- In case I forgot to mention – FLAVOR! So many wonderful twists and turns of juicy, tender, jerk spiced chicken flavor
- Slammin' one pot meal – no boring slow cooker sludge here
- Creamy coconut brown rice speckled with red bell pepper and sweet pineapple that pairs like a dream with the jerk chicken
- Just when you think things couldn't possibly get any better – Cilantro Lime Yogurt Sauce drapes over everything as if to say, “You are a rock star, eat like a Queen (or King)”
HOW TO MAKE THE BEST JERK CHICKEN BOWL
- Add marinade ingredients to a food processor or blender (note: the Magimix Food Processor comes with the gray insert shown in this picture. It keeps ingredients scraped and moving towards the blade. It's the greatest thing ever!)
- Blend until smooth
- Place chicken in the marinade for 6 hours or overnight
- Brown chicken on one side then remove to a plate
- Stir rice into pot, scraping up the browned bits
- Add coconut milk, broth; stir. Top rice with chicken, pineapple, green onions, and red peppers; do not stir. Cook for 25 minutes
- Remove the chicken and shred (could also shred it into the rice if desired)
- Give rice a good stir. Assemble bowls and eat!
SEE RECIPE CARD BELOW FOR DETAILED COOKING INSTRUCTIONS
TIPS FOR INSTANT POT CARIBBEAN JERK CHICKEN SUCCESS
JERK CHICKEN MARINADE
The secret to a delicious jerk chicken is in the marinade. The trick is to harmonize all the spices without letting any of them take over. I use my Magimix Food Processor (this beauty is a FORCE!) to blend and combine all the flavors, then let my chicken thighs take a solid 6 – 10 hour bath. Could you marinade for a shorter amount of time? Possibly, you'll sacrifice some flavor, but yes, in a pinch, even 30 minutes will work
I HIGHLY suggest using thighs here. They tolerate the marinade and longer cook time like a tender, juicy champ. Chicken breast is more likely to become dry and chewy with the above directions. However, my sister has used chicken breasts for this similar Hawaiian Stacked Chicken Bowl and claims it works great.
COCONUT BROWN RICE
The brown rice is a must here. If you swap it for white rice, it will be mush. Bonus, brown rice is a whole grain and the Instant Pot cooks it masterfully. Also, use LITE coconut milk. Regular is too thick for this recipe.
CILANTRO LIME YOGURT SAUCE
Homemade Yogurt is always best when making a yogurt sauce. If using storebought, use 2/3 greek yogurt and 1/3 sour cream for the best flavor.
I sincerely hope you get to enjoy this one very soon! It was a labor of love finally getting these flavors and the cook time figured out! You know when you eat a single dish that many times and still find yourself craving it again three weeks later, you've found gold.
MORE JERK RECIPES TO ENJOY
- For the most amazing Instant Pot Jerk Pork Ribs, check out page 57 in my cookbook, Master the Electric Pressure Cooker
- Use this same marinade recipe to flavor Instant Pot Tofu. Give it a 10-minute soak before sauteing the tofu
VARIATIONS OF JERK CHICKEN AND RICE
- Wrap it all up in a tortilla for the ultimate jerk burrito
- Swap the creamy yogurt sauce for a Fresh Mango Salsa!
TOOLS/INGREDIENTS USED TO MAKE INSTANT POT CARIBBEAN JERK CHICKEN
- Instant Pot
- Lite Coconut Milk (this is a great price and the only way I buy it)
- Magimix Food Processor (I have the 16 cup model)
Instant Pot Caribbean Jerk Chicken and Coconut Rice
This Instant Pot Caribbean Jerk Chicken is the perfect blend of intense jerk spices balanced out with creamy coconut rice and sweet pineapple, then topped with a creamy cilantro lime yogurt sauce to really make it special.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 25 minutes
- Total Time: 60 minutes
- Yield: 6 servings 1x
- Category: Entree
- Method: Pressure Cooker
- Cuisine: Caribbean
For the Jerk Chicken Marinade
- 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
- 4 tablespoon soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar or honey
- 1 habanero, membrane and seeds removed (or jalapeno for less heat)
- 4 garlic cloves
- 2 green onions
- 1-inch hunk of fresh ginger, peeled
- 3 tablespoons cilantro
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon clove
- ¼ teaspoon coriander
For the Veggies and Rice
- 1 cup brown basmati rice
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup lite coconut milk (from a can)
- ¾ cup chicken broth
- 1 large red bell pepper, chopped into large bite-size chunks
- 1 cup chopped fresh pineapple (mango would also be amazing)
- ⅓ cup diced green onions
Optional toppings: black beans, chopped avocado, minced cilantro, lime wedges, sriracha, shredded pepper jack cheese
For the Cilantro Lime Yogurt Sauce (can be prepared up to 3 days in advance)
- 1 cup plain yogurt
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
- Zest and juice of 1 lime
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Place chicken thighs in a gallon size ziplock bag.
- Place marinade ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until very smooth.
- Pour over chicken, seal the bag, then move the chicken around in the bag until all of the chicken is covered in the marinade.
- Place bag inside a container (in case the bag leaks) and allow it to marinate 6 -18 hours. In a pinch, you can cook it after 30 minutes of marinating.
- Once the chicken has marinated, add a teaspoon of oil to the pressure cooker pot. Using the brown or saute function, heat the oil until hot.
- Add chicken and brown 4 minutes on one side. Remove chicken from the pot and set on a plate. Turn off pressure cooker.
- While the pot is still hot, add rice and stir to coat it with the leftover oil and seasonings from the pot.
- Add coconut milk, chicken broth, and salt; stir, scraping the brown bits from the bottom of the pot.
- Place chicken on top, do not stir.
- Scatter red bell pepper, pineapple, and green onions over the chicken.
- Secure the lid and turn pressure release knob to a sealed position. Cook at high pressure for 25 minutes.
- While chicken cooks, prepare the Cilantro Lime Yogurt Sauce by adding all of the ingredients into a medium-size bowl; stir to combine well. Store in the fridge until ready to serve (this could be done 4-5 days in advance)
- When pressure cooking is complete, use a natural release (or release remaining pressure after 10-minutes if in a hurry).
- Remove chicken to a cutting board and shred or cut into bite-size pieces.
- Stir the rice.
- Note: If rice is a bit runny, hit saute and let it reduce while you shred the chicken.
- To serve, spoon rice into a bowl, top with chicken, add desired toppings, and a big scoop of Cilantro Lime Yogurt Sauce.
Freezer Meal Directions: I have not experimented with this yet, but this is how I would do it –
- Place chicken and marinade in a freezer safe ziploc bag. Set bag in pressure cooker pot liner and press into a single layer. Place pot in freezer. Once frozen, remove ziplock from pot and place in freezer.
- When ready to cook, add rice ingredients to the pot and top with the frozen chicken. Cook for 30 minutes at high pressure with a 10-minute natural pressure release.
- Do not use regular coconut milk. It is thicker than lite coconut milk and may result in a BURN signal.
- The rice might be a bit runny when you remove the lid. This can vary depending on the type of brown rice you use and how much liquid comes from your chicken. If there is extra liquid, simply select saute and let it simmer a few minutes to thicken.
- The marinating time really boosts the flavor of the dish, but in a pinch, 30 minutes will suffice
- Browning the chicken on only one side is a quick way to add extra flavor to the dish. In a pinch, you can also skip the browning step.
Keywords: instant pot dinner, caribbean jerk, one pot meal