Jerk chicken is a spicy, grilled meat that is popular, particularly in Jamaica, but also in other parts of the Caribbean. It is largely associated with the culture of that particular part of the world but has gradually made its way into other parts of the world as well.
When considering what side dishes to add to a meal of jerk chicken, you must take into consideration the spiciness often associated with the food, as well as the smoky taste that also makes up a distinct part of the dish.
We’re here to help you with that; taking what we’ve said so far into consideration, we’ve hand-picked seventeen jaw-dropping side dishes to serve alongside your favorite jerk chicken recipe.
17 Side Dishes to Serve With Jerk Chicken
We won’t keep you waiting any longer! Here is our list of seventeen jaw-dropping dishes to serve with jerk chicken.
For some people, having different textures in a dish is key to making it feel complete and well-made. If you’re one of these people, then plantains are just for you!
Plantains are nice and soft, which will work to add a different texture alongside the tenderness of your jerk chicken. Plus, the sweetness of this side dish will offer distinct flavors to add to your meal.
2. Grilled Pineapple
Grilling fruits and vegetables is all the rage right now, and grilled pineapple is no exception. Considering that jerk chicken originates from a tropical area of the world, it makes sense that pineapple would work well as a side dish!
Grilled pineapple will have a sweet, tangy taste to it that will combine with the spicy tastes of your jerk chicken to take your meal to levels you never thought possible!
3. Coconut Rice
If you feel that regular old white rice is too boring to serve as a side dish, we’ve got you. Just add some coconut milk to your white rice, and you’ll get a brand new side dish that really feels complex and perfect.
It’s a fairly simple side dish to make, so you’re not sacrificing any of the ease of prepping normal rice by adding this new flair. Try it out; we’re sure you’ll be impressed!
4. Red Beans and Rice
Another way that you can spice up your rice side dish is by adding red beans to it. By doing this, you’re making a really amazing, savory dish that will complement your jerk chicken incredibly well.
While it’s spicy, jerk chicken could easily classify as savory, so if you want the consistency of taste across your whole meal, red beans and rice could work very well for you.
5. Roasted Garlic Potatoes
There are so many meals out there that you can serve with roasted potatoes, and jerk chicken is absolutely no exception to that! To make roasted potatoes work better in this context, we suggest you add garlic.
Jerk chicken, when done the traditional way, already has garlic in it, so roasted garlic potatoes will provide a nice consistency of flavors without making your meal feel boring or unimaginative.
6. Mashed Sweet Potatoes
If ordinary potatoes aren’t up your alley, we’ve got you covered. Mashup some sweet potatoes to add an amazing sweet taste alongside the more savory tastes of jerk chicken.
Plus, by using this side dish, you’re introducing a splash of color to a dish that is otherwise fairly tame in its aesthetics. Finally, sweet potatoes are generally healthier than regular potatoes.
7. Rundown Pasta
This is a take on a typical pasta side dish that is particularly tailored to be served with jerk chicken. We know that pasta might not sound like something you’d serve with a Caribbean dish- but hang with us!
Rundown pasta includes coconut milk, Scotch Bonnet, whole allspice, and chopped tomatoes with linguine. This mix of ingredients will create a savory, spicy side dish that will feel powerful alongside jerk chicken, without being too overwhelming.
8. French Fries
Sometimes, going with a classic really is the best way to go. French fries work really well with lots of different grilled foods, and jerk chicken is certainly part of this list. Plus, they’re relatively simple to come by!
If you want to spice up your fries some, consider making your own special sauce to put on them. If the sauce isn’t your thing, try using a special seasoning, such as Cajun.
9. Grilled Zucchini
If we want to stay with the “grilled foods” theme, then grilled zucchini is a great choice! Healthy and tasty, this is a perfect choice if you want to stick with the same method of cooking throughout your whole meal.
If grilled zucchini on its own sounds too boring or simplistic, then you can also throw in some grilled tomatoes, onions, or squash to spice up this side dish and bring it to new levels.
10. Potato Salad
Maybe roasted or fried potatoes aren’t your thing. That’s perfectly fine! Maybe you’re a fan of potato salad- if so, this is your lucky day! Potato salad just so happens to be a great side dish for jerk chicken.
Creamy and bold in taste, potato salad will blend nicely with the smokiness and tenderness of jerk chicken while simultaneously introducing new textures and flavors. It’s the best of both worlds!
11. Sweet Potato Fries
We’ll admit it, French fries really aren’t all that healthy. They’re pretty fatty, and can often be high in sodium. If eating healthy is something that’s important to you, or if you just aren’t a French fry person, then try out some sweet potato fries.
As we mentioned above, sweet potatoes offer new, sweet tastes that work very well with the more savory and spicy tastes of jerk chicken. Plus, they’re a lot healthier than French fries!
Tangy and crunchy, coleslaw will offer bold new flavors and textures to stand out alongside your jerk chicken. Despite their bright and loud characteristics, coleslaw won’t outshine the jerk chicken in the meal. That’s why it works so great as a side dish!
Coleslaw is also a great option if you’re serving jerk chicken in the summer; since it’s a cold side dish, it can feel really refreshing and cool to consume on a really hot day.
13. Collard Greens
Savory and salty, collard greens will keep the same general types of flavors present in your jerk chicken dish without it feeling like you’re serving things that are too similar.
Plus, collard greens are wonderfully healthy. If you live in the southern United States, collard greens are likely going to be very easy to come by, and may already have been in your mind as a potential side dish.
14. Ginger Beer
At times, the best side dish isn’t even solid food. Drinks can work as side dishes, even though we often don’t think of them as filling that role. If you want your jerk chicken to take the spotlight, we recommend ginger beer.
Spicy and sweet, this is a great drink to serve with a food that’s known for being savory and spicy. Plus, on a hot summer day, it’ll feel nice and refreshing to down a cold ginger beer along with your meal.
15. Maque Choux
Containing ingredients like bell and jalapeno peppers, maque choux is plenty spicy and flavorful enough to exist alongside a strong main course like jerk chicken. Don’t let the confusing name put you off- this really isn’t that complicated of a dish.
Maque choux also includes corn, bacon, and heavy cream. If that sounds absolutely delicious to you, you’re not alone- we absolutely encourage you to try out this dish with your jerk chicken!
These sweet and tangy little balls are a staple in Jamaican cuisine; if you remember, jerk chicken is really popular in Jamaica. If keeping your meal geographically focused is something you’re interested in, try serving some tamarind along with your jerk chicken!
This could also theoretically work as a dessert, so you could also re-purpose this idea while using another side dish suggestion from the rest of this list. But we still believe it stands out perfectly well as its own side dish!
17. Peas and Rice
If you’re not a beans and rice kind of person, then try out peas and rice. Jerk chicken can be quite spicy, so it’s important for some to have a side dish that can quell that without feeling too boring.
That’s where peas and rice come in. It’s a really basic side dish, but still, one that’s got plenty of flavor and substance. Peas and rice will help to bring down the heat on the jerk chicken.
And there you have it! Seventeen jaw-dropping side dishes to serve alongside jerk chicken. Remember to take into consideration jerk chicken’s spiciness and savoriness, along with its Carribean origins. Leave us a picture of your finished meal down below. Happy cooking!