How To Make Jamaican Jerk Plantains

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By Christopher Spiker

Get ready to embark on a flavorful journey with our guide on “How To Make Jamaican Jerk Plantains.” In this article, you’ll discover the vibrant spices and unique techniques that transform simple plantains into a mouthwatering dish bursting with Caribbean flair. Whether you’re an experienced chef or just love trying new recipes, you’ll find easy-to-follow steps and helpful tips to achieve that perfect blend of heat and sweetness. Your kitchen is about to become a tropical paradise as you learn to whip up this delightful Jamaican treat. Have you ever wanted to bring a taste of the Caribbean into your own kitchen? If so, you’re in luck, because today we’re going to dive into the vibrant and intensely flavorful world of Jamaican cuisine by making a dish that’s guaranteed to wow your taste buds: Jamaican Jerk Plantains.

How To Make Jamaican Jerk Plantains

What Are Jerk Plantains?

Jerk plantains are a delightful fusion of sweet bananas and the smoky, spicy flavors of traditional Jamaican jerk seasoning. This recipe is a vegan-friendly take on a Caribbean staple that can be enjoyed as a side dish, snack, or even a main course. Imagine biting into a crispy, caramelized plantain with a smoky, spicy kick—sounds mouthwatering, doesn’t it?

Why Choose Plantains?

Before we dive into the specifics, let’s talk a bit about plantains themselves. Often mistaken for bananas, plantains are starchier and less sweet. They are commonly used in Caribbean, Latin American, and African cuisines. Unlike bananas, plantains are usually cooked before eating and can be prepared in various ways: fried, baked, boiled, or grilled. Their versatility and ability to absorb flavors make them the perfect candidate for this jerk seasoning.

The Ingredients You’ll Need

To create the authentic flavors of Jamaican jerk plantains, you’ll need a mix of spices, fresh ingredients, and, of course, plantains. Here’s a detailed list of what you’ll need:

Ingredient Amount Notes
Ripe plantains 4 Look for yellow plantains with black spots
Olive oil 2 tablespoons Or any other cooking oil
Onion 1 medium Finely chopped
Garlic 3 cloves Minced
Fresh ginger 1 tablespoon Grated
Scotch bonnet pepper 1 Finely chopped, adjust for spice tolerance
Brown sugar 2 tablespoons Adds sweetness and caramelization
Soy sauce 2 tablespoons Adds umami richness
Lime juice 1 tablespoon Freshly squeezed
Thyme 1 teaspoon Fresh or dried, finely chopped
Allspice 1 teaspoon Key ingredient in jerk seasoning
Nutmeg 1/2 teaspoon Adds warmth
Cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon Adds depth of flavor
Black pepper 1/2 teaspoon Freshly ground, for best results
Salt To taste

How To Make Jamaican Jerk Plantains

Preparing Your Ingredients

Selecting and Prepping Plantains

The key to perfect jerk plantains is selecting ripe ones. Look for plantains that are mostly yellow with some black spots; they should give slightly when you press them. Too green, and they will be too starchy and bland; too ripe, and they may become mushy during cooking.

  1. Peel the Plantains: Plantains have thicker skins than bananas. Start by cutting off the ends, then make a lengthwise slit along one side. Peel back the skin to remove it.
  2. Slice the Plantains: Cut them into 1/2-inch thick slices. This thickness allows them to crisp up nicely while absorbing the jerk seasoning.

Preparing the Jerk Marinade

The magic of this recipe lies in the jerk marinade, a harmonious blend of spices, heat, and sweetness.

  1. Mix the Dry Ingredients: In a small bowl, combine the allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon, and black pepper. Set aside.
  2. Combine the Wet Ingredients: In another bowl, mix the chopped onion, minced garlic, grated ginger, chopped Scotch bonnet pepper, brown sugar, soy sauce, lime juice, and thyme.
  3. Blend for Consistency: For a smoother marinade, you can use a food processor to blend all the wet ingredients. Adding the dry spices into this blend and mix until well combined.

Marinating the Plantains

Now that your plantains are sliced and your marinade is ready, it’s time to bring it all together.

  1. Coat the Plantains: Place your plantain slices in a large mixing bowl. Pour the marinade over them, ensuring each slice is well-coated.
  2. Marinate: Allow the plantains to marinate for at least 30 minutes. If you have more time, let them sit for up to 2 hours for a deeper flavor.

Cooking Methods for Jamaican Jerk Plantains

Once your plantains have absorbed all those delicious flavors, you have several options for cooking them. Each method has its own unique advantages.


Pan-frying is a quick and easy method that results in crispy, caramelized plantains.

  1. Heat the Oil: In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat until shimmering.
  2. Fry in Batches: Add the plantain slices in a single layer, making sure not to crowd the pan. Fry for about 2-3 minutes on each side, or until they are golden-brown and crispy.
  3. Drain: Remove the fried plantains and place them on a paper towel-lined plate to drain any excess oil.


Baking is a healthier option, as it uses less oil while still achieving a lovely caramelization.

  1. Preheat the Oven: Set your oven to 400°F (200°C).
  2. Prepare a Baking Sheet: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or lightly grease it.
  3. Arrange the Plantains: Spread the marinated plantain slices in a single layer on the baking sheet.
  4. Bake and Flip: Bake for about 15 minutes, then flip the plantains and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until they are caramelized and crispy.


Grilling adds a smoky flavor that complements the jerk seasoning beautifully.

  1. Preheat the Grill: Heat your grill to medium-high.
  2. Prepare the Grill Grates: Lightly oil the grill grates to prevent sticking.
  3. Grill the Plantains: Place the plantains directly on the grill. Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until they have nice grill marks and are caramelized.

How To Make Jamaican Jerk Plantains

Serving Suggestions

Jamaican jerk plantains are incredibly versatile and can be enjoyed in various ways.

As a Side Dish

Pair your plantains with other Caribbean staples like rice and peas or a fresh mango salad.

As a Snack

They make an excellent snack on their own. Serve them with a dipping sauce like a spicy mayo or a tangy tamarind sauce.

As a Main Course

For a more filling meal, try serving the plantains in a veggie bowl with quinoa, black beans, and avocado.

Tips and Tricks for the Best Jerk Plantains

Controlling the Heat

If you’re not a fan of super hot dishes, you can adjust the amount of Scotch bonnet pepper. Removing the seeds and membranes will reduce the heat while still providing that characteristic flavor.

Achieving Perfect Caramelization

Make sure your plantains are cut evenly. This ensures even cooking and prevents some pieces from burning while others remain undercooked.

Making It Ahead

You can marinate the plantains a day in advance and store them in the fridge. This allows the flavors to meld even more.

Experimenting with Spices

Feel free to tweak the spice blend to your liking. Want more cinnamon? Go ahead. Prefer a hint of clove? Add a pinch. The key is to make the dish your own.

How To Make Jamaican Jerk Plantains

Nutritional Benefits of Plantains

Plantains are not just delicious; they are also packed with nutrients. They are a great source of vitamins A, C, and B6, and they are rich in fiber, which aids in digestion. Unlike some other starchy foods, plantains have a low glycemic index, making them a better choice for maintaining stable blood sugar levels.

Cultural Background of Jerk Seasoning

Jerk seasoning has a rich history dating back to the indigenous people of Jamaica. This method of cooking meat with a special blend of spices was later influenced by the African slaves brought to the Caribbean. Today, jerk seasoning is synonymous with Jamaican cuisine and is used to flavor a variety of dishes beyond the traditional jerk chicken or pork.

How To Make Jamaican Jerk Plantains


Can I Use Green Plantains for This Recipe?

Green plantains are less sweet and more starchy. While they can be used, the result will be less caramelized and sweet compared to ripe plantains.

Is There a Substitute for Scotch Bonnet Pepper?

If you can’t find Scotch bonnet peppers, you can use habanero peppers, which have a similar heat and flavor profile. Adjust the amount based on your heat tolerance.

Can I Use a Store-Bought Jerk Seasoning?

While store-bought jerk seasoning can be convenient, making your own allows for better control over the flavors and heat level. Plus, it’s fresher and often more flavorful.


Now that you have all the tools and knowledge to make Jamaican jerk plantains, it’s time to bring the flavors of the Caribbean into your kitchen. This dish offers a perfect balance of sweet, spicy, and smoky flavors that are sure to become a favorite. So, what are you waiting for? Grab those plantains and start cooking! Here’s to a flavorful culinary adventure!