These Grilled Chicken Kabobs make a delicious and easy dinner any night of the week. Made with marinated jerk chicken and then threaded with fresh pineapple, these Grilled Chicken Kabobs are perfectly sweet and spicy.
Inspired by my trip to Jamaica, these chicken kabobs are anything but boring, yet they are exceptionally easy to make. Pair with pineapple rice or instant pot cilantro lime rice for a delicious, easy, wholesome meal.
Grilled Chicken Kabobs have a reputation for being boring or dried out. But my recipe for Jamaican Chicken Kabobs is ANYTHING but boring, and the chicken is tender and juicy.
The secret to the incredible flavor of these kabobs is the jerk marinade. I learned to make an authentic jerk seasoning and a jerk marinade from a Jamaican Chef while vacationing in Jamaica years ago. After over 30 years of cooking in Jamaica, this guy knew a thing or two about authentic jerk recipes, and his delicious marinade proves just that. It has just enough spice balanced with just enough sweetness and works to not only flavor the chicken but also tenderize the meat.
Add in some fresh pineapple slices and these chicken kabobs are a flavor explosion!
Notes on Ingredients
- Habanero Peppers: Habanero peppers are classic in jerk seasoning. You can replace the habanero pepper with a jalapeno pepper for a less spicy result or if you can not find habanero.
- Maple Syrup: Feel to use honey, agave, or brown sugar in place of the maple syrup. Granulated sugar is not a good option for this recipe.
- Oil: Use melted and cooled coconut oil, avocado oil, or canola oil. Any mild oil works well.
- Lime Juice: Be sure to use FRESH limes, not bottled lime juice.
- Ginger: Use peeled fresh ginger root, NOT dried ground ginger. If you have leftover ginger, peel it and pop it in a freezer-safe bag in the freezer, and pull it out to grate from frozen ginger.
- Spices: I use similar dried spices in this wet marinade as I do in my jerk seasoning blend. It is a blend of allspice, nutmeg, and thyme.
- Chicken: Use boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs, cut into 1-inch cubes.
How to Make Jamaican Chicken Kabobs
- Cube up chicken breast or chicken thighs into 1-inch cubes and place the cubed chicken into a large shallow dish or a gallon-sized storage bag. Prepare the marinade by placing the peppers, oil, maple syrup, ginger, garlic, and spices ingredients into the blender or food processor and blending it until fully processed.
- Pour the jerk marinade over the chicken and toss to coat the chicken in the marinade. Cover and refrigerate while marinating.
- Leave the chicken in the marinade for at least 30 minutes or up to 4 hours. Do not leave longer than 4 hours the meat will begin to break down.
- While the chicken is marinating, soak wooden skewers in water for at least 30 minutes so that your skewers will not burn when grilling. Alternatively, you can use metal skewers.
- Remove the chicken from the marinade and discard the marinade.
- Thread marinated chicken and pineapple on wooden skewers in an alternating pattern.
- Preheat the grill to medium-high heat and grill kabobs for about 12 minutes total, turning every 3-4 minutes, or until the chicken reaches 165 degrees F.
Yes. For the best flavor, you must marinate the chicken for at least 30 minutes. Otherwise, you will have bland chicken kabobs.
No! If you simply would like to have grilled jerk chicken, marinate boneless, skinless chicken breasts, or thighs in the marinade as directed. Grill over medium-high heat for 6-7 minutes per side.
No! I love the sweetness it adds to the spicy chicken, but you can leave it off the kabobs.
Yes! Bell peppers or onions would be delicious on these kabobs as well.
- Tame the spice of these Jerk Chicken Kabobs by pairing them with a refreshing Pina Colada Smoothie.
- Serve with a side of flavorful Pineapple Rice or Instant Pot Cilantro Lime Rice
- While grilling the chicken kabobs, consider making Grilled Corn on the Cob or Grilled Vegetable Kabobs to serve alongside the chicken.
If you enjoyed these Jerk Chicken Kabobs, I would love for you to leave a comment and 5-star review below.
Grilled Jerk Chicken Kabobs with Pineapple
- ¼ cup avocado oil or melted coconut oil or canola oil
- juice of 1 lime
- 1 inch piece of ginger peeled and thinly sliced
- 2 habaneros or jalapeno peppers cut into large chunks, unseeded
- 3 garlic cloves peeled
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup or honey or agave
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon dried allspice
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into 1" chunks
- ½ fresh pineapple peeled, cored and diced into 1" wedges
- Place the oil, lime juice, peppers, ginger, maple syrup, and seasonings into a blender and blend until smooth.
- Pour the marinade over the chicken and let sit in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes and up to 4 hours.
- If using wooden skewers, soak in water for 30 minutes.
- Heat gas grill or charcoal grill to medium-high temperature.
- Remove the chicken from the marinade and thread on the soaked skewers, alternating with pieces of fresh pineapple. Discard the marinade.
- Grill the kabobs for 6 minutes per side, or until the chicken has reached 165 degrees F.