How to Slow Cook Jerk Chicken

by Max Whitmore

Jamaican jerk chicken is traditionally marinated in spices for several hours then grilled or baked in an oven, not slow cooked. With slow cook jerk chicken, you can skip the marinade step because the chicken cooks in the spice marinade. Slow cook jerk chicken has all the spice and island flair of the grilled variety but with less work because you just set it and forget it until it is done.

Blend all of the dry spices and liquids from your recipe together in a blender or food processor. The spices and liquids form the marinade for the jerk chicken. Set the marinade aside while you prepare the chicken.

Use skinless chicken, or remove the skin, for the best results. Because the meat will be simmering for hours in the marinade, the skin can become soggy. If you prefer to have skin on your chicken, brown it in a skillet before putting it in the slow cooker.

Use any part of the chicken you desire. For less fat, go with chicken breast. For more flavor, go with chicken thighs. Or use a whole fryer cut into pieces.

Do not let the chicken sit out of the refrigerator for more than half an hour in the interest of food safety. If you are concerned about how fast the slow cooker will heat the meat, preheat the slow cooker on low for 15 minutes before you add the meat and marinade.

Use an oval or wide slow cooker, rather than the cylindrical variety. Cylindrical slow cookers are better suited for soups and stews. The wide slow cooker will allow the meat to spread out and ensure proper sauce coverage.

Add the chicken and marinade to the slow cooker in alternating layers to further ensure even coverage. Even with a wide cooker, all of your chicken may not fit in the bottom of the pot. Pour approximately 1/2 inch of marinade into the cooker. Add the first layer of chicken and leave a little space between each piece to ensure even heat distribution. Pour more marinade to thoroughly cover the chicken then add the next layer and pour the rest of the marinade.

Cover the slow cooker and set the temperature to low if you want it to cook all day. The chicken should cook for six to eight hours. Set the temperature to high to cook it for three to four hours.

Test chicken to assess if it is fully cooked by pricking it with a fork to check for doneness. Chicken is done when it is tender and comes apart easily.

If desired, remove the cooked chicken from the sauce, transfer it to a broiler pan and put it under the broiler for three to five minutes on each side to brown the meat.


  • “Island Cooking: Recipes from the Caribbean”; Dunstan A. Harris; 2003
  • “Slow Cooker Revolution”; America's Test Kitchen; 2011

Photo Credits

  • rez-art/iStock/Getty Images

About the Author

Max Whitmore is a personal trainer with more than three years experience in individual and group fitness. Whitmore has a Bachelor of Arts in English literature from the University of Cincinnati, fitness certifications and dietetics training from Cincinnati State Technical and Community College. Whitmore has written for several online publishers.