This keto jerk chicken with cauliflower rice is an easy one pan meal. A mouthwatering low carb dinner inspired by Jamaican jerk paste. If you love keto chicken recipes, this one’s a winner! Dairy free, paleo, and keto.
The first time I ever had Jamaican jerk chicken, I was hooked. I fell hard for that unique blend of spices and heat. And for years, my husband and I had a jar of jerk seasoning paste in the fridge at all times.
So when I wrote Easy Keto Dinners, I decided I absolutely had to include a recipe for it. I created a one pan Keto Jerk Chicken and Rice and it became an instant hit for all of us.
I love it so much, I decided I needed to share it on the blog too. And make a video too!
What is jerk seasoning?
If you never experienced the joys of jerk seasoning, you need to rectify that immediately!
Jerk seasoning is a blend of spices that can be used as a dry rub or a wet paste for marinating. Most notably, it includes allspice and scotch bonnet peppers, which gives it a unique flavor with a serious kick of heat.
It’s not for the faint of heart, but it’s so amazingly delicious!
Some other Caribbean nations have similar spice rubs. I lived in Barbados for 6 months while working on a grad school project, and found Bajan seasoning to have a very similar flavor profile.
Sugar-Free Jerk Seasoning
This is not authentic Jamaican jerk seasoning and I don’t pretend otherwise. Let’s just call it Jamaican-inspired.
Necessity dictates a few changes to make jerk chicken more keto friendly. I also wanted to make it more accessible with readily available ingredients.
Most jerk seasonings or marinades include quite a bit of brown sugar. That “sweet heat” is part of what makes jerk chicken so delectable. Thankfully, swapping out the sugar for a little Swerve works just as well.
I also skipped the scotch bonnets because they are seriously hot and aren’t always easy to find. I enjoy spicy food but that kind of heat can be an acquired taste. Using a little cayenne allows the reader to adjust the heat to their own liking.
How to make Keto Jerk Chicken
Easy peasy recipe alert!
- Whisk the spices together. You may feel like you’re emptying your entire spice cabinet for this one. And you wouldn’t be wrong! But all of these spices and seasonings are key to achieving that unique jerk chicken flavor.
2. Don’t forget the sweetener. You just need a little bit to get that sweet heat. I used Swerve Granular because at the time I wrote my cookbook, the Swerve Brown didn’t exist. But you could easily sub that in.
3. Rub the seasoning on the chicken. I recommend using your hands to rub the spices into the chicken skin, as it helps it stick better.
4. Pan sear the chicken. If you want crispy chicken skin, you need to pan sear those thighs over medium heat. Simply oven baking just can’t compare.
5. Sauté the cauliflower rice. Add the chopped onion and the rice right into the same pan with all the oil, as it will soak up some of that delicious seasoning.
6. Oven bake until done. Then simply add the chicken on top, pop in the oven and bake until cooked through.
The end result is meltingly delicious keto chicken and rice. It’s one of my favorite easy keto meals.
More delicious keto one pan meals
- Keto Pad Thai
- Mexican Cauliflower Rice
- Easy Keto Skillet Lasagna
- Cheesy Chicken and Broccoli Casserole
- Cheeseburger Casserole
- Shrimp and Sausage Skillet Dinner
Jerk Chicken and Rice
- 1½ teaspoons Swerve Sweetener or other granular sweetener
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- ¾ teaspoon allspice
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- ½ teaspoon garlic
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ½ teaspoon dried parsley
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 4 large chicken thighs
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil
- ¼ cup chopped onion
- 12 ounces cauliflower rice
- Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the sweetener, sea salt, all spice, pepper, garlic, cayenne, parsley, paprika, thyme, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Rub the chicken all over with the spice blend.
- In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the avocado oil until shimmering. Add the chicken skin-side down and do not disturb for 4 minutes, until the skin is golden brown. Flip the chicken and cook another 4 minutes.
- Remove the chicken to a plate and add the onion to the pan. Sauté until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the cauliflower rice and cook until just tender, another 4 minutes.
- Return the chicken thighs to the pan, skin-side up, and transfer the whole skillet to the oven. Bake 20 minutes or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165ºF.
one of my favorites of your many delicious recipes…the first one i ever made
Instead of putting it in the oven for the final step could I air fry the chicken? I don’t have oven safe pans.
I can’t see why not. Keep cooking the cauliflower rice in the pan on the stove until tender.
Do you use boneless or bone-in chicken thighs? Thighs with skin only come with bone-in?
Yes… mine are bone-in.
Karen O'Connor says
I am so excited about this keto jerk chicken recipe. I’m trying it tonight.. looks great! I’ll be sure to tell you about it tomorrow. Thank you for sharing!
Yum!! Can’t waitbto.makevthis. Can I use frozen cauliflower rice? Would I just thaw it or cook in microwave. Thanks. Love your recipes
Yes, frozen is fine, just add it in frozen.
Karen Jordan says
Made this for dinner tonight. All I can say is that it was delicious! My husband asked that I include it in our weekly rotation. Everything I have made of yours on a scale of 1 to 10 is definitely a 10++++.
Glad to hear it!
I’ve made this multiple times and absolutely love it! Even the ppl in my household that aren’t keto, love it! Thank you!
Marsha Thompson says
This is fantastic!!!
Elizabeth M. says
I LOVE this recipe! I’ve made it several times as is very CRAVEABLE. I call it Cinnamon Chicken as it reminds me of an episode of Little House on the Prairie when Laura “helps” Nellie cook a chicken dinner for Almanzo and sabotages it by using cayenne pepper instead of cinnamon that the recipe calls for. Well this recipe calls for both (cinnamon and cayenne) and it’s PERFECT!
Can I use Heart of Palm brown rice? Instead of cauliflower
Possibly, I just don’t know how it cooks so you may have to adjust accordingly.
You are so talented ! I love following ADIDAF!???? i have been looking for a jerk recipe that doesn’t overwhelm me—and why am i not surprised? You consistently deliver great ideas and recipes!
I had jerk chicken wings that were complimented with a side of bleu cheese dressing and fresh lime squeezed over the top! Thinking your jerk recipe may take my wings to a new level! Thanks again for the tireless work you do!
Yes, my seasoning will work well for wings!
Lynn kelleher says
Great meal I added greenchile enchilada sauce to the cauliflower. ????
I made this tonight for the first time and I LOVE it! I will be making it again! I love the sweet and spicy rub.
This is one of my family’s favorite dishes and we love that it’s keto too! Can’t wait to make this again soon. So delicious and very tasty!
This is my new favorite keto meal! It is just exploding with flavor!
The flavor in this recipe was incredible!! I made it for dinner, but plan on using it over and over as a meal prep recipe!!
Glad you liked it!
Can’t wait to try this. Btw, If you don’t want to do your own spice blend, I recently bought the Island Spice blend from FreshJax to make jerk chicken wings in the air fryer and highly recommend. My best wings ever and the spice tastes just like what I’ve had in the islands. They have lots of keto-friendly blends.
Good to know!
Zizi A says
Hope you can help me. I bought a jerk seasoning spice rub blend. How many teaspoons should I use? Would 4 teaspoons be too much?