Decidedly Inauthentic Jerk Seasoning Mix (or: Jerk Seasoning for White People)

I have two roommates, both of whom love Caribbean food, and one of whom can’t handle hot food at all. This was the conundrum I faced as I selected a meal that seemed absolutely amazing, but potentially quite spicy: this jerk shrimp pasta recipe from Immaculate Bites.

Jerk seasoning is a formidably hot spice blend of Jamaican origin (wellllll… technically African, but due to reasons pertaining to the subjugation for an entire culture of people, it’s evolved to its current form in Jamaica and other areas of the Caribbean) and the star of the show is the Scotch Bonnet pepper:

Scotch Bonnet Chili Peppers Selection
It’s got the devil in it. Delicious, delicious devil. Photo by Hinkin on Flickr.

This presents a challenge if you’re trying to cook this recipe, because pre-made jerk spice blends include the pepper that makes it so hot.

So what should happen here?

Make your own goddamn jerk spice blend, obviously!

Next week I’ll be talking about my adventures with the above linked recipe, including my experience with making cream sauce (so much more work an anticipated, but 150% worth it) with this bad boy, but for now, check out the definitely-not-as-good-as-the-real-thing-but-still-good jerk spice blend for people who tear up upon hearing the words “Scotch Bonnet.” Adapted from this mix.

Decidedly Inauthentic Jerk Seasoning


  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp ground Allspice
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp dried chives


  1. Mix all ingredients together.
  2. Don’t get distracted and forget whether you added 1 or 2 tsp of a certain ingredient to it. That’s the wooooOOOOOooooorst.
  3. Store in a tightly sealed container.
  4. Frantically look up recipes that require jerk spice, because 1/2 a cup is a lot. (My suggestions: marinades, mix it into that curry you’re waiting to make when your roommates aren’t home, grilling, and GOOGLE. Seriously, Google it. You’ll be fine.)



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