Juicy, plump shrimp with BOLD island flavors… Jerk Shrimp! Caribbean style.
Spicy, balanced with the right amount of sweetness and loads of zesty, bright flavors. Just a few simple ingredients from your pantry and you can create an amazingly delicious shrimp recipe in under 20 minutes.
You can cook Jerk shrimp on the stove, or grill it if you feel like cooking outdoors. Serve them up on rice bowls, tacos, salads and wraps. All good… so good.
One look at our Jerk Shrimp, and you can guess that this is not your average shrimp dinner. They are loaded with flavors, and the inspiration behind them is our love for anything Jerk.
We make Jerk Chicken here quite often, and wanted to give the same island flavors to our favorite seafood. Today we decided to use dry Jerk Seasoning for this recipe, instead of Jerk Marinade. But you can use either one of them, or a little of both for a flavor explosion.
You will Absolutely Love these Jamaican Style Jerk Shrimp, cos
- Flavor, flavor, flavor: In every single bite, you will get smoky, zesty, spicy, sweet and tangy flavors. Jerk shrimp is meant to have some spicy kick, but here it’s well balanced with sweetness from honey and tang from lime.
- Super fast and quick: Once you marinate the shrimp a little (shrimp don’t need long marination time, as they are delicate), you can whip up jerk shrimp in under 10 minutes.
- Pantry staple recipe: Most of the ingredients are already in your pantry. No need to make a special trip to the store.
- Versatile with tons of serving suggestions: We will give you tons of serving suggestions later in the post.
What is Jamaican Jerk?
Jerk is a Jamaican style of cooking. This rustic, traditional home cooking method, with it’s unique seasoning, is the Caribbean way to barbecue. This cooking style involves marinating the meat with a dry rub or marinating sauce, and then grilling it over open fires. The smoke and the spices in the marinade results in a smoky, spicy, zesty plate of chicken, beef, fish, or other meat.
The term “jerk” is thought to be derived from an English translation of the Spanish word “Charqui”, which means dried preserved strips of meat, like modern day jerky. The technique of jerk suggests it may have started out as a way to preserve wild boar, salting and smoking the meat.
These jerk shrimp use the iconic jerk flavors from their seasoning rub, and few other flavor enhancers like honey, soy and lime to crate that sweet and spicy kick.
Jamaican Jerk Seasoning is a famous rub all over Caribbean. There are many versions, but typically it’s a mix of spices and herbs like nutmeg, allspice, smoked paprika, cayenne, red chili flakes, cinnamon, sugar, thyme, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper.
What Type of Shrimp to Use
We recommend using jumbo or colossal shrimp for Jerk shrimp. If they are wild caught, that’s the best kind. Either fresh or frozen both can for these spicy Caribbean style shrimp.
If using frozen shrimp, make sure you thaw the shrimp completely and pat dry before using. We like to keep the tail on, but that’s a personal preference.
Jerk Shrimp Ingredients:
- Thyme – We use fresh thyme, but you can use dried thyme in its absence.
- Honey – Balances the spicy notes.
- Soy sauce – Lends a little umami touch to the fiery kick.
- Lime – Lends a good tang to seafood.
- Salt – To taste.
- Jerk seasoning: Hence the name Jerk shrimp. The signature jerk flavors. We are using store bought jerk seasoning today, but you can make your own jerk seasoning in a jiffy. Simply mix the following:
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1/4 tsp red chili flakes
- 1/8 tsp allspice
- 1/8 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/8 tsp sea salt
- Olive oil – For stovetop method.
Jerk Shrimp Recipe
1. Marinate: Combine shrimp with all the remaining ingredients, except olive oil, and marinate in the refrigerator for 30-60 minutes.
2. Cook: Cook the jerk shrimp according to your preferred cooking method.
Heat olive oil over medium high heat in a large skillet. Add shrimp along with marinade and cook approximately 3 minutes per side, or just until opaque and cooked through.
Heat the grill to medium-high heat. Thread the marinated shrimp onto the skewers. Grill for 2-3 minutes per side, until shrimp are fully cooked.
Tips for Jerk Shrimp Recipe
- If using frozen shrimp, thaw the shrimp completely and pat dry them dry with a paper towel before adding the seasoning rub and marinade. This way, more water doesn’t get added to the marinade, and won’t dilute the it.
- Marinating shrimp 30-60 minutes is enough to penetrate the seasoning flavors into the delicate flesh of shrimp. Longer marination can cause the shrimp to break down.
- Use high heat to to sear and cook the shrimp.
- Use a large skillet so they can be cooked in a single layer, without over crowding, which can lead to steaming rather than a golden brown char.
- If you want to bulk up the recipe, you can make shrimp skewers by threading the shrimp with bell peppers and pineapple chunks.
Serving Suggestions for Jerk Shrimp
- We love to create bowl meals with this Caribbean style shrimp. Simply serve them on a bed of rice along with Mango Salsa and lots of lime. If you want to go all out, make some Jamaican Rice and Peas.
- Jerk Shrimp Tacos are absolutely phenomenal, and binge worthy.
- Jerk Shrimp Salad: Throw them on top of any of your favorite salads. Even on Caesar, making Jerk Caesar salad. How cool!!
- Jerk Shrimp Pasta: Swirl some jerk shrimp in creamy pasta, like our Alfredo Pasta, Primavera or Pesto Pasta.
- Sandwiches and Wraps: Make a great sandwich, or wrap them up in your favorite wrap.
- In between Quesadillas and Burritos: Chop them up and fill up your burritos and quesadillas.
- On top of tostadas and burrito bowls.
- How about some nachos? We have great Surf and Turf Nachos. Simply make jerk style shrimp for that recipe.
- Serve them atop some creamy Grits. Jerk Shrimp & Grits, YUM!
Leftovers and Storage
Shrimp can be refrigerated for a couple of days without loosing the optimal flavors. We don’t recommend refrigerating seafood for a longer time.
Simply store in air tight container, and when ready to use, microwave until warm through out.
Make this easy Jamaican style shrimp for a quick weeknight dinner, or save it for some special taco night. You won’t get enough of this island favorite.
Remember, you can always adjust the heat just the way you like it, the shrimp will still have all the other flavor notes that actually enhance the spice factor.
There is always something delicious coming out of our kitchen. We’re glad that you are with us on this delicious journey called GypsyPlate. It shows in that our followers keep growing day by day. Thank you…
Jerk Shrimp, on our Gypsy Plate… enjoy!
Try these other great shrimp recipes!
Shrimp Creole with Sausage
Spicy Garlic Shrimp
New Orleans BBQ Shrimp
Asopao de Camarones
Lowcountry Shrimp & Grits
Shrimp fra Diavolo
Gambas al Ajillo
Shrimp de Jonghe
Shrimp Po’ Boy
- 1 lbs shrimp, peeled with tail-on, deveined
- 4-5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 5-6 sprigs of thyme, only leaves (see note 1)
- 1 Tbsp jerk seasoning (see note 2)
- 1 Tbsp honey
- 1 Tbsp soy sauce
- 1 lime, juiced
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- salt, to taste
- Serving suggestions:
- mango salsa
- Marinate shrimp with all the remaining ingredients, except olive oil, and marinate in the refrigerator for 30-60 minutes.
- Skillet Method: Heat olive oil over medium high heat in a large skillet. Add shrimp along with marinade and cook approximately 3 minutes per side, or just until opaque and cooked through.
- Grilling Method: Heat the grill to medium-high heat. Thread the marinated shrimp onto the skewers. Grill for 2-3 minutes per side, until shrimp are fully cooked.
- If you don't have fresh thyme, add 1/2 tsp more dried thyme.
- You can use store bought jerk seasoning, or you can make homemade jerk seasoning by mixing following:
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp paprika
¼ tsp red chili flakes
1/8 tsp allspice
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp sea salt
Nutrition InformationYield 4 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 227Total Fat 9gSaturated Fat 2gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 7gCholesterol 239mgSodium 1274mgCarbohydrates 10gFiber 1gSugar 5gProtein 27g
Nutrition information calculated by Nutritionix.
Welcome to GypsyPlate! I'm Alpana, former wordwide tour manager and professional caterer, now full time blogger. I love exploring cuisines from around the world, and my recipes have been featured on sites such as MSN, Parade, Brit + Co, CNET and AOL. You can explore my entire collection of sortable recipes in my Recipe Index or learn more about me here.
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