Sometimes I like to get out of my usual pepperoni pizza rut and get crazy with a gourmet pizza. Caribbean Jerk Chicken Pizza is one of my favs and I’ll tell you why!
While visiting my aunt in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, we often frequent a special pizza place that has some unique ingredients. One combo stands out – honey with spicy toppings!
Between visits, I crave one of their most popular varieties. And because I couldn’t get my hands on their sweet and spicy Caribbean Jerk Chicken Pizza, I decided to try my hand at it to control the cravings between visits.
Why You’ll Love Caribbean Jerk Chicken Pizza
If you are a sucker for pizza of any kind, I can pretty much guarantee that this will be right up your alley.
- Sweet & Spicy – This match made in heaven is not used enough in pizza and really shines in this recipe.
- Homemade Pizza – I don’t know about you, but pizza shops with fancy toppings or unique takes can usually take quite the hit on the wallet. This lets you bring restaurant-quality pizza to your home kitchen.
- Fast Favorite – Does this take a little extra time? Yes, it does. Will it become a fast favorite in your household? Also, yes.
What is Caribbean Jerk Chicken Pizza?
Caribbean Jerk Chicken Pizza is an easy homemade pizza recipe using spicy chicken, fresh vegetables, and a touch of honey. Depending on how involved you would like the recipe to be, you can make your own dough or buy something pre-made.
What is Jerk?
“Jerk” is a term referring to a style of meat that is seasoned, smoked, and grilled. The style of cooking and the flavors it touts hail from Jamaica’s Arawak people, an indigenous group that cooked meats in smokeless pits in the ground.
Throughout the years, jerk has been shared all over the world and chicken has become a popular protein to use. Seasonings and marinades used vary from household to household and restaurant to restaurant but flavors often include scotch bonnet peppers, scallions, garlic, ginger, thyme, pimento, and cinnamon.
The toppings for Caribbean jerk pizza chicken pizza just can’t be beat! Mushrooms, red onion, bell pepper, tomato sauce, spicy chicken, mozzarella cheese and of course, honey will blow your mind.
- Chicken – Great cut of chicken for quick cooking and for taking on flavor like jerk seasoning.
- Jerk Seasoning – Easily found in the spice aisle at most stores. Check the label to see what each one does or does not include and grab more than one to try out different blends!
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil – This is going to provide a liquid medium for the jerk seasoning and some fat to help carry the oils from the spices through to the chicken.
- Pre-made Pizza Dough or Pizza Crust – Using pre-made dough will mean you will need to stretch out your own crust. Using a pre-made crust is great, but be sure to read the instructions so you know what you need to do before cooking it. The biggest tip for making jerk chicken pizza is to use a hearty crust whether that be a pre-baked crust or rolling your pizza dough out a little thicker than normal.
- Pizza Sauce or Marinara – Either works well here. They are similar but different with the pizza sauce being thicker with blended tomatoes and the marinara being slightly thinner.
- Plum Tomatoes – Also known as Roma Tomatoes, these are oblong and firm making them a great choice for dishes going into the oven.
- Green Bell Pepper – The immature fruit of the bell pepper plant with a vegetal flavor. Be sure to grab one that has firm, smooth skin. Dimples on the skin mean it is on its way out the door to the trash bin.
- Yellow Bell Pepper – A green bell pepper that has had a little more time to ripen. When choosing your bell peppers, again it is all about the smooth, firm skin.
- Red Onion – These are high in sugar and have a much sweeter flavor as a result.
- Mushrooms – White, cremini, or baby bella mushrooms work wonderfully for this recipe. If you have portabellos, they will work too, but be sure to chop them into smaller pieces.
- Mozzarella Cheese – Be sure to grab low-moisture mozzarella as it has less water content and will help to prevent your crust from being soggy.
- Honey – I go with the classic honey bear bottles for easy honey distribution.
- Corn Meal – This helps to prevent the dough of the pizza from sticking to the cooking surface. It also gives the cooked pizza an added crunch.
- Flour – This also helps to prevent the dough of the pizza from sticking to the cooking surface.
How to Make Caribbean Jerk Chicken Pizza
The biggest thing is to be sure you give your chicken enough time to marinate. Past that, this recipe is smooth sailing!
- Tenderize and season your chicken. Chicken breasts are not uniform in thickness and the meat can be a little tough, tenderizing it will remedy all these things. It will also allow the jerk seasoning to better penetrate the fibers of the meat. The olive oil and jerk seasoning will mix to become a flavor marinade. Allow to marinate for 2 hours or overnight if you have the time, cook, and break down into bite-sized pieces.
- Pre-heat. Using olive oil and cornmeal together on your pizza stone or pizza pan will ensure the dough will release once it cooks. Allowing your cooking surface to preheat in the oven is much like heating up a pan to cook a steak – it needs to be hot to create a sear. It is no different for pizza dough.
- Prep your pizza building station. If you are lucky to have a baker’s peel (those paddles folks at the pizza shop use), great! If not, an inverted baking sheet works just as well. Flour it lightly and dust it with some more cornmeal. This will help the dough from sticking so you can get it into the oven. Once prepped, get the dough or the pizza crust onto it.
- Top the pie. Using a thin layer of olive oil helps to create a barrier so the ingredients don’t get the dough all soggy.
- Bake! Transferring the dough or pizza crust is probably the most tricky element of the recipe. Work carefully, steadily, and slowly and be sure to watch your fingers if you are working with a hot pizza stone. Cook time will vary due to a lot of factors. Start with 15 minutes and then check every minute on the minute as it can go from not done to overdone in a hurry. When the edges are browned and the cheese is bubbly, you are in business and ready to pull the pizza.
- Drizzle. This is quite possibly the best step, drizzle the whole thing with the honey. Because I use the little squeezy bears, I tend to eyeball this step. You can also let your guests do it themselves!
Tips Crispy Pizza Crust
There are three ways to get a crispy pizza crust at home and without having an 800F+ degree stone pizza oven. It all has to do with the dough or the crust:
- A pizza stone is a relatively inexpensive way to mimic the effects of a pizza oven at home and will give you crispy crusts every time. You can also use it for calzones, stromboli, and more!
- The toppings are heavy and need a good base. I’ve attempted it with a cauliflower pizza crust, but it just isn’t sturdy enough and got soggy. Be sure to roll your dough out a bit more thick than you would normally or buy a pre-made crust that isn’t thin.
- A pre-made, pre-cooked crust goes directly on the rack for the best results. Skip the corn meal and flour steps.
- Lastly, you can grill your pizza. You’ll want a prebaked crust, but it is the closest you’ll get to a wood-fired grilled pizza. It can go directly on the grates.
What to Serve Jerk Chicken Pizza With
Serve this easy pizza recipe for lunch or dinner, or cut it into smaller squares to serve as an appetizer. It also pairs nicely with a leafy green salad, Grilled Corn Salad, or even Homemade Garlic Knots.
There are a ton of options to explore with this recipe. Here are just a few ideas:
- Chicken thighs – swap the chicken breasts for some dark meat. Marinate and cook the same way using boneless skinless chicken breasts.
- Bottled Jerk Sauce – Grocery stores often sell bottled jerk sauces. Skip the dry seasoning and oil in my recipe and substitute it for a couple of tablespoons of liquid jerk sauce for the marinade.
- Scallions – A key ingredient in many jerk chicken recipes, top your pizza with some fresh, thinly sliced scallions for a nice fresh bite!
Storing and Freezing
Make Ahead: The chicken can be marinated and cooked off up to three days before you make your pizza.
Storage: I like to slice any leftovers into little single servings and then wrap them up tightly in plastic wrap before popping them in the fridge. The smaller pieces make it easier to grab a late-night or after school snack OR to reheat it quickly.
Reheating: The easiest option is the microwave but be forewarned, you will lose some textural integrity. Preheat the oven to 375 F and bake until the cheese is melty and the chicken hot, about 5-10 minutes.
Freezing: Put your completely cooled leftovers in a freezer-safe container or better yet a freezer bag and press out any air. Freeze for up to 4 weeks. To reheat, allow it to thaw to room temperature and reheat according to the instructions above.
If you like this easy pizza recipe, you’ll love these others!
- Artichoke Chicken Pot Pie
- Spicy Hawaiian Calzones
- Easy Calzones
- Cheeseburger Pizza
- Shrimp Scampi Pizza
Caribbean Jerk Chicken Pizza
- 1 chicken breast boneless, skinless
- 2 tablespoons jerk seasoning divided
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil divided
- 1 ball pre-made pizza dough or pizza crust
- 1/2 cup pizza sauce or marinara
- 1 plum tomato ends removed, thinly sliced, then halved to half moon shapes
- 1/3 cup green bell pepper diced
- 1/3 cup yellow bell pepper diced
- 1/3 cup red onion diced
- 1/3 cup mushrooms sliced
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese shredded
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1/2 cup corn meal yellow or white
- 2 tablespoons flour
- extra oil for pizza stone seasoning if you are using a pizza stone
- Tenderize (beat) your one chicken breast slightly until evenly thick. Place in a small airtight bag with 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1 tablespoon jerk seasoning. Place in refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours, maximum of 24. Remove and grill or cook on stove top until fully cooked. Chop or shred into small bite sized pieces. Set aside. *
- Spread 1 tablespoon olive oil on chosen cooking platform (stone or metal pizza pan). Sprinkle with 1/4 cup cornmeal. Don’t be shy with the cornmeal, it doesn’t have a lot of taste and will help with a crispy crust! Preheat oven to 425 degrees with the pizza stone or metal pizza baking sheet inside. Pre-heating it with the oven will help your crust to bake evenly.
- Use either a bakers peel or an inverted cooking sheet. Flour lightly and spread with 1/4 cup corn meal directly to the peel or baking sheet. This will help transfer the pizza to oven easily and crisp the crust. Transfer pizza dough to the peel or baking sheet.
- Using a pastry brush, brush out 1 tablespoon olive oil onto naked pizza crust. This creates a barrier between the dough and the toppings that prevents the crust from getting soggy. Spread 1/2 cup tomato sauce over dough, continue with 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon jerk seasoning evenly over the cheese and pizza sauce. Cheese on the bottom will help the toppings to stick. Continue to top with both colors bell peppers, onions, mushrooms and chicken. Top with remaining mozzarella cheese.
- Gently transfer the pizza from the bakers peel or baking sheet onto the pizza stone or metal baking sheet in the oven. This could possibly be the most difficult part of this recipe, but I have faith you can do it! Cooking times may vary by oven and dough thickness with vary by pizza. I suggest starting with 15 minutes and then checking every minute. Ideally you want your edges to be browned, but not burnt and the cheese to be melted. Mine took 20 minutes.
- Remove from oven and drizzle 2 tablespoons honey over top the entire pizza. Slice and serve!