Caribbean Chicken with Black Bean Mango Salsa

5 from 11 votes
8 hours 35 minutes
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Can’t get to the tropics? Make a quick culinary escape with the bold, sweet and spicy jerk flavors of Caribbean Chicken with Black Bean Mango Salsa! Serve with conventional rice or jerk-spiced riced cauliflower, and you have a complete, healthy, flavor-packed meal!

Caribbean Jerk Chicken with Mango Black Bean Salsa in white bowl garnished with cilantro and squeezed lime wedges.

Why This Recipe is a Keeper!

Boneless skinless chicken breasts are a mainstay of warm-weather grilling. They’re virtually fat-free, are pure protein, and if you compare the price per pound with some other proteins, they’re still fairly affordable. However, if not cooked properly, chicken breasts can be dry and rather ho-hum.

This lively, marinated, grilled Caribbean Chicken with Black Bean and Mango Salsa is anything but ho-hum and one of the best Caribbean chicken recipes! After grilling, the jerk marinade forms a slightly crusty exterior, which keeps the chicken breasts moist, juicy and flavorful inside.

This Caribbean chicken recipe is:

  • Easy! Combine the marinade ingredients in a food processor or blender, puree, marinate the chicken, then grill it. Half the salsa is already done for you in the form of canned black beans.
  • Flavor-Packed!
  • Healthy!
  • Mostly make-ahead! The marinade can be made a day before, so it’s also great for meal prep. The salsa can also be made a day ahead of time.

Let’s make it!

Caribbean Jerk Chicken with Mango Black Bean Salsa with rice in white bowl.

But first…

What is jerk?

Jerk (such as Jamaican jerk chicken) is a cooking style native to Jamaica but common throughout the Caribbean. The word jerk is said to come from the Spanish charqui, meaning dried strips of meat similar to jerky. Authentic Jamaican jerk recipes use an extremely spicy dry spice combination or wet marinade consisting of Scotch bonnet peppers, scallions, garlic, ginger, pimento and a spice blend that consists of allspice, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, thyme, sugar and salt. The meat or poultry is cooked over an open fire, grilled or smoked. Many of these spices are found in Caribbean recipes for chicken.

How to Make Caribbean Chicken with Black Bean Mango Salsa:

Recipe Ingredients:

Here’s everything you’ll need to make this Caribbean chicken recipe, along with how to prep the ingredients. Don’t let all these ingredients intimidate you; they’re all easily obtainable ingredients, with some you may already have in your pantry. See the recipe card below for the exact quantities.

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions:

  • Chicken: So that you don’t end up with dry chicken, starting with good chicken is important.  Buy the best chicken your budget allows, preferably minimally processed, all-natural, hormone and antibiotic-free chicken. This Caribbean chicken recipe also works well with boneless skinless chicken thighs.
  • Jalapeno Peppers: Feel free to use the hottest pepper you can handle in the marinade and salsa.  Scotch bonnet or habanero peppers are generally used in jerk recipes.  My husband can tolerate those; a jalapeño or Serrano is hot enough for me. If those are still too hot for you, removing the seeds and membranes will tame them.
  • Jerk Seasoning: You can make your own with a well-stocked spice cabinet. If you don’t want to make your own, there are numerous good jerk spice blends like Badia or Penzeys.
  • Canned Black Beans: The liquid canned beans are in can be quite salty. Be sure to drain and rinse the beans in a sieve or colander before using.
  • Mango: There are numerous varieties of mangoes. The most common types found at most grocery stores are “Haden” and “Tommy Atkins.” To determine ripeness, gently squeeze the mango. A ripe mango will give slightly and will sometimes have a fruity aroma at its stem end.

Step-By-Step Instructions:

  • Gather and prep all the ingredients for the Caribbean chicken recipe.
  • Combine the marinade ingredients in a mini food processor or blender and process until smooth.
  • Taste the jerk marinade for seasoning and adjust as necessary.
  • Transfer the marinade to a non-reactive bowl, dish or zipper-top bag.
  • MAKE AHEAD: Make the marinade 1 day ahead of time and refrigerate it until needed.
  • Place the chicken in the marinade and refrigerate for up to 8 hours or overnight.
  • Flip and massage the bag occasionally to redistribute the marinade.
Chicken in marinade in gallon-size zipper-top bag.
  • While the Jamaican jerk chicken is marinating, make the Black Bean Mango Salsa.
  • Combine all the salsa ingredients in a bowl and stir. Adjust seasoning and acidity as desired. Refrigerate until needed.
  • MAKE AHEAD: Salsa can be made 1 day ahead of time. Refrigerate until needed.
Bowl of Mango Black Bean Salsa garnished with cilantro sprig.
  • When ready to cook, remove the chicken from the marinade and discard.
  • Preheat a grill or grill pan to medium-high heat.
  • Place the chicken on the grill, then reduce heat to medium and cook 5 to 6 minutes per side or until the internal temperature registers 165 degrees or the juices run clear.
Four grilled chicken breasts on grill pan.
  • Done! This is an easy, delicious Caribbean chicken recipe made with readily available ingredients! Serve the Caribbean Chicken with the Mango Black Bean Salsa!
Two servings of Caribbean Jerk Chicken with Mango Black Bean Salsa with rice in white bowls.

How to Safely Cook Chicken:

Chicken is cooked through and safe to consume when an instant-read thermometer reads 165 degrees inserted into the thickest part.  If cooked to a higher temperature, you risk it being dry.  A good, accurate meat thermometer is important for food safety and allows you to safely enjoy what you spent hard-earned money on and took the time to prepare. I love Thermapens! Pricey but the best and most accurate!

Caribbean Jerk Chicken with Mango Black Bean Salsa with white rice in white bowl.

Chef Tips and Tricks:

  • I often marinate chicken and other proteins in a gallon-size zipper-top bag for easy clean-up. Placing the protein in a zipper-top bag allows the marinade to thoroughly coat it because you can “massage” the bag and distribute it evenly.
  • Because mango is somewhat slippery, the easiest way to dice it is to slice it down from the stem end on the two somewhat flat sides avoiding the large pit. Then, make cuts in the mango flesh in both directions with a paring knife. Use the dull end of the chef’s knife or paring knife to remove the already diced flesh from the skin. Like so…
How to easily dice a mango.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Why is jerk seasoning called jerk?

The word jerk reportedly stems from the Spanish word charqui, meaning dried strips of meat similar to modern-day jerky.

Is jerk seasoning spicy?

Yes, jerk seasoning is known for being spicy, but if you make it yourself, you can adjust the spice level down.

What are other ways to use jerk spice?

Jerk seasoning is also great with pork. This Caribbean jerk marinade can be used as written with pork tenderloin or pork chops along with the Black Bean Mango Salsa.

Serve with:

More easy, flavor-packed chicken breast recipes:

Grab all my anything-but-ho-hum chicken recipes at Chicken Recipes – From A Chef’s Kitchen

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Caribbean Jerk Chicken with Mango Black Bean Salsa in white bowl garnished with cilantro and squeezed lime wedges.

Caribbean Chicken with Black Bean Mango Salsa

5 from 11 votes

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By: Carol | From A Chef’s Kitchen
Make a quick culinary escape with the bold, sweet, and spicy jerk flavors of Caribbean Chicken with Black Bean Mango Salsa! Serve with conventional rice or jerk-spiced riced cauliflower and you have a complete, healthy, flavor-packed meal!
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Marinating Time 8 hours
Total Time 8 hours 35 minutes
Course Chicken and Turkey
Cuisine Caribbean
Servings 4
Calories 378 kcal

Ingredients
  

Marinade and Chicken

  • 2 medium-sized scallions - white and light green part only, coarsely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic - coarsely chopped
  • 1 jalapeño or Serrano pepper - seeded if desired, coarsely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons minced ginger
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon jerk seasoning blend - such as Penzeys
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar - packed
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt - or to taste
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves

Salsa

  • 1 can (15-ounce) black beans - drained and rinsed
  • 1 medium ripe mango - pitted and diced (about 1 cup)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1 jalapeño or Serrano pepper - seeded if desired, minced
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 cloves garlic - minced
  • 2 limes - zested and juiced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper - to taste
  • 1 tablespoon honey - optional and if needed

Instructions
 

Chicken and Marinade

  • Combine all ingredients except chicken in a mini food processor and process until smooth. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed.
  • Transfer marinade to a zipper-top plastic bag. Place chicken in the bag and remove as much air as possible. Seal then gently squeeze the bag to thoroughly coat the chicken with the marinade. Refrigerate up to 8 hours or overnight. Flip and massage the bag occasionally to redistribute the marinade.
  • Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Remove chicken from bag and discard marinade. Place chicken on the grill then reduce heat to medium and cook 5 to 6 minutes per side or until cooked through to 165 degrees.

Salsa

  • Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Adjust seasoning and acidity as desired. Serve with chicken.

Notes

SUBSTITUTIONS:  This marinade is also great with boneless skinless chicken thighs or pork tenderloin.
MAKE AHEAD:  Make the marinade 1 day ahead of time and refrigerate it until needed.  Salsa can be made 1 day ahead of time. Refrigerate until needed.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 | Calories: 378kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 13g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 72mg | Sodium: 494mg | Potassium: 707mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 16g | Vitamin A: 2000IU | Vitamin C: 42mg | Calcium: 56mg | Iron: 2mg

These are estimated values generated from a nutritional database using unbranded products. Please do your own research with the products you’re using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.

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