Turn Up The Heat In Your Chicken Salad With Jerk Seasoning

Chicken salad in bowl
Chicken salad in bowl - Bhofack2/Getty Images

There are many ingredient and seasoning swaps that any home cook can use to make a new rendition of chicken salad. There's barbecue chicken salad and the growingly-popular curried chicken salad that adds curry powder to the likes of mayonnaise and the other usual mix-ins. To further turn up the heat in your next batch, grab a jar of jerk seasoning — the kind you might already use for flavor-packed jerk chicken or Jamaican jerk chicken wings.

The Jamaican blend commonly consists of spices like ground cloves, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, paprika, and onion and garlic powders. All of those spices will provide a mix of earthy, spicy, and smoky flavors to any dish. In general, poultry is mild which is why the boldness of jerk seasoning works so well with chicken in a variety of recipes, including chicken salad. Even if you are sensitive to bold flavors, ingredients like creamy mayonnaise and vegetables will offset some of the spice levels. For this upgrade, make your own jerk seasoning blend with spices in your cabinet or use a store-bought package to make it easier.

Read more: 12 Different Ways To Cook Chicken

Pair Jerk Seasoning With Ingredients Like Peppers To Upgrade Chicken Salad

Seasoning in measuring spoon
Seasoning in measuring spoon - Michelle Lee Photography/Getty Images

You can use whatever type of chicken, condiments, and other ingredients you normally would for a jerk-seasoned chicken salad, but there are some options that lean into the origins of the spice or help temper its flavor. Many recipes for jerk chicken (like ours) add Scotch bonnet chilis in the marinade, so chop up a couple of those and toss them in the bowl for authentic flavors. Others like red or green bell peppers are a good option if you prefer less heat. Fresh herbs like cilantro pair well with the bold spices in the blend, and don't forget celery or raw red onion to add some crunch to each bite.

Tasting Table has some other chicken salad recipes that would pair well with jerk seasoning if you don't already have your own go-to. Our crisp and creamy chicken salad recipe with mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, and fresh lemon juice could use a boost with jerk seasoning. Alternatively, add the spices to apple pecan chicken salad to balance the sweetness from the fruits. Whatever recipe you use, be warned, because it doesn't much jerk seasoning to seriously increase the heat in chicken salad. Start with 2 teaspoons for every four servings and add more to taste.

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