Jamaican Jerk Burgers

Looking for a way to spice up a summer barbecue? Try these hamburger patties, seasoned with a homemade Jamaican jerk spice mixture of Scotch bonnet peppers, allspice, thyme, cinnamon, nutmeg, green onions, and garlic. Scotch bonnets, or their habanero cousins, are insanely hot, so you don’t really need much, half a 1 1/2-inch long pepper, seeds removed. Some people substitute jalapenos, but the flavor really is different, so I would stick to Scotch bonnets or habaneros if you can get them. Cool off the chili heat with a citrus, mayo-based coleslaw. The oil in the mayo helps to absorb the spicy chili, to take the edge of the heat.

Jamaican Jerk Burgers Recipe

  • Yield: Makes 6 burgers.

Scotch Bonnet and Habanero chile peppers are very hot and can cause extreme pain if they come in contact with your eyes. We strongly recommend wearing protective gloves while handling the chilies and the jerk mixture.



  • 2 teaspoons white vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp water
  • 1/2 Scotch bonnet or habanero chili pepper, seeds removed, minced
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onion, including greens
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon molasses
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef, at least 16% fat
  • 2 cups shredded cabbage
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • Pinch of chopped thyme
  • 3 Tbsp mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbsp of orange juice or lime juice (if using lime juice add a teaspoon of sugar)
  • 1 teaspoon of grated orange or lime zest
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


1 In a food processor, put the vinegar, water, chili, green onion, garlic, thyme, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, molasses, 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Pulse until finely chopped. If you do not have a food processor, finely mince the chili, garlic, and green onion. Mix ingredients together in a bowl.

2 Using your hands, gently mix the jerk mixture in with the ground beef in a large bowl until just incorporated. Do not over-mix. Shape into patties, about 1/2 inch thick and wider than the diameter of your hamburger bun. Chill about 30 minutes or until you are ready to cook. (Remember to wear gloves while handling jerk seasoning or thoroughly wash hands with soap and water after handling.)

3 In a medium bowl, gently mix the cabbage, red onion, thyme, mayonnaise, citrus juice, zest, salt and pepper.

4 Prepare gas or charcoal grill for cooking over high direct heat. Place the patties on the clean, well-oiled grill grate. Grill the burgers for about 5 minutes per side. Do not press down on the burgers while cooking. If you don't have a grill, you can use a grill pan or a cast iron frying pan.

Serve burgers topped with coleslaw, with or without hamburger buns.

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Showing 4 of 16 Comments

  • CJ


    We are fans of making flavor themed burgers. So when I read this recipe I couldn’t wait to try it.

    I love jerk and burgers. This recipe is fantastic!

    I admit I did add some chopped orange to the coleslaw for extra color and juice bursts.

    But wow– the jerk seasoning in the burgers was absolutely delicious. That teaspoon of molasses really adds a wonderful mellowness that accentuates the spices.

    Thanks! We will be making these again and again.

  • Kinsey

    Ever since visiting Virgin Gorda 3 years ago, my husband and I have been big fans of authentic jerk flavor. We discovered that they key really is the allspice. Even if we don’t feel “fancy” we always at least put teriyaki, jerk or cajun seasoning and allspice in our burger before grilling.
    Try also grilling pineapple rings to top these spicy burgers

  • Sarah

    Oh my gosh…my husband and I were JUST TALKING about Jamaican-spiced burgers. When we lived in Guam, there was this little place called Jamaican Grill that had THE most delicious jerk burgers, and we miss it desperately! We can’t wait to try it!

    By the way, Outdoor Cook, I grew up in teeny-tiny Oakdale, out off Rodden Road…it’s a small world! ;)

  • James

    Why is there pumpkin pie spice in your jerk seasoning?

    Hi James, you could also ask, why are there parts of jerk seasoning in pumpkin pie? These are just spices that work well in a jerk seasoning. ~Elise

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