Jamaican Jerk Burgers

Spice up your hamburger with the feisty flavors of Jamaican jerk, habanero, allspice, cinnamon and ginger. Served with a citrus coleslaw.

Jamaican Jerk Burger
Elise Bauer

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 jalapeños, 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

Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Patti Chilling 30 mins
Total Time 65 mins
Servings 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 tablespoon 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 tablespoon fresh thyme

  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1/4 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 red onion, chopped

  • Pinch chopped thyme

  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise

  • 2 tablespoons orange juice or lime juice (if using lime juice add a teaspoon of sugar)

  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest (or lime zest)

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


  1. Make the jerk mixture:

    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. Make the patties:

    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.

  3. Chill the patties:

    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.)

  4. Make the coleslaw:

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

  5. Grill the jerk burgers:

    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.

  6. Serve:

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

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
389 Calories
25g Fat
8g Carbs
32g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 389
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 25g 32%
Saturated Fat 8g 41%
Cholesterol 104mg 35%
Sodium 380mg 17%
Total Carbohydrate 8g 3%
Dietary Fiber 2g 7%
Total Sugars 4g
Protein 32g
Vitamin C 36mg 179%
Calcium 82mg 6%
Iron 4mg 21%
Potassium 643mg 14%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.