Commonly recognized as a hallmark of Caribbean cuisine, jerk shrimp stands alongside jerk chicken as one of Jamaica’s signature dishes. Many recipes for this bright, summery grilled shrimp dinner start with a homemade jerk seasoning marinade (a mixture of puréed Scotch bonnet peppers, allspice, ginger, and a host of other aromatics that might include bell peppers, habaneros, soy sauce, jalapeños, brown sugar, fresh thyme, and more). Others may rely on a premade spice blend with an equally long list, including cayenne pepper, garlic powder, and paprika. This Jamaican jerk shrimp recipe, however, comes together quickly thanks to a scoop of store-bought jerk seasoning paste—we like Walkerswood Traditional Jamaican jerk paste—which acts as an instant flavor enhancer for the seafood.
You can use fresh or frozen shrimp for this dish; if buying fresh, look for large or jumbo deveined shrimp, and if using frozen, thaw the shrimp in the refrigerator overnight. Marinate the raw shrimp for at least 30 minutes (and up to 8 hours; any longer and the shrimp will start to get mushy).
To balance the heat, pair the jerk shrimp with a citrusy, herbaceous pineapple salad. If you’re nervous about cutting a fresh pineapple, follow our guide for tips. No fresh pineapples to be found? Opt for a mango salsa. Serve as is, or tuck everything into tortillas for shrimp tacos, or pile onto a plate with grilled vegetables.
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Whisk ¼ cup mild jerk seasoning paste and 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil in a medium bowl. Add 2 lb. large shrimp, peeled, deveined, and lightly season with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper; toss to coat. Cover and chill at least 30 minutes and up to 8 hours.
Meanwhile, prepare a grill for medium heat; oil grate. Grill 1 medium pineapple, peeled, cored, sliced into ½"-thick rounds, turning halfway through, until tender and there are deep brown marks on both sides, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and let cool slightly.
Cut pineapple into ¼" pieces; place in a large bowl. Add ½ medium red onion, thinly sliced, 1 Persian cucumber, halved, thinly sliced, 1 cup finely chopped cilantro, ⅓ cup fresh lime juice, and 1 tsp. Diamond Crystal or ½ tsp. Morton kosher salt; toss well.
Thread shrimp onto skewers. Cook shrimp on grill until opaque and lightly charred, 3–4 minutes per side.
Spoon pineapple salad onto plates with a slotted spoon, then top with shrimp. Spoon any juices left in bowl over shrimp.
To make without a grill: Heat broiler. Spread marinated shrimp out on one side of a rimmed baking sheet (do not skewer); arrange pineapple on other side. Broil, turning halfway through, until shrimp are opaque and pineapple is blistered in spots, about 5 minutes.
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Delish and easy
Loved this recipe - used spicy jerk paste instead of mild to get a bit more of a kick which paired nicely with the sweetness of pineapple. Also used a broiler instead of the grill and it was still delicious.
I enjoyed making this and it turned out well. I also made my own jerk seasoning from my pantry using, onion powder, black pepper, salt, mustard, all spice, chili peper, and thyme. With a ripe pineapple the salad is great!
I'm not leaving a rating because I didn't follow the recipe exactly. I like the simplicity of the salad. I don't know if this was just weird labeling by the grocery store, but I bought large shrimp and they weren't nearly as big as the ones in the image. Mostly commenting to suggest that people buy jumbo shrimp. I also didn't have jerk, so I used creole seasoning, and it was just okay.
This was delicious. As other reviewers, I had to make my own jerk paste. I made jerk seasoning with spices on hand, and added molasses and apple cider vinegar until it was the right consistency. I served everything on corn taco shells with lime crema. The shrimp were eaten up quickly but the leftover salad was delicious on its own as leftovers.
This was excellent and just as good cold as leftovers. I only could find a jerk hot sauce so the flavor wasn't as strong as it should be. We'll definitely try again with jerk paste.
This jerk shrimp recipe is amazing. I did not have jerk seasoning paste but made my own jerk paste using jerk seasoning, honey and some lemon juice. The shrimp with the grilled pineapple salad was outstanding and easy to make. The perfect blend of spicy and sweet!