Every bite of this spiced Caribbean chicken made in the air fryer is juicy, luscious and a testimony to the fragrant spices, flair and exotic flavors you find in Caribbean cooking. As usual, the air fryer locks in the juiciness and creates the perfect chicken every time.
While the Caribbean is known for its fiery jerk chicken, I’ve used just a few common ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen, and it’s not overly spicy. I wanted to make sure the cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger flavors, which I think are so endearing to Caribbean fare, stayed prominent.
I knew I wanted to make these seasoned chicken thighs in the air fryer. Air frying locks in the juiciness of the chicken thighs, and they cook to perfection, browned and beautiful.
However, it’s not just the juicy chicken that makes this easy dinner recipe sooooo good, it’s also the blend of ingredients I’ve put together to make this chicken with a Caribbean twist.
Reader Joann says: …”This spice mix is so flavorful despite it not requiring the entire cabinet’s worth of spices. Love it!”
Here’s Why You’ll Love This Caribbean Style Chicken
- It’s family-friendly, meaning it’s not too over-the-top spicy like jerk chicken.
- Chicken thighs are perfect for the air fryer and stay so juicy.
- A simple weeknight meal, ready in no time.
- Leftovers stay juicy.
Reader Kim gave this five star review: …“I made this the other day and the whole family inhaled it so fast. We love Caribbean food and the spice level was perfection for all of us. Thanks for a great recipe!”
Ingredients You Need and Why:
- Boneless, skinless chicken thighs: I use chicken thighs because they are tender and cook quickly, making them ideal for this recipe.
- Salt and pepper: I use salt and pepper for seasoning the chicken, before seasoning with the other Caribbean flavored spices.
- Coriander: Ground coriander adds a citrusy and slightly sweet flavor, which really goes with the other spices well and is commonly used in Caribbean cooking.
- Cinnamon: I love the warmth and depth cinnamon adds to this dish, it adds a touch of sweetness too.
- Cayenne pepper: I include cayenne pepper for its heat, which gives the chicken its characteristic Caribbean kick. Jerk chicken often has scotch bonnet peppers in it’s seasoning, which is too spicy for me.
- Ground ginger: Adds a subtle spicy and aromatic note to the air fryer chicken rub.
- Nutmeg: Nutmeg adds a warm and earthy flavor to the spice mix.
- Coconut oil: I use coconut oil for its subtle tropical aroma and flavor. It pairs perfectly with the Caribbean-inspired spices and adds richness to the chicken. I use it in my coconut oil cookies for the same reasons.
Can I switch out any of the seasonings and spices? Feel free to experiment with other spices commonly used in Caribbean cuisine, such as allspice, paprika, garlic powder, or thyme. These can add even more depth and complexity to the flavor profile of the chicken.
How To Make Caribbean Air Fried Chicken
- Bring to room temperature. Remove chicken from packaging, pat dry, and place on a paper towel-lined baking sheet. Season both sides with salt and pepper. Allow the chicken to rest for 30 minutes to reach room temperature before air frying.
- Create spice mix. Mix coriander, cinnamon, cayenne, ginger, and nutmeg in a bowl. Coat chicken pieces with the spice blend and brush both sides with coconut oil.
- Air Fry. Arrange chicken pieces in the air fryer basket, ensuring they don’t overlap. Air fry at 390°F for 10 minutes. Transfer the cooked chicken to an oven-safe dish, cover tightly with foil, and keep warm in the oven. Repeat the air frying process with the remaining chicken.
Can I freeze any leftovers? Yes, you can freeze leftover cooked chicken by placing it in an airtight container or freezer bag, making sure it’s cooled completely beforehand. Thaw it in the refrigerator overnight before reheating and consuming.
- You’ll want to cover both sides of your chicken thighs with the spice mixture and brush each piece with coconut oil.
- Make sure your chicken thighs are 3-4 oz. each in size, otherwise you will want to slice them in half.
- It’s okay if the chicken thighs are touching in the air fryer basket, but do keep them from overlapping. You will need to make this in batches.
- Beginning temperature of the chicken will make a difference in cooking time. Make sure juices are running clear before transferring chicken out of the air fryer. If the chicken needs a couple more minutes, just continue to air fry until done.
What to Serve with Caribbean Chicken?
When serving Caribbean style chicken, consider complementing it with sides that balance its flavors and add variety to the meal.
More Air Fryer Recipes
- Air Fryer Maple Glazed Salmon
- Air Fryer Apple Pie Chimichangas
- Air Fryer Fish Nuggets
- Air Fryer Bang Bang Shrimp
- Air Fryer French Toast Sticks
- Air Fryer Pumpkin Spice Chex Mix
- Air Fryer S’mores Egg Rolls
- Air Fryer 4-Ingredient Bagels
- Air Fryer Pickles
- Air Fryer Chickpeas
- Air Fryer Salmon
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Air Fryer Caribbean Chicken
- Remove chicken from packaging and pat dry. Place on a large baking sheet covered with paper towels to soak up any residual liquid. Salt and pepper both sides of the chicken. Let chicken sit for 30 minutes so it is not so cold when going into the air fryer.3 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thigh fillets, coarse ground black pepper, table salt
- In a small bowl combine coriander, cinnamon, cayenne, ginger and nutmeg. Coat each piece of chicken with spice mixture and brush both sides with coconut oil.1 tbsp ground coriander, 1 tbsp ground cinnamon, 1 tbsp cayenne pepper, 1-1/2 tsps ground ginger, 1-1/2 tsps ground nutmeg, 3 tbsps coconut oil, melted
- Place four pieces of chicken into your air fryer basket (they should not overlap, but it's okay if they are touching). Air fry at 390 degrees F for 10 minutes. Remove chicken from basket and place chicken in an oven safe dish, covering tightly with foil. Keep warm in the oven until all chicken is done. Repeat air frying instructions with the rest of the chicken.
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