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Jamaican jerk tacos made with spice-rubbed chicken, a mango black bean salsa, and a delicious jalapeño-cilantro sauce.
These flavorful tacos come together quickly for an easy weeknight meal that the whole family will love! Add these jamaican jerk tacos into your “Taco Tuesday” meal rotation alongside this shrimp taco recipe, these chicken tacos, these vegetarian tacos, and these quinoa tacos.
Any excuse to eat tacos and cover them in mango salsa and I am IN! These tacos are so easy to throw together and filled with delicious flavors and textures.
These tacos are also great for meal prepping. I’ve been doubling up on the chicken, salsa, & sauce and using the extra to pack lunches for the week. We alternate serving them in tortillas or over coconut rice for our lunches. And I’ll tell you, we’re all looking forward to lunch time knowing these are waiting! 🙂
How to make Jamaican jerk tacos
- Sauce: start by making the jalapeño-cilantro sauce so the flavors have a chance to intensify. Stick in the fridge while you’re preparing everything else!
- Chicken: quite possibly the easiest preparation — simply rub a jamaican jerk seasoning over all sides of the chicken and cook in a skillet, grill pan, or outdoor grill.
- Mango black bean salsa: toss together all of the salsa ingredients (see how to cut a mango here), char the tortillas, and get ready for dinner heaven!
Tips for this recipe
- Make the sauce ahead of time: the jalapeño cilantro sauce needs time for the flavors to meld and intensify. If possible, make it in the morning or a day to two in advance for when enjoying these Jamaican jerk tacos. Bonus: dinner prep will go even that much faster with the sauce out of the way! 🙂
- Get ripest possible mango: the mango does so much for these tacos in way of flavor or texture. To have the best possible flavor/texture you want to get the best mango possible!
- How to know a mango is ripe:
- While it’s tempting to focus on color, don’t. It is not the best indicator of ripeness.
- ALWAYS judge by feel! Squeeze the mango gently; a ripe mango will give slightly (overripe will squish down).
- Ripe mangos will sometimes have a fruity aroma at the stem end.
- How to know a mango is ripe:
- Char the tortillas: while an optional step, charring tortillas does a lot for the texture of these Jamaican jerk tacos!
- Spray the tortillas (both sides) with olive oil cooking spray and char the tortillas directly over the gas flames for a few seconds. Use tongs to flip until tortillas are lightly charred.
- Halve chicken breasts: slice the chicken breasts in half and then pound them into even thickness before adding the seasoning. This ensures even cooking! I like using a meat mallet to pound the breasts, but the bottom of your frying pan or even a rolling pin all work great.
How to meal prep this taco recipe
- Prepare the sauce and then pour it into 4 individual sauce containers.
- Prepare the chicken and allow it to completely cool. Thinly slice and evenly separate the chicken into 4 containers sectioned to the left side (these are my favorite meal prep containers).
- Place 2 tortillas in an airtight plastic bag and place right next to the chicken. On the right side of the container add the mango black bean salsa. (Alternatively add rice to your meal prep containers in place of the tortillas)
- To serve your Jamaican jerk tacos: warm the tortillas in a microwave and then the chicken. Top tortillas with chicken, the cold mango black bean salsa, and plenty of the sauce. If desired you can add fresh lime and fresh avocado OR guacamole to your daily meal prep. (I like packing one pre-made guacamole snack pack (usually found in the produce section by refrigerated dressings/sauces) with each lunch so it stays perfectly fresh!)
Serve these tacos alongside:
Jamaican jerk tacos made with chicken, a mango black bean salsa, and a delicious jalapeño-cilantro sauce.
- 2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts (~1.3 pounds total)
- 4-6 teaspoons jerk seasoning (store bought OR make your own mix)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, separated
- Tacos: 12 small corn or flour tortillas, 1 ripe avocado (optional), additional lime and/or cilantro (optional)
- 1 can (15 ounces) black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 large ripe mango, peeled and diced (~1 and 1/2 cups)
- 1/4 cup finely diced red onion
- 1/3 cup finely diced red pepper
- 1/4 cup diced cilantro
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- Fine sea salt and freshly cracked pepper
- 3/4 cup mayo
- 1/2 cup firmly packed fresh cilantro leaves
- 1 jalapeno, coarsely chopped (remove seeds and ribs) Note 1
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic (reduce if sensitive to garlic)
- 2-3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
SAUCE: start with the sauce: in a small powerful food processor or blender, combine the following: mayo, firmly packed cilantro, coarsely chopped jalapeno pepper, minced garlic, lime juice (add to preference I like the full 3 tablespoons), cumin, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Pulse until smooth. Pour sauce into a bowl/container and cover. Place in the fridge to allow flavors to meld and intensify. (I like making the sauce up to a day in advance).
CHICKEN: Pat the chicken breasts dry with a paper towel. Slice breasts in half horizontally to get 4 pieces. Place a piece of plastic wrap over the chicken and gently pound the chicken breasts into an even thickness (use a meat mallet or the bottom of your frying pan). Lightly drizzle chicken with olive oil. Sprinkle the jerk seasoning over all of the chicken pieces (both sides) and then pat it into chicken making sure it's all well coated. Add seasoning to taste; I like to use about 1 teaspoon per piece of chicken.
COOK CHICKEN: GRILL/GRILL PAN: Preheat a grill to medium-high heat (about 400 degrees F.) Generously oil the grill or ridges of grill pan (I drench a rolled-up paper towel in vegetable oil and, holding it with tongs, rub it over the grill grates.) Place the chicken onto the grill and grill 5 to 6 minutes per side, until the chicken is cooked through (internal temperature 165 degrees F). Remove the chicken from the grill and let rest for 5 minutes. Chop the chicken into small, bite-sized pieces OR slice into thin strips against the grain.
COOK CHICKEN: SKILLET: Add 1 tablespoon oil to a large skillet. Heat to medium high heat. Once hot, add the chicken and cook 6 to 7 minutes per side, until the chicken is cooked through (internal temperature 165 degrees F, no longer pink in the center, and juices run clear). Remove cooked chicken let it rest for 5 minutes. Chop the chicken into small, bite-sized pieces OR slice into thin strips against the grain.
SALSA: while chicken is cooking, prepare the salsa. Drain and rinse black beans and add to a large bowl. Dice the mango (you should get about 1 and 1/2 cups). Add to bowl. Add red onion, red pepper, cilantro, lime juice, and cumin. Stir together. Season to taste with salt and pepper (I add 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, add to preference). Stir together again.
ASSEMBLE: To serve, char tortillas if desired (Note 2). Add sliced chicken and then mango black bean salsa. Add sauce to taste. Add thinly sliced avocado if desired. Serve with lime wedges (or just squeeze fresh lime over everything) and additional cilantro if desired. Enjoy!
Note 1: a heaping 1/4 cup coarsely chopped jalapeno. Remove seeds and ribs completely for a more mild sauce. The more wrinkly the skin of the jalapeno, the spicier it will be. I don't think the jalapeno makes this sauce super hot (with the mayo balancing it out), but if you're worried, add jalapeno slowly. Note that the spiciness/flavor intensifies as this sauce sits/chills.
Note 2: spray the tortillas (both sides) with olive oil cooking spray and char the tortillas directly over the gas flames for a few seconds. Use tongs to flip until tortillas are lightly charred.