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7 Easy Jerk Seasoning Substitutes: Spice Up the Dishes

You know how sometimes you’re mid-cooking and realize you’re out of jerk seasoning? Yeah, that’s a bummer.

So, what’s a foodie to do? We’ve got you covered with seven simple substitutes that’ll spice up your dishes. Each of these alternatives is common, easy to find, and packs a flavor punch.

We tried them ourselves—and trust us, those meals were anything but boring. Buckle up because your recipes are about to get a tasty twist with stuff already in your pantry. Let’s sprinkle a little excitement into our cooking!

7 Easy Substitutes for Jerk Seasoning

While it’s always nice to have the real thing, sometimes life happens and you need a quick solution. These seven substitutes will help you save the day when your spice cupboard is lacking jerk seasoning.

SubstituteTasteTextureRatioSuitable Dishes
Cajun SeasoningSpicy, smoky, earthyPowdery1:1Grilled meats, stews, rice dishes
Curry PowderWarm, aromatic, slightly sweetPowdery1:1Curries, roasted vegetables, rice dishes
Chili Powder and AllspiceSpicy, slightly sweet, warmPowdery1:1 (chili powder), 1/2 tsp allspice per 1 tsp jerk seasoningMarinades, rubs, stews
Smoked Paprika and Brown SugarSmoky, sweetPowdery1:1 (paprika), 1/2 tsp brown sugar per 1 tsp jerk seasoningGrilled meats, roasted vegetables, barbecue sauces
Garam MasalaWarm, aromatic, slightly sweetPowdery1:1Curries, rice dishes, roasted vegetables
Harissa PasteSpicy, smoky, slightly tangyPaste1-2 tbsp per 1 tsp jerk seasoningMarinades, dips, spreads
Berbere Spice BlendSpicy, earthy, slightly citrusyPowdery1:1Stews, braises, roasted meats and vegetables


1 – Cajun Seasoning

One of our go-to substitutes is Cajun seasoning. It gives food a spicy kick with a blend of paprika, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper.

You’ll get a similar heat and depth as jerk seasoning. Toss it on chicken, fish, or veggies. We’ve found it’s a lifesaver for quick dinners.

Use a 1:1 ratio of Cajun seasoning to replace jerk seasoning. If you like more heat, add a pinch extra. Want more options? Check out other Cajun seasoning substitutes.

2 – Curry Powder

The curry powder, our spicy lifesaver, stands out as a jerk seasoning replacement. It’s got depth, with notes of turmeric, coriander, and cumin. This blend gives a warm, savory flavor that surprises with every bite.

We threw it on chicken, and wow, talk about a flavor twist. Use it in a 1:1 swap for jerk seasoning. Looking for more ideas? Check our article on curry powder substitutes.

3 – Chili Powder and Allspice

The next substitute is chili powder mixed with allspice, offering a delightful blend that adds some heat and a bit of warmth.

We tested this combo on grilled veggies, and let us tell you, they were bursting with flavors. The chili powder brings the heat while allspice adds a hint of cloves and cinnamon.

Use it in a 1:1 swap for jerk seasoning, and adjust according to your spice preference.

If you’re curious about other spice substitutes, check out our article on chili powder substitutes.

4 – Smoked Paprika and Brown Sugar

The smoky flavor of smoked paprika, combined with the sweetness of brown sugar, makes this substitute a winner. This duo brings a sweet, smoky depth to your dishes. We’ve tried it on grilled chicken, and it’s a real game-changer.

Simple to try: mix 1 tablespoon of smoked paprika with 1 tablespoon of brown sugar for each tablespoon of jerk seasoning. It’s a quick fix when you want to boost flavor. If interested, check out our article on smoked paprika substitutes.

5 – Garam Masala

The spice blend garam masala is our next jerk seasoning substitute. It’s aromatic with warming notes of cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom. This combination adds a rich, complex flavor.

We tossed it on chicken, and it brought new life to our recipe. Use it in a 1:1 ratio for jerk seasoning when you’re cooking up your favorite dishes.

For more spice swap ideas, check our garam masala substitutes article. There’s always more to discover about making your meals stand out.

6 – Harissa Paste

The spicy and rich harissa paste is another solid substitute for jerk seasoning. It’s got a blend of chili peppers, garlic, and various spices that deliver intense flavor. We found it transforms grilled meats and veggies into flavor-packed bites.

Use a 1:2 swap for jerk seasoning. We loved how it added a fiery undertone and depth. Perfect for those spicy cravings.

Interested in more spice swaps? Check out our harissa paste substitutes.

7 – Berbere Spice Blend

The Berbere spice blend is our undercover star. Picture a fusion of chili peppers, garlic, and ginger, spiced up with cumin, coriander, and fenugreek. This combo brings a bold, fiery flavor that your palate won’t forget.

We used it on roasted veggies, and it was a flavor bomb. The warmth and spice level were spot on. Use it in a 1:1 ratio for jerk seasoning. Love this taste twist? Check our article on Berbere spice substitutes.