We deserve a Caribbean vacation. The inbox is too full, the weekend too short, and the winter too long. The only reasonable remedy is to toss our bikinis and blenders into a duffle bag and make like a (palm) tree for the land of steel drums and rum. Or just make a big batch of these Pineapple Slow Cooker Jerk Chicken Tacos!

plate of Pineapple Jerk Chicken Tacos

I realize I have small cause for complaint, since I still have (faint) tan lines from our trip to Kauai (follow my instagram feed for sunshine-soaked pics), but I’m longing for warm sands and island eats just the same. Since, jumping on the next plane to Jamaica isn’t in the realm of immediate possibility, I’m satiating my taste for the tropics with today’s Caribbean-inspired recipe for pineapple slow cooker jerk chicken tacos.

Easy Slow Cooker Jerk Chicken Tacos with Pineapple

corn tortillas topped with Jamaican jerk chicken with pineapple and cabbage slaw

Variations on Jerk Chicken Recipes

Aromatic, spicy, and super juicy, traditional Jamaican jerk chicken is time-consuming and involves whole-spice grinding and wood-fire roasting. Because we need a beach escape—and dinner—ASAP, I’ve taken its essential flavors and adapted them to create an accessible, slow cooker jerk chicken recipe that’s perfect for weeknight dinner.

While working to develop this slow cooker jerk chicken, I found a large variation in traditional jerk chicken recipes. Almost all of them, however, had a few key ingredients in common:

  • allspice berries
  • thyme
  • Scotch bonnet peppers
  • green onions, and
  • fresh ginger.

To keep today’s crock pot jerk chicken recipe as approachable as possible, I swapped out the whole spices for ground and traded the Scotch bonnet peppers for jalapenos, which are a bit milder and easier to find, too.

ingredients to make slow cooker jerk chicken with pineapple

The canned pineapple chunks are this cook’s exercise of her kitchen liberty. Pineapple (and anything canned) isn’t traditional to jerk chicken, but I love the way its sweet flavor contrasts with the warm spices, as well as its tropical flair. Plus, the pineapple juice doubles as a cooking liquid for the chicken.

To make the crock pot jerk chicken recipe, I simply placed chicken thighs in my slower cooker, gave them a massage with the spice mix, then scattered the other ingredients over the top. I picked chicken thighs over breasts, as they have more inherent flavor and can withstand hours in the slow cooker without becoming dry. No precooking of any ingredient is required—the slow cooker does all the work. This is weeknight dinner at its finest.

crock pot jerk chicken

Serving Suggestions for Jerk Chicken

I served the jerk chicken with pineapple as a taco filling, topped with a bit of shredded red cabbage, lime juice, and scandalously non-traditional but unquestionably scrumptious feta cheese. The leftovers we enjoyed with beans and rice. I bet this slow cooker jerk chicken would be stellar served with Amy’s pineapple and coconut rice.

More Slow Cooker Recipes for Tacos

jerk chicken tacos made from slow cooker jerk chicken

Cue the drums, fire up the blender, and let’s take a mini vacation with pineapple jerk chicken tacos. Bikini is optional. Rum and reggae are encouraged.

Pineapple Slow Cooker Jerk Chicken Tacos

Pineapple Slow Cooker Jerk Chicken Tacos

5 from 1 vote
An easy recipe for slow cooker jerk chicken with pineapple that's perfect for serving with tacos, over rice, and even in slaws and salads. You'll love it's sweet and spicy flavor!

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 5 hrs
Total: 5 hrs 20 mins

Servings: 8 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground allspice
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 pounds skinless chicken thighs boneless, trimmed of excess fat
  • 4 green onions chopped, white and green parts separated
  • 6 cloves chopped garlic
  • 2 jalapeño peppers with seeds, diced
  • 20 ounces pineapple chunks unsweetened, in their juices
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • corn tortillas
  • red cabbage Shredded
  • crumbled feta cheese
  • lime wedges

Instructions
 

  • Prepare the rub: In a small bowl, stir together the thyme, nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice, ginger, black pepper, and salt. Drizzle the olive oil over the top, then mix to form a paste.
  • Place the chicken thighs in a KitchenAid® 6-Quart Slow Cooker. Rub the spice paste over the top of each. Sprinkle in the white parts of the green onions (reserve the green tops for serving), garlic, and jalapeños. Pour the diced pineapple in its juice evenly over the top, then the white vinegar. Cover and cook on low for 4 to 5 hours, until the chicken is tender and cooked through.
  • Remove the cooked chicken to a plate and shred. Remove the pineapple chunks with slotted spoon and set aside. Transfer the remaining cooking liquid to a wide saucepan and heat over medium high, stirring often, until thickened and reduced by half, 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in the shredded chicken and reserved pineapple, coating with the reduced glaze. Serve the filling as tacos, topped with reserved green onion tops, red cabbage, feta, and a squeeze of fresh lime juice.

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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22 Comments

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  1. YUM! We just got a few inches of snow overnight (nothing to complain about compared to some parts of the country, but still), and I’m craving something warm and delicious. This looks awesome!

  2. Break out the slow cooker because I am drooling over this jerk chicken! And what stunning contrast with the cabbage, lime, and corn tortillas. Om nom nom nom

  3. I’m always looking for easy slow-cooker chicken recipes like this for a weeknight dinner. The fact that this one brings me to the land of the tropics is just a bonus. I’m all for the feta cheese too! :)

  4. We woke up to several inches of snow this morning but I really can’t complain much. I have friends in northern NY who keep getting hit with several feet of snow. I love getting snowed in though. It’s a great excuse to pull out the slow cooker for delicious recipes such as this. It sounds amazing!

  5. Ughhhh I’m drying for a warm beach and to point my face towards the sun. I’m currently freezing my tush off, barely able to even type on my keyboard since my fingers are moving slower and slower with each minute that passes. Spring could not get here fast enough. 

    I love that this is made in the slow-cooker, an appliance I need to utilize more often. And of course it looks delicious and sounds like the perfect peek into a warmer climate. 

  6. I told Elliott this morning that I’m going to pretend I’m in a warm, sunny, palm tree-laden place this week and make tropical foods and put umbrellas in my drink — so this is perfect timing! I am drooling over all of those spices.

  7. Dang… screen licking good. Everyone in my office leaned in for a squiz. We all want tacos for dinner now. Thanks Erin. :)

  8. These tacos would be amazing and mouthwatering any time of year in any climate, but *especially* in the dead of winter. I’m pretty sure these tacos will help fend off the seasonal affective disorder I’m on the verge of experiencing :)

  9. Erin, I need to be transported to the Caribbean!! I’m making these tacos! It’s too cold here! (and dude, these look fabulous!) 

  10. The chicken practically shredded itself because it was so tender! This was the first time I have cooked with jalapeño peppers, and it will not be my last. Thank you for the smart combination of spices and sweet pineapple. Fabulous flavor. 

  11. Just tried this, and am not often moved to leave comments for recipes, but it is REALLY good!  Very interesting combination of flavors.  It would probably be good over rice, too.  I did not use the feta, and used skinless bone-in thighs.5 stars

    1. I am so excited to hear how much you enjoyed this recipe! I bet it was great with the rice too. Thank you so much for taking time to leave this wonderful review!