We study the effect of insoluble surfactants on the spatio-temporal evolution of turbulent jets. We use three-dimensional numerical simulations and employ an interface-tracking/level-set method that accounts for surfactant-induced Marangoni stresses. The present study builds on our previous work (Constante-Amores et al., J. Fluid Mech., vol. 922, 2021, A6) in which we examined in detail the vortex–surface interaction in the absence of surfactants. Numerical solutions are obtained for a wide range of Weber and elasticity numbers in which vorticity production is generated by surface deformation and surfactant-induced Marangoni stresses. The present work demonstrates, for the first time, the crucial role of Marangoni stresses, brought about by surfactant concentration gradients, in the formation of coherent, hairpin-like vortex structures. These structures have a profound influence on the development of the three-dimensional interfacial dynamics. We also present theoretical expressions for the mechanisms that influence the rate of production of circulation in the presence of surfactants for a general, three-dimensional, two-phase flow, and highlight the dominant contribution of surfactant-induced Marangoni stresses.