Recipes Delicious and Authentic Jamaican Rice and Peas Recipe

Delicious and Authentic Jamaican Rice and Peas Recipe

Welcome to the flavorful world of Jamaican cuisine! Today, I’m excited to share with you a staple dish that appears in every Jamaican home, gathering, and festive occasion: Rice and Peas. Despite its simple name, this dish bursts with flavor and embodies the heart of Jamaican food culture. Perfect for pairing with jerk chicken or curry goat, this recipe is sure to bring a taste of the island right into your kitchen.


Before we dive into the cooking process, let’s make sure you have everything you need. Here’s what you’ll need for this recipe:

  • 2 cups of dried kidney beans (you can substitute with canned beans for convenience)
  • 1 coconut (to make fresh coconut milk, or use 2 cups of canned coconut milk)
  • 2 cups of long-grain rice (preferably jasmine rice for its fragrance and texture)
  • 1 whole Scotch bonnet pepper (for authentic heat and spice)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon of dried thyme (or 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves)
  • 1 teaspoon of salt (adjust to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 4 cups of water (adjust if using canned coconut milk)
  • 1 bunch of green onions (scallions), chopped
  • 1 whole bay leaf


Step 1: Preparing the Beans

If you’re using dried kidney beans, start by soaking them overnight in water to soften. The next day, drain the beans and place them in a large saucepan with fresh water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook until the beans are just tender—about 1 to 1.5 hours. If using canned beans, simply rinse them and set aside.

Step 2: Making Coconut Milk

For fresh coconut milk, break open the coconut, save the water for a refreshing drink, and scrape out the flesh. Blend the coconut flesh with 4 cups of hot water until smooth. Strain through a cheesecloth or fine sieve to get your coconut milk. If you’re using canned milk, just give it a stir and set it aside.

Step 3: Cooking the Dish

In a large pot, sauté the onion, green onions, and garlic until they are soft and translucent. Add the thyme, salt, black pepper, and bay leaf, stirring for about a minute to release their fragrances. Add your prepared beans to the pot along with the coconut milk and Scotch bonnet pepper. Remember, the pepper should remain whole to infuse the dish with flavor without overwhelming heat.

Bring the mixture to a boil, then add your rice. Stir well, making sure the rice is fully submerged in the liquid. Reduce the heat to a low simmer, cover, and let cook for about 20-30 minutes, or until the rice is tender and all the liquid has been absorbed. Remove the Scotch bonnet pepper and bay leaf before serving.

Step 4: Serving

Fluff the rice with a fork and serve hot. Rice and Peas is traditionally served with a protein like jerk chicken, curry goat, or fried plantain for a vegetarian option. It’s also perfect with a side of steamed vegetables to balance the richness.


Jamaican Rice and Peas is not just a dish; it’s a celebration of Jamaican heritage and flavors. Whether you are cooking for a family dinner, a special occasion, or simply want to try something new, this recipe will not disappoint. Enjoy the taste of Jamaica with every bite, and let this dish be a new favorite in your culinary repertoire! Happy cooking!