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Delicious Authentic Jamaican Rice and Peas Recipe

by Nellie

Delicious Authentic Jamaican Rice and Peas Recipe made with coconut milk, allspice, scallions and more! I've tried many recipes but this one is the best hands down!

It’s Caribbean Heritage Month!

Last year when I attended my cousin’s wedding in Poughkeepsie, I realized that my generation of kids have been spoiled tremendously by our big family and army of talented cooks that came before us.

My cousins and I (all 5200 of us) got together and realized that we will NEED to continue this amazing authentic Jamaican cooking for our own children, or the culture will die with us.

Being the first generation to be American born, we are so used to being spoiled by our parents and aunts and uncles that were taught to cook by their parents in the islands. It is so interesting having to marry the two cultures together, but cooking authentic recipes is a fantastic way to keep the culture alive in our own families going forward.

Authentic Jamaican Rice And Peas on a wooden spoon

Cooking Authentic Caribbean Cuisine

For a while now I’ve been trying different recipes from all over the internet. I’ve even tried Youtube! I love Pinterest but there are SO MANY “authentic” Jamaican recipes out there that its hard to decipher which ones are awesome and which ones…are not so good.

How Do You Cook Like A Jamaican?

Well, this is a magical question. Even after growing up in this culture, I didn’t really learn until I got much older! I am learning though that seasoning is key. A lot of Jamaican dishes, especially meats, require complex seasonings that usually marinate for a long period of time.

You will notice that a lot of Jamaican recipes require the baseline of scotch bonnet pepper, thyme, onion, garlic and scallions. There could be more or less but those spices are a really great place to start when it comes to main dishes.

Authentic Jamaican Rice and Peas Recipe

Don’t worry though, I’ve done all the leg work and have finally perfected one of the foundational pieces of any Jamaican dish. If you ask me, Authentic Jamaican Rice and Peas is an awesome side dish that goes with pretty much any main dish such as curry goat, curry chicken, stew chicken, oxtail–you name it! 

It’s even good on it’s own. With so many different ways to cook rice and peas, I am happy that I finally hit the jackpot with the right ingredients and the right type of rice.

Some people like to use long grain rice, and some folks like pigeon peas in their rice and peas. Some people even use full allspice berries instead of the allspice seasoning that I love. To be honest, I’ve tasted so many different versions of rice and beans that I have lost count. This one is definitely my favorite and I’m so excited to share this recipe with you today.

Types of Rice Used In Jamaican Rice and Peas

Before I found this money recipe I tried a bunch and they were epic fails. This recipe is my new go to, but it took me a smooth 5-6 recipes before I finally found a winner with this one. My favorite type of rice in general is Carolina long grain white rice. My mom and most of my family are fans of using basmati rice for their rice and peas which has a richer flavor.

I absolutely love to use Jasmine rice though because it has a fantastic flavor and although it is a bit sticky it’s not annoyingly so.

How Long To Soak The Peas

A lot of you have asked whether or not you can used canned peas for this recipe. I DO NOT recommend it unless you like your rice really wet. The extra water content from the can throws off the recipe. Between the water and the coconut milk addition, the extra water content makes the rice really soupy. 

I highly recommend dry peas. I usually soak it in the same pot that I plan on cooking the rice in. If not available you can easily soak the peas in a bowl at room temperature. I usually soak my peas for 5-6 hours.

Generally soak the peas for a minimum of 2 hours and a maximum of 24 hours. Anything over a day might mess with the integrity of the peas. Keep in mind the longer you soak the peas the less time it takes to cook, and the more “red” color gets added to your rice and peas. I don’t know about anyone else but I generally judge the authenticity of Jamaican rice and peas by the color of the rice!

Do you cook the rice covered or uncovered?

This is a really good question! The answer is both. While you are cooking your peas, adding spices, and coconut milk, I leave it uncovered. When I add the rice and mix everything in, I cover the pot so it can cook like regular rice. I generally like to leave my rice covered and cooking but this particular recipe calls for constant stirring to make sure nothing burns on the bottom of the pot.

How To Store Rice and Peas

Once I got the hang of this rice and peas recipe it was super easy to make it for my family. The rice stores in the refrigerator for 3-4 days and it freezes perfectly. If you do freeze, I recommend to let the rice thaw out naturally and slowly in the refrigerator, but if you don’t have the time, you can thaw in the microwave too, it might be a bit soggier though.

Be Careful Of That Scotch Bonnet

The scotch bonnet pepper is not to be played with at all! For this recipe you need to use the whole scotch bonnet–do not slice it, poke it, nothing. The scotch bonnet pepper adds a fantastic flavor to the rice as a whole without any of the heat. Trust me, you don’t want any of the inside–it’s a super powerful pepper!

Enjoy! Be sure to let me know in the comments how it turned out!

(Updated April 2020)

finished Authentic Jamaican Rice And Peas recipe in the pot
Yield: 6 servings

Delicious Authentic Jamaican Rice and Peas Recipe

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

This amazing and authentic Jamaican Rice and Peas recipe uses allspice, coconut milk, thyme and more fresh ingredients for a wonderful experience that will make you feel like you are in Jamaica.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup red kidney beans (dry)
  • 1 1/2 cups coconut milk
  • 1 scotch bonnet pepper
  • 1 onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • 2 cups Jasmine rice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 3 scallions
  • 2 cups water

Instructions

  1. Soak the peas in a bowl with the water for 24 hours, if you don't have that kind of time soak for at least 2 hours.
  2. Chop the Scallion, Garlic, & Onion.chopped scallions onion and whole scotch bonnet pepper
  3. Once the peas are properly soaked (they will likely plump and absorb a lot of the water) place the peas and the water in a saucepan. red beans for rice and peas after they have soaked for 6 hours
  4. Fill the pot with additional water if needed--the water should be about 2 inches over the peas. Bring to a boil.
  5. Add the onions, garlic, scallions, & thyme. Add the salt & allspice. Add a full scotch bonnet pepper (do NOT slice, put it in WHOLE). garlic, scallions and scotch bonnet pepper for jamaican rice and peas
  6. Cook for 20 minutes. (Peas may cook quicker depending on how long you soaked them) After the rice has cooked, put the onion thyme scallion and garlic to cook
  7. Continually add water as needed to make sure that the peas don't burn. Watch closely! You know that the peas are cooked when you can break the peas in half easily with a fork.
  8. Remove and discard the scotch bonnet pepper. Add the coconut milk and the rice. Stir throughly.
  9. Important: There should only be about a half an inch of liquid above the peas and rice. Turn stove down to medium/low and stir (I use a wooden spoon to make sure no rice sticks to the bottom) every 5-7 minutes until cooked.
  10. In about 30 minutes you will have fluffy and yummy rice and peas! Authentic Jamaican Rice And Peas on a wooden spoon

Notes

A lot of folks ask if they can do this recipe with canned beans, I wouldn't recommend this as it increases the water content substantially.

Delicious Authentic Jamaican Rice and Peas Recipe made with coconut milk, allspice, scallions and more! I've tried many recipes but this one is the best hands down!

Stay tuned, I’ve got some more authentic Jamaican recipes that I’m going to be sharing with you guys over the next few weeks!

Authentic & Delicious #Jamaican Rice and Peas Recipe! #jamaicancooking #islandeatsClick to Tweet

For more recipes check out:

20 Minute Easy Weeknight Penne Rosa Pasta Recipe

Fresh Homemade Cheesy Beef A Roni Recipe

Delicious Air Fryer Roasted Vegetables

Have you ever had Jamaican rice and peas? What classic recipes have you learned from your parents?

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32 comments

Janine Huldie June 23, 2017 - 7:02 am

Omg, this looks absolutely delicious! Seriously we love rice dishes and now I think I am going to give yours a try! Thanks Nellie 🙂

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Kita June 23, 2017 - 10:59 pm

You know I’m from Charleston if we don’t know nothing it’s that rice lol. I love oxtail to and many people are shocked that reg americans know about that

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Ashley riser June 26, 2017 - 8:03 pm

Kita, have you been to Reggae Grill in North Charleston? My boss is from Jamaica and he introduced me to it. It’s so good and a great value!

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Andrea Bates June 26, 2017 - 7:42 pm

This looks amazing. I’m definitely saving this recipe. I am glad it doesn’t have anything in it I wouldn’t eat so I don’t have to ask you for advice on tweaking. 😉

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Alison Hector June 26, 2017 - 9:52 pm

You know I’m going to be trying this. My former attempts have been (ahem!) just that, attempts. Thanks for sharing!

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Tamara June 27, 2017 - 11:09 pm

What’s better than that? Delicious and meaningful. I want to try it! We do have extra coconut milk from one of Cassidy’s harebrained recipe schemes.

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Megan November 14, 2017 - 1:57 pm

Are you able to use canned beans in lieu of soaking beans? Making Jerk Chicken tonight and have no time to soak them :/

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Nellie November 14, 2017 - 5:28 pm

I have never tried it with the canned beans! Keep in mind that there is extra liquid in the can that may throw off the consistency of the rice…

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Gabrielle December 29, 2017 - 9:08 pm

Did you make it with canned beans? How’d it turn out?

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Trudy April 30, 2018 - 7:13 am

I made this rice today. Well, really yesterday. I did everything except add the coconut milk til this morning. This rice is delicious! Best recipe yet and simple. Thank you for sharing!!

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Nellie May 1, 2018 - 2:55 pm

awesome! so glad you enjoyed!

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Keyanna Berry May 9, 2018 - 6:57 am

How many servings does this recipe yield?

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Nellie May 9, 2018 - 10:00 am

about 4-6!

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Margot November 9, 2018 - 1:37 pm

Looks good but will have to find out how close to my Jamaican friends recipe I love his.

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T Jay June 12, 2019 - 12:32 pm

I’m new here and was brought here by this recipe. I plan to give it a try this weekend and will let you know how it goes.

Do you still plan to share more Jamaican recipes? Thank you! 🙂

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Nellie June 14, 2019 - 7:35 am

going to try!

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Nancy Jones July 15, 2019 - 9:09 pm

Just finished making some, it was so yummy! Thanks for sharing the recipe!

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Nellie July 17, 2019 - 12:44 pm

you are very welcome!

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Louise Lee June 26, 2020 - 8:58 am

I have used the can beans and it works just fine. I just drain the beans never had a problem at all.

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Yahya January 26, 2020 - 11:42 am

The dish is good but #6 cook time is incorrect. I’d suggest cooking the beans according to the directions on the bag. Also next time I make it I’ll probably be using regular white rice. I don’t care for stickiness of the Jasmine rice.

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Nellie January 27, 2020 - 5:24 pm

awesome! whatever works for you.

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Yvette February 7, 2020 - 4:48 pm

THIS IS SOOOO GOOD !! THANK YOU

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Nellie February 8, 2020 - 7:30 pm

you are welcome!!

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Kesha March 18, 2020 - 2:04 pm

I concur with Yvette; this recipe is phenomenal. I made it last night and surprised myself how delicious it was. Thank you for posting.

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Amy Humber April 2, 2020 - 6:53 pm

Do you cook the rice covered or uncovered?

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Nellie April 2, 2020 - 8:30 pm

covered once the rice has been put in (the final step)

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Humble April 20, 2020 - 8:37 pm

I cooked this a few minutes ago. I didn’t read the bit about the canned beans until just now. Next time I’ll try it your way. It taste nice but could be a little looser. Thank you for this great recipe

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Stacey Williams June 1, 2020 - 8:31 am

I’ve tried jasmine as well as long train white. For me parboiled rice works best. It’s grainy and firm. I’m from Trinidad and our rice and beans “pelau” is best w parboiled rice. We use pigeon peas instead of red beans. However, I have a catering business and I wanted to master Jamaican rice n beans. So far, it works well. Keeping to the basic ingredients. I do use can beans, I just offset the liquid measurements because I use the water in the can. I used to toss it, but missed the lovely red color. I use water only as I want it to be vegetarian friendly. I sauté the onions n garlics, add the beans, season w S+P,All spice, add rice give it a stir, add liquid, season w s+p and all spice once more, drop the thyme sprigs. Let it come to a boil then reduce to low simmer , covered for 20 mins.

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Ms. Fletcher June 24, 2020 - 6:33 pm

Made it for the first time. It was delicious. Family loved it, including spouse who is Jamaican. He said almost as good as his moms so that is a compliment!!!

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Christine July 5, 2020 - 12:04 pm

Just wondering if you can’t get ahold of an actual scotch bonnet pepper can you substitute with a dash of the scotch bonnet pepper sauce

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Nellie July 5, 2020 - 6:10 pm

Well, you run the risk of the rice being hot (peppery) The scotch bonnet is more for a flavor boost, but I have made it without it before. Let me know what you do!

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Monika August 31, 2020 - 12:45 pm

I just made this yesterday and it was delicious! My only change was that I put in one who yellow onion and I thought it was way too much so I ended up taking about half out. Otherwise loved the recipe and will definitely make it again!

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