Jamaican rice and peas– The name says it all! This Jamaican classic is a mixture of rice and peas cooked in coconut milk. It’s an elegant dish that is so easy to put together. It makes an excellent side meal and I am sure it will become a favorite once you try it. This is the type of recipe that is worth mastering at home!
Rice and Peas
Rice and peas is a staple in Jamaican cuisine. It’s a dish that is reminiscent of the Nigerian rice and beans but with more seasoning and spices. It can be served as a main dish or side with coleslaw, plantain, Cilantro Lime Chicken or Jamaican jerk chicken. I also love to pair this dish up with curry chicken sauce. So good!
This dish is often served on Sundays in Jamaica, but I will say this dish is perfect for any day or any occasion, so when choosing a weekend, party, or holiday table, don’t pass on this one.
I’ve never been shy about professing my undying affection for rice; that is why I’ve got tons of rice recipes on this site like coconut rice, jollof rice, one-pot chicken and rice, and more rice recipes!.
Ingredients in Jamaican Rice and Peas
- Aromatics: These impart deep flavors into the dish. For this dish, I used onion, garlic, ginger, thyme, and chopped pepper. Freshly minced garlic and freshly grated ginger work best.
- Spices – salt, pepper, and allspice. Whats an authentic Jamaican rice and peas recipe without allspice? A little goes a long way, but don’t skip it.
- Scotch Bonnet Pepper – Habanero peppers can also be used.
- Coconut milk – The coconut milk adds a distinct fragrant flavor to the rice and peas; however, the taste is not overwhelming; it’s a mild, sweet, and nutty flavor that you’ll really love.
- Rice – The traditional Rice used in this recipe is the long-grain white rice, but I made this with basmati rice. Feel free to use any good rice of your choice, but bear in mind that different rice cooks at different times.
- Red kidney beans – Don’t get confused; red kidney beans are ‘beans,’ but Jamaicans refer to this as peas. I used dry peas (kidney beans), but you can use the canned or frozen peas if you are short of time.
How to make Jamaican Rice and Peas
The conventional to make this dish is to use dry peas (kidney beans), but you can use the canned or frozen peas if you are short of time.
- Sort and rinse the beans.
- Soak them overnight to reconstitute them. This will result in less cooking time. If not soaked, an additional 30 minutes will be required.
- Cook them for about 1 hour if soaked and about 1 hour 30 minutes if not previously soaked.
- Add the rice: Add the rice and cook till tender.
- Fluff and serve
What is Jamaican Rice and Peas?
Jamaican Rice and peas is a staple dish of the Island. Thyme, scallion, and garlic are three main ingredients that are always present in this dish.
Apart from these three main ingredients, allspice must also be present in this dish. The flavor of this rice dish is also intensified by the addition of allspice which gives this dish an earthy flavor.
Scotch bonnet pepper is also added, and this gives the dish a slightly fruity flavor. The seeds in the peppers are not exposed, so the heat provided by the pepper is subtle.
The rice and peas are then cooked in coconut milk or coconut cream, and this lends the dish a slightly sweet and nutty flavor.
Can I use canned Beans?
Yes, you can. I have added the instructions on how to cook rice and peas with canned beans.
- Chicken stock helps to heighten the flavor of this dish. However, you can use water together with one bouillon cube if you don’t have chicken stock.
- It’s important to allow the peas to soften before adding the rice: It takes an average of 1 hour (if soaked) to 1 hour 30 minutes (if not soaked) for the peas to get the desired soft and creamy texture.
- I used dry peas, but if you are short of time, you can also use canned or frozen beans.
- Also, I did not soak my peas overnight, but soaking it overnight will reduce it’s cooking time.
- I used canned coconut milk in this recipe, but you can make your own coconut milk yourself by grinding the coconut flesh in a blender and squeezing out the liquid through a cheesecloth.
- If you choose to use canned coconut as I did, be sure it’s unsweetened.
- PLEASE use full cream coconut milk, so that the coconut flavor can shine through. Do not use lite coconut milk. The lite taste of the coconut milk will fade away in the dish.
- Cook the beans on low heat in order to prevent water drying up too quickly. Also, this will help the beans cook evenly.
- Steam rice on low heat this will help the rice cook evenly.
Some of our Jamaican Favorite recipe
- Jamaican Jerk Chicken
- Jamaican Oxtail Stew
- Creamy Jamaican Cornmeal Porridge
- Jamaican Beef Patties
- Jamaican Jerk Seasoning
- Jamaican Instant pot curry goat
Delicious Jamaican Rice And Peas
- 1 cup kidney beans soaked overnight or for 6-8 hours
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 3 sprigs thyme
- 2 cloves garlic cloves sliced into halves each
- 2 cups basmati rice
- 1 medium Onion diced
- 2 spring onions
- 1 tsp ginger grated
- 14 oz coconut milk 1 can [unsweetened full cream]
- 2 scotch bonnet peppers
- 1/4 tsp allspice
- 1 tsp salt or add to taste
- 1 tbsp butter optional
- Sort and rinse the kidney beans. Rinse and drain. Then put the beans inside a large bowl, cover with enough water to totally submerge the beans, and leave to soak overnight (see instructions below for the no-soak method and the canned method).
- Drain the peas and put them in a large pot. Add chicken stock, thyme sprigs, and garlic. Leave to cook for 1 hour or till the beans become tender.
- Add the rice (rinsed and drained), onion, spring onion, ginger, coconut milk, scotch bonnet pepper, allspice, and salt. Stir well to combine.
- Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes or until rice is tender.
- Remove the habanero peppers and thyme leftovers.
- Add the butter (if using) and fluff with a fork and serve with Jamaican jerk chicken and plantain.
No soak method
- Bring the beans to a rapid boil for about 15 minutes on high heat, then reduce the heat to medium and leave to cook for another 45 minutes or till the beans become tender. (Sometimes, it requires an additional 15 to 20 minutes. Continue with the remaining steps above. Or skip pre-cooking the beans entirely by using canned beans and continue from step 3
If you make this Delicious Jamaican Rice and Peas recipe, I’d love to see pictures of your creations on Instagram or Facebook. #cheflolaskitchen