Skip to Content

Delicious Jamaican Rice And Peas

Jamaican rice and peas this savory and hearty dish will surely leave you satisfied. With its mix of creamy coconut milk, spices, and beans, it makes a perfectly comforting, delicious accompaniment to any meal.

Freshly cooked Jamaican Rice and Peas in a pot

Jamaican Rice and Peas with Kidney Beans (Soak, No-Soak, and Canned)

Rice and peas is a staple in Jamaican cuisine. It’s similar to 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.

This versatile Jamaican Rice and Peas recipe provides three variations for using raw kidney beans (soak and no-soak methods) and canned kidney beans. This delicious dish pairs perfectly with Caribbean main courses like jerk chicken, Jamaican Callaloo or curry goat.

What is Jamaican Rice And Peas

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!

The ‘peas’ in the recipe refers to kidney beans that are boiled till tender and then cooked with rice, giving the grains a unique flavor profile.

It’s incredibly adaptable; whether you have raw kidney beans (soaked or not) or canned kidney beans, you can still whip up this dish in no time.

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.

Jamaican Rice and Peas served with Jerk Chicken

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 method 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.

  • Soak Method: Rinse kidney beans, put them in a large bowl, cover with water, and soak overnight for 6-8 hours. Drain beans and cook in a pot with chicken stock until tender (about 1 hour).
  • No-Soak Method: Put beans and chicken stock in a pot. Boil rapidly for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to medium and cook for another 45 minutes or until beans are tender. Top up with more liquid if necessary.
  • Seasoning: Add onion, garlic, spring onion, ginger, scotch bonnet pepper, thyme, bay leaf, allspice, ginger, salt, and pepper to the pot of cooked beans. Stir well.
  • Cook Rice: Add rinsed and drained rice and coconut milk. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until the rice is tender.
Jamaican Rice and Peas in a pot

How to Make Jamaican Rice and Peas with Canned Beans

If you are in a hurry, this easy Jamaican Rice and Peas recipe using canned kidney beans will save you time without compromising on flavor.

  • Heat the oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened about 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Stir in garlic, scallion, and scotch bonnet peppers (if using), and cook for 1 minute until fragrant. Add thyme, bay leaf, pimento berries, grated ginger, salt, and pepper. 
  • Stir in canned beans (rinsed and drained), chicken stock, and coconut milk, and simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Stir in the rice (rinsed and drained), bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes or until rice is tender.

This shortcut skips the soaking step but still delivers the authentic Jamaican rice and peas.

Frequently asked questions

Can I use different rice? Sure! This recipe calls for basmati rice, but you can also use long-grain parboiled rice; if you prefer brown rice, you can use it, but cook it for a longer time until it’s tender.

Can I use canned Beans? Yes, you can. I have added the instructions on how to cook rice and peas with canned beans. 

No pimento berries? Use 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice instead.

Rice and peas served with jerk chicken and plantain

Notes:

  1. I highly recommend using chicken stock in place of water because it helps to heighten the flavor of this dish.
  2. It’s important to allow the peas to soften and get the desired soft and creamy texture before adding the rice: It takes an average of 1 hour (if soaked) to 1 hour 30 minutes (if not soaked).
  3. I used dry peas, but if you are short of time, you can also use canned or frozen beans (recipe included below).
  4. PLEASE use full cream unsweetened 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.
  5. Cook the beans on low heat in order to prevent water drying up too quickly. Also, this will help the beans cook evenly.
  6. Steam rice on low heat this will help the rice cook evenly.
  7. Wash your rice well. This takes off extra starch so your rice doesn’t stick together.
  8. keep the Scotch Bonnet pepper whole. It’ll add flavor without making your dish too fiery.

Some of our Jamaican Favorite recipe

Freshly cooked Jamaican Rice and Peas in a pot

Delicious Jamaican Rice And Peas

This Jamaican classic is a mixture of rice and peas cooked in coconut milk. It’s an elegant side dish that is so easy to put together. I am sure it will become a favorite once you try it.
4.55 from 24 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Lunch/Dinner, Side Dish
Cuisine: Island, jamaican
Keyword: Peas, rice, Rice and Peas
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories: 377.9kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 cup kidney beans soaked overnight or for 6-8 hours
  • 3 cups chicken stock or water
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 2 cloves garlic cloves sliced into halves each
  • 2 sliced spring onions scallion
  • 2 whole scotch bonnet peppers
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 5 pimento berries allspice
  • 1 tsp ginger freshly grated
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 14 oz coconut milk 1 can [unsweetened full cream]
  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • 1 tbsp butter optional

If using the canned Beans

  • 2 tbsp oil or butter
  • cups chicken stock

Instructions

For the soak method

  • Sort 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 – about 6 to 8 hours.
  • Drain the peas and put them in a large pot. Add the chicken stock and cook until the beans become tender – about 1 hour.

For the no-soak method

  • In a large pot, add the beans and chicken stock or water. Bring 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. (Add more liquid if neccessary)

Instructions

  • Add the onion, garlic, spring onion, ginger, scotch bonnet pepper, thyme, bay leaf, allspice, ginger, salt, and pepper to the pot of cooked beans. Stir well to combine.
  • Stir in the rice (rinsed and drained) and coconut milk. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes or until rice is tender.
  • Remove the habanero peppers, bay leaf, and thyme leftovers. Add the butter (if using) and fluff with a fork.
  • Serve with Jamaican jerk chicken and plantain.

If using canned kidney beans

  • Heat the oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Stir in garlic, scallion, and scotch bonnet peppers (if using), and cook for 1 minute until fragrant. Add thyme, bay leaf, pimento berries, grated ginger, salt, and pepper. 
  • Stir in canned beans (rinsed and drained), chicken stock, and coconut milk and simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Stir in the rice (rinsed and drained), bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes or until rice is tender.

Nutrition

Calories: 377.9kcal | Carbohydrates: 48.3g | Protein: 8.7g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 10.9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3.7g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 6.5mg | Sodium: 154.8mg | Potassium: 374.4mg | Fiber: 2.6g | Sugar: 2.2g | Vitamin A: 70.2IU | Vitamin C: 3.2mg | Calcium: 37.6mg | Iron: 3mg

Let’s Connect.

You can find me on Facebook, and Instagram. I love keeping in touch with all of you!

If you make this Delicious Jamaican Rice and Peas recipe, I’d love to see pictures of your creations on Instagram or Facebook. #cheflolaskitchen

Recipe Rating




Stephanie

Thursday 26th of January 2023

If I use canned beans do I skip the chicken stock all together? You said to skip to step 3 which is to add rice and coconut milk along with others. But there’s no other liquid.

Dara

Wednesday 17th of August 2022

Thanks! Recipe turned out pretty good. My only critique is that the canned beans instructions aren't clear. "Continuing from point 3", means that there is no stock, thyme, or garlic in the recipe... leaves me guessing as to how much and at what point to put these in there if not cooking the beans.

Maria

Monday 4th of July 2022

Trying this for the first time. Is there a good substitute for the coconut milk? Maybe just extra chicken broth ? My husband hates coconut to my dismay 😉

Mari Jo

Saturday 14th of January 2023

@Maria, So does my husband but he loves dishes with coconut milk as an ingredient.

Chef Lola's Kitchen

Monday 25th of July 2022

Maria, sorry about that. You can prepare Jamaican rice and peas without coconut milk. Substitute it for water or extra chicken broth. The only difference is that you won't have that coconut flavor.

Cheesecake

Thursday 10th of March 2022

My way is to cook the dark kidney beans with water for about 30 minutes, then add 1 can of coconut milk and cook until soft.

Chef Lola's Kitchen

Friday 6th of May 2022

That is great.

Daisy

Sunday 13th of February 2022

Do Jamaicans call kidney beans peas ?