Jamaican Rice and Peas

We just got back from a wonderful trip to Jamaica. This is our third visit, and it’s always such a welcome treat to dip our toes in the sand, feel the warm tropical breezes, hear birds chirping, and see every shade of blue imaginable all in the middle of winter!


And the food! Amazing locally grown coffee from the Blue Mountains; fresh caught conch straight from the sea, tropical fruits dazzle with a rainbow of color, coconuts plucked right from the tree, notched open, and a straw stuck in. Sidenote… I didn’t know until our first visit that not all coconuts are brown and “hairy.” By the time a coconut has reached that point, it is already dried up inside, leaving only the meat. The green coconuts, still hanging on the tree, are full of sweet coconut water, ready for drinking. After you finish drinking the water, the coconut can be completely split open allowing you to scoop the soft flesh enjoying it like custard. My daughter loves it sprinkled with sugar before she digs in!


We ate well everyday… oxtail, curry goat, fish, coconut shrimp, and of course, jerk chicken and pork. Almost every dinner included a side of rice and peas, not green peas, but beans. The rice and peas are steamed in sweet coconut milk with onions, garlic, and thyme; they are perfect to eat on their own or served as a side dish.


I’ve already made Jamaican Rice and Peas since we’ve been home, and it’s definitely going into the rotation. I served it alongside pork tenderloin that had been marinated in a wet rub of jerk seasoning. But again, this dish works with a wide variety of meats and fish, or stands alone with a simple green salad as a complete meal.

Cook’s notes:  Check for salt as you go along… the coconut milk is naturally sweet, and combined with the low sodium broth, you may find it necessary to add more salt to suit your taste. The hot pepper isn’t required, but it does add the most lovely hint of fruity heat because it’s kept whole. Allspice is a very traditional component of jerk seasoning and I like bringing that flavor into the dish. This recipe uses canned kidney beans as a matter of convenience; feel free to use dried beans that you soak and cook yourself. If you go that route, be sure to save some of the cooking liquid to use for cooking the rice- just swap out an equal amount of chicken broth. Finally, the cooking method, baking the rice in the oven, is from the New York Time’s Cookbook,  “The Perfect Batch of Rice”. It’s hands down my favorite no-fail method of cooking rice.

Jamaican Rice and Peas in bowl

Jamaican Rice and Peas

  • Servings: 8-10 as a side dish
  • Print

2 Tablespoons coconut oil, butter, or extra virgin olive oil
½ cup finely chopped onion
1 clove garlic, smashed
2 cups long grain white rice, rinsed and drained
salt to taste
3 cups liquid (1 13.5oz can coconut milk + enough chicken broth to total 3 cups combined)
4 sprigs thyme
¼ tsp allspice or 3 allspice berries
1 scotch bonnet or habanero pepper, left whole
1 15oz can kidney beans, rinsed and drained

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Heat oil or butter bottom in bottom of ovenproof saucepan. Add the finely chopped onion. Stir and cook until onion wilts. Add the smashed garlic and sauté for 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add the rice and stir until the grains are coated. Add salt to taste.

Add the coconut milk and chicken broth. Add hot pepper, thyme, and allspice to the rice and let broth come to a boil.

Stir in kidney beans. Cover pan and place in the oven. Set timer for 17 minutes.

Remove pan from the oven. Let stand 5 minutes, then uncover. Remove thyme, scotch bonnet, garlic clove, and allspice berries if using. Gently fluff rice with fork. Check for seasonings, adding salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

Ingredients for Jamaican Rices and Peas: rice, beans, coconut milk, chicken broth, onion, thyme, allspice and pepper

Rinsing and draining rice in mesh strainer
Rinse and drain the rice as part of your prep.
Wilting finely chopped onion in saucepan.
Melt butter or coconut oil in ovenproof saucepan. Add finely chopped onion and sauté until wilted.
Adding coconut milk/chicken broth mixture to rice
Add coconut milk/chicken broth mixture to rice.
Timer set for 17 minutes
Set timer for 17 minutes.
Jamaican Rice and Peas
After 17 minutes, remove pan from oven. Let stand for 5 minutes before removing lid.
Fluffing rice with fork
Use a fork to gently fluff rice. Carefully remove pepper, thyme sprigs, garlic clove, and allspice berries (if using). Check seasonings, adding salt and pepper to taste.
Jamaican Rice and Peas in bowl
Serve immediately and enjoy!

69 thoughts on “Jamaican Rice and Peas

  1. What beautiful pictures – I’m glad you had a lovely time and were able to get away from the winter for a while. I adore Rice and Pea but have never made it. Looking at your instructions, I clearly can and i will. Thank you:)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Fiona! The change of scenery was such a nice break, and makes the final push to spring so much easier. Will you still be in New England to see spring’s arrival? It is glorious- and everyone truly appreciates each new bud, patch of green, and bulb poking through the soil. Hope you get a chance to experience it!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m here til 24thand then in France and England for 3 weeks, back around 16th April. I’m really hoping I will snatch some Spring before I go and when I return because it is the most rejuvenating of seasons, I think 🙂 In France it will barely be and who knows what may happen in England – they’ve had so much rain this winter it may have sunk without trace!!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Happy to be back, Lynn! I missed you too! Wifi was spotty where we we stayed; I tried to check in when I could, but it was tough to be consistent. And then, reentry to the real world is always a challenge! I’m a big fan of rice and beans too… this recipe is a nice twist. xoxo

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I’d love to be back in Jamaica, too! The calendar says March, so technically spring is just around the corner… we can hang in there, warm weather will be here soon. Or, at least that’s what I tell myself every year around this time. One day maybe I’ll believe it! Till then, we can escape to island life through our cooking… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Baking rice in the oven isn’t the typical way to prepare it, but I’ve had so much success cooking it that way (not just for rice and beans- even plain old regular rice) I don’t think I’ll ever go back to the stovetop method! Thanks for stopping by, Nicky!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wonderful post, Jean! I went to Jamaica once long ago. The food was delicious, the scenery beautiful, and the people were wonderful. I didn’t have anything like this rice and peas, tough. Wow, it sounds delicious. Hugs.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hugs to you too, Teagan! The best part of Jamaica is the people!!! Obviously the sun, sand, sea, and food are incredible too, but it really is the lovely people that keep us going back rather than heading to another warm spot.


  3. I’ve got to try this! Jamaica would be wonderful right about now. It’s been so gloomy here, I’m dying for some sun. Thank you for sharing your lovely photos and recipe. Cheers, Koko:)


  4. Looks delicious and sorry I have not been by lately. I blog using my phone and I had used up my Data! 😦 My pre-set posts were already scheduled so didn’t have to do any data use replying on my own blog, using a phone. Visiting was the “problem.” Rice and beans with a little onion or spices is a great way to get filled up and not always need meat to eat. . . 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So good to see you! I’m impressed that you can blog on your phone. My fingertips must be too big because I spend half my time fixing the typos and autocorrects from using the tiny keys on my phone, and that’s just for texting! Can’t imagine how long it would take me to type an entire blog post! Again, that’s very impressive! 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  5. A wonderful post, Jean. All your photos are superb. Your photos of Jamaica make me so jealous and the information about coconuts is very interesting. I could do with some warm sand between my toes right now. 🙂 Lovely recipe, too, and I can see how well it would go with pork tenderloin.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I would love to visit Cuba! Now that relations between the U.S. and Cuba have improved, I may be able to take that trip one day. Up until a year or so ago, U.S. citizens were not allowed to visit Cuba, except under very limited circumstances. Even now in order to go, the reason for my trip would have to fall into an “approved” category, not just as a tourist.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. e were in Cuba in 2010 and this with the US weren’t good then. Very few Cuban people were permitted to go out of Cuba at all, and certainly not to the US. Even American dollars weren’t allowed there. I imagine it will take some time for the rift to heal. There are a lot of great things to see on the island, including the homestead of Fidel Castro. We learned a lot about communism, that’s for sure.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. We’ve found a Caribbean restaurant here in Vero Beach where my husband loves to go for their oxtail. One of the sides he orders is rice and peas. I’ll have to make your version for him…I know he will like it.

    Liked by 1 person

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