The Best Jamaican Recipes are bursting with fresh, bold Caribbean flavour. Whether you need a quick and easy meal or want to feed a crowd for a holiday, we’ve got you covered. This list covers everything from breakfast to dessert.
After you get meal inspiration from this list of the best Jamaican recipes, try these 10 Jamaican Breakfast Recipes next!
Here’s Why These Are the Best Jamaican Recipes
- Fresh – many of these recipes include fresh produce that makes each dish rich and vibrant so you get a taste of island flavour!
- Flavourful – one thing you will never have to worry about is bland food. Each dish is prepared with ample spices that add mouthwatering depth.
- Versatile – it doesn’t matter if you are a meat lover, a pescatarian, or a vegan. Jamaica has delicious options for everyone, regardless of their diet.
- Traditional – whether you are new to Jamaican food or just want to expand your palate, each dish has a purpose and a story.
What is a Typical Jamaican Meal?
What is the Most Famous Jamaican Dish?
The most famous Jamaican dish is ackee and saltfish, the country’s national dish.
What is the Main Ingredient in a Popular Jamaican Dish?
Given Jamaica’s versatile foods, there are some ingredients you will come across in many recipes. Here are some essential ingredients you will need to keep in stock when making the best Jamaican recipes.
- Canned Coconut Milk – many recipes are dairy-free but still have a creamy richness. Use coconut milk in recipes like rice and peas and coco bread.
- Provisions (Jamaican Hard Food) – these are Caribbean starchy vegetables. They are usually the main source of carbohydrates for the meal. Provisions or “food” includes yams, green bananas, sweet potatoes, breadfruit, yams, plantains, cassava, taro root and pumpkins.
- Scotch Bonnet Pepper – this hot pepper adds spice to some of your favourite island dishes. They are about 445,000 SHUs on the Scoville heat scale but also have a fruity note. It is a key flavour component in many Jamaican soups and sauces.
- Pimento (Jamaican All Spice) – this ground spice is whole or lightly crushed Jamaican bayberry plant. The flavour is potent, peppery with hints of nutmeg. Use it for everything from cocktails to stews.
Traditional Jamaican Dishes
Go to any Jamaican restaurant and you’re bound to see most if not all of these popular Jamaican recipes.
- Curry Goat – A beloved Caribbean meal of stewed goat meat, and chunks of potatoes in a thick, savory curry sauce.
- Oxtail – a foundational and classic recipe in many Jamaican households. Oxtails are seasoned and marinated in a flavourful array of Jamaican herbs and spices. Then they’re braised and slow cooked until they are fall off the bone tender.
- Jamaican Beef Patty – A classic Caribbean staple and is made with a flavoursome ground beef mixture that’s enclosed in a deliciously flaky, buttery, golden pastry crust.
- Ackee and Saltfish – This is not only the national dish of Jamaica, it’s a staple breakfast recipe that many enjoy throughout the Caribbean and beyond. It’s made with an aromatic blend of sauteed tomatoes, onions, sweet peppers, thyme, and scotch bonnet pepper.
- Jerk Pork – Tender, well-marinated pork shoulder slow-roasted then broiled for a crispy, flavourful meat entree.
Simple Jamaican Recipes
If you’re looking for easy Jamaican recipes that you can make in minutes with minimal ingredients, check these out.
- Jamaican Coconut Drops – made with 3 simple ingredients; real coconut, dark brown sugar, and fresh ginger. They pack a powerful delicious sweet punch!
- Honey Jerk Shrimp – a quick and easy meal with big island flavour. Serve it over just about anything! Sauté seasoned jumbo shrimp until the edges are golden then toss them in a delicious honey jerk homemade sauce.
- Banana Fritters – a delicious and very easy to make breakfast or anytime snack recipe that’s sure to be a winner! They’re the perfect way to use up ripen bananas. Mixed with simple pantry items, they are ready in no time.
- Jamaican Fried Dumpling – an easy and delicious 4-ingredient bread style dumpling recipe that’s crispy on the outside with a soft, buttery and fluffy inside!
Want to break from the monotony of cereal for breakfast? Try something warm, nutritious, filling and tasty!
- Jamaican Green Banana Porridge – A quick and easy creamy breakfast porridge recipe made using green bananas. It’s filled with warm delicious spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla and makes for a nutrient-rich breakfast packed with vitamins and minerals.
- Hominy Corn Porridge – a traditional and tasty Caribbean breakfast recipe that is filling, warming and only requires a few simple ingredients. It’s a creamy blend of softened hominy kernels, milk (swap for coconut milk and make it vegan), a pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg for flavour and sweetened with condensed milk or sugar.
- Cornmeal Porridge – A creamy, warming, and delicious breakfast porridge recipe you’re definitely going to love! It’s ready in just under 25 minutes and made using the simplest ingredients; cornmeal, cinnamon, nutmeg, a hint of vanilla and sweetened to taste.
Vegetarian Jamaican Recipes
Many of the best Jamaican recipes are meatless because many Jamaicans are vegetarian or vegan. These dishes prove that you don’t need meat to have a satisfying and delicious meal.
- Steamed Cabbage – a healthy, flavourful and easy to make Jamaican vegetable side dish that goes with almost anything. Lightly seasoned steamed cabbage loaded with carrots, colourful bell peppers, and onions.
- Vegan Jamaican Bulgur Wheat & Peas (Rice & Peas Remix) – a delicious and healthier alternative to the traditional Jamaican Rice and Peas recipe. It’s full of flavour from the thyme, escallion, and garlic, with a touch of creaminess from fresh coconut milk.
- Callaloo – a nutrient-rich, green leafy vegetable commonly served for breakfast with saltfish and alongside many other classic Jamaican dishes. It includes onions, garlic, tomatoes and scotch bonnet pepper.
- Pumpkin Soup – a hearty, vegan meal made with squash, yams, veggies, and plenty of bold authentic Caribbean flavour. Served with dumplings, this warm comforting bowl of soup is ideal for cold fall and winter days or all year-round!
Jamaican is an island so there are many fishing villages and beaches along its coasts. It’s easy to see why seafood is such an essential part of the Jamaican diet; it’s plentiful!
- Jamaican Curry Shrimp – made using Jamaican curry powder and coconut milk infused with thyme, garlic, scotch bonnet and pimento flavours. This dish provides an irresistible taste and burst of island deliciousness with each bite!
- Jamaican Escovitch Fish – a quick and easy Caribbean fried fish recipe. Crispy fried red snapper and sliced kingfish topped with a colourful medley of pickled vegetables.
- Jamaican Saltfish Fritters – also known as Stamp and Go, this is a delicious savoury fritter recipe. These tasty treats come together in no time by combining a batter of veggies, seasonings, and salted codfish. Then it is fried until golden and crispy with a soft chewy center!
- Jamaican Coconut Curried Salmon – salmon fillets are nestled in a savoury sauce made from coconut milk, curry powder and infused with thyme, garlic, scotch bonnet and pimento flavours.
- Brown Stew Fish – made by lightly seasoning snapper fish, frying until golden crisp, and simmering it down in a rich brown savoury gravy. The dish is enhanced with onions, garlic, bell peppers, tomatoes, thyme, and scotch bonnet pepper!
Jamaican Drink Recipes
This country has the most refreshing and unique beverages. Here are a few.
- Carrot Juice – enjoy this Caribbean twist on fresh carrot juice, featuring nutrament, dragon stout, vanilla, and hints of warm spices.
- Guinness Punch – made with Guinness beer and vanilla Nutrament. It is sweetened with condensed milk and served on ice with a dash of nutmeg! It’s the perfect grown folks cold blended beverage and ready in under 10 minutes for any occasion.
- Caribbean Chocolate Tea (Cocoa Tea) – a delicious, silky smooth blend of natural cacao, cinnamon and nutmeg, simmered to toasty, chocolatey perfection and sweetened with condensed milk!
Despite the warm island weather, soups are a yearround staple in Jamaican cuisine. Warm, healthy, and so satisfying, here are the best soups.
- Traditional Jamaican Pumpkin Beef Soup – traditionally prepared on a Saturday, this soup is infused with flavours of garlic, thyme and escallion. It has a pumpkin beef soup base filled with dumplings, carrots, and hearty ground provision, such as yams and potatoes.
- Red Peas Soup – made with red kidney beans and beef to make the most delicious base for the soup and loaded with dumplings, carrots, and hearty ground provision, such as yams and potatoes.
- Jamaican Chicken Soup – this classic Caribbean chicken soup recipe includes chicken and pumpkin soup base, dumplings, vegetables, and hearty ground provision, such as yams and potatoes!
- Gungo Peas Soup – a classic flavourful Jamaican soup loaded with pigeon (gungo) peas, dumplings and hearty ground provision then simmered to cozy perfection for the ultimate Caribbean comfort meal.
A chicken recipe is perhaps the best way to introduce someone to Jamaican cuisine. These are the most popular Jamaican chicken recipes.
- Brown Stew Chicken – a traditional flavourful Jamaican stew. Marinated chicken, aromatic spices, and vegetables are braised in one pot until tender, creating boast worthy island taste!
- Jerk Chicken – this recipe is bursting with true authentic jerk flavour and flare! Marinated chicken overnight in a delicious blend of herbs, spices, and jerk seasoning for the perfect brag-worthy dish!
- Curry Chicken – a beloved Caribbean meal; full of rich, warm aromatic spices, herbs, veggies, potatoes, and tender chicken pieces. This easy one pot meal is simmered and cooked down in a delicious savoury curry sauce with a splash of wholesome coconut milk for the perfect touch of creamy richness!
- Bar-B-Fried Chicken – a flavourful chicken recipe, fried to crispy golden brown perfection, then tossed in a homemade sweet-spicy Jamaican-style barbecue sauce.
Many of the best Jamaican recipes are served with bread. These are some of the most popular ones.
- Jamaican Festival Recipe – a simple fried sweet dumpling that’s golden and crispy outside, soft and fluffy inside!
- Jamaican Hard Dough Bread (Hardo Bread) – it has a soft yet firm thick crust with a tender, chewy inside enriched by milk, butter, and sugar, for a hint of sweetness.
- Coco Bread – a soft, fluffy, moist bread with a sweet delicate flavour and a pocket shape that’s perfect for sandwiches.
Rice and Pasta
Whether you need a side or want to make it a meal, these rice and pasta recipes are absolutely delicious!
- Jamaican Rice and Peas – a delicious, flavourful and quintessential Jamaican rice side dish recipe. Made using perfectly cooked rice and red kidney beans infused with flavours from a mix of thyme, escallion, pimento, scotch bonnet and garlic. The heat of the scotch bonnet heat is beautifully balanced by the creaminess of fresh coconut milk.
- Gungo Peas and Rice – cooked in well seasoned creamy coconut milk and served along with traditional Jamaican mains like oxtail, curry goat, and jerk chicken.
- Rasta Pasta – the perfect twist to traditional Alfredo pasta! Penne pasta is tossed in a delicious creamy jerk Alfredo sauce with seasoned shrimp or chicken.
Jamaican has so many traditional desserts with distinct flavours. Here are some of the best.
- Jamaican Black Cake – also known as Jamaican rum cake, wedding cake or Christmas cake. It is a rich and decadent traditional Caribbean dessert! Soak dried fruit in rum for up to a year then add it to fruit cake with warm spices and wine. It’s super moist with maximum flavour.
- Easter Bun – also known as spice bun, it’s a sweet spiced bread dotted with rum-soaked fruit. Topped with a honey-fruit glaze.
- Sweet Potato Pudding – a rich, oven-baked dessert dotted with rum-soaked raisins and finished with a silky smooth custard topping. This Caribbean treat includes sweet potatoes, coconut milk, a touch of ginger and island spices for a truly indulgent experience.
- Cornmeal Pudding – also known as cornmeal pone. This is a deliciously spiced (occasionally spiked) dessert. The ingredients include finely ground yellow cornmeal, coconut milk, sugar, and warm spices.
- Bulla Cake – a warmly spiced doughy treat with a burst of molasses flavour complemented by ginger, cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg.