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Jamaican Rice and Peas

Jamaican Rice and Peas

Jamaican Rice and Peas Recipe is an authentic and flavorful side dish that is made with coconut milk, herbs and spices that your entire family will love.

This side dish is the perfect dish for any meal you are having.

In Jamaica, you can’t have Sunday dinner and not have this authentic rice and peas recipe.

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Nope, it is a tradition that has to be cooked in every home. This tradition comes from slavery days.

It was only Sundays the slaves were given as day off, so that’s when they were able to cook the best dishes which includes rice and peas.

What is Jamaican Rice and Peas made of?

This common and popular side dish is made of rice, peas (beans), coconut milk, thyme, scallions, garlic, ginger and other spices.

The distinct flavors comes from all the herbs and spices. But most of the flavor comes from the coconut milk, scotch bonnet pepper and pimento berries (allspice).

Why do Jamaicans call it Rice and Peas?

Jamaicans call it Rice and Peas instead of Rice and Beans because we call beans, peas.

Kidney beans are referred to as peas by every person back home in Jamaica, whether it is the small or large type or dark red or lightly red in color.

The only time we Jamaicans say beans, is when we are referring to broad bean, butter bean or baked beans.

So whether it is the small red beans, lightly red kidney beans or dark red kidney beans, they are all the same to us….peas.

The Jamaican Rice and Pigeons Peas, also known as Gungo Peas is similar to this recipe.

If you want to cook Gungo Peas and Rice, then replace the Kidney Beans with Pigeons peas.

Also, all Jamaicans say Rice and Peas and not Peas and Rice.

Authentic Jamaican Rice and Peas.

Can I use Canned Beans instead of Dried Beans?

Yes, you can use canned red kidney beans instead of dried beans.

This option decrease the cooking process of the beans and you spend less time in the kitchen.

So, I won’t judge you if you used the can ones.

Be sure to rinse and drain the beans once you open the can.

I love cooking the beans with the garlic, (which add more flavor) and the red looking color that changes the water, gives the finished dish a beautiful look.

Fresh Coconut Milk vs. Canned Coconut milk

Growing up in Jamaica, there is always a coconut tree in our yard that we get coconuts from.

Pretty much every yard on the country side has plenty of coconut tree, at least even one.

So there was always a dry coconut in the kitchen ready to be used on a Sunday for rice and peas.

I never saw my mother used any canned coconut milk, not that it isn’t available she is just old school.

However, if she cannot get a dried coconut to make the milk, she would use the powdered coconut milk instead.

Whenever she comes to visit us here, she would pick up a dried coconut from the grocery store for me to use in the rice and peas.

At times, it is hard for me to get a decent dried coconut here (without it spoiling when you open it up), so I sometimes used a canned coconut milk.

I am not one to judge anyone.

So, if it’s the canned one you can only get, then go ahead and use that one.

Jamaican Rice and Peas without Coconut Milk

Traditionally, rice and peas Jamaican style is cooked with coconut milk.

However, some people are allergic to coconut milk or just don’t like the taste.

Therefore, you can cook rice and peas without the coconut milk.

Just substitute it with chicken stock, vegetable stock or just plain water.

A closer look at Jamaican Rice and Peas in a white serving bowl green onion on top.

What to serve Jamaican Rice and Peas with?

This side dish can be eaten all by itself. Honestly, it is that flavorful and delicious.

However, Jamaican curry chicken with rice and peas is my favorite dish to eat, but you can serve it with your favorite meat or seafood dish such as:

How to store Jamaican Rice and Peas

To store Jamaican Rice and Peas, allow it to cool first.

Then add it to a container with lid and store in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days.

The coconut milk can go bad, so don’t store pass 3 days. Plus, it all depends on the temperature that is in your refrigerator.

To freeze, place the rice and peas in a freezer friendly container with a lid and freeze for up to 1 to 2 months.

To reheat, thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Then warm it up in the microwave until heated through.

How to make Jamaican Rice and Peas

Firstly, add the soaked beans (with the water) and the garlic in a medium pot.

Secondly, add the coconut milk with all the spices and herbs and let it boil for a few minutes.

Thirdly, add the washed rice and taste to see if the seasoning is to your liking.

Finally, cover the pot with the lid and let in boil on medium heat and then turn heat on low, once the water is evaporated. Let it simmer for about 25 to 30 minutes, until it is cook.

I hope you will give this side dish a try and make it a common dish in your home, as how it is in mine and many Jamaicans across the globe.

Step by step pictures on how to make Jamaican rice and peas.
Top Left: Red Kidney Beans that was soaked in water overnight.
Top Right: Red Kidney Beans in the pot with garlic.
Bottom Left: Crushing scallions (green onions) with spoon.
Bottom Right: All the All the remaining ingredients (except for rice) in the pot.

Here is Yanks Amazon selections:

Jamaican Rice and Peas Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of dried red Kidney Beans
  • 6 cups of water
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 can (13.5 to 14 oz) of Coconut Milk
  • 2 stalks of scallion (green onions), crushed
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 inch ginger, peeled
  • 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 scotch bonnet pepper or 1/4 tsp of red crushed pepper
  • 3 cups of uncooked long grain white rice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon of brown sugar (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice (optional)

Instructions

  1. Wash your dried beans and drain. Soak your dried kidney beans in 3 cups of water in a container. Cover the container with it’s lid and leave it overnight. This method will make the beans cook faster.
  2. Pour all the soaked beans (with the water), garlic, and 1 cup of water in a medium pot. Cook on medium heat for about 25 minutes first. Then add 2 more cups of water and continue cooking for an additional 20 minutes. Check to see if the beans are tender. You don’t want it to be too soft and mushy.
  3. Add the scallion (green onions), salt, thyme, coconut milk, ginger, allspice, brown sugar, scotch bonnet pepper (it will stay on top) or red crushed pepper and stir. Cover the pot and let it boil for about 5 minutes on medium heat.
  4. Add the washed rice (or if you choose not to wash it) and stir, so that all the beans are not at the bottom of the pot. Adjust the seasoning if it is not to your liking, after tasting. Cover and bring to a boil on medium heat.
  5. After all the liquid is evaporated (not visible at the top of the pot), turn on low heat and cook for about 25 to 30 minutes or less.
  6. Discard the scallions, scotch bonnet pepper and thyme. Fluff the rice with a fork and serve warm. Enjoy!

Notes

  1. The beans should take approximately 45 minutes to cook.
  2. After adding the scotch bonnet pepper, be careful when stirring, to avoid bursting it.
  3. Use a piece of parchment paper to cover the rice and then use the pot cover (the lid) to lock tight. With this process, it allows the rice to steam properly.
  4. Also, some individuals add some brown sugar to the liquid before adding the rice.
  5. Discard the scallions, scotch bonnet pepper and thyme.
  6. Use Red Crushed Pepper if you don’t have any Scotch Bonnet Pepper.
Jamaican Rice and Peas Recipe in a white serving bowl.

Additional Rice Recipes

Here are some other types of Rice recipes that you can check out too:

Please let me know what you think about Jamaican Rice and Peas in the comment section below, when you give it a try. Leave a rating also.

Thank you for stopping by, please come back again.

Blessings and Love, as you carry on, on your YouNique Journey!

A white bowl with Jamaican Rice and Peas,

Jamaican Rice and Peas

Yield: 8 to 10 Servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Jamaican Rice and Peas Recipe is an authentic and flavorful side dish that is made with coconut milk, herbs and spices that your entire family will love.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of dried red Kidney Beans
  • 6 cups of water
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 can (13.5 to 14 oz) of Coconut Milk
  • 2 stalks of scallion (green onions), crushed
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 inch ginger, peeled
  • 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 scotch bonnet pepper or 1/4 tsp of red crushed pepper
  • 3 cups of uncooked long grain white rice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon of brown sugar (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice (optional)

Instructions

    1. Wash your dried beans and drain. Soak your dried kidney beans in 3 cups of water in a container. Cover the container with it's lid and leave it overnight. This method will make the beans cook faster.
    2. Pour all the soaked beans (with the water), garlic, and 1 cup of water in a medium pot. Cook on medium heat for about 25 minutes first. Then add 2 more cups of water and continue cooking for an additional 20 minutes. Check to see if the beans are tender. You don't want it to be too soft and mushy.
    3. Add the scallion (green onions), salt, thyme, coconut milk, ginger, allspice, brown sugar, scotch bonnet pepper (it will stay on top) or red crushed pepper and stir. Cover the pot and let it boil for about 5 minutes on medium heat.
    4. Add the washed rice (or if you choose not to wash it) and stir, so that all the beans are not at the bottom of the pot. Adjust the seasoning if it is not to your liking, after tasting. Cover and bring to a boil on medium heat.
    5. After all the liquid is evaporated (not visible at the top of the pot), turn on low heat and cook for about 25 to 30 minutes or less.
    6. Discard the scallions, scotch bonnet pepper and thyme. Fluff the rice with a fork and serve warm. Enjoy!

Notes

  1. The beans should take approximately 45 minutes to cook.
  2. After adding the scotch bonnet pepper, be careful when stirring, to avoid bursting it.
  3. Use a piece of parchment paper to cover the rice and then use the pot cover (the lid) to lock tight. With this process, it allows the rice to steam properly.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 136Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 435mgCarbohydrates: 20gFiber: 2gSugar: 1gProtein: 4g

The nutritional information that is provided, is computer generated and therefore it is an estimate. Please do your own research with the ingredients that are listed here, if you have any concern about any specific diet or your health.

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