39 Easy Jamaican Recipes

Easy Jamaican Recipes

Bring home the taste of the islands with these authentic and easy Jamaican recipes.

You’ll be surprised at how simple it is to put together traditional dishes with Caribbean flavors such as allspice and scotch bonnet pepper for a meal your family and friends will love.

These delicious soups, breads, main dishes, and desserts will transport your tastebuds to the heart of Jamaica with every bite.

1. Jamaican Rice and Peas

Jamaican Rice and Peas

This popular Jamaican dish is a hearty and flavorful version of beans and rice.

Although the recipe title indicates peas, Jamaicans use kidney beans for this well-known side.

It’s served at family gatherings and holidays, but you can make this simple and delicious dish any time.

This vegan version will fit into any meal plan.

2. Ackee and Saltfish

Ackee and Saltfish

Ackee and Saltfish is often called the National Dish of Jamaica.

It features the national fruit of Jamaica, the ackee, a relative of the lychee.

Ackee is described as having a slightly nutty flavor that is similar to scrambled eggs.

This traditional recipe has a short list of ingredients for simple preparation.

Many Jamaicans enjoy this dish for breakfast, but it’s popular for other meals throughout the day.

3. Jamaica Festival

Jamaica Festival

This recipe sounds like a party, but it’s actually a popular Jamaican street food and side dish.

The cornmeal in this recipe gives the festival a distinctive crunchy crust.

Festival bread is fried until it’s golden brown and is best enjoyed hot.

Fry up this easy bread to accompany your favorite Jamaican soups and main dishes.

4. Jamaican Grater Cake

Jamaican Grater Cake

Made with just a handful of ingredients, this sweet island treat features tropical coconut for an authentic Jamaican dessert flavor.

The name of this dessert comes from the process of grating the coconut which is one of the main ingredients.

While it’s called a cake, it contains no flour. It’s actually more of a confection with a chewy texture.

The recipe calls for the traditional red food coloring, but you can get creative with your colors and still enjoy the intense coconut flavor.

5. Jamaican Curry Chicken

Jamaican Curry Chicken

This mouthwatering Jamaican curry will tantalize your tastebuds with a host of Caribbean flavors.

You’ll enjoy the heady aromas of this simmering chicken dish as you cook up some rice or fry bread to soak up the spicy curry sauce.

You can find Jamaican curry powder online to give this dish the traditional tastes that make it unique.

Jamaican all-purpose seasoning, an important ingredient in this recipe, is a blend of chilis, allspice, thyme, and other spices used in Caribbean cooking. You can buy it online or mix up your own.

6. Jamaican Corn Meal Porridge

Jamaican Corn Meal Porridge

Shake up your breakfast routine with this sweetly spiced porridge that’s easy to make.

With flavors of coconut, cinnamon, and nutmeg, you’ll enjoy this Jamaican breakfast staple as a start to your busy day.

The key to this recipe is to whisk the cornmeal into the liquid to make a creamy, porridge without lumps.

It’s almost like having dessert for breakfast.

7. Jamaican Steamed Cabbage

Jamaican Steamed Cabbage

Are you ready for a healthy and tasty Jamaican side dish?

This vegetable dense recipe brims with flavor that pairs perfectly with many main dishes, Jamaican or otherwise.

Cabbage is a healthy ingredient that is also budget-friendly.

You can also enjoy this dish for breakfast or paired with rice for a stand-alone meal.

8. Jamaican Pepper Shrimp

Jamaican Pepper Shrimp

Seafood is a staple of the Jamaican diet, so of course we’re including a tasty shrimp recipe.

You can enjoy this spicy shrimp dish as an appetizer, party food, or as part of a delicious meal.

It’s easy to adjust the heat if the spice is too much for you. Just use a bit less to reduce the burn and you’ll still be able to enjoy the vibrant island flavor.

9. Crispy Fried Green Plantains

Crispy Fried Green Plantains

Use the savory green plantain to make this popular Jamaican side dish and snack.

This dish is also known as tostones or patacones.

With only two ingredients, this is one of the simplest Jamaican recipes out there.

You’ll want to make sure to buy unripe green plantains, as they have less sugar than yellow or brown plantains and will give this recipe the proper texture and flavor.

The green plantains are fried to a golden brown, smashed, and fried again for a crispy and delectable texture.

10. Jamaican Callaloo and Bean Soup

Jamaican Callaloo and Bean Soup

Callaloo, or amaranth, is a popular green in Jamaica that is used in many local recipes.

It’s easy to substitute other greens, such as collards or swiss chard if you can’t find callaloo.

To make this recipe vegetarian-friendly, simply substitute vegetable broth for the chicken broth.

The beans and sweet potatoes make this a hearty and satisfying soup with a variety of Caribbean flavors to spice up your next meal.

11. Jamaican Hot Pepper Pickle Recipe

Jamaican Hot Pepper Pickle Recipe

Are you ready for some spice in your life?

Try these easy pickled peppers for a kick of heat instead of traditional hot sauce to bring a Jamaican twist to any meal.

Simply chop some veggies and add some vinegar and spices for the best spicy condiment you’ll ever make.

This recipe is so simple and tasty you’ll be making some to share.

12. Jamaican Corn Bread

Jamaican Corn Bread

If you like your cornbread sweet, this Jamaican version will be your new favorite recipe.

Coconut milk adds a tropical taste to this family favorite side dish that bakes in less than an hour.

Serve in place of traditional cornbread with barbeque, beans, or enjoy as a sweet snack with coffee or tea.

13. Jamaican Jerk Chicken

Jamaican Jerk Chicken

One of the most well-known Jamaican dishes, Jerk Chicken is actually quite simple to prepare.

The spicy marinade features the scotch bonnet pepper, Jamaican pimento (allspice), and thyme to infuse the chicken with the classic jerk flavors everyone loves.

This recipe makes enough to feed a crowd but feel free to scale it down when it’s just the family you’re cooking for.

14. Jamaican Sweet Potato Pudding

Jamaican Sweet Potato Pudding

This sweet Jamaican favorite can be enjoyed as a dessert, breakfast, or anytime treat.

The recipe calls for mixed spice, which is a traditional Jamaican blend for baked goods that is a combination of pimento, cinnamon, nutmeg, anise powder, and dried orange peel.

If you don’t have mixed spice or don’t want to make your own, pumpkin pie spice is a good substitute.

15. Fish Tea

Fish Tea

This quick fish soup is typically served as an appetizer or first course in Jamaica.

You can use a whole fish or substitute fish fillets to reduce the number of steps in this simple recipe.

The Fish Tea Soup Mix is optional. If you want to add this soup spice mix to your fish tea, it’s easy to find online.

16. Tamarind Balls

Tamarind Balls

Prepare your taste buds for a super easy no-cook treat that Jamaicans love.

These sweet and tangy nuggets are a mixture of tamarind flesh, sugar, and water.

If you can’t find tamarind pods where you live, you can use tamarind pulp or paste found online.

This version is spicy with a rum kick, but you can also make them without these additions according to your taste.

Be aware that eating too much tamarind can make your mouth sore, so enjoy these bites in moderation.

17. Simple Jamaican Potato Salad

Simple Jamaican Potato Salad

Liven up your barbeque or potluck with this spicy version of the classic potato salad.

Jamaicans often enjoy this dish with Sunday dinner to accompany fried chicken.

This simple side gets its Jamaican flavor from allspice, hot sauce, and thyme.

18. Jamaican Coco Bread

Jamaican Coco Bread

Traditional Jamaican Coco Bread is often served for breakfast but can be enjoyed any time.

This sweet yeast bread with a buttery crunchy crust gets its name from the coconut milk used in the recipe.

While this bread is easy to prepare, you’ll want to allow yourself some time for the dough to rise.

19. Simple Jamaican Oxtail Stew   

Simple Jamaican Oxtail Stew

Enjoy this hearty stew over rice for a deliciously filling meal.

This recipe has only a few ingredients and a straightforward preparation, making it great for a simple family dinner.

Allow some time for the oxtail to marinate in the fridge for the best, most authentic Jamaican flavor.

20. Jamaican Banana Fritters

Jamaican Banana Fritters

With just a few ingredients, you can use up those overripe bananas for a sweet island-style treat.

For best results, adjust the amount of sugar added based on the ripeness of your bananas.

To achieve light and fluffy fritters, make sure your oil is hot enough so that a minimal amount is absorbed.

21. Jamaican Cabbage Salad

Jamaican Cabbage Salad

This fresh, no-cook veggie side is a great addition to any meal.

With only six ingredients, you can stir this popular Jamaican salad up in a flash for a potluck or family get-together.

For a more traditional version of the recipe, use green cabbage instead of red.

22. Jamaican Chicken Pumpkin Soup

Jamaican Chicken Pumpkin Soup

You’ll love this comforting spicy chicken soup filled with vegetables and easy homemade dumplings.

Don’t worry if you can’t find Jamaican calabaza pumpkin. Butternut squash is an easy-to-find substitute for this recipe that will yield similar results.

Be sure to leave the scotch bonnet or habanero pepper whole in this soup. Otherwise, the heat will be too much for you to handle!

23. Jamaican Ginger Cake

Jamaican Ginger Cake

Add some Caribbean flair to your holiday baking with this delicious gingery spice cake.

You can find the authentic stem ginger, muscovado, and golden syrup called for in this recipe online for a traditional Jamaican flavor.

Bake a second loaf of this moist quick bread to share with a friend and enjoy with your afternoon coffee or tea.

24. Jamaican Escovitch Fish

Jamaican Escovitch Fish

This simple recipe is a great way to enjoy fish with tropical-style pickled vegetables for a fresh from the sea taste.

The marinated fried fish is topped with a mixture of peppers, carrots, and onions for a colorful and delicious meal.

You can use a whole fish if you like for an authentic Jamaican experience, or go with filets for easier preparation.

25. Jamaican Coconut Toto

Jamaican Coconut Toto

Whip up this traditional coconut cake for a scrumptious dessert with traditional island flavors.

This simple sweet is a favorite with notes of ginger and plump raisins that perfectly complement the coconut.

Ensure an extra authentic taste by adding Red Label Wine, a red wine aperitif that is a popular signature drink in Jamaica. You can find this beverage online to use in recipes or enjoy on its own.

26. Jamaican Red Pea Soup

Jamaican Red Pea Soup

Another delicious Jamaican soup featuring kidney beans and yellow yams.

The beef and pork in this satisfying soup make it a filling meal with the addition of easily made from scratch dumplings.

The featured Jamaican specialty ingredient in this dish is Grace Hot Pepper Sauce, a local favorite made with Jamaican grown hot peppers for authentic heat. Order it online to give your soup the unique flavor of the islands.

27. Jamaican Easter Spice Bun

Jamaican Easter Spice Bun

This traditional Easter holiday favorite is something Jamaicans look forward to each year.

Spice Bun is a fruitcake-like quick bread that includes raisins, maraschino cherries, and optional but traditional mixed peel. Jamaicans enjoy this snack cake with a slice of cheddar cheese on Easter weekend.

One of the signature Jamaican ingredients is Dragon Stout, which gives the cake a dark color and rich flavor. Guinness makes a good substitute if you can’t find Dragon Stout.

Guava jam also lends a tropical taste to this delicious cake. Strawberry jam is an easy-to-find stand-in for it in a pinch.

28. Pepper Pot Soup

Pepper Pot Soup

The name of this dish can be deceiving as it only contains a single whole scotch bonnet pepper with a host of vegetables and beef.

The stars of this soup are callaloo and okra, which thicken the broth for a nourishing and delectable Jamaican dining experience with a distinctive green hue.

In this recipe, canned callaloo is used. You can find this more easily than fresh callaloo and keep it in the pantry for an anytime meal.

Enjoy a meaty bowl full of this soup on a cold winter’s day for the ultimate comfort food.

29. Ital Rundown

Ital Rundown

You’ll love this easy vegan version of Jamaican rundown, or rondon, traditionally a fish soup with coconut milk.

This vegetarian take on the original dish is inspired by Jamaican Rastafarians.

Rundown is usually served with a side of dumplings or baked breadfruit for a well-rounded and filling meal.

Get your veggies the Jamaican way with this full-flavored and spicy soup.

30. Jamaican Bulla Cakes

Jamaican Bulla Cakes

 This popular Jamaican street food is surprisingly easy to make at home.

Using both fresh and dried ginger in this recipe gives the cakes an intense ginger flavor.

Delicious straight from the oven or the next day, these gingery cakes are served with avocado or cheddar cheese.

You can cut these cakes into your desired size for a great lunchtime treat or on-the-go snack.

31. Brown Stew Chicken

Brown Stew Chicken

Marinating the chicken overnight with vegetables and island spices gives this hearty Jamaican stew its intense flavor.

The thick brown gravy which gives the dish its name is created by browning the chicken with brown sugar.

Butter further enhances the gravy’s texture. which is seasoned with ketchup and hot sauce for a complex flavor.

Aromatic vegetables and flavorful spices will have you coming back for a second bowl.

32. Fried Breadfruit

Fried Breadfruit

Breadfruit is eaten by Jamaicans as an accompaniment to saucy meat dishes and hearty stews.

Although the name indicates that it’s a fruit, it is eaten like a starch such as bread or potatoes.

This simplified version of a Caribbean staple is first roasted in the oven before being pan-fried.

You can find breadfruit in West Indian or Asian grocery stores.

33. Solomon Gundy

Solomon Gundy

This simple Jamaican fish spread makes a great snack or appetizer served with water crackers or tostones.

Smoked herring is an easy ingredient to keep on hand to whip up this quick recipe at any time.

Add this spicy fish spread to your entertaining rotation for a unique taste your guests will love as a party food or snack with their favorite beverages.

34. Matrimony Fruit Salad

Matrimony Fruit Salad

Enjoy tropical flavors with this unique fruit salad featuring star apples, a fruit found in the Caribbean that is native to the Panama area.

You can enjoy this salad that “marries” the citrus and condensed milk flavors with the addition of some sherry or other fruity liqueur.

Peeled fruits such as mango, pineapple, plum, or peaches are good stand-ins for the star apples if unavailable.

35. Jamaican Coconut Chips

Jamaican Coconut Chips

This two-ingredient recipe couldn’t be simpler.

You can bake these crispy coconut chips in the oven as a healthy snack for any time of day.

Enjoy these crunchy bites with the traditional Jamaican rum punch or your favorite cocktail for an island-style happy hour.

36. Gungo Peas Soup

Gungo Peas Soup

You can make this vegetarian version of the classic Jamaican gungo pea soup to enjoy on a cold day.

Gungo peas are also known as pigeon peas, which may make them easier to find. Black-eyed peas are a good substitute if you can’t find gungo peas.

Omit the yellow yams if they aren’t available in your area. Sweet potatoes do not have the same flavor and texture. 

Traditionally, this soup is made with stewing beef and pig’s tail, so feel free to add these meats in if you aren’t a vegetarian.

Cook the dumplings or spinners in the soup at the end for a comforting bowl of vegetable goodness.

37. Gizzada Tarts

Gizzada Tarts

Bake up these simple spiced coconut pastries for an island-inspired dessert that looks like you spent hours in the kitchen.

This popular Jamaican tart has a flaky buttery crust filled with brown sugar, coconut, and spices.

You’ll love the smell of ginger and nutmeg filling your kitchen while you bake these delightful tropical treats.

38. Jamaican Corn Soup

Jamaican Corn Soup

Cook up this vegetarian soup with a mixture of enticing aromatic spices for a meal you won’t soon forget.

It’s important to roast and grind the spices before adding them to the soup for a more intense flavor.

The split peas and coconut milk make this a satisfying soup with a bit of sweetness from the corn cobs.

39. Jamaican Bread Pudding

Jamaican Bread Pudding

What better way to make use of stale bread than to put together a delicious bread pudding, complete with Jamaican rum sauce?

You can use any type of bread that easily soaks up liquid for this dessert, but if you want to be truly authentic, you can use Jamaican hard dough bread.

Make this sweet treat for your next dinner party or family get-together to give your family a taste of the islands they won’t soon forget.

Easy Jamaican Recipes, Final Thoughts

Now that you have a variety of easy Jamaican recipes to try, you can enjoy delicious tropical island flavors any day of the week. With a few simple ingredients on hand, you’ll be able to spice up your table with new flavors for a taste vacation right at home.

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