Jamaican Rice and Peas

October 16, 2016
The must have side with any Sunday lunch, is this easy rice and peas Jamaican style. A quintessential Jamaican dish.

How to make Jamaican Rice and Peas

I know that the most popular item when people think of Jamaican food, they think of jerk.

Running a close second in my opinion is rice and peas. This is a "must have" when it comes to Jamaican food.

This side is the perfect accompaniment to their jerk chicken, curry chicken and even curry goat. It is an authentic Jamaican dish.

This is not your normal rice and peas (even though kidney beans are used it's still referred to as rice and peas). This is a fully flavored rice with coconut milk and a little hint of pepper.

You can't have Sunday dinner and not have yuh rice and peas.

Every Caribbean island has their own rice and peas/beans.

Unlike Jamaica, in Trinidad our rice and peas recipe calls for pigeon peas (gungo peas) with our rice. Cubans' use black beans for their rice and beans.

I have failed so many times making this when I just started. A few times the rice was not cooked enough. A few times the rice was extra sappy.

I have now been able to master and monitor to get it to that texture of rice that is nice and fluffy with just a hint of pepper in the back.

A trick that works for me is using brands of products I'm comfortable with. I stick to Caribbean brands of coconut milk. And I always use Goya brand of canned peas/beans.

I feel like with Goya products I know the consistency of their peas and I'm better able to time how long it needs before it is over done. I've used different brands over time and I just can't seem to get it right.

This recipe is easy. I must note that though some recipes I take things out as I need them, this rice cooks best for me when I already have everything shared out and ready to use as needed.

What is par-boiled rice?

I've gotten a few questions about this. Par boiled rice is not "pre-boiled" rice. It is just a type of rice. White rice, jasmine rice, brown rice, basmati rice are all different types of rice.

The process of 'par boiling takes the rice through steam pressure process while it is still in the husk. Once that is done, the husk is removed and then the rice is packaged.

This type of rice, from the process, is a firmer rice when boiled. It cannot get mushy (cannot be cooked very soft) and gets you a fluffy cook.

This is why I prefer to use this par boiled rice when making combined rice dishes (also use it for my pelau) over say jasmine rice which can get very sappy.

Now on to the recipe.

In a deep, heavy dish, saute onions and garlic in coconut oil.

Jamaican Rice and Peas

Make sure that the garlic doesn't burn but is sauteed enough to emit flavor into the oil. Then add kidney beans and saute that for 2 minutes. Add green onions.

Recipe for authentic Jamaican Rice and Peas

The aroma coming from this pot now should have you very excited.

Now it's time to add in the coconut milk to the pot.

Recipe for Rice and Peas

And season it up with some thyme and that one scotch bonnet pepper that we don't want to burst. So be very careful now about stirring it.

Jamaican Rice and Peas

After that comes to a boil, add the rice (par boiled, long grain rice works best for me. I always use Uncle Ben's)

How to make Jamaican Rice and Peas

And then that's just covered and left to steam and season to taste as needed with salt.

Easy right?

I don't season with salt until the rice is cooked. Then I just sprinkle as needed and stir.

Please be very cautious of the pepper in the pot. You do not want to make the rice too spicy. We just want that flavor.

Authentic Rice and Peas recipe

This is a great alternative if you eat a lot of rice. This tastes great with meat on the side but sometimes I don't even want to pair this with any meat. The dish is really flavorful with the beans.

Jamaican Rice nd Peas recipe

The peas are cooked just enough that it still has some body to it even though it's tender. The rice is steamed with the coconut milk giving it a really deep flavor.

This is not a long process either. Not much pre planning is needed to incorporate this popular Jamaican dish into your dinner.

Rice and peas recipe

Jamaican rice and peas is a must try.

Check out some other sides that you can incorporate into your meals:

Jamaican Rice and Peas
Yield: 4
Author: Renz @ HomeMadeZagat
Jamaican Rice and Peas

Jamaican Rice and Peas

A fool proof recipe for making flavorful Jamaican rice and peas using coconut milk and kidney beans.
Prep time: 15 MCook time: 35 MTotal time: 50 M


  • 1 can Goya red kidney beans
  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • 1 scotch bonnet pepper (or habanero pepper)
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 cups par boiled rice


  1. Drain peas (Drain liquid from peas into measuring cup)
  2. In a heavy bottom pan on a med - high heat, heat coconut oil and saute garlic and onion for about 2 minutes
  3. Add kidney beans and satue for another two minutes
  4. Add liquid from beans and coconut milk along with thyme and hot pepper
  5. Bring to a boil
  6. Add rice and bring to a boil
  7. Add water
  8. Lower heat, cover and simmer till all liquid has evaporated and rice is fully (approx. 25 minutes) (15 minutes into simmer, take a spatula and fluff the rice a little)
  9. Serve
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Recipe for making Jamaican Rice and Peas

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Renz HomeMadeZagat
Renz HomeMadeZagat

Hi guys, I’m Renz. I am the chief cook and bottle washer here at HomeMadeZagat. I am here sharing Caribbean recipes that I grew up eating and new ones I’ve fallen in love with over the years. I just want to showcase the amazing diversity of Caribbean food and that everyone can recreate these dishes.