Jamaican Festival Recipe

Jamaican Festival Recipe is a great snack recipe that is party-friendly can be prepared in advance, is vegan and gluten-free, doesn’t have a million steps to prepare, and would also be great to make with kids.

I decided to share my Jamaican Festival Dumplings (Vegan, Gluten-Free) recipe for those people like myself who cannot handle gluten and are also vegan.

This recipe is similar to hush puppies recipes; it is made with cornmeal and gluten-free flour mix and sweetener, and then it is fried in oil. It is traditionally served with fish, but I served mine with Scrambled Tofu and Southern-Style Collard Greens.

It is normally deep-fried but can be lightly fried to cut back on the amount of oil used. It is easy to prepare and tastes delicious! They are crispy on the outside but soft and chewy on the inside; they make the perfect side dish.

For the gluten-free flour, I used Bob’s Red Mills Gluten-Free 1:1 Baking Flour with great success.

My hubby loved these festivals so much he couldn’t stop complimenting me on how great they were; I believe that it brought back memories of Jamaica as well for him. I hope that you will try this recipe and that it will become part of your family as well. Bon Appetit!

Jamaican Festival Dumplings (Vegan, Gluten-Free)

Why You Will Like Jamaican festival Recipe?

Jamaicans are well known for their love of food and their passion for cooking. In fact, food is a way of life for many Jamaicans, so much so that there are many festivals held throughout the year to celebrate all things tasty. The Jamaican Festival recipe is one of the most popular dishes served at these festivals and is usually prepared by women who are more than willing to share their secrets with anyone who asks.

There are several reasons why you will like this recipe.

  • It is vegan and gluten-free.
  • It’s full of flavor and easy to prepare.
  • It’s made with simple ingredients that can be found in any kitchen pantry or local grocery store.
  • It is a light snack that can be prepared with minimal cooking skills.
  • The Jamaican Festival recipe is not spicy but has a strong flavor.
  • They’re great on their own but also as a side dish to ‘dress up your breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Try these and enjoy every bite.
  • Jamaican Festival Dumplings are a fun Caribbean recipe that’s perfect for your next get-together with friends and family. These dumplings are tasty and sure to impress!
  • The recipe has been handed down through generations, making it a true Jamaican delight!
  • Last but not least, it’s inexpensive!

ingredients for festival

Recipe’s Required Ingredients

  • Cornmeal: I used organic cornmeal. Chickpea flour can be used in place of cornmeal to make it corn-free.
  • All-purpose gluten-free flour: If you’re not gluten-free. However, maple syrup, coconut sugar, and brown sugar can all be used interchangeably.

Baking powder: Baking powder is a leavening agent. It will give the festivals more fluff and lift.

Ground Flax Seeds: Flaxseed act as an egg replacer and helps in binding the festivals.

  • Salt: For flavor.
  • Water: Water is used to bind the dough. Make sure to use cold water; otherwise, the dough will stick to your hands.’
  • Vanilla: The addition of vanilla enhances the flavor. You can also use cinnamon.
  • Oil: for frying

How To Make The Jamaican festival? 

It’s easy to prepare! Once you have gathered everything together, simply follow the instructions below on how to make your own Jamaican festivals!

  • In a medium bowl, whisk together cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, flaxseeds, and salt.
  • Mix in water and vanilla until fully combined. Knead and form into a dough ball.
  • Separate dough into equal pieces, about 6-12 depending on size. Shape each piece into a sausage shape by rolling between the palm of your hands and flattening slightly.
  • Heat oil in a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Place dough into the skillet and cook for about 3 minutes on one side; reduce heat and flip the dough on the other side for another 3 minutes. Fry dough until golden brown on all sides.
  • Remove and place on a paper towel to absorb excess oil. Serve immediately!

Serving Options

The ideal way to enjoy Jamaican festival dumplings is warm, so eat them immediately after cooking or on the day you cooked them. These festival dumplings are a little dry and chewy after a day.

These delicious festival dumplings are typically served as a side dish with any saltfish or jerk chicken dish, but you can also serve them with your favorite Jamaican recipes. It goes well with some of my favorite Jamaican recipes like rasta pasta, jerk tofu, vegan ackee, or vegan curry chicken.

Festival dumplings are a sort of street food eaten as a side dish at outdoor gatherings.

Recipe Notes

  • Make sure your deep-frying oil is at the correct temperature. You can use a thermometer to make sure the temperature of the oil is 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Do not overcrowd the skillet with festivals; they will expand while frying!
  • You can also use your favorite plant-based milk instead of water in this recipe, and if you do not have any dietary restrictions, you can also use fresh cow milk.
  • To make а lighter version of these festivals, reduce the amount of cornmeal to three tablespoons and modify the water used to bind the dough.
  • It’s better to eat festival as soon as possible after it’s been prepared. You can make the dough ahead of time.

Jamaican Festival Dumplings (Vegan, Gluten-Free)

Frequently Asked Questions:

What Is Jamaica Festival Called?

They are sometimes referred to as fried dough, cornmeal fritters, and fried cornbread. They are simply known as festivals in Jamaica. It’s ideal for eating them as soon as possible once they’ve been prepared.

What Is A Festival Dumpling?

It’s a dough made of cornmeal, wheat flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, unsweetened milk or water, which is then fried in cooking oil and served hot. The final product should have a crisp outside and a soft, airy inside.

Are Festival And Dumpling The Same Thing?

Fried Dumplings and Festivals have a lot in common. They’re both fried dough dishes that go well with a variety of entrees. Nevertheless, there are a couple of key distinctions between these two, the first of which is the two products’ respective shapes. The festivities of Jamaica are long and thin, resembling sausages, whereas the dumplings are round.

But there is one key ingredient. Yellow cornmeal is required at all authentic Jamaican festivities. Not just in texture but also in flavor, cornmeal separates festivals from fried dumplings. The inclusion of spices distinguishes festival dumplings from fried dumplings. Some festival recipes call for spices such as cinnamon or nutmeg, but I prefer to keep things simple. As a result, the festive flavor complements and balances the food with which it is served.

Is Jamaican Festival Vegan?

Yes! My Jamaican festival recipe is vegan and gluten-free.

What Does Festival Taste Like?

The festival tastes like a cross between sweet cornbread and hushpuppies. It’s light and fluffy, with just the right amount of sweetness.

Can You Bake Jamaican Festival?

You certainly can. Baked Festival is a variation on the sweetened cornbread known as “Festival” in Jamaica, which is generally fried and served with cassava or plantains but can also be baked.

Jamaican Festival Dumplings (Vegan, Gluten-Free)

Can You Make Festival In An Air Fryer?

Several readers have asked me if my Jamaican Festival recipe can be made in the air fryer? The recipes I shared above-used oil for deep frying; however, feel free to use an Air Fryer instead if you don’t want to deep fry your festivals.

Where Did Jamaican Dumplings Come From?

People would bring fried biscuits for lengthy journeys throughout the Jamaican colonial and slave periods, and that is how fried dumplings got their start. Fried dumplings, also known as “journey cake” or “Johnny Cake,” are commonly served with other morning foods like callaloo, ackee and saltfish, or kidney among today’s islanders.

Is Jamaican Dumplings Healthy?

Jamaican dumplings contain very few minerals and vitamins (0.2% per calorie); however, it is a rich source of manganese. Low in potentially harmful ingredients such as saturated fat and salt (0 percent/oz). Protein is abundant (120 percent of DV/100g). Carbohydrate content is relatively high (100 percent of DV/100g).

What Is Jamaican Hard Food?

Hard food is one of Jamaica’s most traditional dishes, usually served for breakfast. It is a combo of boiled dumplings, bananas, and yams that can be served with a variety of cuisines, including callaloo, ackee and saltfish, and others. If you try this filling dish, you’ll be begging for more!

What Is Carnival In Jamaica?

Carnival is a riot of color, music, dance, and food in Jamaica. The National Carnival March is an essential part of the carnival in Jamaica; it is a costume parade in which hundreds of competing bands perform. On this day, the entire island gets together to rejoice and dance while dressed in the most elaborate and vibrant costumes possible. The streets are filled with thousands of people on this day.

Which Month Is Carnival In Jamaica?

Carnival will be held in Jamaica in July. This year’s Carnival in Jamaica (CIJ) will begin on Friday, July 1, and end on Sunday, July 10, in Kingston with the grand road parade, according to a press release from CIJ’s National Stakeholders Committee (NSC).

Give this Jamaican festival recipe a shot. I hope you like it. And as always, I would love to hear from you. Feel free to leave any feedback or share your own experience with us in the comments section below.

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Jamaican Festival Recipe in white bowl

Jamaican Festival Recipe

These amazing Jamaican Festival Dumplings are Vegan and Gluten-Free, they are reminiscent of the popular street food that I ate while growing up in Jamaica.
4.89 from 9 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Jamaican
Keyword: Jamaican Festival Recipe
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 148kcal


  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 cup flour I used all purpose gluten-free flour
  • 2 tablespoons organic cane sugar or sweetener of your choice
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground flax seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup water (cold)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • oil for frying


  • In a medium bowl, whisk together cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, flaxseeds, and salt.
  • Mix in water and vanilla until fully combined. Knead and form into a dough ball.
  • Separate dough into equal pieces, about 6-12 depending on size. Shape each piece into sausage shape by rolling between the palm of your hands and flatten slightly.
  • Heat oil in a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Place dough into the skillet and cook for about 3 minutes on one side, reduce heat and flip the dough on the other side for another 3 minutes. Fry dough until golden brown on all sides.
  • Remove and place on paper towel to absorb excess oil. Serve immediately!


Calories: 148kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 0.2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.5g | Sodium: 254mg | Potassium: 84mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin C: 0.001mg | Calcium: 64mg | Iron: 1mg

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  1. 5 stars
    Michelle, I have never used eggs in my festivals and they come out excellently. They are the first to finish when I make them. But then I use regular flour so they don’t need a binding agent (not vegan😊)

    1. It’s wonderful that your festivals turn out delicious without using eggs. Using regular flour as a binding agent makes sense. Your non-vegan approach adds a unique touch to the recipe. thank you for sharing your experience with me. 😊

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