Jamaican Rice And Peas Recipe

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This easy to prepare and delicious Jamaican Rice and Peas Recipe is a must try! It has long grain brown rice and it is cooked in seasoned coconut milk for a true taste of the island.

Jamaican Rice And Peas Recipe

Jamaican Rice And Peas Recipe, is one of my all-time favorite dishes to make. I have been making this dish since I was a child, except that I used white rice instead of brown. If you would like to know how to cook Jamaican Rice And Peas, you have come to the right place.

I have now included an Instant Pot Jamaican Rice And Peas version and also check out my favorite Jamaican Seasoned Rice and  Vegan Rice Recipes.

Jamaican Rice And Peas in a blue bowl

Jamaican Rice And Peas Recipe

I grew up in Jamaica where I would help my mother in preparing coconut milk. I would pick the coconut, remove the husk using a machete and crack the shell open.

Then remove the coconut flesh with a knife and grate it using a fine grater. I would then squeeze the milk with added water and strain. This was all done by hand, and it was quite a task, but it was worth it because nothing beats the flavor of fresh coconut milk.

In Jamaica, we use pigeon peas or kidney beans interchangeably. You can use either or, and as a matter of fact, I have used almost any kind of beans I have on hand. I have used lentil, black beans, and pinto beans with yummy results. So go ahead and be creative and break some traditions!

 Jamaican Rice And Peas With Coconut Milk

How To Make Jamaican Rice And Peas Recipe?

Back home in Jamaica, we refer to kidney beans like peas, hence the name. So typically we wouldn’t say ‘Jamaican Rice And Beans’. back home in Jamaica.

I have heard the term Jamaican Rice And Beans mentioned here in the USA and right away I knew that the person is not fully aware of the correct terminology.

Traditionally Jamaican rice and peas recipe is eaten every Sunday for dinner, using dried kidney beans that are soaked the night before with freshly squeezed coconut milk.

Rice And Peas Jamaican

How To Cook Real Jamaican Rice And Peas?

A pot of soaked kidney beans is cooked until tender in water, coconut milk, thyme, scallion, Scotch bonnet pepper, and seasonings are added along with rice.

Then the Jamaican rice and peas are allowed to cook until the rice is tender and all the liquid has evaporated. Now my favorite rice to use is Lundberg Organic Jasmine Rice

Thyme, the herb of choice, and scotch bonnet pepper are added to the pot whole for flavor. If you are fortunate to find Scotch Bonnet Pepper in the supermarket, be careful not to open the pepper because it is extremely hot. (I’m talking from experience).

Normally, most Jamaicans in Jamaican cook Jamaican food without recipes. So I grew up making  Jamaican Rice And Peas without a recipe. 

I just make sure the ri­­­ce has enough water and that I have all the ingredients listed. If the water dries out I add a little extra water and I’m good to go. For the purpose of sharing with my readers, I create recipes.

Fresh beans and coconut milk are the preferred ingredients but living here in the USA is difficult for me to find a fresh coconut. My favorite coconut milk in a can that doesn’t have preservative is: Thai Kitchen Coconut Milk

No formal gathering in Jamaica is complete without some Jamaican rice and peas recipe…I hope you enjoy this little taste of the tropics in the convenience of your home! I love to serve my rice and peas with Jamaican Jerk Tofu, Baked Plantainsand Jamaican Jerk Cauliflower

Can I Use White Rice To Make Jamaican Rice And Peas Recipe?

Yes,  you can use white rice, however, some of the things to bear in mind are:

  • The rice will cook faster.
  • You will need to cook the rice and peas for about 30-40 minutes
  • Use my method for How To Cook Jasmine Brown Rice to make sure the steam cooks the rice so you don’t require extra water for tender rice that’s not sticky.

Jamaican Rice And Peas

Jamaican Rice And Peas Without Coconut Milk

There are some people who don’t like the taste of coconut milk, you can prepare Jamaican rice and peas without coconut milk, you can substitute it for water or vegetable broth.

If you don’t mind the flavor of coconut milk but you don’t have any, add a tablespoon of cold-pressed unrefined coconut oil.

How To Make Jamaican Rice And Peas

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(Per portion)
  • Energy: 308 kcal / 1287 kJ
  • Fat: 10 g
  • Protein: 7 g
  • Carbs: 46 g

Cooking Time

  • Preparation: 15 min
  • Cooking: 1 h
  • Ready in: 1 h 15 min
For: 12 servings



Instructions For Dried Kidney Beans

  1. If using dried kidney beans, rinse and sort beans and place into a large pot. Cover with approximately three inches of water and soak overnight.
  2. The following day, drain and rinse beans and place into a large pot. Add water, onion, spring onion, garlic, ginger, thyme, scotch bonnet pepper, and allspice.
  3. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until beans are tender about 45 minutes.
  4. Add coconut milk and salt.
  5. Add rice and stir with a fork to combine, check to make sure there the liquid is about 1 1/2 inches above the rice.
  6. Cover pot, bring to boil again. Reduce heat and cook for about 50 minutes- 1 hour.
  7. Depending on the variety of rice, it may take less time. Fluff with a fork and serve.

Instructions Using Canned Kidney Beans

  1. Add canned kidney beans, coconut milk, water, onion, spring onion, garlic, ginger, thyme, scotch bonnet pepper, allspice, and salt in a large pot.
  2. Add rice and stir with a fork to combine, check to make sure there the liquid is about 1 1/2 inches above the rice.
  3. Cover pot, bring to boil again. Reduce heat and cook for about 50 minutes- 1 hour.
  4. Depending on the variety of rice, it may take less time. Fluff with a fork and serve.


Jamaican Rice And Peas Recipe

Recipe author's Gravatar image

Michelle Blackwood, RN

Hi, I’m Michelle, I’m the voice, content creator and photographer behind Healthier Steps. I share vegan and gluten-free recipes because of past health issues. My goal is to help you make healthier choices and show you how healthy eating is easy and delicious.

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  1. Jemma
    July 29, 2020

    Love this recipe SO much. My households’ favourite meal I’ve made throughout the whole of lockdown (on the side of some brown stew chicken), so thank you! Will be making this forever <3 <3

    • Michelle Blackwood, RN
      July 29, 2020

      Wow Jemma, I’m so happy you have been making it and you and your family enjoys it. I hope it is bringing you comfort through these uncertain times.

  2. Denise Harrison
    July 13, 2020

    This might be a silly question but you know we Jamaicans call parboiled rice brown rice. So when you say brown rice, do you mean actual brown rice or parboiled?

    • Michelle Blackwood, RN
      July 14, 2020

      Denise it is not a silly question at all, I actually meant actual brown rice but parboil rice can work, just make sure the liquid is only 1 inch about the uncooked rice.

  3. Nikki Watson
    May 2, 2020

    Made this today and I am very happy with the results. I used long grain wild rice (as it was all I had) and still delicious!

  4. Nic
    October 27, 2019

    Can white rice be used instead of brown? If so, would it be the same amount of white rice?

    • Michelle Blackwood
      October 27, 2019

      Yes, you can use white rice, just make sure the liquid is one inch above the rice and beans in the pot, bring to a rolling boil, reduce heat to the lowest setting and cook until rice is tender, it will cook faster. What you will do is to use a fork to stir the rice, check if tender if it isn’t, then add about 1/4 cup of water and allow to cook a little longer. Hope this helps, I also love to seal the top of the pot with parchment paper, some people use foil or even clingfilm (plastic) to prevent the steam from escaping.

  5. Diamond
    October 26, 2019

    Should I rinse the rice before cooking or no?

    • Michelle Blackwood
      October 26, 2019

      I always brown rice.

      • Mike
        November 25, 2019

        I’m confused. The canned beans recipe says to bring to a boil “again” before it tells me to boil anything in the first place. Do I boil everything minus the rice first and then add the rice and bring back up to a boil again for an hour?

        • Michelle Blackwood, RN
          November 25, 2019

          Mike it can seem confusing because of me trying to write directions for both dry and canned beans. Without looking at the recipe, you are basically adding cooked beans whether you are using the canned or dry, they need to be cooked as in dry beans that were soaked then cooked or can beans (they are already cooked if they are in the can). You are going to add the cooked beans, and all the other ingredients, bring to boil, cover the pot and reduce to the lowest setting and cook until rice is tender. I hope this helps.

  6. Diamond
    September 30, 2019

    Hello. Should I drain the CANNED kidney beans or just throw all the contents in the pot?

    • Michelle Blackwood
      September 30, 2019

      Diamond to reduce sodium content you can drain but you don’t need to since the liquid is not enough to make a difference in the results.

  7. judith mc briar
    September 22, 2019

    can’t wait to try it!

  8. Chantelle
    August 28, 2019

    Hi Michelle, would you say the fish comes out better with the dried kidney beans rather than the canned?

    • Michelle Blackwood
      August 28, 2019

      Chantelle with my recipe you won’t be able to tell the difference in taste, however the color has more red in the rice if you use soaked dark red kidney beans.