11 Incredible Jamaican Desserts For You To Try

The Caribbean island of Jamaica is known for its luscious beaches, reggae music, and Bob Marley. A lot of their savory dishes tend to be quite spicy. Though the country has birthed many delicious desserts, these desserts are somewhat obscure.

You are unlikely to know any Jamaican desserts unless you are from the country or have ever visited it.

Incredible Jamaican Desserts

Thankfully, we are here to shed some light on popular Jamaican desserts and to provide some stunning recipes for you to try at home.

These desserts are filled with flavors that are not always seen in desserts from other countries. Hopefully, these desserts will help you to better understand this beautiful country. 

Rum Cake

Rum is a popular drink in Jamaica. It is understandable that this drink would leak into the desserts of the country. Rum cake is flavored with rum syrup, giving it a sweet, earthy, and boozy taste that many people enjoy.

If you enjoy the taste of this alcoholic beverage, we encourage you to make this cake. The cake is commonly consumed over the Christmas period. 

This recipe from Chelsea creates an authentic Jamaican rum cake. Aside from rum, this cake has been flavored with vanilla essence, lime, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and almond essence. Because of this, it has a powerfully scrumptious flavor.

Despite its complex flavors, the cake is simple to make, having an “easy” rating. Therefore, even novice bakers will be able to successfully create this delicious rum cake. 


No, we are not referring to the American band that created the iconic song “Africa”! Instead, “toto” is the name of a Jamaican dessert. This cake is flavored with coconut. Though not everybody loves the taste of coconut, we absolutely adore it in this cake.

Even if you are not a fan of coconut, you still may want to try toto. It contains spices that complement the coconut taste, such as ginger and nutmeg. 

If you are just beginning Jamaican baking, this will be a good starting point. After all, a lot of the flavors in this cake are present in other Jamaican recipes. Usually cut into small squares, these cakes are ideal for giving to guests.

The informative recipe linked above will guide you through the baking process. Though they are not contained in this recipe, you can feel free to add raisins to Toto for added flavor and texture. 

Tamarind Balls

What is “tamarind”? If you are unfamiliar with this term, tamarinds are a type of fruit found in Africa. They have a distinctive flavor that is sweet with a touch of sourness. In Jamaica, tamarind is transformed into these miniature balls of sweet candies.

If you are interested in Jamaican culture, we thoroughly encourage you to try this specialty. 

These balls are super simple to make. Plus, they only require a handful of ingredients. This will mean that you do not need to spend loads of time and effort on baking them.

This recipe perfectly explains the method to you. This recipe gives you the option of adding pepper to the balls to add a spicy flavor. There are also alcoholic versions available. 

To add to the sweetness of the dessert, tamarind balls are rolled in sugar. If you want to make this treat, you can make a large batch and store them in an airtight bag or container.

This will give you the ability to snack on them whenever you feel peckish. If you are struggling to source the tamarind, they can be found online. For instance, you can purchase them from here

Sweet Potato Pudding

The idea of using sweet potatoes in a dessert may sound odd to some people. However, we think that it makes perfect sense. As their name suggests, they have a sweet taste. This sweet taste is well-suited to a dessert. This flavor is made even sweeter when it is combined with coconut milk. 

Sweet potato pudding is commonly consumed on Sundays in Jamaica. This dessert tends to be consumed with a glass of milk, providing a delicious combination. Plenty of Jamaican spices are used in this dessert. 

We have found an authentic recipe that is truly exquisite. It not only makes a traditional cake, but it also includes instructions for the custard that accompanies this cake. However, the custard is not your average custard.

Instead, it has been delectably flavored with spices and coconut milk. This version of the cake also includes a little rum, making it ideal for people who like a sweet touch of booze in their cakes. 


Next, this is another coconut-flavored dessert. However, what sets this pastry apart is its spicy filling. With its strong flavorings, this dessert is best consumed during the summer and autumn seasons. The sweet yet spicy filling is contained within a delicious crust. 

This dessert has a distinctive shape. The crust is pinched in a shape that is reminiscent of the sun or a star. When making this treat, it is crucial that you achieve this look if you want to make an authentic Jamaican recipe. This is why they are also known by the name “pinch-me-round” cakes. 

Luckily, this recipe from A YouNique Journey will help you to achieve this. This handy recipe explains the Jewish origins of Gizzada, allowing you to better understand how this food became a Jamaican treat. It also has plenty of troubleshooting to smoothen your baking experience. 

Grater Cake

If you like your cakes to have vibrant colors, you will adore grater cake. The top of these cakes is a bold reddish pink, creating an eye-catching aesthetic. Meanwhile, the underlayer is white, creating a harsh contrast between the two layers. Though it is referred to as a cake, grater is more akin to candy. 

Like some of the other desserts on this list, it has been flavored with coconut. If you are a fan of coconut, you are sure to enjoy this treat.

What makes this cake unique is its texture. Traditionally, the ingredients are cooked in water until they become sticky. The end result is a chewy candy. 

The red or pink coloring of this cake is achieved through coloring. This makes the cakes look very beautiful. If you want to make this gorgeous dessert, the authentic recipe will help you in this endeavor. Alongside the coconut, it uses almond essence for further flavor. 


Dukunnu or Duckanoo is quite a unique dessert. The pudding is cooked by boiling the ingredients. The mixture is placed in a banana leaf and boiled. This special cooking technique is rarely seen in other desserts. This method is why the desert is known as “tie-a-leaf.”

This lovely recipe utilizes sweet potato, green banana, cinnamon, coconut milk, vanilla, and raisins to create this distinctive dessert. If you are a fan of these flavors, you may wish to try this dessert. 

Banana Pancakes/ Fritters

Do you love the taste of bananas? If yes, you may want to give these delectable fritters a shot. They are filled with a sweet banana flavor. Ideal for breakfasts, you can accompany these fritters with fresh fruit, cream, or ice cream. 

What is brilliant about this recipe is that it is a method of using up bananas that have become too ripe. This will mean that you do not have to waste these fruits by throwing them away.

This recipe is simple and will only take about 20 minutes to make. If you want to liven up your breakfasts, consider making these divine banana fritters. 

Peanut Drops

If you are looking for a nutty treat, peanut drops may be the ideal recipe for you. Cooked in a sweet syrup, these peanuts are given a sweet flavor. Peanut drops are ideal for snacking or a lunchtime treat.

They have a crunchy texture that you will probably love. In fact, this dessert is comparable to peanut brittle. 

This convenient recipe only requires 4 ingredients. These ingredients create peanut drops that are deliciously nutty and enriched with an earthy taste. 

Coconut Drops

If you love coconut, you have come to the right place. These drops contain pieces of coconut that have been cooked in a sugary syrup. The syrup can be differently flavored, allowing you to experiment a little with the recipe.

For example, vanilla and ginger are popular flavors. They are comparable to the aforementioned peanut drops.  

The recipe from Healthier Steps manages to get the ideal texture for these treats. The coconut feels delightful chewy while the syrup coating is more gummy. This stunning recipe chooses to use both ginger and nutmeg to season the heavenly syrup. 

Hummingbird Cake

Finally, hummingbird cake may be Jamaica’s most recognizable dessert. Originating in the country, the cake has made its way to America.

Potentially, this cake has become so popular because it contains a lot of enjoyable flavors, such as banana, pineapple, pecans, vanilla, and cinnamon. If you love sweet food, you are sure to adore the hummingbird cake.

This cake gets its name from the country’s national bird, the hummingbird. If you are eager to make this show-stopping dessert, this recipe will teach you to make an impressive three-layered cake or super cute individual cupcakes. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are The Black Balls In Jamaican Food?

Whether you are cooking a sweet dessert or a savory dish, there is one ingredient which is very popular in Jamaican cuisine: Tamarind. This is the fruit of the Tamarind tree. The black balls you will find in many Jamaican dishes are Tamarind balls.

They can be used to give flavor to sauces, or alternatively, you can also roll tamarind flesh in sugar, making them a delicious treat.

In terms of savory dishes, goat and chicken are used in a lot of Jamaican meals. These types of meat tend to be curried, thus giving them a spicy flavor. Seafood is also popular in this country. Ginger, peppers, and garlic are common flavorings. 

In terms of desserts, coconut is a common flavor. As is rum. Spices tend to be frequently used, including cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. 

What Is Jamaica’s National Dish?

Jamaica’s national dish is salt fish and Ackee. This is typically lightly salted, together with side dishes of onions, peppers and other spices.

Ackee and salt fish is usually a breakfast dish but due to its lightness, it can be eaten any time of the day.

Final Thoughts

We hope that this list will have inspired you to bake some authentic Jamaican desserts at home. Though you may not be familiar with many of these dishes, they provide an opportunity to try something new.

You may find this to be a culturally enriching experience that allows you to more deeply understand Jamaican culture. 

11 Incredible Jamaican Desserts For You To Try

5 from 5 votes

Are you interested in Jamaican cuisine? If so, we have 11 amazing treats for you. Click here to discover luscious desserts like toto and hummingbird cake.


  • Pick a recipe from the list above
  • Click the recipe name and visit the website
  • Collect the ingredients and cook the food
  • Enjoy – don’t forget to leave a review
Jess Smith
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