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31 Classic & Perfect Jamaican Food Recipes With Authentic Taste

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Jamaicans love to enjoy traditional foods including Ackee, Run Down, Jerk chicken/pork/fish, Curry goat/mutton, chicken curry, Oxtail, codfish, fish escovitch, brown stew chicken, and Pepper Pot Soup. More complemented with side dishes from other parts of the world, Jamaican food recipes are more inclusive and adds a twist, making already great dishes superior in taste. 

Introduction 

Jamaica is the land of vibrant colors, rhythm, and sold foods. Surrounded by warm beaches and golden sands, it’s not surprising that the surroundings heavily influence the iconic Jamaican food culture.

With a single bite, it is normal for any food choice to be packed with flavor as the spirit of Jamaica can be felt in the diversity of the mouthwatering Jamaican food recipes

There is an unmistakable fusion of the Caribbean food culture, whereby the traditional and a more modernized twist are incorporated into food preparation. Getting most of its flavor from African spices, the taste is sure to burst in one’s mouth.

Jamaican food recipes are a mixture of all the colonization influences, with Spanish, British Indian, and Chinese cuisines incorporated into the cuisine. However, before the influence, the foods were primarily a mixture of African staple foods.

Today, Jamaicans love their seafood, mutton, pork, beef, and chicken, among other meats.  

They also like vegetables, and it’s common to have sweet potatoes, pumpkin, yam, cassava plantain, and green banana callaloo, among others.

Spice is what makes the cuisine stand out, as many foods are made using turmeric, black pepper, cumin, cinnamon, and nutmeg. The popular spice blends are curry powder, fish seasoning, and chicken seasoning.

Before you needed to visit Jamaica to get a taste of the fantastic cuisine; now, you can recreate the dishes right in your kitchen. 

Here are 31 Jamaican food recipes to try to cook today.

Tasty Jamaican Food Recipes: Quick Table 

Recipe Calories Preparation time
Ackee and codfish2302 hours 20 minutes
Jerk chicken2393 hours 
Oxtail67445 minutes
Curry goat2512 hours 30 mins
Fish Escovitch30340 minutes 
Brown stew chicken7023 hours
Run-Down20730 minutes
Pepper pot soup2703 hours 
Fish Tea12350 minutes
Jamaican corn soup561 hour 30 minutes
Jamaican Red Peas Soup4831 hour
Rice and Peas1952 hours
Festival15030 minutes
Fried Plantain43115 minutes
Callaloo4920 minutes
Bammy14230 minutes
Breadfruit22730 minutes
Jamaican Patties2041 hour
Stamp and Go1841 hour 20 minutes
Coco Bread2651 hour
Solomon Gundy1501 hour
Porridge30030 minutes
Mannish water1893 hours
Sweet potato pudding1975 minutes
Gizzada(pinch-me-around)3841 hour 40 minutes
Coconut drops1141 hour 30 minutes
Banana Bread3261 hour 30 minutes
Pone of Jamaican Pudding19730 minutes
Jamaican cabbage5430 minutes
Jamaican fried dumplings47120 minutes
Rasta Pasta42735 minutes

1. Ackee And Codfish

Ackee and codfish is a traditional Jamaican cuisine more popularly known as ackee and saltfish. It is made with the ackee fruit, served as a staple food for many Jamaicans, and is often served with stewed salted codfish sautéed and vegetables.

To prepare it, start by rinsing the cod with cold water before soaking it in room temperature water for over an hour. 

Transfer it to a saucepan, and bring it to a boil over medium heat for about 40 mins. Taste to ensure it tastes like bacon; if it is too salty, discard the water before soaking it in cold fresh water and building it further.

Prepare spices and herbs to make the sauce and cook them before adding the ackee set aside.

Calories: 230

Preparation time: 2 hours 20 minutes 

2. Jerk Chicken

jerk chicken recipe

Credit: islandvibes

Jerk chicken is incredibly popular in Jamaica and is one of the traditional meals enjoyed daily by many. To enjoy the meat, it’s essential to have it slowly cooked over a long period depending on the type of chicken used.

Marinating the chicken with jerk spices such as garlic, ginger, cinnamon, pepper, cloves, and others is essential.

The spices are often dry rubbed before it is set aside to sip in the chicken. For a little cultural authenticity, the meal is usually grilled on a metal drum. Cut preparation time by marinating the chicken overnight.

Calories: 239

Preparation Time: 3 hours 

3. Oxtail

oxtail jamaican food recipe

Credit: Jamaican vybz Dishes 

The Jamaican oxtail is a classic Jamaican food recipes. Proper preparation is necessary to get the bone tender and the meat falling off the bone.

The oxtail needs extensive seasoning with herbs and spices. After marinating for at least an hour in the refrigerator, fire it until it is golden brown and looks crispy.

The meat is then transferred into a pressure cooker to cook until the meat is tender and falls off the tail. 

When transferring the meat to the boiling pot, the spices and herbs should already have been cooked. After placing the meat inside, pour water until it covers the meat before covering it and getting it to boil undisturbed.

Calories: 674

Preparation time: 45 minutes on high-pressure cooker

4. Curry Goat/Mutton/Chicken

jamaican food recipes

Credit: Iamsimplytia

Curried meat is prevalent in Jamaica, with goat meat the most preferred. The secret to seeing it is accompanying it with a Caribbean twist by adding potatoes into the mixture. Depending on the goat’s size, the meat is often boiled for up to 2 hours to get the meat tender. 

Ingredients needed to bring out the flavors include garlic, onion, hot pepper, ginger, herbs, and spices. 

After the meat and spices come to a boil and the meat is already tender, add the tomato paste, green onions, thyme, white pepper, and bonnet pepper, stirring it for a while before bringing it to a boil and serving it hot.

Calories: 251

Preparation time: 2 hours 30 minutes

5. Fish Escovitch

Preparation of making the fish Escovitch starts with having a red snapper fried fish. The frying takes not more than 5-7 minutes, depending on the size of the fish.

However, the correct seasoning needs to be used, mainly line, salt, and pepper as the basic foundations. 

The topping vegetables include carrots, onions, Chayote pimentos, and peppers. To truly enjoy the dish, the traditional side dishes are paired with the dish, with Bammy one of the favorites.

It is important to note that when eating Fish Escovitch, it’s best to have seasoned lime dishes to dull out the strongly favored fish.

Calories: 303 

Preparation time: 40 mins

6. Brown Stew Chicken

Brown stew chicken is comfort food that consists of chicken with numerous vegetables stewed (the chicken is first fried before it is stewed).

The stewing process involves a lot of spices, including brown sugar, garlic powder, salt, onion powder, thyme, paprika, red pepper, garlic cloves, and Bonnett, among others. 

You can marinate overnight (the best way), although marinating in the fridge an hour before cooking is acceptable. It’s necessary to bring the mixture to a boil before letting it simmer for another 30 minutes.

To remove the gravy, open the lid for at least 10 minutes before serving it.

Calories: 702

Preparation time: 3 hrs 

7. Run Down (Run-Dun)

Run-Down is a kind of fish stew in Jamaica. The stew is made from numerous vegetables, spices, and herbs mixed, such as garlic, tomatoes, onions, and hot peppers added to the already cut pieces of fish.

The most popular choice of fish is the Mackerel, cooked slowly in coconut milk

When boiling the fish in coconut milk, it should already have been steamed for at least 7 minutes to make it soft and ready to eat.

Adjust the spices as per preferences, as the coconut milk and initial herbs used are sufficient to make a thick creamy stew. It can be served with green bananas and dumplings when hot.

Calories: 207

Preparation time: 30 minutes

8. Pepper Pot Soup

Pepper pot soup is a thick saucy food made from a mixture of beef tripe, vegetables, a lot of pepper, and other seasonings. Pepper pot soup can also have numerous ingredients based on preference and is usually made with callaloo and okra.

It can also include coconut milk for texture. Making the soup starts by boiling down the tripe meat in a saucepan covered with water. 

Once the water starts evaporating, leave a little in the saucepan and let the meat cool in the water before draining it. Rinse the meat before cutting it into ¼-inch pieces for easy consumption in one bite.

Saute the meat and add celery sticks, parsley, green peppers, and onions until tender, then add red pepper flakes, bay leaves, and thyme to make the stew come together and let it simmer for up to 2 hours until the meat is very tender. Eat while hot.

Calories: 270

Preparation time: 3hrs

9. Fish Tea

Fish tea is not the typical everyday tea most people consume during breakfast. It is a spicy fish soup that can be made lighter or heavier depending on one’s preferences. 

It is commonly used as an energizing drink, and it includes vegetables and green bananas.

To cook the fish, start by boiling the fish in water with a bit of garlic, salt, and onion to make fish broth. 

Once the fish is cooked, debone the fish and ensure that all the smaller bones are removed. Be careful to cook the fish and not overcook it, as it will start breaking down. Place the fish aside in a pot to make other ingredients such as yam, pumpkin, and carrot.

Mix the fish into the cooked ingredients and cook for another 3-5 minutes before adding okra as the last ingredient. Serve. 

Calories: 123

Preparation time: 50 mins

10. Jamaican Corn Soup

Jamaican love for soup comes from a place of comfort and is part of the Rastafarian culture. When making the dish, it’s vital to pick out which ingredients to use, and the list can be extensive.

However, some essential basics include corn, coconut milk, garlic, onion, carrots, pumpkin, ginger bonnet pepper, and peas. The flavors from the ingredient mixture are perfect for a warm day and filling

To make the soup, all the ingredients like peas, corn, and pumpkin need already be stemmed and ready to eat. Cook the onions in a pot for a few minutes until golden brown, adding the ingredients one at a time before adding stock.

Add coconut milk, red pepper, and sweet corn slices before letting it cook for at least 10 minutes. Add the frozen corn last before letting the soup cool and blend half of it. Serve both types in a bowl.

Calories: 56

Preparation time: 1hr 30 mins

RELATED: 20 Best Jamaican Vegetarian Recipes

11. Jamaican Red Peas Soup

Jamaica is a traditional meal and boasts of a distinct taste. It is made from red kidney beans, beef, dasheen, and pigtail, among other ingredients.

It’s essential to start the preparations one day in advance and let the kidney beans soak in cold water for at least 8 hours. 

When boiling the beans, add at least 10 cups of water on medium to high heat over 1 hour until the beans become tender.  In the pot, add onion, green onions, carrots, potatoes, coconut milk, garlic, and pepper, and bring to another boil for 30 minutes. 

Mix with the meat of choice (optional step – for Jamaicans, the pigtail is a must).  

Calories: 483

Preparation time: 1 hr

12. Rice And Peas

Jamaican Rice and peas is a dish all about bringing all Jamaican flavors together, and the preparation method will determine how the dish will taste.

One thing to note is that Jamaican rice and peas are rice and beans. Additions of coconut milk and other spices are used to ensure that there is the added punch to make the flavor impactful. 

To prepare the dish, it’s important to start by boiling overnight soaked beans on moderate to high heat. After the beans are tender, add onions, scallions, garlic, thyme, scotch bonnet, ginger, salt, and pepper.

Let the pot simmer for up to 30 minutes before adding the rice.

Stir and remove all the stems of the spices left when there is no water remaining. Serve while hot with jerk chicken or an accompaniment of your choice.

Calories: 195 

Preparation time: 2 hrs

13. Festival

The Jamaican festival dish is nothing short of a festival in the mouth. Festival is a treat many take as a clean snack since it is not wet.

It is made of a straightforward recipe that contains cornmeal, flour, milk, spices, and water. The dry mixtures go in first before adding in the milk and water. 

When the dough is firm, separate it into smaller dough pieces that fit into the palm of the hands to form the festival dumplings. The goal is to make them bite-sized. Ensure you fry them within 5 minutes and get them cooked well.

Calories: 150

Preparation time: 30 mins

14. Fried Plantain

Fried plantain is an accompaniment loved by everyone trying it for the first time. Due to its savory flavor, it can be found in every corner where there is a food stand.

However, to get the sweetest picks, it’s crucial to pick the ripest plantains; the riper, the better.

Remember, when slicing the plantains into small sections, do not slice them too big as they will be soggy in the middle, take longer to fry, and be overall uneven in cooking. 

Before pacing the sliced pieces into hot oil to fry them, it’s important to coat them with butter, salt, and pepper or added flavor. In hot oil, fry the plantains for not more than 3 minutes and remove them once light golden brown.

For a sweet touch when serving the plantains, ensure that they are sprinkled with brown sugar or cinnamon and that each side is thoroughly coated.

Calories: 431

Preparation time: 15 mins

15. Callaloo

The secret to getting everyone to eat Callaloo is making it the right way. The green leafy vegetable is a traditional vegetable meal that is served as a tasty side dish or soup for many accompaniments.

When sauteed correctly, it has a sweeter taste than kale, as the onions, garlic, and peppers bring out its authentic flavor. 

To prepare the Callaloo, remove all dead leaves and debris or hard stalks and thoroughly wash the vegetables before discarding the water. Be sure to keep water to a minimum as it produces its water.

Due to the high nutritional value of the vegetable, it is usually served during all means, even breakfast. 

Calories: 49

Preparation time: 20 mins

16. Bammy

Bammy is a cassava meal that is famous in Jamaica as a snack.  To make bammy, the first step is to peel off the cassava skin before washing and grating the cassava root.

After letting all the water drip, it is then soaked in coconut oil for at least 15 minutes. Make flat-shaped pieces before letting the excess coconut milk drip and put it gently in the hot oil. 

Cook each side for at least 3 minutes before turning the sides. Remove when golden brown. It can be served as a side dish, mostly with callaloo.

However, others like it as a snack and dribble some sauce before eating it as a main dish or for breakfast.

Calories: 142

Preparation time: 30 minutes

17. Breadfruit

There are many ways Breadfruit can be made. However, the most straightforward and scrumptious way of making breadfruit is boiling it before frying it.

Instead of peeling the breadfruit in advance, leaving the skin on is essential as it can be challenging and time-consuming. It is better to thoroughly clean and boil it, then carefully peel the skin to reveal the breadfruit. 

After peeling the skin, it’s important to mash the breadfruit before it starts cooling, as it will become harder. Add all the seasonings necessary at this stage and roll breadfruit into balls. Each ball is made with enough breadcrumbs. Heat oil in a saucepan until hot, and fry the balls made until golden brown.

Calories: 227

preparation time: 30 mins

18. Jamaican Patties

Jamaican patties are flavorful and perfect snacks and side dishes for all meals stretching through the day. They are usually filled with different fillings from chicken, beef, and vegetables.

Making the pastries at home is easy. Gather all ingredients necessary, such as flour, turmeric, salt, and curry powder, to make the flour.

Mix the cooked meat with all spices necessary to make the patties unique for the fillings. 

Separate the dough into small balls before rolling each flat. Fill one side with the filling before covering it with the side. To secure the filling inside, it’s important to use a fork to make engravings on the entire side carefully.

Calories: 204

Preparation time: 1 hr

19. Stamp And Go

Stamp and Go is a breakfast item known as saltfish fritters. It is made from flour, saltfish, onions, and peppers, among other spices. Stamp and go is meant for the road and derives its name purposely for the purpose.

To make the dish, it’s vital to have the cod soaked in cold water to hydrate it and remove excess salt for at least 8 hours. 

Next, remove the skin and bones from the fish before shredding them into small pieces. In a large bowl,  sift flour, tomatoes, onions, and the shredded before mixing it with water until it forms a heavy paste.

Using a deep rounded spoon, drop rounded spoonfuls into a skillet with hot oil to fry until it turns golden brown and is crispy, taking at least 5 minutes on both sides. Serve hot.

Calories: 184

Preparation time: 1hr 20 mins

20. Coco Bread

Coco bread is sweet and starchy. Most of the ingredients used to make it are also used in bread, with the only exception of coconut milk added to the mixture.

To form the dough, add coconut milk, sugar, salt, and coconut oil and heat it in a saucepan (on high) for one minute until all the sugar is melted.

Stir while adding yeast and egg before adding flour to the mixture to make a soft dough. 

Let the dough rest for about an hour to activate the yeast before kneading it again. The dough should be kneaded until smooth while the oven is heating at 350 degrees.

Cut the dough into desired shapes and place it on a lightly floured surface. Bake at least for 20 minutes until light brown. 

Calories: 265

Preparation time: 1 hr

RELATED: 11 Incredible Jamaican Desserts For You To Try

21. Solomon Gundy

Solomon Gundy is an authentic Jamaican-flavored dish made of shredded fish with a variety of seasonings such as garlic, ginger, pepper, onions, and tomatoes, among others.

Due to its simple light feature, it is usually served as an accompaniment to an appetizer on crackers. Depending on the dish’s spiciness, eating not more than 5 at a time is polite.

Calories: 150

Preparation time: 1 hr

22. Porridge

Porridge is a popular Jamaican breakfast staple for many families and is made from a combination of ingredients such as cornmeal, oats, and plantain. To prepare the porridge, add 2 cups of milk and water in a big saucepan with a cinnamon stick. 

Carefully add the cornmeal a little at a time, stirring the pot with a wooden stick to prevent any lumps from forming. Reduce the heat, continue stirring for another 10 minutes, and only stop when it starts boiling.

Add vanilla flavoring and cook for another 15 minutes until it starts thickening. Note that the recipe can be modified according to your preference.

Calories: 300

Preparation time: 30 mins

23. Mannish Water

Manish water is one of the few dishes eaten out of the nutritional value of the food as opposed to its taste. Its main ingredient is the goat head.

It also includes green bananas, scotch bonnet pepper, dumplings, and garlic, among other ingredients. To prepare it, add at least 6 cups of water in a pressure cooker with garlic and the goat head. 

Cook at high heat for at least 20 minutes. Turn off the flame and add all other ingredients, then allow the pot to cool down completely before adding another 4 cups of water.

Add green bananas and stir, then cover and allow it to cook. Let it simmer for at least another 25 minutes before serving it.

Calories: 189

Preparation time: 3 hrs

24. Sweet Potato Pudding

To recreate the dish, start by collecting all ingredients as it needs sweet potatoes finely grated, brown sugar, coconut, cinnamon, vanilla, and other spices.

In line with tradition, some put in a bit of rum when preparing the dish to have a softer top and a harder bottom. 

When mixing all the ingredients, it’s important to remember to add the sweet potato mixture last after mixing all dry ingredients and then incorporate and mix with water to make a fine paste.

Pour the thick paste into a sauce before baking it for 25 minutes.

Calories: 197

Preparation time: 45 mins

25. Gizzada (Pinch-Me-Round) 

Gizzada is a perfect dessert snack for a hot summer beach day. It is easily recognizable due to its pinch-me-around signature, where the tarts look as if they have been picked around with grated edges.

The dulling is made with numerous ingredients, including grated coconut, sugar, ginger, vanilla, and nutmeg. 

The out tart is crunchy, with the middle parts more savory and sweet. To make the dessert, start by boiling down the brown sugar with ground spice and nutmeg in water until the sugar evaporates.

Add the butter after 10 minutes and make the ingredients into balls. Place the dough with the filling in the pastry cups and put them into the oven for another 15 minutes. Serve with cool drinks.

Calories: 384

Preparation time: 1hr 40mins

26. Coconut Drops

Coconut drops are one of the simplest Jamaican delicacies. To make the dessert is as simple as dicing coconut into spall dice cubed before mixing it with sugar and spice. It is typically served in a banana leaf, where it gets its signature shape as it hardens. 

Calories: 114

Preparation time: 1hr 30mins

27. Banana Bread

Banana bread is a staple treat in not only Jamaica but the entire Caribbean islands. It is made from overripe bananas, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, and other spices.

For a loaf of more traditional banana bread, coconut, line, and rum are added. To make the mixture add flour and baking powder to the already melted flour.

Add the ripe bananas and whisk away to make a simple thick paste. Depending on the overall temperature of the mixture, it’s impossible to add at the matter level.

Calories: 326

Preparation time: 1hr 30mins

28. Pone Of Jamaican Pudding

Pone of Jamaican pudding is made from three main ingredients: sweet potato, cornmeal, and cassava. Other ingredients used to make the meal include cinnamon, nutmeg, and coconut milk, and optional is a little rum.

To make it, start by adding butter to a saucepan and add coconut milk, sugar, milk, and spices to a boil. 

Separately combine flour, cornmeal, and salt with water with a little bit of vanilla.  Carefully mix the two mixtures until smooth, stirring continuously to prevent lumps. Simmer for about 8 minutes (in low heat, being careful it does not burn).

Calories: 197

Preparation time: 30 mins

29. Jamaican Cabbage

The Jamaican style is a little different from your ordinary steamed cabbage. It must have other ingredients such as bell pepper, carrots, tomatoes, onions, and seasoning. The cabbage must be shredded into small pieces with the onions, tomatoes, and all other ingredients following the same design. 

After shredding the cabbage, it’s important to add a little cooking oil into a pan and cook all ingredients over low heat. Once the vegetables start to soften, turn off the fire and serve while hot.

Calories: 54

Preparation time: 30 mins

30. Jamaican Fried Dumplings

Jamaican fried dumplings are a comfort food made of flour, salt, baking powder, and water mixed with a bit of butter. The dough is then subdivided into small pieces before frying in vegetable oil.

The goal of the dumplings is to have a crispy exterior with softer insides; they are a portion of popular street food and can be eaten morning, noon, and night.

Calories: 471

Preparation time: 20 mins

31. Rasta Pasta

Rasta pasta is a Jamaican and Italian style mixed. Creamy pasta is mixed with jerk chicken and bell peppers to make the dish. Ingredients include creamy coconut milk, a lot of jerk seasoning, and shrimp.

After making the paste and jerk chicken separately, coconut milk is added, and let it simmer into a thick meal. It should be served when hot.

Calories: 427

Preparation time: 35 mins

Frequently Asked Questions

Does The Rum Culture In The Country Influence The Food?

Jamaicans love their rum in that they have found popular pairings for them. There are various brands available to choose from. It is normal to find it used as a celebratory drink at weddings, parties, and any other traditional events. 

However, their rum culture has also been introduced to their foods, making it possible to have foods such as rum dum or a more modern twist of the rum cake.

Does The Food Culture Have A Spanish Influence?

Jamaica was under Spanish influence until 1670, and that’s where the Spanish culture came from. They brought cattle, goats, and pork into the country. Escovitch’s traditional food is a Spanish recipe that was slightly changed to incorporate Jamaican culture. 

Is Jamaican Food Similar To Caribbean Food?

There are numerous similarities between Jamaican cuisine and foods from other Caribbean Islands. Caribbean Islands and Jamaica have the same tropical climates and thus can grow the same fruits and vegetables.

The foods’ names are named differently; at first, it might be difficult to distinguish until one gets a clear visual. However, Jamaica has a monopoly on the beloved curry and Jerk foods.

What Is The Difference Between Porridge From Jamaica And Western Countries? 

Porridge from Jamaica differs from others in that cornmeal, rice, and green bananas can be used instead of just oatmeal.  To sweeten the porridge, condensed milk contains vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg touch to make a silky smooth finish.

How Do You Make Jamaican Food?

Jamaican foods are diverse; some can be made in under 30 minutes, while others need a little more time to get the right flavors out. However, the only way to achieve this is by ensuring that the recipe followed is correct and complete to recreate the dishes to create authentic Jamaican dishes.

Jamaican Food Recipes: Everything You Need to Know  

5 from 5 votes

Get a taste of the fantastic Jamaican cuisine with the dishes that you can create right in your kitchen. 

Directions

  • 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

Recipe Video

Jess Smith
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