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Jamaican Rice and Peas Recipe

This Jamaican Rice and Peas recipe is an authentic recipe for the traditional Jamaican side dish featuring fragrant thyme and coconut milk! 

This Jamaican Rice and Peas recipe is an authentic recipe for the traditional Jamaican side dish featuring fragrant thyme and coconut milk! 

Rice and Peas is a staple in the Jamaican diet and is a great accompaniment to most Jamaican entrees, such as Jerk Chicken, Curry goat or brown stew chicken. 

This recipe is an authentic Jamaican recipe, shared by my husband who grew up in Jamaica before immigrating to Canada.

This is how my mother in law and my husband makes it, and I can honestly say it is easily far and above the rice and peas you can get at local Caribbean restaurants.

It’s a real staple in our household, and always carefully prepared with lots of love.

I hope you all enjoy this flavourful side dish as much as we do! 

This Jamaican Rice and Peas recipe is an authentic recipe for the traditional Jamaican side dish featuring fragrant thyme and coconut milk! 
This Jamaican Rice and Peas recipe is an authentic recipe for the traditional Jamaican side dish featuring fragrant thyme and coconut milk! 

Why is this Called Rice & Peas?

You might be wondering why a dish that so prominently features beans, and not peas, would be called rice and peas rather than rice and beans.

That is because in Jamaica kidney beans are known as peas.

Now you know.

This Jamaican Rice and Peas recipe is an authentic recipe for the traditional Jamaican side dish featuring fragrant thyme and coconut milk! 

How to Store Jamaican Rice & Peas

Rice and peas can be kept stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days. If you need to store it longer, you can also freeze rice and peas in an airtight container for up to 2 months.

Reheat gently on the stove top or in the microwave. (If reheating from frozen, thaw out overnight in the fridge.)

This Jamaican Rice and Peas recipe is an authentic recipe for the traditional Jamaican side dish featuring fragrant thyme and coconut milk! 

About the Ingredients for Jamaican Rice and Peas

Peas – We like to use dark red kidney beans as they give this dish it’s signature blush, but you can swap in gungo (or pigeon) peas if you can get them. Swapping in different beans can change the cook time, so please be aware of that.

Scotch Bonnet Pepper – You can also omit the scotch bonnet peppers if you don’t like heat as they are very hot, however cooked whole it lends more flavour than heat, and the coconut milk counters a lot of it too.

Rice – 3 cups uncooked rice. We usually use either parboiled rice or brown rice. Be sure to rinse your rice well ahead of time so that the rice doesn’t stick together once cooked.

Coconut Milk – Canned coconut milk for cooking, not the kind you drink. The higher quality the coconut milk, the better this side dish tastes. Trader Joes is really good if you are in the USA, in Canada Aroy-D is decent. Skip on light coconut milk.

Garlic – You can add as little or as much as you like. 2 Cloves is the absolute lower limit.

Fresh Thyme – Absolutely one of the most important ingredients in this dish is the thyme. Fresh thyme goes a long way to adding loads of flavour.

Green Onions – Known as scallions to Jamaicans, green onions are really essential. They aren’t just a garnish in this dish.

Salt & Pepper – Be sure to season everything to taste.

This Jamaican Rice and Peas recipe is an authentic recipe for the traditional Jamaican side dish featuring fragrant thyme and coconut milk! 

What to Serve with Jamaican Rice and Peas

The most obvious dish to serve with Jamaican Rice and Peas is Jerk Chicken.

My Jerk Chicken with Sweet & Spicy Pineapple Salsa recipe is as authentic as you can get for dry rubbed jerk chicken grilled on a gas BBQ. The salsa is to die for and freshens everything up.

While absolutely not even approaching authentic Jamaican curry, this Slow-Cooker Chicken Curry Recipe is super easy to throw together and full of great flavour. This is a super easy family dinner recipe that pairs perfectly with rice and peas!

Rice and Peas goes really well with any basic protein too. Smoked Tri-Tip is flavourful, juicy, and melt in your mouth tender. Make the best beef tip roast on any type of smoker with this easy recipe!

This easy yet flavourful and tender corned beef brisket is made conveniently in the Instant Pot in no time! This is a favourite of my husbands and pairs really well with rice and peas along with a side of sauteed cabbage.

This Cilantro Lime Chicken with Fresh Avocado Salsa is delicious served with rice and peas for a fresh tasting family dinner.  It’s also a heart healthy recipe!

This recipe for Orange Glazed BBQ Chicken Drumsticks is Caribbean inspired and pairs so well with rice and peas. Marinated and grilled in a scotch bonnet and orange glaze, these chicken drumsticks are perfectly sweet and spicy. This is one grilled chicken recipe you’ll be craving all summer long!

This Jamaican Rice and Peas recipe is an authentic recipe for the traditional Jamaican side dish featuring fragrant thyme and coconut milk! 

How to Make Jamaican Rice and Peas

Ingredients:

 1 cup of dried red kidney beans or pigeon peas, soaked overnight and drained
 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
 3 Green Onions or Scallions, crushed
 1 Can of Coconut Milk
 1 Whole Scotch Bonnet Pepper
 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
 1 tsp Salt
 1 tsp Black Pepper
 3 cups of rice

Directions:

Place beans & garlic in a large pot and cover with about 7 cups of water.  

Bring to a boil and then turn down to simmer and cook until the beans are tender, about 45 minutes. You can test the beans by trying to crush one with the back of a spoon.  If they crush easily then they are ready.  

Do NOT drain the bean water!

Stir in the coconut milk, green onions, thyme, scotch bonnet pepper, salt, pepper and rice.  

Bring back to a boil and cook until the rice is tender and has absorbed most of the liquid.  Time depends on the type of rice used.

Jamaican Rice & Peas
Yield: 8 Servings

Jamaican Rice & Peas

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Inactive Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 9 hours 25 minutes

This Jamaican Rice and Peas recipe is an authentic recipe for the traditional Jamaican side dish featuring fragrant thyme and coconut milk! 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of dried red kidney beans or pigeon peas, soaked overnight and drained
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 3 Green Onions or Scallions, crushed
  • 1 Can of Coconut Milk
  • 1 Whole Scotch Bonnet Pepper
  • 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Black Pepper
  • 3 cups of rice

Instructions

  1. Place beans & garlic in a large pot and cover with about 7 cups of water.
  2. Bring to a boil and then turn down to simmer and cook until the beans are tender, about 45 minutes. You can test the beans by trying to crush one with the back of a spoon. If they crush easily then they are ready
  3. Stir in the coconut milk, green onions, thyme, scotch bonnet pepper, salt, pepper and rice.
  4. Bring back to a boil and cook until the rice is tender and has absorbed most of the liquid. Time depends on the type of rice used.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 236Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 302mgCarbohydrates: 30gFiber: 4gSugar: 1gProtein: 6g

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This Jamaican Rice and Peas recipe is an authentic recipe for the traditional Jamaican side dish featuring fragrant thyme and coconut milk! 

Shirley O

Friday 6th of November 2020

Thank you for the recipe. My husband and I like spicy dishes and I'm sure we would really enjoy this one.

Ruth

Wednesday 27th of June 2018

Do you add 3 cups of cooked or uncooked rice? I assume you'd let the rice cook if the latter?

Debbie White Beattie

Friday 12th of August 2016

I like everything about this recipe except I've never heard of Scotch Bonnet Pepper. So that's the only item I'm not sure of.

Meital

Wednesday 27th of July 2016

Does the type of beans matter? I tried white beans (dry) and they weren't tender even after 4 hours!! What did i miss? Thank you

Elizabeth

Wednesday 27th of July 2016

Yeah, so that is because the type of bean you use definitely does matter - if you swap the beans you need to know how to cook the particular bean you have chosen. Red kidney beans do not need to be presoaked before cooking. I'm not sure what bean you used, but most of the "white" ones need to be soaked overnight and then still have a cooking time of up to 3 hours.

Karianne

Monday 20th of June 2016

After I add the rice and bring to boil, do I then bring it back to simmer until rice is tender? I've never boiled rice for the entire cooking process and was just wondering since I'm notorious for burning the rice lol. Also what type of rice is best? I was planning on using brown rice....

Elizabeth

Monday 20th of June 2016

Yeah sorry, you do want to drop it down to a simmer after it comes to a boil. We usually use parboiled rice, but brown rice works well too.

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