This traditional and authentic Jamaican Rice and Peas is so much easier to make than you may think! This step by step tutorial will show you how to make it with added tips.

pot of cooked Jamaican rice and peas with scallion and scotch bonnet on top

Jamaican Rice and Peas is a quintessential Jamaican side dish. Found everywhere in Jamaica, it’s almost a requirement at any kind of dinner, get together, or celebration. It is also one of the easiest Jamaican dishes to prepare. It uses coconut milk which gives the dish a delicious flavour, and is seasoned with standard Jamaican seasonings; scallion, scotch bonnet, allspice (pimento berries), thyme, salt and garlic.

My favourite thing about this rice and peas recipe? I did not need to “veganise” it. Jamaican Rice and Peas is naturally vegan. There are so many ways to prepare it, so be sure to check out my notes below, and have fun exploring our culture to find out more about its origins.

It’s difficult giving it a very strict set of instructions to make Jamaican rice and peas because so many small variations can change the cook time a little or quantities needed. Use my instructions as a guideline, but be sure to pay attention while cooking the dish. Your dried kidney beans may be slightly larger or smaller than mine (hence needing a little bit more or less water), the rice size or shape may be different, the coconut milk, etc. So take note of your own ingredients and enjoy the cooking process, don’t stress it! I guarantee that every Jamaican mother or grandmother has a different variation!

pot of cooked Jamaican rice and peas with scallion and scotch bonnet on top

Jamaican Rice and Peas

This Traditional Jamaican and Peas is so much easier to make than you may think! This step by step tutorial will show you how to make it with added tips.
5 (from 9 ratings)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup dried red kidney beans, soaked overnight in water. or for 8 hours at least
  • 3 cups water, up to 4 cups to cover the peas while boiling
  • 2 cups uncooked long grain rice
  • 13.5 ounce can full fat coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3 stalks scallion, cut or torn in half
  • 1 scotch bonnet pepper
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 teaspoon pimento berries/allspice
  • A few sprigs of thyme

Instructions 

  • Rinse your soaked kidney beans thoroughly in a sieve, strainer or colander. Discard that water it was soaking in.
  • Cover with 3 cups water to cover the kidney beans
  • Bring to a boil, then to a simmer at medium heat for 30 minutes to an hour (taste test after 30 minutes to see if it’s tender. My peas are always finished within 30 minutes. You may need to add up to an extra cup of water while the peas are simmering to ensure there’s enough water in the pot.
  • After your peas are cooked (don't wash the peas nor throw out the leftover water), add in your rice, coconut milk, sea salt, scallion, scotch bonnet pepper, garlic, pimento/allsprice, thyme. Stir to combine.
  • Cover your pot with a tight fitting lid. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer at medium heat for about 15 minutes, then to low heat for about 5-10 more minutes until the rice is fully cooked through. Just watch your rice. It may cook in a quicker time period, or it may take a little bit longer. You may need to add in an extra ¼ cup of water in case the liquid boils out before the rice is fully cooked through.
  • Remove from heat and let the rice sit, cover still on, for an extra 10 minutes. Taste test and add anything if necessary. Remove the seasonings and enjoy!

Notes

It’s difficult giving it a very strict set of instructions to make Jamaican rice and peas because so many small variations can change the cook time a little or quantities needed. Use my instructions as a guideline, but be sure to pay attention while cooking the dish. Your dried kidney beans may be slightly larger or smaller than mine (hence needing a little bit more or less water), the rice size or shape may be different, the coconut milk, etc. So take note of your own ingredients and enjoy the cooking process, don’t stress it! I guarantee that every Jamaican mother or grandmother has a different variation!
You can use vegetable broth or stock instead of water while cooking it. Be sure to check the saltiness of the broth first to see if you may need less salt.
There are MANY ways to make rice and peas. You can pressure cook the peas to cook it. You can use homemade coconut milk instead. Take some time to delve a bit more into Jamaican culture
Although there is scotch bonnet in this recipe, it is not spicy. The scotch bonnet adds a delightful flavour to it. Be sure not to burst the pepper, else it’ll make it very hot.
If you have to substitute and can’t find scotch bonnet peppers, habanero peppers are your next best bet. They do not taste exactly alike, however will do in a pinch.
Calories: 344kcal, Carbohydrates: 53g, Protein: 10g, Fat: 11g, Saturated Fat: 9g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 308mg, Potassium: 493mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 58IU, Vitamin C: 4mg, Calcium: 50mg, Iron: 4mg

Disclaimer: Although jessicainthekitchen.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, kindly note that these are only estimates. Nutritional information may be affected based on the product type, the brand that was purchased, and in other unforeseeable ways. Jessicainthekitchen.com will not be held liable for any loss or damage resulting for your reliance on nutritional information. If you need to follow a specific caloric regimen, please consult your doctor first.