The Pretend Chef

Jamaican rice and peas

Flavour infused Jamaican rice and peas

Beans, Recipes, Rice, vegetarian, World food | August 9, 2016 | By

Jamaican rice and peas is a common accompaniment in Caribbean cuisine. In fact, Sunday lunch has to have rice and peas as a part of it and it is no ordinary rice and peas. The Jamaican rice and peas is well infused with flavours but mellow enough not to over power the main dish. When they say peas, they are not actually talking about peas but red kidney beans.

Flavour infused Jamaican rice and peas

The Scotch bonnet is added whole, it used only to infused the dish with its flavour but not for its heat. Fish the pepper out without breaking it when the rice and peas are ready.

Pimento is sometimes added either ground or whole.

Fresh, canned or powder coconut milk can be used. For canned, use unsweetened coconut milk and for the coconut powder, reconstitute it.

Jamaican rice and peas can be eaten with Jamaican goat curry, Jerk Chicken, Tomato stew, Tomato sauce etc.


To prepare Jamaican rice and peas

1 cup red kidney beans or 2 1/2 cups canned red kidney beans 
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 cups rice
1 whole scotch bonnet
2 scallions
2 1/2 cups coconut milk
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon thyme or 2 sprig of fresh thyme


Pick out any grits from the beans and rinse in cold water. Place beans in a bowl and add enough water to cover it.

Place beans in a bowl and add enough water to cover it.

red kidney beans soaking for Jamaican rice and peas

Leave to soak for 2 hours to overnight, I soak overnight.

red kidney beans soaked overnight for Jamaican rice and peas

Drain beans from the soaking water. 

Place beans in a pot with 5 cups of water, add crushed garlic and cook until tender, about 1 hour.

The cooking water will turn reddish, it is what gives the dish its characteristic off-white colour.


Add the rice, whole scotch bonnet, scallions, coconut milk, salt, black pepper and thyme.

Stir and bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer.

Jamaican rice and peas in a pot

Cook till rice is soft but not mushy.

You might need to add a little more water if rice is still too hard.

Take off the heat.

Flavour infused Jamaican rice and peas in a pot

Pick out the scallions and scotch bonnet, fluff gently with a fork and serve.


  • If you are using canned kidney beans, they are already cooked, so just empty both beans and the liquid from the beans into the pot with the other ingredients and bring to a boil. Wash rice and add, stir and cook till rice is ready.
  • If you are using a slow cooker, it is advisable to boil red kidney beans vigorously a minimum of 10 minutes before reducing to a simmer. That is the only way to ensure that toxins in the beans are eliminated.

Serve rice and peas as an accompaniment to Jamaican goat curry, Brown stewed chicken, Jerk chicken and creamy coleslaw, Curry chicken, brown stew fish etc.

I will like to know how much you enjoyed your Jamaican rice and peas. Do you have a contribution or suggestion? Leave a comment below.

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Flavour infused Jamaican rice and peas


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