Flavour infused Jamaican rice and peas

Jamaican rice and peas

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 overpower the main dish.

When Jamaicans 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’s used only to infuse 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 can be 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.

Rinse rice in several changes of water until water runs almost clear, about 3-5 times,

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

Cover the pot and cook until 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 and leave to stand for 5-10 minutes.

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.

If you enjoyed my Jamaican rice and peas, you will also enjoy my Nigerian Coconut Jollof rice, Nigerian coconut rice, Vegetable coconut rice and Nigerian tomato rice. Also, check out my Jamaican grater cake made with grated coconut and Pina Colada.

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Nigerian coconut jollof rice fb Jamaican rice and peas

Flavour infused Jamaican rice and peas



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  2. Vera Nazaruab

    Hi Ganiru;
    Thank you for all your blogs…..I love the rice and peas recipe and have followed it 3 times exactly as you have it on your site…..I have no clue what I am doing wrong each time my rice and peas have the right flavor but comes out nice and separated on top but always mushy in the middle….my family is cool and just say maybe next time mom……Help this Seattle grandma!!!!! thank you

    • Hi Vera, I’m sorry to hear that. Try this, 1)Rinse the raw rice until the water runs almost clear. 2) Make sure the water left in the beans is not more than 1/2 cup. 3) If your coconut milk is very thick, use only 2 cups mixed with 1/2 cup of water. 4) When rice and peas is done, take off the heat and leave to stand for 5-10 minutes covered, then fluff with a fork. I hope this helps.

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