Jamaican Seasoned Rice

Easy Jamaican Seasoned Rice (Caribbean seasoned rice)

Jamaican seasoned rice is an easy-to-make classic dish in Jamaican cuisine. It is flavourful, aromatic, and incredibly delicious. As a simple side dish, it can be paired with various main dishes such as jerk chicken, curry goat, or fried or grilled fish. It’s perfect for family dinners, potlucks, and dinner parties.

Jamaican seasoned rice is a one-pot rice dish also called Cook Up Rice, it uses similar ingredients as fried rice, the Nigerian (old school) fried rice but the rice is steamed rather than fried.

Without meat or fish, it is a delightful vegan, dairy-free and gluten-free dish.

About the Ingredients for Preparing Jamaican Seasoned Rice

The ingredients used in preparing it can be switched up, although there are some basic ingredients for Jamaican Seasoned Rice especially those that define Traditional Jamaican cuisine eg Pimentos. For the most part, you can use whatever is available in your fridge and pantry, pumpkin, ackee, saltfish, callaloo, cabbage, carrot, peas etc. although, in my opinion, saltfish should be a compulsory ingredient. Saltfish is a delicious addition but you can replace it with shrimps.

There are also certain ingredients that you can add to elevate your dish e.g. Bacon, Noodle Soup etc.

Jamaican Seasoned Rice

Coconut milk can be used with beef, chicken or vegetable stock or it can be used alone. Coconut milk gives Seasoned Rice a rich and unique taste. When scotch bonnet is added whole, it delivers delicious flavour without the heat, your rice will only get spicy when you cut open, chop or grind the scotch bonnet.

A word of caution, to prevent your rice from being mushy, be careful with the quantity of liquid you add to your rice because the vegetables will release some liquid.

When using meat, it is best to remove all bones. The pumpkin can either be cubed or shredded. Be careful. with salt when you are cooking with saltfish.

To Prepare Jamaican Seasoned Rice

2 cups long-grain rice
6 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
1 Cup Diced Onion
1 Cup Diced Carrot
1 Cup Chopped Bell Pepper
1 Cup Diced Pumpkin (Optional)
Scotch Bonnet (Minced or whole)
6 Pimento Seeds
1/2 Cup Scallion (Green Onions)
2-4 Sprigs Fresh Thyme (2 Teaspoons dry Thyme)
2 Teaspoons Minced garlic
1-2 Teaspoons Black Pepper 
1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder 
4 Teaspoons All Purpose Seasoning 
1 cup coconut milk
knob of butter (optional)

Ingredients for Jamaican Seasoned Rice

Rinse saltfish thoroughly to remove salt. Place in a pot of water and boil for 10 minutes.

Drain immediately and rinse in cold water.

Remove skin and pieces of bone. Break into small bits and set aside.

Rinse the rice in cold water until the water runs clear. Drain the rice and set aside.

In a large pot, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the diced onion, and fry until soft.

chopped onions and pepper frying in oil

Add carrot, bell pepper, pumpkin, scotch bonnet, pimento, scallion, thyme and garlic and fry for 2 minutes.

chopped vegetables frying in oil

Add seasonings (black pepper, garlic powder and all-purpose seasoning) and saltfish, Stir well.

chopped vegetables and saltfishfrying in oil

Pour in the coconut milk, knob of butter and water, and stir to combine. Bring the liquid to a boil.

Jamaican Seasoned Rice cooking in a pot

Add well-washed rice, stir and cover and bring to a boil.

Jamaican Seasoned Rice cooking in a pot

Lower heat and cook until rice is cooked and soft, stirring in between.

Jamaican Seasoned Rice cooking in a pot

Fluff rice and serve.

Jamaican Seasoned Rice


  • The pumpkin can either be cubed or shredded.
  • For added flavour, crush pimento seeds.
  • Be careful of the quantity of liquid you add to your rice because the vegetables will release some liquid. This prevents your rice from being mushy.
  • Be careful with salt when you are cooking with saltfish.
  • I added a knob of butter to my seasoned rice for added flavour. It is optional.
  • If you are using meat for your seasoned rice, it is best to remove all bones.
  • If using ackee, spread it on top of rice, do not stir. For canned ackee, add 5 minutes before turning off the heat. If using fresh ackee, clean, and add at the last 10 minutes of cooking.
  • To prepare the saltfish: first rinse off the excess salt. Then put it in a pot and cover it with cold water. Bring it to a boil and cook until the desired level of salt is achieved.
  • Another method is to pour off the water after it comes to a boil and repeat the process until the salt level is to your satisfaction, tasting as you go.
  • Stockfish can be rehydrated and used as a good substitute for saltfish.

If you enjoyed my Jamaican seasoned rice, you will also enjoy the Jamaican rice and peas, Vegetable Coconut rice, Jamaican Escovitch Fish, Jamaican goat curry, Nigerian Coconut Jollof rice, Nigerian Coconut Rice and Easy one pot Nigerian fried rice.

You can also learn more about The Jerkfest Toronto, Grace Jerkfest.

If you have any comments, questions or suggestions, please comment below.

Share this recipe using the share buttons. Subscribe to the blog for instant notifications of new recipes.

Follow on Instagram: @thepretendchefofficial, Twitter: @thepretendchef Facebook: https://web.facebook.com/thepretendchef/ and Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/thepretendchef/

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *