Looking for some authentic Jamaican recipes to bring a Caribbean flair to your table? You’ve come to the right place!
After spending just a couple of days on this beautiful island, anyone will realize that Jamaican cuisine is so much more than jerk chicken and rice.
Don’t get me wrong, those dishes are incredible!
But other dishes of Jamaican food are also vibrant, fruity, spicy, and wonderfully unique.
Many traditional Jamaican recipes pull from the surrounding islands, blending together seafood, fish, and oxtail with some of the fantastic local fruits and vegetables on hand.
Of course, I had to include a jerk chicken recipe in this roundup because it’s the most well-known.
But this list of 20 Jamaican recipes also contains plenty of other delicious offerings! Get ready to take a virtual trip to Jamaica!
Who would’ve thought oxtail could be so tasty?
If you’ve never worked with it before, now is the time to try.
It has some extra fat, which produces an even richer flavor stock, and when slow-cooked, some argue it’s more tender than other cuts of beef.
Cabbage is an inexpensive side that can be found in most countries.
But this colorful variation from Jamaica is definitely one of my faves.
The best part of this dish is the Scotch bonnet pepper!
It adds just the right amount of heat without being overwhelming. It takes something as mild as cabbage and gives it a whole new life.
This fiery dish is not for the faint of heart.
Dicing the peppers means the flavor gets all over the shrimp, so there’s no escaping it.
If spicy foods aren’t your thing, you can leave the peppers out and still get a tasty plate of well-seasoned shrimp.
I know we all look for shortcuts, but marinating your meat goes a long way in terms of great flavor.
You can even make up a big batch and freeze down some meat (once it’s sat in the marinade), making the next meal a little quicker.
I know the ingredient list looks a little long, but I’m willing to bet you have most of it on hand.
Callaloo is similar to spinach and gets cooked with onion, tomatoes, green onions, and, you guessed it, a Scotch bonnet pepper!
Collard greens make a great alternative if you can’t find callaloo.
Even a combination of spinach and a large green, leafy cabbage would work, too.
When making jerk chicken, it’s always a good idea to use things and legs with the bone in.
The dark meat pairs so much better with the powerful spices, and these cuts are always juicier.
These will bake up great in the oven, but if you can grill them, the added smoky flavor really enhances everything in the marinade.
Jamaican curry might look similar to some Asian curries you’re used to, and it uses many of the same ingredients, including coconut milk.
The difference is that this recipe has a lot more warmth.
From the ever-present Scotch bonnet peppers to the extra all-spice and turmeric, it hits just the right spot.
You won’t believe me until you try it, but Jamaican carrot juice is unbelievably delicious.
Made with condensed milk and spices (cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg), it’s creamy and can also be made with coconut milk for a nuttier flavor.
Simple but so effective, this recipe is loaded with flavor and is the perfect pairing for jerk chicken!
Though the dish is known as rice and peas, it’s actually made with kidney beans.
Cooking the rice in a mixture of stock and coconut cream ensures its tender and flavorful.
And, as always, you can omit the Scotch bonnet pepper if you prefer it mild.
Much like the empanada or British Cornish pasty, Jamaica has its own version of a beef filled hand pie.
Though many of the ingredients are similar to a Cornish pasty – beef, onion, carrot, etc. – this recipe also adds some curry powder into the mix.
Be sure to seal the edges and brush with egg yolk for that golden finish.
This unusual combination of cornmeal, condensed milk, cinnamon, and nutmeg was such a pleasant surprise the first morning I spent in Jamaica.
It was served with some fresh mango on top and coconut shavings for a warm and filling start to the day.
What sets these apart from your grandma’s carrots?
It has to be the use of hot sauce, pineapple juice, and cumin.
Trust me; these are to die for.
I first had sweet fried plantains in Haiti, and I’ve loved them ever since.
If you’re ever in Jamaica, you’ll likely have them fried with sticky maple syrup, brown sugar, and a little coconut oil.
They only need a few minutes to soften and begin to caramelize.
The perfect cut for making a stew, oxtail will ensure it’s tender, rich, and bursting with flavor.
You can make this and omit the chilis for a great winter warmer.
Or crank it up and throw in some peppers to make your mouth water.
If you like sweet potato pie, this recipe is for you.
This dish needs a double bake to create a remarkable base and creamy pudding top.
You might need to add some extra flour to account for the different kind of sweet potato here in the States.
Crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, these little bites are hard to resist.
They’re neither overly sweet nor super savory and can be paired with everything from Jamaican chicken curry to sweet plantains.
I’m a massive fan of using chickpeas in curry.
They have a great texture and will make the vegetarian in your life super happy.
If you like your curry on the thicker side, try mashing or pureeing some of the chickpeas and stirring them back in.
Low in fat but high in fiber, gungo peas are quite hard to find.
You can substitute black-eyed peas for this recipe for a similar flavor and texture.
This stew is full of beans, veggies, potatoes, and plenty of spice.
And the dumplings are amazing.
There’s a reason people always bring rum cake home from their Caribbean vacations – it’s insanely delicious!
The buttery and moist cake might seem boring at first glance, but the flavor is all there.
Once baked and cooled, you’ll need to pour over a cooled syrup of butter, sugar, and rum that will seep into the cake, making every bite a dream.
This vegan, paleo, and gluten-free flatbread might just be your new best friend.
Cassava, or “yuca,” is a starchy root vegetable found in many Caribbean meals.
Once grated and squeezed of excess moisture, the cassava gets pan-fried in a disc and soaked in coconut milk.
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