Jamaica: Cuisine and Recipes

Country | Jamaica Legs Image

Ackee, pawpaw, jerk, stamp-and-go...the cuisine of Jamaica is as fun to say as it is to eat! Cooking on this Caribbean island has been influenced by immigration from several areas of the world — Africa, Asia, Europe — as well as by the Arawaks, Jamaica's original inhabitants. The result is spicy, nourishing food with a powerful punch of flavor.

Image Creative Commons by kaymoshusband

Jamaican Recipes


Appetizers | Akkra Image

(Senegalese black-eyed pea fritters)

These bean fritters originated in Western Africa, but with the slave trade they spread to the Caribbean and Brazil. Crispy on the outside and creamy in the middle, they are variously known as akra, acra, accra, acrat and acarajé. Read more »


Breads | Bammy

(Jamaican cassava flatbread)

Bammy, or bammie, is a cassava bread descended from the simple flatbread eaten by the Arawaks, Jamaica's original inhabitants. In Jamaica, bammy is usually bought from a local vendor and served for breakfast or as a side dish with fish. Read more »

Banana Bread

Breads | Banana Bread

(Caribbean sweet quickbread)

Banana bread is eaten in many countries, of course. But it is especially popular in the Caribbean, particularly in Aruba, Jamaica and the Bahamas. Serve slices with dollop of whipped cream and a cup of coffee or hot tea. Also great for breakfast or as a snack for kids. Read more »

Beef and Okra

Ingredients | Okra Image

(Jamaican beef and okra stew)

This recipe makes a simple meat and vegetable stew with tons of flavor. It's a typically Caribbean concoction using that favorite vegetable import from Africa — okra. Try using goat instead of beef if you can find it. Read more »


Ingredients | Limes Image

(Caribbean lime-poached fish)

Blaff is a way a preparing fish that is popular in the Caribbean, especially on the island of Martinique. Fish is marinated in lime juice, garlic and hot peppers and is then poached in the marinade. Some say the name comes from the sound the fish makes as you plop it in the simmering broth. Others say it comes from a mispronunciation of the word "broth" itself. Read more »

Boiled Green Bananas

Ingredients | Green Bananas

(Jamaican starchy side dish)

Boiled green bananas are a popular side dish in Jamaica and many other Caribbean islands where they are used much like potatoes or other root vegetables. Unripe bananas are starchier and much less sweet than the ripe version and make a good side dish for fish or chicken. Read more »

Curry Goat

Meats | Curry Goat

(Jamaican curried goat stew)

Goat is a favorite meat in much of the Caribbean, and in Jamaica, curry goat is the favorite way to cook it. Full of flavor, this aromatic stew was originally a must-have dish at large gatherings, parties, dances and other celebrations. These days, Jamaicans cook it at home more and more often. Substitute lamb meat if you can't find goat. Read more »

Fish Pie

(Jamaican baked fish and eggs)

Fish pie is a traditional English dish of creamy baked fish and eggs, often topped with a layer of mashed potatoes. The basic recipe was adopted and revised by Jamaicans, who gave it the tropical twist of coconut and the fiery punch of hot pepper sauce. Read more »

Ginger Beer

Ingredients | Ginger Image

(Jamaican ginger beverage)

Ginger beer is a very popular beverage in Jamaica. This zingy drink goes well with spicy jerk chicken or pork. It is sometimes fermented, but the simpler, non-alcoholic recipe version is given here. Read more »

Jamaican Beef Patties

Meats | Jamaican Beef Patties

(Jamaican spicy meat pies)

Descended from the British turnover, Jamaican beef patties liven up an old standby with a big pinch of curry and the fiery punch of the Scotch bonnet pepper. Jamaican beef patties have spread in popularity with immigrant populations to places like England, Toronto, New York and southern Florida. Make them small for appetizers or large for a serious entree. Read more »

Jerk Chicken

Poultry | Jerk Chicken Image

(Jamaican spicy grilled chicken)

Jerk is a method of cooking meats that comes from the original inhabitants of Jamaica, the Arawaks. They roasted meats over fires of pimento wood from the allspice tree. Pimento wood gave a distinctive flavor to the meat and is still used for jerk grilling in Jamaica. Read more »

Pawpaw Chutney

Ingredients | Papaya Chunks

(Caribbean papaya preserves)

Papaya chutney is a luscious tropical jam that makes good use of a fruit grown all over the Caribbean. Spread it on slices of bread or serve it alongside grilled or roasted chicken or pork. A version without the allspice is made in Senegal where it is called confiture de papaye. Read more »

Plantain Fritters

Vegetables | Ripe Plantains

(Jamaican fried plantains)

Plantain fritters are popular in many tropical cuisines. They are eaten throughout the Caribbean and are also popular in the Philippines. Read more »

Planter's Punch

Beverages | Planter's Punch

(Caribbean rum punch)

Depending on whom you believe, planter's punch was either created by the wife of a Jamaican plantation owner, or at the Planter Hotel in St. Louis, Missouri. Regardless, this fruity punch has become a popular beverage to serve to guests throughout the Caribbean. Recipes vary widely, but they all contain rum, lime juice and a sweetener or other fruit juices. Read more »

Rice and Peas

Grains | Jamaican Rice and Peas

(Jamaican rice with beans and coconut milk)

Rice and peas, as kidney beans are called in Jamaica, follows the Caribbean and Central American tradition of bean and rice dishes. Jamaicans give their version a rich, tropical flavor with the addition of coconut milk. Read more »

Sorrel Punch

Beverages | Dried Sorrel Flowers

(Jamaican hibiscus flower beverage)

Sorrel punch is a traditional Christmas beverage in the Caribbean. Dried hibiscus flowers — known as sorrel in Jamaica and not to be confused with the pungent green — can be found in most Caribbean or Latin markets. In Latin markets hibiscus flowers are known as jamaica, and so is the beverage. In West Africa the flowers are known as roselle or bissap and in Nigeria the drink is called zobo. Read more »