Jamaican Rice and Peas

Jamaican Rice and Peas

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One of the highlights of my trip to Jamaica in 2012 was the opportunity to get in the kitchen and do some cooking with some local Jamaican chefs.

One of my favorite Jamaican dishes we ate when I was there was Jamaican Rice and Peas. I think I had it just about every night!

It’s a simple dish, but it’s so good! Easy and cheap to make too! They call it rice and peas but it’s really rice and beans with a few other ingredients.

One of the villa cooks here, Marika Dunn, invited me into the kitchen so I could watch and learn. What fun!

Because we don’t have access to all the ingredients she uses to make hers, I took her recipe and tweaked it a bit so that now all of us can make it at home.

Have you ever had rice and peas? If not, you need to try it! It makes a great side dish with grilled or baked chicken.

Jamaican Rice and Peas

Jamaican Rice and Peas

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Servings 4


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • ½ cup onion - finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic - chopped
  • 1 can (15 ounces) red kidney beans - drained
  • 1 can (14 ounces) unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • 2 cups long grain white rice
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • ½ scotch bonnet pepper or jalapeño pepper - optional


  • Heat oil in a pan with a lid.
  • Cook onion in oil for a few minutes until the onion starts to get soft.
  • Add garlic and cook another 30 seconds stirring constantly.
  • Place water and coconut milk in the pan with beans and thyme.
  • Bring to a boil.
  • Add rice and stir.
  • Reduce heat to medium-low.
  • Place scotch bonnet or jalapeño pepper on top of the liquid and cover tightly for 30 minutes or until rice is cooked.
  • Remove pepper before serving.
  • Fluff rice with a fork.


Serving: 0.5cup | Calories: 410kcal | Carbohydrates: 77g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.04g | Sodium: 10mg | Potassium: 151mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 43IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 38mg | Iron: 1mg

This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.

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  1. florene krueger says:

    what is it called rice and peas? where are the peas?

    1. Amy Hanten says:

      Hi Florence,
      They call it Rice and Peas in Jamaica but it’s really rice and kidney beans. There are no peas in the dish. Thanks! -Amy

  2. I do not care for the flavor of coconut. Can you suggest a substitute for it in this recipe?

    1. Amy Hanten says:

      Hi Anne, It’s not a real strong coconut flavor but you could use chicken stock or vegetable stock instead. Thanks!

  3. PERFECT! SO much easier than the traditional way and tastes straight out of a Jamaican Restaurant! Thank you for sharing!

  4. I’d had a friend tell me about this but had forgotten most of what she said so I tweaked yours a bit.
    I started out with the oil and onions and sauteed it for few minutes and then added the beans (i remembered her telling me this is how she started hers) and kept it on low-medium heat for about 4minutes along with the rest of the stuff i.e garlic,thyme, etc. Then I added the coconut milk let it boil and then added the rice and water. Tastes so good. Didn’t have the scotch bonnet pepper on hand but will try it again with that and fresh thyme as i used the bottled one. I also used the liquid from the kidney beans as part of the water count when i added the rice with the water.
    Great recipe. thanks for sharing. Yours is the best I’ve found. some of the ones i found mentioned dry red beans and i was looking for one that used canned one. This is perfect and time saving.