Traditional Jamaican rice and peas (rice and beans) that boasts huge flavor from coconut milk, fresh thyme, scallions, and more. Pair along with your favorite Caribbean dishes to make a complete Island meal!

Jamaican rice and peas in black bowl with silver spoon

Listen, behind almost every Caribbean recipe there is, you’ll also find a steaming pot of this rice. It’s pretty much an unspoken law amongst Islanders alike. The greatest curries, stews, and more gets paired with this famous side dish. I like to say that it’s kind of like a West Indian holy trinity…the main dish of some sort, plantains, and rice and peas. Haha. I already know that you will absolutely love this rice and peas, y’all.

rice and peas in black bowl with scallions

What Is Rice and Peas?

So basically Jamaican rice and peas is pretty much rice and beans, however, it’s just known as such in the Caribbean way. Typical Jamaican rice and peas elements include coconut milk, onion, scallions, garlic, bay leaves, and spices to name a few. As previously mentioned, it is a very popular Island side dish.

How To Cook Rice and Peas

Making Jamaican rice and peas seriously couldn’t be easier! It just takes some extra care for best results!

  1. Before you do anything, you’ll want to soak some dried red kidney beans overnight.
  2. In a large stock pot or dutch oven: combine all ingredients together except rice and butter.
  3. Let beans cook up for about 1 hour on medium-high heat.
  4. Thoroughly rinse rice until water runs clear to remove starch from rice grains. Failing to skip this step may result in a pot full of very mushy rice, I don’t want that for you.
  5. Test peas (beans) for tenderness by softly pinching. Peas should be soft and mush-like.
  6. Lastly, add in rice and butter and let rice cook.

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Jamaican rice and peas in black bowl with linen

What Kind Of Rice To Use

The best rice to use for rice and peas is parboiled extra long-grain rice. Mahatma brand is one of my faves!

Why Use Stock And Not Water?

You may find that some rice and peas’ recipes use just regular water, however, I find that using stock yields a greater flavor. Chicken stock adds nice richness and depth to not only the rice but the peas as well. The peas soak up all of the flavor from the ingredients! In my opinion, using water gives a more bland-tasting rice and peas dish unless you add more spices. But if you’re in a pinch (or vegan/vegetarian) and that is all you have, then just use water (or vegetable stock) as a replacement.

Scotch Bonnet Pepper

These famous spicy tings do pack some significant heat but since the pepper goes in whole, just for added flavor, the rice is not spicy. Once the rice is done, the pepper gets discarded along with the thyme sprigs.

Can I Use Canned Red Kidney Beans?

Technically, you could. Would I recommend it, no. This is because canned red kidney beans are more mushier and can give the overall rice and peas a different texture. Using the canned version would also alter the overall cooking time completely as canned beans don’t need to cook as long. Long story short, I highly recommend using dried red kidney beans that you have rinsed and soaked for ultimate results.




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Jamaican rice and peas in black bowl with silver spoon

Jamaican Rice and Peas

  • Author: Quin Liburd
  • Prep Time: 10m
  • Cook Time: 1hr 30m
  • Total Time: 1hr 40m
  • Yield: 6-8 1x
  • Category: Jamaican, Side Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Jamaican


Jamaican rice and peas (rice and beans) boasts huge flavor from coconut milk, fresh thyme, scallions, and more. Pair along with your favorite Caribbean dishes to make a complete Island meal!


  • 1 cup dried red kidney beans, rinsed and soaked overnight
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 scallions, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 scotch bonnet pepper, left whole
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground Jamaican allspice
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1 (13.5- ounce) can coconut milk
  • 2 cups long grain rice, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter


  1. Rinse and soak dried red kidney beans overnight, then drain.
  2. In a large stock pot or dutch oven; add in beans, onions, scallions, garlic, scotch bonnet pepper, thyme, bay leaves, allspice, salt/pepper (to taste), stock and coconut milk over medium-high heat. Stir ingredients together and cover pot with lid and allow peas to cook until tender, about one hour.
  3. Check peas for tenderness by softly pinching and checking to see that they’re cooked through.
  4. While peas are cooking, rinse rice grains in a large bowl until the water begins to run clear, carefully drain, and set aside.
  5. Once peas are tender; add in rinsed rice and butter, stir together, and immediately reduce heat to the lowest setting and let rice cook for about 30 minutes. Then take off heat and let rice sit, covered, for at least 10 minutes to continue steaming.
  6. Discard pepper and thyme sprigs. Take a fork and fluff rice and serve. Enjoy!

Keywords: Jamaican, rice, rice and peas, Caribbean, side dish