Lyn’s Jamaican Style Rice & Peas

May 24, 2012 by

I wanted to share the recipe for Rice and Peas with you guys. It is a traditional Jamaican side dish and I truly believe it deserves its own post. A very short post, but a special one :-) Rice and Peas is served with Fried Chicken, Stewed Chicken, Jerked Chicken, Curried Chicken (or Roasted Curried Chicken), Curried Goat, and my personal favourite – Oxtails, to name a few.  I recently paired it with Cristina Ferrare’s Fall Off The Bone Chicken. A very good match!

I will confess, I didn’t always love Rice and Peas. At one point, I used to pick out the peas. Yes, as an adult. I started making it at home because my husband loves it. I didn’t really eat it much even when I made it, but something happened. I’m not sure how to explain it. I just LOVE it now. I got some tips from some of my friends as to how they make it and I’m sharing with you today the way I now make Rice and Peas.

I don’t deviate too much from this method. The only change will be the kind of peas/beans that I choose to use. The peas/beans commonly used in this side dish are: Red Kidney Beans, Black Eyed Peas and Pigeon Peas (Gungo Peas). I use the canned type! Judge me not! Soaking overnight, and boiling for over an hour just doesn’t fit into my schedule :-) I use Basmati Rice because I love it, as well as Jasmine Rice. But traditionally long grain rice is used.


Jamaican Rice and Peas


Jamaican Style Rice & Peas
Recipe Type: Side Dish
Author: Lyn of The Lovely Pantry
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 25 mins
Total time: 35 mins
Serves: 6-8
A popular Jamaican side dish, paired with chicken, fish, pork or beef
  • 1 400ml Can Coconut Milk (regular or light)
  • 1 540ml Can Red Kidney Beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3 Cups Basmati Rice, washed and drained
  • 2 Stalks Scallions, rinsed with roots removed
  • 2 Sprigs Thyme
  • 2 1/2 Cups Low Sodium Chicken Broth
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1 Scotch Bonnet Pepper (optional)
  1. In a medium pot, add the peas, and then the coconut milk. Add a generous pinch of salt, pepper, thyme and whole scallions. Cover and bring to a boil.
  2. Add rice and broth. Gently stir.
  3. If you are using the Scotch Bonnet Pepper, add to the center on the top of the rice.
  4. Cover and allow to simmer on a medium low heat.
  5. Cook for about 20-25 minutes until rice is cooked
  6. Be careful not to stir too much or disturb the pepper. Fluff with a fork to check if the rice is cooked through
  7. When the rice is cooked, remove the pepper, thyme and scallions (or before serving)
  8. Serve with chicken, fish, pork or beef

Keep an eye on your pepper. If you think it has ruptured, remove it immediately. The pepper gives a lovely flavour as long as it remains whole.


As easy as that. When tasting from the pot, please ensure you leave some for your family. :-)


Rice and Peas using Red Kidney Beans


Oh, and in case you are wondering… even though beans are used sometimes, we still call it Rice & Peas! 

Take good care!


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  1. I am intrigued by using the scotch bonnet pepper. I love, love, love, spicy food and peppers so I will have to try this recipe.

    • I’m glad you’ll try it, Renee. I’m terribly afraid of pepper. My poor tummy can’t handle the heat! (What kind of Jamaican am I???) But on occasion, I’ll use it very carefully. When done well, the flavour is unmatched!

  2. Hi Lyn
    I saw your post on twitter. I cooked mine a bit different from yours. I prefer to soak the peas but I don’t do it overnight because I want to give time for the coconut milk to cook. I get tummy aches when I don’t allow the coconut nut to cook thoroughly. As for kidney beans, I usually use them for stew peas. I don’t use chicken broth because the coconut milk would suffice. Sometimes, I would add like a teaspoon of butter. I usually add the eskallions, thymes, and scotch bonnet pepper while cooking the peas because by the time you put in the rice, it would be well flavored. I enjoyed reading your post :)

    • Nice to meet you Cleona! Yes, I have heard a few variations of Rice and Peas. I haven’t attacked Stewed Peas yet! But I figure it will happen in the near future. Any tips? When I used broth for the first time, I knew there was no turning back. Tastes too good to me :-) I appreciate your comments and your visit! Hope to see you again!

  3. Never heard of scotch bonnet pepper but it sure sounds delicious! Lovely recipe and gorgeous clicks, Lyn. :)

    • Thanks An!!! Scotch Bonnet pepper is pretty much a staple in a Caribbean household. It is VERY hot/spicy and is cooked with many meals. My grandfather used to have a scotch bonnet pepper with his dinner almost every evening. I can’t handle it. Too much heat for Lyn!

  4. this sounds delicious Lyn! beautiful photos :)

  5. This rice sounds very flavorful. I’m putting this recipe on the list to try. Thanks for sharing, Lyn.

  6. A good old Jamaican favourite! I remember the days of soaking peas overnight and boiling for hours. Now, I just use a pressure cooker :) … Lyn, you have to try stew peas. It is traditionally made with pig tail, but I thought about it just yesterday, I don’t recall you ever doing a pork recipe! I’m not a pork eater myself but hubby loves stew peas so I make it for him on occasion. It took me at least 10 times to get my stew peas right. Either too fresh from boiling the pig tails for too long and too many times (it is very very salty) … or too salty from not boiling or soaking it too much. Interestingly, my mom (who is definitely not a pork eater) makes stew peas without meat!! And it tastes great. I know she uses coconut milk to flavour it. Salt Beef, Corned Pork or Corned beef (not the tin one) can also be used. Those are my tips … No charge for the consultation :) :)

    • Ha! I have a pressure cooker! …Somewhere! I’m not even into that. Mommy (or you) will have to come and show me how to use it again. And no, I’m not a big pork eater. I keep saying I’ll post a pork recipe but it really wouldn’t be for me. Or it would have to be so fantastic that I just HAD to share. I’m hoping I’ll try pork ribs this summer. We’ll see. Stew Peas without meat sounds more like what I’d end up doing. My Mom made it without pig tails because my Dad doesn’t eat pork. I’ll check with her to see how she did it. I should check with your Mom too! Thank you for the free consultation!!! LOL

    • I like when the stew peas is salty but not too salty that you pass out..just a little saltier than usual. Then I would just make the white rice without salt. If you don’t wish to use coconut milk, you can use butter. If I’m making the meatless one I would buy the Grace fish and meat sauce to add flavor to it or even a little from the chicken noodle soup pack. Oh! and I also add the scotch bonnet pepper to it.

  7. Wow, I love all the flavors in your rice dish!Would love to try out Scotch bonnet peppers sometime since I like heat ;)Thanks for sharing Lyn :)


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