Rice and Peas

rice and peas recipe

Rice and Peas is a staple for any Jamaican dinner. My Dad would make a huge pot of Rice and Peas on Sundays, and we would eat it with most of our meals the rest of the week. The rice and peas actually start to taste better every day as the seasonings continue to marinate in this fabulous dish. Enjoy.


  • 2 cups of rice
  • 1 can of tinned or 1 cup of fresh red peas (either kidney beans or pigeon peas)
  • 5 cloves of garlic (finely chopped)
  • 1 uncut scotch bonnet pepper (1 jalapeno pepper may be used as a substitute)
  • 3 Scallion (spring onions may be used as a substitute)
  • 1 tin (or one cup) of coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 2 sprigs of fresh thyme (2 teaspoons of dried thyme may be used as a substitute)


  1. Drain juice from beans, add coconut milk + sufficient water to make 5 cups of cooking liquid.
  2. Put beans, “cooking liquid” and garlic in a pot and bring to the boil, simmer for 2 minutes.
  3. Add scallions, thyme, and black pepper and salt to taste, simmer for a further 2 minutes.
  4. Add scotch bonnet pepper (as this is not cut up it will not make the rice spicy, it will just add a subtle Jamaican flavour).
  5. Add rice and let boil uncovered for 20 minutes (or until all liquid has been absorbed if this is sooner). Remove scotch bonnet pepper then serve.

If you have any modifications to make this recipe more delicious then feel free to leave a comment.

40 responses so far

40 Responses to “Rice and Peas”

  1. francison 26 Jul 2009 at 2:08 am

    no real jamaican use can pea to make rice and pea

  2. thatflashon 03 Dec 2009 at 4:51 am

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  3. Arlene Jardineon 27 Jan 2010 at 3:02 am

    Real Jamaicans DO use canned peas to make rice and peas because living in America we cannot afford maids anymore. Using the reconstituted dried peas IS tastier but I’ll take canned peas in my rice & peas over none at all.
    Five cups of liquid to 2 cups of uncooked rice is too much liquid, it should be four cups of liquid for a moist result OR 3 3/4 cups for a more fluffy consistency. Once the liquid begins to boil rapidly cover the pot and reduce the heat to very low. The flavor of the dish will be more intense if the pot is covered during the entire cooking period.
    Thank you for your great website.

  4. Chef Willon 11 Feb 2010 at 2:55 am

    Who gives a hoot if he/she uses freah or canned beans for rice and peas, just cook the dish and make it yours. why does every one have to be so critical with food, love it, and let others love it as well.

  5. gaynor gon 11 Feb 2010 at 8:23 am

    well said

  6. gaynor gon 11 Feb 2010 at 8:25 am

    i am white and i am cooking this for my boyfriend who is black and for some friends , have u any good tips for me , i am a bit nervous about this dish xx

  7. Andrewon 21 Feb 2010 at 9:17 am

    Arlene J. You are a God! I tried it your way and i must say it turned out wonderful. Thanks again.

  8. Kateon 24 Feb 2010 at 11:24 am

    Thank you, thank you…. my adopted son is Jamaican and I’m doing my best to introduce him to Jamaican food and culture.

  9. Victoriaon 24 Mar 2010 at 11:50 pm

    I like to have both canned and dried beans of all kinds on hand. Canned are handy, but it’s nice to personalize the flavor of the beans as well. For this recipe I add garlic, thyme, salt, pepper and a Tb of coconut oil to the cooking beans. I also make enough for at least 2 recipes to make it worth the extra time and effort. It’s cheaper, and they freeze well. (The water/bean ratio is on every package of dried beans.)

  10. Dianeon 14 May 2010 at 3:16 am

    Don’t forget to add a table spoon of margarine. Over time we have all found better, smarter ways of doing things. Gone are the days when you would soak the peas overnight. I myself, tend to boil my peas with just enough water to cover it on a high heat. My granny would probably be turning over in her grave, as she was one of those who use to grater the fresh coconut. All comments a valid, but that is just like saying hand washing is better than having a washing machine. Lets all get real, what don’t kill will fatten.

  11. karimaon 23 May 2010 at 12:09 am

    Ok, I made this meal last night. It came out tooo sweet. I used on can of coconut milk and I used the juice from the can of kidney bean. I tripple the recipe, so I can have it for the whole week. I hate to throw it away and make another pot of Rice & Peas.

    Did I do something wrong? Did I use too much coconut milk?

  12. Marciaon 31 May 2010 at 10:49 am

    @ Karima, in the future do not use the juice from the kidney peas, just use the coconut milk and add more water if required. No need to throw away your rice & peas, enjoy it just the same and next time just do it differently and the water to rice ratio is key 1 3/4:1 . You can never use too much coconut milk. Arlene got it right.

  13. Suryaon 14 Aug 2010 at 7:04 am

    @Karima, also make sure you do not use sweetened coconut milk, I did that once..never again it makes the dish inedable.

  14. simonon 23 Oct 2010 at 8:03 am

    as any one has a recipe for sweet potatoe pudding iwould be most grateful.

  15. Geeon 24 Oct 2010 at 12:13 am

    Tried this today, Perfect. Only downside for me was, I should have crushed the garlic so I could not see the bits of it in the rice, as not a lover of it. Very pleased otherwise

  16. Saraon 25 Oct 2010 at 7:09 am

    I love the taste of scotch bonnets and was wondering if it would ruin the dish by slicing one up instead of boiling it whole? First time making it.

  17. samon 12 Nov 2010 at 8:42 am

    i have tried to make this a couple of times before with recipies from other websites and it was awful, but i found this recipie and followed @ arelene’s method, it was absolutely delicious!! thank you for a great recipie 🙂

  18. Arvaon 23 Nov 2010 at 5:17 am

    I just made this, and it was absolutely wonderful! However, I did it differently – I dumped all the ingredients in my rice cooker, and it turned out great!! Will definitely make again! Thanks for the recipe!!

  19. Arvaon 23 Nov 2010 at 5:19 am

    Oh yeah, I forgot.. I also only used 4 cups of cooking liquid (1 cup of coconut milk and 3 cups of water) as suggested by Arlene.

  20. Asheron 04 Apr 2011 at 8:01 am

    i am wanting to make this tonight but dont have any scotch bonnet, can it be made without this? also i dont have coconut milk just creamed coconut can i use this?

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  22. walex777on 14 Dec 2011 at 9:02 am

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  26. tammy sanchezon 26 Apr 2013 at 6:17 am

    my mom is jamacian and she taught me to make this with bacon in it. brown the bacon add the onions and add liquid. but yeah its 4 cups liquid to 2 cups rice.

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  28. In love with jamaican manon 07 Jan 2014 at 1:59 pm

    I love this. I used canned pigeon peas instead. My boyfriend is Jamaican and I’m trying to cook things he likes. Instead of southern/American food constantly. Came out perfect!!!!!!

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  30. Tracey W.on 17 Mar 2014 at 5:41 am

    I had already started soaking my medley of beans, going in a different direction, when I decided to look at recipes for Jamaican Rice and Peas. Since I was not going to waste what I had started, I said, “what can it hurt”, and went along with the recipe anyway. It was AMAZING!!! I never follow a recipe to the”T” anyway. I always need to make it my own

  31. Susannon 30 Mar 2014 at 3:40 pm

    I made this as a side dish to my Jabberwocky Jerked filet mignon! We make a gluten free, corn by product free, no MSG or GMO’s Jerk sauce. Jabberwocky Smooth Jerk. I’m always looking for fabulous side dishes to serve along with my jerked dishes. I also enjoyed many of your comments. I did follow Arlene’s direction. It made a bit more sense.Also followed Arva’s suggestion and used my rice cooker.

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  33. Deeon 06 May 2014 at 8:46 am

    Awesome dish with great taste. The texture and consistency was wonderful. I have been looking for an authentic rice and beans dish and finally found that pleases the pallets.

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