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Rice & Peas

Updated: Feb 18, 2021

Rice and peas or rice and beans as some may call it, is a staple in my home and in the homes of most if not all Jamaicans. While there are different variations of rice and beans, Jamaican Rice & Peas is unique because it is made using coconut milk and scotch bonnet peppers. The spiciness of the latter, the sweetness of the former with the addition of brown sugar provides a balance and a distinct taste you won’t find in other rice & bean recipes. Rice & Peas is traditionally paired with jerk chicken, oxtail, or fried chicken but some traditions can be bent a little so don’t be afraid to try it with other proteins or protein substitutes if that’s your thing. I often tend to take rice & peas for granted because I’ve had it so many times but it’s the perfect side dish to serve any homesick Jamaican. It's definitely worth the 2 hour cooking time however if you're impatient or just want an easier option I do also have a version that cuts the cooking time in half without sacrificing any of the taste.

Have fun and Enjoy!

Yields: 12 servings (1 cup per person) | Estimated Cook Time: 2 hours


16oz bag Red Kidney Beans (Soaked Overnight)

4 cups White Rice

1 can Coconut milk

9 cups Water

2 stalks Thyme

2 Scallions / Green Onions

2 cloves Garlic

1 cup Brown Sugar (light or dark)

1 Scotch Bonnet Pepper / Habanero

3-4 Pimento/Allspice seeds

3tbsp Butter/Margarine

2tsp Salt


1. In a large pot, add rinsed kidney beans, 9 cups of water, crushed garlic cloves, pimento seeds, and 1 tsp salt. Cover and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir occasionally.

2. After 1 hour, check if the beans are easily pierced using a fork and that the liquid has reduced by half. If not continue cooking, checking roughly 10-15 minutes until cooked.

3. Once the beans are cooked, the liquid should be reduced by half and the color slightly dark red. Turn off the heat.

4. Pour in coconut milk, add brown sugar, thyme, scallions, and scotch bonnet pepper to cooked peas. Turn on heat to medium-high.

5. Wash and rinse rice until water runs clear. Add rice, 2 cups of water, and remaining salt to the pot. Bring to a boil.

6. Once boiling, reduce heat to a low simmer and cook for 15-25 minutes.

7. When the rice is fully cooked, add butter and fluff rice with a fork making sure to evenly coat with butter.


1. If using canned red kidney beans, there’s no need for overnight soaking as the beans

are already cooked. Instead just pour the beans into a pan with the crushed garlic,

cover with 2 to 3 cups of water and cook over medium-high heat for 30 minutes to get

some of the red colors from the peas. After 30 minutes and the liquid has reduced,

follow steps 5 through 8.


The first time I tried to cooked rice was a total mess, it looked like I was trying to make a rice pudding. So if you don’t get it right on the first try, take a day or a month and try again when you’re ready. No Pressure.



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