Jamaican Rice and peas are Jamaica’s most popular side dish, and I am excited to share the recipe with you. Rice, red kidney beans (peas), fresh coconut milk, and season to perfection. Sunday dinner is ready!
The Heart Of Jamaican Sunday Dinners
On Sundays, there is a 99.99% chance that most Jamaicans are cooking rice and pea for dinner. I don’t know how it came about, but rice and peas for Sunday is just the thing.
It may seem that way, but cooking rice and peas on a Sunday is not exactly a tradition per se.
I assume it came about because we have more time to cook on a Sunday, so we tend to cook the food that takes the longest to cook.
Peas Or Beans
It can be confusing to none Jamaicans to learn that Jamaican rice and peas are actually made with red kidney beans and not peas. For some reason, Jamaicans call kidney beans peas even though other beans such as butterbeans are called beans.
Because we called red kidney beans peas, this dish is called rice and peas. You can easily know if you are talking to a Jamaican or in a real Jamaican restaurant. If it is beans and rice, it’s not Jamaican. It must say Rice and Peas!
Now that all the confusion is out of the way, let us cook this amazing rice dish.
What You Need
Ahh, you’ve always wondered, haven’t you? Here’s what you need. Let me break this down one by one.
- Red kidney beans (peas): I use dry beans for this recipe. Dry beans give the rice the right colour, and they taste better. Canned beans seem like they lost most of the inside, which I don’t like. So I mostly use dry beans.
- Fresh coconut milk: Coconut milk is key to how this dish tastes, so it is best to use fresh coconut milk.
- Rice: I use easy cook long grain rice. This rice absorbs liquid very differently than basmati and other rice. If you use basmati rice, you will have to adjust the water or coconut milk.
- Scotch Bonnet Pepper: Use a whole scotch bonnet pepper and add it to the pot without cutting or bursting it. I ran out of scotch bonnet pepper, so I used chilli pepper to add the spice flavour to the rice
- Scallion, pimento (allspice), garlic, ginger, thyme, salt: essential flavour base!
How to Cook Jamaican Rice And Peas
- Wash the Beans: Dry beans should get washed before use because they are often dirty. A little tip I learnt from my grandmother, is to let the beans boil in a small amount of water then pour that water. This, according to her, gets rid of the chemicals added to the beans for preservation. I don’t know how true this is, but I still do it to this day.
- Pressure Cook the Beans: Pressure cooking the beans save on cooking time. All you need is 15 minutes, and the beans are soft. Also, add the pimento berries and a small piece of ginger to the pressure cooker.
- Season the Pot: After 15 minutes, make to pressure cook cool, then carefully remove the lid. Add the garlic, scallion, onion, scotch bonnet pepper, salt, thyme and coconut milk.
- The Rice: Wash the rice to get rid of the starch. Add it to the spot.
- Let it Steam: Once the pot starts boiling, turn the heat to low and let it steam until all the water evaporates.
Notes: If you don’t have a pressure cooker and still wish to use dry kidney beans, it’s best to soak the beans overnight before cooking them. Doing this helps to reduce the cooking time. It may take about minutes or more for the beans to cook without a pressure cooker.
Using Can Coconut Milk And Can Bean
It can feel long cooking rice and peas recipe with dry beans and fresh coconut milk. You have to cook the beans first, break the coconut, blend it and juice it. That’s a long process for some.
Using canned coconut milk and canned beans reduces the cooking time. Adjust the recipe below by substituting the dry beans for a can of beans. Just as the recipe states, use a cup of coconut milk.
If the canned coconut milk is less than a cup, make it up with water. This way, you will still have enough liquid to cook the rice.
How To Serve Rice And Peas
So many mains to serve with rice and peas. Most people like chicken, brown stew, fried chicken, and jerk chicken, all goes well with rice and peas.
If you like fish like me, you will like fried fish, brown stew fish or escovitch fish with your rice and peas.
Popular Jamaican choices to serve with rice and peas are curry goat, oxtail stew and pepper stake.
Kidney Peas Recipes:
More Recipes Using Coconut Milk
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Jamaican rice and peas recipe
- 1 Cup (177 g) Dry red kidney beans (peas) Or 1 canned bean
- 1 Cup (236.59 ml) Fresh coconut milk Or ½ canned coconut milk
- 1½ Cup (277.5 g) Long grain rice Washed and drained
- 1.76 oz (49.9 g) Red onion Chopped
- 2 Clove garlic Crushed
- 0.71 oz (20.13 g) Scallions Chopped
- 2 Sprig of thyme
- 1 Scotch bonnet pepper Don't cut or burst
- 0.11 oz (3.12 g) Ginger
- 5 Pimento barries (allspice)
- 2 tsp Salt
- 5 Cups (1.18 l) Water
- Wash the kidney beans and put them in a pressure cooker with 4 cups of water, pimento berries and ginger, half the salt and pressure for 15 minutes.
- Make sure the pressure cooker is cool before you open it.
- Return the pot to the stove on medium heat. Add the coconut milk, another cup of water, thyme, scallion, onion, garlic, scotch bonnet pepper and the rest of the salt.
- Cover the pot and bring it to a boil. At this point, taste to see if seasoned to your liken.
- Add the rice. Return the lid to the pot and bring it to a boil. Turn the heat to low and let the rice steam until all the water evaporates.
- Turn the feat off and let the rice sit for another 5 minutes. Remove the thyme stems and the scotch bonnet pepper. Serve!
- The type of rice you use will affect the recipe shared above. I’m using long grain rice. If you use another type of rice, you will have to adjust the recipe according to the amount of liquid and time that rice takes to cook.
- If you don’t have a pressure cooker and still wish to use dry kidney beans, it’s best to soak the beans overnight before cooking them. Doing this helps to reduce the cooking time. It may take about minutes or more for the beans to cook without a pressure cooker.
I am cooking this for dinner today 😋😋. Can’t wait to try it.
Love it, cooked it yesterday for dinner and had it will salmon steak. Thanks for the recipe!
Delicious! Mines came out perfect! My family loved it! Thank you for sharing Lesa!! I have tried a few of your recipes! Trying the curry chicken tonight!
Hey Sapphire, glad to hear that. Hope you and your family will love love the curry chicken too. Thanks for stopping by
Hi Lesa, if by chance you get this mesg today, I need to know can I cook your rice and peas recipe in a pot as my pressure cooker is broken..
Hello Lilly, you can, the pressure cooker helps to cook the peas (beans) faster. I would suggest using tin peas (beans) if you don’t have a pressure cooker because it will take more time and water to cook it with a pressure cooker.
Thank you so much for this lovely rice and peas recipe. It’s so awesome!
Hi Pat, you are welcome and thanks for stopping by
I was just reading the way you cook the peas without a pressure cooker. So you said buy a can of peas instead and if so how long do you cook them so that they aren’t too soft and mush up
I Denise, if you are using can peas, you can add the rice in straight after as the peas is already cook
Hello,one question after the beans are done in the pressure cooker..should i continue to cook in the pressure cook or place everything in a pot and cook on top of stove?
In a pot and cook on top of the stove
Hi, I’m making this tonight along with the curry chicken! Can’t wait for dinner!
Hi, thank you for the recipe.
How should I cook the rice with a can of red kidney beans and a regular pot, I don’t have a pressure cooker?
Also, do you use Uncle Ben’s Rice?
Hi, what can I use as a substitute for pimento(whole allspice)? I can’t get hold of it where I live.
Do you drain the peas after pressure cooking them? My pressure cooker does not loose much liquid so I have more than enough liquid left after cooking the peas to cook the rice.
Loved your recipe for the rice and peas I think the kicker was the ginger. Thanks joan
I’d love to try to make this but I don’t have a pressure cooker, how would I cook the kidney beans otherwise?
My Mom, may she rest in pace….use to cook this meal all the time and for the first time i’m doing the rice and peas with bag beans instead of canned. curry chicken has always been my fav. So thanks for your recipes…reminds me of my mom.
Haven’t finished, but looking good, my only suggestion is that you put in that you check the peas are cooked, mine I did for 30 minutes and they are very crunchy still
Hi Im gonna try this soon, is allspice powder ok instead of the seeds/berries? Thanks a lot
This recipe is deceptive and cannot be taken seriously. Not sure how it can call for “FRESH coconut milk” and not explain how to make the milk from a real coconut. Canned coconut milk is a very different beast to fresh coconut milk, which is more watery.
Thanks soo much for this .. I haven’t made rice and peas in a while .. and I hate bothering my mom for her recipe because she is stingy with them lol growing up in a westindian household I love different ppls take on traditional dishes .. making this with jerk pork carrot cabbage stew and fried plantain.. it smells so heavenly in here lol ..
Hi Lesa, I think you forgot to put how to cook with can beans and can milk don’t see it. Can you provide it. Also how can I make The beef patties, I tried but my crust wasnt flaky enough, But I want to do vegan because I don’t eat beef.
Love this recipe, authentic rice and peas. just like we have it in Jamaica. Thanks for sharing
I Prepared This Dish On Sunday, And It Came Out Delicious
I can’t seem to find any scotch bonnet locally. I do have scotch bonnet pepper sauce, can I use that, and if so how much do you recommend? Also, what kind of all purpose/chicken season do you recommend? I have Lawrey’s seasoned salt? I can’t wait to cook this! Thank you!!!!😊
The reason for using scotch bonnet pepper when cooking rice and peas is not to make the rice chilli, this is why it said not to cut or burst the pepper. I find that the pepper sauces are more chilli and usually don’t have the “fruitiness” that the actual pepper has. So I wouldn’t suggest using it.
It doesn’t matter which all-purpose/chicken seasoning you use really. I use anything that as product of Jamaican on it.
Cooked over the weekend, I didn’t have fresh thyme but the dried thyme did the same job, it was fabulous.
Forgot to to say I did your curry goat 5*****
Hi Catherine, thanks for stop by, trying the recipes, sharing your outcome and giving us a 5 star.
I just bought a pressure cooker but ha e no understanding of how to use it
How do I cook brown steak chicken in it?
How different is it to the usual stove top cooking?
So you don’t cook the rice in the pressure cooker? Just the beans at the start?
Hi Lesa, loved this but I cooked it in my rice cooker, 2 cups light coconut milk to 3 cups Aged basmati rice, Tinned kidney beans and all the seasonings with a little all-purpose seasoning for extra flavour.
I made it 2 days in a row as I’d also cooked up a big pot of Curry Goat from your recipe (Always better the next day right?). Fantastic recipes. I can’t wait to try your Oxtail or Curry Chicken too. 🙂
Hi Jamie, thanks for stopping by and trying the recipe, glad it helped you to make it your own way, that’s what cooking is all but. I will have to try the rice cooker soon.
This was a hit!!! My Husband is from Jamaica and he said my first try was almost perfect 🤣🤣🤣 -I’ll take that!!! Looking forward to trying new recipes.
I have made serveral of your recipe’s and I have loved each one. Thanks for sharing
Made this last week, to accompany jerk chicken, it was delicious.
I did not have pimento berries at the time, so, I used whole cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg and pepper, crushed in a pestle & mortar, which turned out well.
I only had canned kidney beans too, but, added towards the end of cooking, they were fine, altgough the dried beans would have a better texture.
I am making this again today, this time I have the berries.
Love the aroma from the herbs & spices.
Thanks for the recipe.
What about pigeons peas from
And pink peas do you have a recipe
The peas and rice recipe was amazing.
Amazing. Made these to go with your curry chicken. Everything was spot on. Will definitely be making again and again. Thank you!
Flavors are perfectly on point but beans needed more pressure cooker time because after putting to stove and cooking w rice there was still too much liquid yet my rice was very done and beans were not. I will try again lengthening the pressure cook time and cutting down the added water.
Haven’t made recipe yet but intend to do so tomorrow! Particularly appreciated the short cut tips such as canned beans and coconut milk and using chilli powder if no scotch bonnet to hand! I live in the depths of the Herefordshire countryside so village shop some what restricted. Keep your fingers crossed for my culinary efforts.