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Mackerel Rundown Recipe

Salt mackerel rundown (rundung) is an “old time” Jamaican recipe still popular to this day. The sweet coconut milk balance out the saltiness of the mackerel, infused with flavour from the scotch bonnet pepper, pimento and thyme. Want a taste of Jamaica, this is it!

Mackerel rundown

What Is Jamaica Rundown?

Rundown or “Rundung”, as we Jamaican pronounced it, is a Jamaican cuisine in which you cook fish or vegetables in a large amount of coconut milk.

Traditionally, coconut milk goes into the pot first, uncovered on high heat and cooked until the coconut milk reduces to an oily custard-like sauce. Then you’d add the fish or vegetables and simmer for a few more minutes for them to absorb the coconut flavour. Unlike the description (usually from non-Jamaicans), Jamaican rundown (rundung) is not a stew!

Salt mackerel Jamaican rundown

Salt Mackerel Rundown

Salt mackerel rundown (rundung) is a Jamaican cuisine that is usually a breakfast delicacy. It can also be a quick lunch recipe or dinner solution.

The salt mackerel is first boiled to soften and to reduce the salty taste. Unlike saltfish, which you may need to soak overnight or boil two or three times, you only need to boil the salt mackerel once, and you don’t need to soak it overnight.

Then the salt mackerel is deboned, break into small pieces and cooked down in coconut milk with Jamaican herbs and spices.

Jamaican mackerel breakfast

The Ingredients You’ll Need

The most common ingredients in Jamaican Mackerel rundown:

  • Salt mackerel: Unsalted mackerel isn’t often used for this recipe. Traditionally salt mackerel is used for the rundown recipe.
  • Coconut milk: Like always, I am using homemade coconut milk, but it’s not necessary that you use it as canned coconut works will do the job as well.
  • Jamaican flavour: You can make Jamaican rundown with these essential aromatic ingredients, pimento (allspice), thyme, scotch bonnet pepper, onion and scallion.
  • And: Bell pepper.

How To Cook Mackerel Rundown From Scratch?

  1. Prepare the mackerel: First, wash the salted mackerel with lime juice. To reduce the salt, wash at least two times. Put to boil for 10 to 15 minutes, which softens the mackerel for the next step and helps reduce more of the salty taste. Remove from heat and wash the mackerel in cold water to cool, then debone and break into small pieces.
  2. Saute the aromatics: Add the onion, garlic, scallion and bell pepper to a saucepan and saute for about 3 minutes.
  3. Making the sauce: Add the coconut milk, thyme, pimento (allspice), and scotch bonnet pepper. Cover the pan and cook for about 10 minute. Around this time, the coconut milk will turn into a custard-like creamy sauce.
  4. The final step: Add the mackerel pieces to the coconut sauce and cook for another 10 to 15 minutes until the sauce reduces and thickens.
Salt mackerel recipe

What To Eat With Mackerel Rundown

Whether you are eating salt mackerel rundown for breakfast, lunch or dinner, there are many side options available.

Eat salt mackerel rundown with boiled ground provision, fried dumplings, festival dumplings or roasted breadfruit.

It is uncommon to serve mackerel rundown with rice dishes, but our coconut rice also goes well with this recipe.

Authentic Jamaican Rundown recipe

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Salt mackerel recipe

Mackerel Rundown Recipe

Flavour with coconut milk and other Jamaican spice, this mackerel dish tis just delicious.
4.50 from 12 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Jamaican
Keyword: coconut, Mackerel rundown recipe
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 2 Servings
Calories: 479kcal
Author: Lesa


  • 260 g (0.57 lb) Salt mackerel
  • 2 Cups (473.18 ml) Coconut milk I use homemade
  • 70 g (2.47 oz) Bell pepper Chopped
  • 15 g (0.53 oz) Scallion Chopped
  • 60 g (2.12 oz) Onion Chopped
  • 3 Sprigs of thyme
  • 2 Cloves garlic Finely chopped
  • 5 Pimento berries (Allspice)
  • 1 Scotch bonnet Do not cut or burst
  • 1 tsp Olive oil
  • 1 Lime/lemon To wash the mackerel


  • Wash the mackerel twice with lime juice and water to help cut the salt and fish smell.
  • Then place the mackerel in a saucepan with fresh water and put it to boil for 10-15 minutes. Until the fish is softened and easily breaks apart.
  • Remove from fire and wash in cold water to cool. Debone the mackerel, remove the head and break it into small pieces.
  • In a saucepan, add the oil, onion, garlic and bell pepper and saute for two to three minutes on medium to high heat.
  • Add the coconut milk, thyme, pimento (allspice) and scotch bonnet pepper. Cover and cook for 10 minutes.
  • Add the mackerel and cook for another 10 to 15 minutes until the liquid reduces to an oily custard sauce.


  • Homemade coconut milk is best for this recipe for an authentic flavour, but the dish will still taste great with canned coconut cream.
  • You must take care when deboning the mackerel if you plan on serving it to children.


Nutrition Facts
Mackerel Rundown Recipe
Serving Size
150 g
Amount per Serving
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat
Polyunsaturated Fat
Monounsaturated Fat
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.


  1. 5 stars
    I just tried this mackerel rundown. It came out perfectly and was a big hit with the family!

  2. Wow, that’s very nice to hear. Thanks for sharing.

    • 5 stars
      I made this twice and it’s so delicious! I substitute for tinned milk and added some okra (trying to use it up) the 2nd time but still so yummy!
      Thank you for this great page!

  3. 5 stars
    Hi Lesa! Just letting you know how much I’m enjoying looking at your recipes. I’m very much aware of most of them as I’m from Jamaica (Port Royal) and as a child would help my grand aunt every weekend to make her Ginger Beer. Chop up the seasonings for her Escovietch (for her fried fish). Meanwhile I’d be helping my other grand aunt in making Syrups, especially Strawberry (for her snow cones) and on Sundays make Coconut, Soursop and many other flavored Icecream recipes. Watching your recipes and others has certainly taken me back to my roots and childhood days of such good memories, even when I would sometimes grate my knuckles (as I grate the coconut or ginger) and would forget that I had just finished chopping up scotch bonnet peppers and went and rubbed my eyes or would touch my mouth…OMG! But I learned. And as I’m thinking back, I would not have traded it for anything else. Keep up the good work!

  4. Derick Goulbourne

    5 stars
    Excellent recipe. Clearly outlined even for a novice

  5. Good cooking

  6. Richard Grant

    5 stars

  7. 5 stars
    I tried this recipe and it turned out really good. What else can I add to the recipe? Thanks for the recipe.  

  8. 5 stars
    Followed your recipe. The mackerel turned out great!! Keep posting these great recipes!

  9. 5 stars
    Excellent recipe. Almost as good as my mom made it.
    Thanks for the guidance.

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