Top 5 Herbs and spices used in Jamaican cooking

Top 5 Herbs and spices used in Jamaican cooking

There are various herbs and spices used in Jamaican cooking that gives it that unique taste Jamaican cuisines are famous for. There are a combination of these herds and spices that are always used when preparing the delicious meals. Here I will share the top five most used ones in Jamaican cooking. 

Pimento (Allspice)

Pimento is indigenous to the West Indies. Old record shows that pimento was first discovered on the island of Jamaican. Trees grow widely throughout the island and Jamaica supplies majority of the world pimento. 

The ripe berries can be eaten raw and is commonly used to make wine. Because of the potent taste and aroma of the berries and the leaves both are used in Jamaican cooking. The dried unripe berry that is used to flavour delicious dishes such as jerk chicken, rice and peas and escovitch fish.

The dry pimento berry is also called allspice because of the notion that the pimento berry contains the characteristic flavour and aroma of cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon and pepper, all combined in one spice.

Because of this unique characteristic in its flavour and aroma, pimento can be added to also any recipes. From soup, to cake to drink. The sorrel drink that Jamaicans makes around the festive season won’t taste its best with adding some pimento berries. 

Scotch bonnet pepper

Jamaican scotch bonnet pepperThe scotch bonnet pepper, who doesn’t know or haven’t heard of scotch bonnet pepper? This bad ass pepper is famous for its heat. The scotch bonnet pepper is said to be one of the hottest pepper in the word. Measuring a wapping 100,000 – 300,000 Scoville Heat Unit (SHU). That’s approximately 292,000 times hotter than a jalapeño, which measure 4000-8000 SHU.

Apart from the heat scotch bonnet pepper also have an unique sweet fruity flavour and aroma that contributes to the great taste of Jamaican cuisine.

Dishes like jerk chicken, peppered shrimp and escoveitch fish have a lot of scotch bonnet pepper making these dish very spicy but also very tasty.

There are different spices of scotch bonnet pepper with different colours, shapes and size.



herbs and spices used in Jamaican cooking ginger

Compare to ginger grown in other parts of the world the ginger grown in Jamaica is more pungent and aromatic making it one of the best quality ginger in the world market.   

The strong flavour of the Jamaican ginger have made Jamaican ginger cake, ginger biscuit and ginger beer  very popular products worldwide.

Jamaican cuisines such as our curry dishes are not complete without Jamaican ginger.

Jamaican ginger is also used to make tea as a remedy to relief stomach and headache and cold and flu.


herbs and spices used in Jamaican cooking escallionJamaican scallion, pronounced ‘skallion’ in Jamaica is known to grown only in Jamaica and the West Indies.

The scallion looks similar to spring/green onion except it has a reddish outer skin, which bears a resemblance to the red onion. The scallion also has a stronger flavour than the green onion. The scallion is used in almost every Jamaican cooking. It have to go in soup, rice and peas and the season use to marinate meat.   

Escallion and thyme flavours compliments each other and are often used together in most Jamaican cuisines.


herbs and spices used in Jamaican cooking thymeIn Jamaica, there are over 100 varieties of thyme that is grown on the island. The most common type use when cooking Jamaican dishes is the garden thyme.

Thyme is used a lot to seasoning meat, poultry and fish. Thyme is so versatile, you can place it in all most anything dish you are cooking. Try adding a tiny potion to the pot when cooking plain rice to give it a little zing.









Khaydean Powell

My name is Khaydean and I am the founder of Jamaican foods and recipes. I am a food enthusiast and I am here sharing with you my love for food. Born Jamaican living in the UK and wants the world to learn about Jamaica's culinary culture.

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. meg

    Great presentation Can help me find a old Jamaican recipe I dont want the haltered one .I am looking for the old fashion Plaintain Tart..

  2. Raymonde McNally

    Hello my name is Raymonde McNally, I was contacted today by a tv show, asking me to come on their show to cook Jamaican food. I am originally from Jamaica and cooking is my passion, I am asking if you could be my sponsor for this thirteen week project, I would greatly appreciated it. thanks in advance for all your help.

    Raymonde McNally

  3. Josefine Latina

    This design is wicked! You definitely know how to keep a reader entertained. Between your wit and your videos, I was almost moved to start my own blog (well, almost…HaHa!) Excellent job. I really enjoyed what you had to say, and more than that, how you presented it. Too cool!

Leave a Reply