Ackee and Saltfish

Our favorite way to make Jamaica’s national dish, a salt cod sauté that’s often enjoyed at breakfast.

  • Serves


  • Prep

    1 day

  • Cook

    35 minutes


By SAVEUR Editors

Updated on January 22, 2024

Ackee, Jamaica’s national fruit, was brought to the island from Africa and is in the same family as the lychee. Canned versions can be found at Caribbean markets and online. In this quintessential Jamaican dish, the fruit’s mild nuttiness balances the saltiness of the cod. Seek out good-quality (not stringy or yellowed) salt cod pieces.   

Buy the SAVEUR Selects Enameled Cast Iron 4½-Quart Braiser here.

Featured in “Good Morning Jamaica,” by Betsy Andrews.


  • 1 lb. dried salt cod, rinsed
  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh thyme leaves
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • ½ Scotch bonnet or habanero chile, seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • One 19-oz. can ackee, drained and rinsed
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


Step 1

In a medium bowl, cover the cod with 2 quarts of water. Refrigerate for 24–36 hours, changing the water two or three times while soaking.

Step 2

Drain the cod and transfer to a small pot. Cover with 2 quarts of water and bring to a boil. Turn the heat to medium and simmer until it flakes easily, about 10 minutes. Drain, then transfer to a bowl and use a fork to flake into large chunks. 

Step 3

To a large skillet set over medium-high heat, add the oil, thyme, garlic, onion, green bell pepper, red bell pepper, tomato, and chile and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 10 minutes. Add the cod, scallions, and ackee and cook, stirring gently to keep the cod and ackee in large pieces, until hot, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. 

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