Our 20 Most Popular Jamaican Recipes

Whether you’re hankering for homemade beef patties or sweet potato pone, we’ve got you covered.


By SAVEUR Editors

Updated on February 14, 2024

Scotch bonnet, thyme, allspice, scallions—these are the building blocks of Jamaican cuisine, whether in a rub for jerk chicken or in the juicy filling for beef patties. Our most popular Jamaican recipes, which include tried-and-true classics like ackee and saltfish and rice and peas, exemplify the breadth and vibrancy of the Caribbean island’s cooking. Grab a pair of latex gloves (for seeding those chiles!) and get chopping—you’ll want to cook your way through this flavorful list.

Remko Kraaijeveld

An essential dish on festive tables across Jamaica, escovitch fish calls for topping a whole fried red snapper with lightly pickled vegetables. It's often enjoyed with steamed rice, sliced avocado, and fried banana. The recipe comes to us from writer and activist Lelani Lewis’ debut cookbook, Code Noir: Afro-Caribbean Stories and Recipes. Get the recipe >

Kelly Marshall

When chef Sarah Thompson was growing up, summer visits to her grandmother Gloria’s house were synonymous with Jamaican feasts of curried goat, brown-stew chicken, and callaloo cooked down with onions and peppers. “But it was the rice and peas that carried the whole plate for me,” says Thompson. “Fragrant rice with full stems of thyme and whole peppercorns, all dotted with little round brown peas that gave way perfectly as you bit into them.” This recipe comes close to Gloria’s original. Get the recipe >

Photo: David Malosh • Food Styling: Pearl Jones • Prop Styling: Sophie Strangio

Whether slathered in marinara or dunked in homemade barbecue sauce, these savory plant-based bites are beloved in many Rastafari homes. Get the recipe >

Photo: Murray Hall • Food Styling: Jessie YuChen

Ackee, Jamaica’s national fruit, was brought to the island from Africa and is in the same family as the lychee. In this quintessential Jamaican dish combining salt cod and cooked-down peppers and onions, the ackee’s mild nuttiness brings everything together. Get the recipe >

Photo: Murray Hall • Food Styling: Jessie YuChen

Jamaican curry chicken is a popular breakfast at Kingston cafes, but we love it as a one-pot main. It’s heady with allspice and rich with coconut milk, and the gorgeous yellow-orange color from the Jamaican curry powder pops on the plate. Get the recipe >

Photo: Belle Morizio • Food Styling: Victoria Granof • Prop Styling: Dayna Seman

Honey, coconut vinegar, and sweet fresh mango temper the peppery heat in this vibrant Caribbean condiment that’s great with grilled meats and fish. Get the recipe >

Ted + Chelsea Cavanaugh

The key to jerk chicken that tastes like it does in Jamaica is to use pimento wood and make sure your meat gets those dark, crusty edges. This recipe, adapted from Jamaican cookbook authors Michelle and Suzanne Rousseau, will teach you how it’s done step by step, whether you’re working with a grill or oven. Get the recipe >

Photo: Linda Xiao • Food Styling: Jason Schreiber • Prop Styling: Summer Moore

The crescent-shaped patty is the number-one fast-food item in Jamaica. Its flaky crust, made with beef suet, encloses Scotch-bonnet laced ground beef, herbs, and seasonings. Our beginner’s guide to patty-making makes the process an enjoyable afternoon project. Get the recipe >

Photo: Linda Pugliese • Food Styling: Christine Albano • Prop Styling: Carla Gonzalez-Hart

Not to be confused with the tart leafy green that goes by the same name, sorrel is what Jamaicans call hibiscus. Here, the sepals of the deep pink flowers are steeped with soul-warming spices and sugar to make a heady, floral beverage. Get the recipe >

Photo: David Malosh • Food Styling: Simon Andrews • Prop Styling: Summer Moore

This recipe comes to us from Jamaican food writer Vaughn Stafford Gray, who adapted it from his mother Cylda’s beloved 50-year-old formula. It is award-winning, steeped in history, and beloved by the writer's family and friends. The use of sultanas, cassis, and Jamaican fortified wine lends the cake its exceptional flavor. Get the recipe >

Photo: Linda Pugliese • Food Styling: Mariana Velasquez • Prop Styling: Elvis Maynard

Traditionally grilled outdoors, these assertively spiced wings get the inside treatment in this recipe, which relies on a slow cooker or Instant Pot. We love them served hot alongside coleslaw and fried plantains. Get the recipe >

Fatima Khawaja

Curries made with unripe or under-ripe mangoes are popular in Jamaica. This vegan and gluten-free version can be served as a condiment, side, or even the main event alongside fluffy basmati rice or warm roti. Get the recipe >

Jenny Huang

Rundown is a coconut milk-based Jamaican stew popular throughout the Caribbean. Traditionally made with mackerel or whatever is plentiful at the fish market, the term refers to the technique of boiling down the coconut broth until it is concentrated—and the fish cooked in it is crumbly, soft, and “run down.” At Compère Lapin in New Orleans, chef Nina Compton makes this version with a stock of shrimp, crawfish, or crab shells, then uses the bisque-like sauce to dress fresh pasta. Get the recipe >

Photo: Brian Klutch • Food Styling: Jessie Yuchen • Prop Styling: Paige Hicks

This cozy Caribbean cake, which comes together in a blender, is intoxicatingly fragrant with cinnamon, ginger, and coconut. A light custard poured on top during baking adds a sweet final flourish. Get the recipe >

Ted + Chelsea Cavanaugh

The trick to imbuing this recipe with as much smoky flavor as possible—without turning on the grill—is to toast the whole spices in a dry, heavy skillet until fragrant before adding them to the marinade. Get the recipe >

Matt Taylor-Gross

Somewhere between grilled jerk and fried chicken, this recipe shallow-fries the bird, then simmers it with caramelized aromatics until sticky and spicy-sweet. Get the recipe >

Matt Taylor-Gross

Oxtail, cut from the tail of the cow, is a notoriously tough cut of meat, but with enough time and patience, it becomes meltingly tender and flavorful. We love serving it over rice and peas, which soak up the flavorful, mahogany-dark gravy. Get the recipe >

Matt Taylor-Gross

This classic vegetarian soup is made with callaloo, a spinach-like green that can be found canned or fresh in Caribbean groceries. For a kick of heat, sprinkle each serving with thinly sliced Scotch bonnet peppers. Get the recipe >

Matt Taylor-Gross

Tho​​se overripe bananas languishing on your counter are perfect for making these cozy silver-dollar-size fritters that have a pleasing boozy kick. Get the recipe >

Matt Taylor-Gross

Allspice, rosemary, and soy sauce play surprisingly well together in these lollipop-like lamb chops with gorgeous grill marks. Get the recipe >

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