Jamaican Ackee and Saltfish Recipe

Ackee is the national fruit of Jamaica and Ackee and Saltfish is the national dish. So it goes without saying that this is a must-have recipe if you want to cook like a Jamaican. It’s a savory dish with lots of salty flavour and is so versatile you can eat it for breakfast lunch or dinner! I prefer serving it for Sunday breakfast along with Fried Dumplings, Fried Plantains and hardough bread!

Shopping tips: Salted cod can now be found in most supermarkets If you can’t find it try a West Indian grocer or Portuguese fish market. In cities with large Jamaican communities canned ackee is easy to find, or you can request a special order.


1/2lb              Salted cod
2                     Cans of ackee (19oz)
8                     Strips of bacon, chopped
1                     Medium onion, chopped
1                     Medium tomato, diced
3 tbsp             Cooking oil
1 tsp               Black pepper
Salt to taste


1. Reduce the salt in the cod fish. Overnight method: remove skin and soak in cold
water overnight. Drain, flake and set aside. Same day method: put codfish in a
saucepan with water and bring to a boil then drain. Repeat two more times; drain,
flake and set aside.

2. Drain canned ackee in a colander and set aside
3. Fry chopped bacon and set aside

4. Saute chopped onion and tomato in cooking oil until onion is transparent
5. Add flaked cod fish, bacon and 1/2 tsp of black pepper to saucepan
6. Gently fold in ackee and sprinkle with remaining pepper; simmer on low heat for five to 10 minutes

Serves 6 to 8

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ackee and saltfish
Comments (16)
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  • Jay

    Hi there , can you please tell me whether once cooked this dish can be frozen. Kind regards Jay

  • Deb

    My mom said adding about a tbsp of dried thyme would enhance the flavour! Thanks for all the great recipes Fay! Debra

  • Mike

    Thank you for posting this! Ackee and Saltfish is probably my favorite Jamaican dish. When we spend time in Jamaica, I never feel like the trip is complete unless I have some! Thanks again for posting this recipe Fay!

  • Ede

    Ackee is new to me, but i love the way it looks. What food does it look and taste simlar to? I will look for a west indies store and ask , i hope i get it! thanks…

  • Kim

    I just got married. And my husband and his family is from Falmouth. We have a 4 month old baby and my mother inlaw insist that I feed her cornmeal porridge. Is it common for babies to eat it at this age in Jamaica?

    • Fay & Angela

      Hi Kim,
      I can’t say that it is customary to feed cornmeal pudding to children that age. I suggest that you do what you feel is best for your child and what makes you makes you feel good.

  • Stefanie

    I\’ve never made this before but have tried it once from a local restaurant here in South Florida & really liked it. 🙂 I have a sandwich bag full of frozen ackee which was given to me from a friend so I would like to try this recipe. I found out that ackee can be \’tricky to cook\’ from one Jamaican friend & that I should find out if the bag I have has been precooked before I make it or it might turn to mush as it\’s cooked. How do I know it is done cooking? Do I cook it just until I can put a fork through it?

    • Fay & Angela

      Hi Stefanie, aren’t you lucky to have frozen-fresh ackee to cook. It is most likely that has not been cooked. Either way defrost the ackee and follow the recipe as usual. If it was not pre-cooked it just means you’ll need to simmer it longer until very tender. Enjoy!

  • El

    I appreciate your recipes and the detail used in describing the process. It truly helps novices. Keep it up! Thanks.

  • Karen

    Great tips… Thanks for your wonderful “reminder” recipes. Love the ease of being able to use your site as my shopping list . Have a blessed day !!

  • barnara

    I was wondering how many days do leftovers last??

    • Fay & Angela

      Hi Barnara,
      A day or two in the fridge should be fine. Fay

  • Sarytta

    Hi, I would like to know what can I replace the ackee with, cause I cant find it in Brazil and I would love to try this recipe!

    • Fay & Angela

      Hi Sarytta,
      Thank you for your question. Ackee is very unique and I actually don’t have a substitute for it. However, to get a sense of the dish try my Callaloo and Saltfish recipe. The indgredients are the same the only difference is that one uses ackee and the other callaloo. Substitute collard greens or kale for the callaloo if you don’t have it in Brazil. Blessings, Fay

  • Sue Powell

    Thank you for all your receives, my parents are both Jamaican and am proud to say I can cook most Jamaican dishes although I was born in the UK. I always like to check other receives to experiment. Everyone pot tastes different to taste. But sometimes for the curry dishes it depends on the brand of curry, any suggestions?

  • David

    I have fresh ackee from trees growing in my yard, I have picked many fruits some of which which have opened to expose the seeds. How do you know when the ackee is ready to cook or is it possible they are too old to use? How long do fresh ackee fruits need to cook? Thanks for your wonderful video.