May 27, 2017

When I was growing up in Jamaica there were unspoken rules about food. One was that you must always serve rice and peas on Sunday. If you served white rice with your Sunday dinner people would think you’re lazy.

 Today people eat rice and peas whenever they want, but I still only like to serve it on Sundays. This traditional recipe is known for it’s fragrant use of thyme and coconut. This version uses coconut milk, but  for the same recipe using creamed coconut (the liquid measurements are different) go to Gungo Peas and Rice and use kidney beans instead. 


Foolproof Tip: All the liquid for this recipe – water, coconut milk, liquid from beans – should add up to 4 cups


1 can (19oz) Kidney beans, including liquid
1 can (14 oz) Coconut milk
Water (approx 1-2/3 cups)
2 cloves Garlic, chopped
1 Small onion or 2 stalks scallion, chopped
1 tsp Dried thyme
1½ to 2 tsp  Salt, to taste
1/4 tsp Black Pepper
2  cups Long grain rice (rinsed and drained)


1. Drain the liquid from the can of beans into a measuring cup and
add the can of coconut milk and enough water to make four cups of liquid

2. Add liquid, beans, garlic, chopped onion and thyme
to large pot
3. Add salt and black pepper.  Bring to a boil.
4. Add rice and boil on High for 2 minutes.
5. Turn heat to Low, and cook covered until all water is absorbed (about 15 to 20 min).
6. Fluff with fork before serving.

Makes 8 Servings

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I’ve been cooking Jamaican food for my family for more than 50 years! Now I'm teaching my daughter Angela and you how to cook my treasured family recipes! I'm happy to be of service and love hearing from you so don't forget to leave a comment below.


103 comments on “Quick Jamaican Rice and Peas Recipe

  1. Made this the other night and the rice was delicious. My whole family loved it.

  2. Hi Ms Fay I have just cooked this and it’s more delicious than buying the dried red kidney beans and soaking
    them over night thankyou so much for making these videoes so easy for other people to learn
    God bless you : )

  3. Hello. I am from Bermuda but living in Canada. Came across your website and I absolutely love it!!! Thank you so very much for sharing . God Bless !

  4. Sharon on said:

    I just realized that the video doesn’t match the recipe. It says 2/3 cup water on the recipe, but in the video its 2 cups of water. I followed the video the first time and the recipe the second time and my rice was hard due to lack if water. Thought I let you know so others don’t make that mistake.
    I really enjoy this website and have made several recipes that came out great. Thank you.

    • Hi Sharon,
      Thank you for bringing this lack of clarity to our attention. Some confusion may have been caused by the fact that in the video coconut cream is used and in the written recipe coconut milk is used because it is more commonly available. We have now added a note to the video and reworded the recipe so that the total liquid required is clear. All the liquid should add up to 4 cups when using 2 cups of rice. Thank you again. F&A

  5. This recipe is just the best. The rice was so moist and flyffy. My husband loved it with the brown stew chicken… Keep them coming please.

  6. Just wanted to stop by and say thank you for sharing your fabulous recipes. I made this last night and it was so amazing! I love that your recipes are easy to understand and follow which makes it great for me having never really cooked Jamaican food before.

  7. I used to be afraid to use canned peas because I didn’t want the rice to come out white. Thanks a million for this recipe!

  8. Can this recipe be made with brown rice?

    • Hi Treya,
      Thank you for your question. Because brown rice takes longer to cook and uses more liquid than white rice you’d have to revise the measurements. But it should work. Let me know how it goes. Blessings, Fay

  9. Can this recipe be made successfully in a rice cooker – that is, if I tossed all the ingredients together at once into a rice cooker? Thanks Fay.

    • Hi Debra,
      I’ve never tried it but it should work. Let me know how it turns out! Blessings, Fay

      • Patrice on said:

        I did try using this recipe in a rice-cooker – no bueno… The ingredients didn’t mix well, so all the seasoning etc seems to have floated to the top and stayed there. I think i’ll try it again though, but maybe boil everything together in a pot then put the water and rice in cooker and see how that works. But I do know rice and peas can be made in a cooker – I have a friend that swears by it.

    • Elera C Smith-Andoh on said:

      Hi Ms. Fay,

      I have made your rice and peas recipe in my rice cooker and it turned out great! I also tried making the rice and peas in the rice cooker using regular white rice. I used 3 1/2 cups of water to 2 cups of white rice because I noticed that using 4 cups of water to the 2 cups of white rice, made it too wet.


  10. my friend is Jamaican and I am absolutely delighted that I found you!! You’re spirit is BEAUTIFUL and I know NOTHING about Jamaican food, but have put my confidence in you! I am SO relieved that the ingredients are not as hard to find and overwhelming as I thought cooking foreign food would be. THANKS SO MUCH!!

    Q: Is the coconut milk supposed to be sweet? (i know stew chicken requires unsweet milk) How will it affect the taste of the rice?

    • Cook Like A JamaicanCook Like A Jamaican on said:

      Hi Cotton,
      Thank you for your interest and support. If you can find unsweetened coconut milk you’re best to use that. But, truthfully, sweetened coconut milk will still make for a delicious tasting rice… really can’t go wrong. Blessings, Fay

  11. Mrs. Brown on said:

    Thank you for sharing your recipes! I made your rice and peas and festival along with my own BBQ Jerk Chicken, it was AMAZING!!! I finally feel confident making rice and peas. I look forward to testing all of your recipes and appreciate you for the videos! ~Mrs. Adeena Brown

  12. Curls on said:

    Can you give suggestions on how to cook this with dried beans? I normally cook beans and rice separate but would love to learn how to cook them together. How much dried beans would I need to start with? I know that half a cup gives about 2 cups cooked. Also I use brown rice which I know will require more liquid. Thank you!

    • Cook Like A JamaicanCook Like A Jamaican on said:

      If you want to use dry beans, soak 1 cup of dry red kidney beans in water overnight and follow the recipe.

  13. Jessica on said:

    Hi Miss Fay,
    Blessings to you and your family. I just have one q. uestion
    Which is better to use in the rice and peas coconut milk or creame.

  14. Plumpraisin on said:

    My kids and I enjoyed the rice however I’d use less thyme when making it again. I guess I’m not a big fan of thyme. Thanks for the recipe. **FYI Your written recipe above did not include when the garlic goes in the pot.

    • Cook Like A JamaicanCook Like A Jamaican on said:

      Glad you enjoyed the recipe! Thank you for noticing the garlic was missing. The recipe has been fixed. Blessings.

  15. Melissa P on said:

    I made this and your slaw recipe last night to go with some jerk chicken. AMAZING! Thank you for sharing such wonderful recipes with the world! I will definitely be trying some more.

  16. Petra on said:

    Made this for Sunday lunch. Yum. Variations: 1/2 the recipe, used brown rice and fresh thyme. Will make again.

  17. Davieon on said:

    I love the rice and peas. Authentic right from kitchen! I made this along with your mighty mac and cheese and your brownstew chicken and it was such a yummy and comforting meal! Thank you Mrs. Faye

  18. Paula on said:

    Would love to take this dish to a party. How do I alter the recipe to serve 40-50 people?

    • Cook Like A JamaicanCook Like A Jamaican on said:

      Hi Paula,
      Thank you for your question. I wish I could help you but I’m really not sure. If you know anyone in the catering business they may be able to look at the recipe and help you. Fay

    • you can do a google search for recipe converters. they allow you to increase or decrease servings in a recipe. I use them and they work…

    • Walter Grimes on said:

      Just try tripling the recipe. It should workout fine. Just make sure you have a pot big enough to support the increased recipe.

  19. I have an over abundance of fresh thyme at the moment , how much fresh thyme should I use instead of the 1 tsp. of dried thyme?

    Thank you.

    • Cook Like A JamaicanCook Like A Jamaican on said:

      Hi Abe,
      Usually a dried herb will be half the amount of the fresh herb so I suggest 2 tsps of fresh thyme will work. Fay

  20. Fran from Bronx, NY on said:

    The women in my family has always made peas and rice in coconut milk but with black eye peas. It is traditional Sunday or company meal. We have it with Chicken or Roast Beef or Roasted or Stewed Pork Loin. Anyway, I had tried to make it number of times (with success). May I offer an alternative to Kidney beans? Try it with black eye peas.

  21. Hi there, I’m surprised you are using long grain rice instead parboiled rice. Is the traditional recipe using regular long grain rice?

  22. MY mom made peas and rice every Sunday when I was a child. She has passed on so making peas and rice just like your recipe brings me back to my childhood thank you.

  23. rcarter on said:

    Hi i tried this recipe with coconut milk and it came out creamy i tried twice plz help

    • Cook Like A JamaicanCook Like A Jamaican on said:

      It sounds like you used too much liquid. Foolproof Tip: All the liquid for this recipe – water, coconut milk, liquid from beans – should add up to 4 cups

  24. MAde this today! its awesome!!! thank you soo much!

  25. Tonya Gigax on said:

    OMG!!!!!! What a delicious and easy way to cook this, I absolutely loved it. Thank you!

  26. Lovely recipe! I’ve made it before and decide to make it again but this time I blended 1 can of the red kidney beans to give the rice a bit more of that rich red color. The dish was bursting w/flavor. I also used Jasmine rice another added bonus. Thank you for sharing!

  27. Hope Clennon on said:

    I just made this for the first time and it’s delicious! Thanks so much for your recipe! The only thing was I had dried kidney beans on hand rather than the tin so I soaked those for half a day and used them instead. As a result the peas weren’t quite as soft as I’m used to because I didn’t realized I should’ve let them boil a little longer before adding the rice. Other than that, I really loved this recipe, rice and peas has long been a challenge for me.

    Thank you!

  28. I just made this recipe and it turned out great!! I’m from the Caribbean living in the US and wanted a recipe that reminded me of home. I combined it with some stew chicken and it was perfect. It was also really easy to make. Thanks for sharing.

  29. Michelle on said:

    A few months ago I met the love of my life Damion. He is originally from Jamaica and is always talking about “back home”. One night as we sat talking he told me about the Rice and Peas his mom made every Sunday. I googled rice and peas and found this wonderful website! So I made your recipe of rice and peas and also brown stew chicken and when Damion ate it his eyes lit up and he said “man babe, this is just like home. You have no idea!” It was the best compliment on my food I have ever received as both a professional chef and a home cook. Thank you for the recipes and I will definitely be back for more recipes.

  30. I’ve read all the comments and they are all positive, i will make this tonight, i will let u know how i did. If it doesn’t come out right, i know i must have done something wrong

  31. Faith on said:

    I made this recipe for a friend’s baby shower whose husband is Jamaican and it was the highlight of the meal. The husband was surprised and impressed.Thank you for this recipe. It gets better each time I make it!

  32. ozise on said:

    Think Mrs. Faye it look so delicious I think I am going to try to cook it today the Snapple and rice

  33. Tracy on said:

    Hi! Thanks for sharing your wonderful recipes! I stayed in Jamaica about 20 years ago for 3 months & remember eating rice & peas a lot & enjoying it. Just remembered it one day & thought I would try it on my family. They all loved it! My husband had like 4 helpings & said he thought it was addicting! It tasted just like I remember it tasting! Now if I can figure out jerk chicken & fried dumplings! Thanks again! 🙂

  34. tiphoni97 on said:

    As long as I have been coming to this website, I have been flubbing rice and peas, and don’t recall this recipe being so simple. Is this new?
    I see the fool proof tip and will definitely take heed to it. My rice and peas ALWAYS come out sticky! In the 4 years I’ve been trying this, I recall 3 times that they were edible!! I will try this method with fingers-crossed; 4 cups of liquid is the trick!
    (Mi want ever1 dat read dis fi understan mi pain. Mi ah mek stew pews, oxtail, friccasee chicken, dumplins, bread pudding, steam fish & one whole bag ah zitun wit no problem, but mi cyant cook rice and peas!!! JOKE TING!)

  35. shell on said:

    Hi, I am yet to try this recipe. This may be a silly question but does the rice turn out a red colour as from the picture it doesn\’t look it as red as I have had it before. Thank you.

    • Fay & AngelaFay & Angela on said:

      Hi Shell, it’s not a silly question. The colour of the rice will depend on the beans that are used. Usually using canned beans will result in a darker rice then when using soaked dry beans. Fay

  36. My mom is guyanese and my dad is Jamaican. My mom can cook like nobodies business but she refuses to teach me her recipes. So now I’m here starting my own cooking tradition with your help. Thank you.

  37. Janai on said:

    This recipe is everything! I used to live in Boston, MA where Jamaican food along with other island foods were everywhere. I was obsessed with it! With me moving to Detroit, MI. you didn’t get the overload of island food. With all my friends from the islands it was very hard to adjust to american food. But I came across your Youtube channel and I almost jumped for joy. I made this rice and peas along with curry goat for my husband to try since he’d never had Jamaican food or any food from the islands for that matter. He fell in love. Thanks to you I can bring the islands to a place where there is none!

  38. Karrie on said:

    My hubby is Jamaican. I have got some advice from his wonderful family but I don’t always want to be asking for their help. Thank you for making this website. I look forward to trying your recipes. God bless you and your family.

  39. Thanks so much for this recipe. My mother always says I need to learn how to make Rice And Peas. I was never interested, but decided to surprise her. She is returning from JA today. I’ll let you know how she likes it!

  40. Alycia on said:

    Can this recipe be made without coconut, my mom and I are severely allergic to it.

    • Fay & AngelaFay & Angela on said:

      Hi Alycia, yes you can certainly make this recipe without coconut milk or coconut cream and still have delicious dish.

  41. Hmmmm… I made a pot today. I have no idea where I went wrong. There was a lot of onion in the pot and I think potentially too much thyme. Is fresh thyme by sprigs better then dried? And ow. Uh onion should actually be visible?

    • Fay & AngelaFay & Angela on said:

      The onions should be well chopped, but yes they will be visible. I use sprigs of thyme when possible but dried thyme is good too.

  42. Do I just double the amount of ingredients if I am serving 12 people ?

    • Fay & AngelaFay & Angela on said:

      Hi Al, if you want to double the recipe I suggest you make two pots of rice as the best way to do it for success. Fay

  43. Madrica on said:

    I made this dish this evening and the rice is perfect and so delicious. It’s a keeper.

  44. If it is possible to make this without Coconut milk, is is necessary to substitute something else for the additional needed liquid??

  45. Jennifer on said:

    Making tonight with smothered turkey wings, sounds and smells delicious!

  46. Thank you for measurements in your rice and peas recipe as although my Mum is Jamaican and has taught me how to cook many things, I could never grasp her fab rice and peas. My mother is amazing cook and unfortunately I cannot cook as well as her but with your recipe I finally am building up confidence in how you do rice and peas with tinned beans as not a fan of the soaking way of doing kidney beans. Thank you thank you thank you!!!!!!!

  47. This may be a silly question. When you say pepper, what type of pepper are ypu referring to?

  48. margaret on said:

    I love to learn how to cook jamaican style. love the food so much. Went to montego bay 3 times all ready. The people there are so friendly and so nice. I cooked this and it was a success. Thanks a bunch

  49. Pon De on said:

    Man, dis ting taste MASTA.

  50. Thank you so much fir this wonderful site, I will be sharing rice n peas today,Sunday, for my friends feel honoured to be sharing this delicious recipe along with plantain. My childhood best friend is Jamaican and we grew up in Hackney, London together. Great memories I can relive through food. Its first time I am cooking it and I only learnt about the coconut milk last weekend. Friday , York, UK

  51. Wow what a great recipe! I made a few changes, but nothing drastic. I substituted the water for chicken broth instead, added chopped green bell pepper, and 1 tablespoon of bacon fat. So yummy!!!!

  52. I have seen many recipes for rice and peas, some of them get really complicated! This was by far the simplest and most tasty. No effort to prepare at all and no need to write it down to remember once you’ve made it. Fantastic

  53. Love your stuff. Just served jerk pork and this rice dish to our pool team and the away team – they loved it 🙂

  54. Delicious- thank you! X

  55. This is the best and easiest rice and beans recipe ever. My Belizean husband LOVES it! It takes so much less time than the way his mom taught me and it tastes even better than hers (don’t tell her I said that). However, I must be doing something wrong become it comes out mushy sometimes. Mushy or not it is always delicious. I serve it with stewed chicken or oxtail and it’s even better the next day. Thank you SO much for posting this!

  56. I just tried it! followed to a T and making rice is something I just becoming skilled at. ROCKS!

  57. Brianna on said:

    Is it possible to use coconut water instead of coconut milk, or will it just not work?

    • Fay & AngelaFay & Angela on said:

      Hi Brianna,
      I have never used coconut water, but tou could use it if you couldn’t find coconut milk. Just be aware that coconut milk has a richer coconut flavour, which is something I prefer. Fay

  58. Hi Fay and Angela,
    We made this recipe for Thanksgiving, and it was such a great hit (especially with my gluten free, dairy free guests!), we are making it for Christmas dinner as well. Thank you for sharing.

  59. I tried the rice and peas and curry chicken today. It was absolutely delicious and extremely easy. I believe the marinating the chicken helped seal the flavors. I prepared my chicken overnight.

  60. Tempest on said:

    Your website is amazing. My fiance and I recently moved to Baltimore from Philadelphia, he always looked forward to Sunday dinner at his parents house. Now that we have moved I knew he missed his mom’s cooking. Your recipe’s have allowed me to bring that back! So far I have made curry chicken, and rice and peas. Tonight I’m making brown stew chicken. I’m looking forward to it! Thanks you for sharing! God Bless

  61. Quisha on said:

    Hi, I tried making this as it is my favorite kind of rice but it was too mushy. Can you tell me what I may be doing wrong or any suggestions on what I can do the next time? Thank you so much for your help.

    • Fay & AngelaFay & Angela on said:

      Hi Quisha,
      Sorry to hear your rice wasn’t perfect. What kind of rice did you use? You should have no problem with long-grain rice. Parboiled rice may not absorb enough of the water and end up mushy. But try it again with less water and see how it works out. Fay

  62. OMG, I love this recipe. I bookmarked this recipe it on my phone so I can get to it easily. Today I tried it with black beans, it was out of this world. I will no longer use red kidney beans. Made this with my favorite oxtail and butter beans recipe.

  63. This was an easy recipe to follow and it came out delicious…I paired the rice with Ms. Fay’s Jamaican style curry shrimp…It taste just as good as the restaurants offer here in Virginia where I live…I’m so glad I found the website and recipe cause it usually cost over to feed family of 5 curry shrimp but now I can make it for under and have enough for seconds…Thanks a lot…

  64. kenny on said:

    A west Indian home recipe with CANNED BEANS!!!! BLAH. you can do better than that.

    • Fay & AngelaFay & Angela on said:

      Hi Kenny,
      Of course I know how to make Rice and Peas with dried peas, but I am an old girl who’s not stuck in old ways. It’s always nice to show that there are more than one way to get a job done, especially in today’s busy times. Blessings, Fay

  65. Liked it sooooo well i shared it friends on facebook. Became frustrated patronizing “fluff” nd decided to prepare nd enjoy my own jamaican cuisine at home. Well worth the time. Thx 4 sharing!Cont’d blessings n Jesus name! Amen!

  66. Royston on said:

    Hi, thanks for this post…building my confidence in the cooking stakes and an amateur just impressed his friends! x

  67. pamela on said:

    I had a very dear friend from jamaica who cooked for me . Miss her sorely. but thank God i found your site today! just reading the recipes made my mouth water . THANKS FOR SHARING YOUR EXPERIENCE AND WISDOM !

  68. Penelope on said:

    I want to try this recipe but still have a lot of leftover cooked white rice. is it possible to use it for this recipe? If so, how would you modify it? Thank you!

    • Fay & AngelaFay & Angela on said:

      Hi Penelope,
      That’s a good questions, but I have never done it and wouldn’t recommend using leftover rice for this recipe. Instead click here to use it with my Seasoned Rice Recipe. Simply cook all the other ingredients in the pan first than mix in the rice and cook like fried rice until everything is combined. Blessings, Fay

  69. Alicia on said:

    This recipe for the rice and peas was AWESOME! I’ve made it twice… even used different types of beans and it still tasted great! The second time I used fresh thyme too!
    Thank you Fay for sharing all your family recipes and letting me introduce West Indian food to my folks in Texas.

  70. I just made this at home for my husband & we love it simple and delicious. Thank you for sharing -God Bless You!!!!!

  71. Yvonne on said:

    I just finished making this recipe. I only had brown rice so I added an extra cup of water. Then I didn’t have a big enough pot to cook the rice in, so I boiled the liquid and the rice and then transferred it into the rice cooker on quick speed. I thought I messed it up with all the alterations, but it tastes amazing, albeit a little mushy. Thanks for this recipe! It’s definitely going to be one of my go-tos!

  72. Tanya on said:

    Hi Far, i made your rice and peas and stew chicken for dinner last night for my husband and another couple.. I was alittle nervous being the first time cooking it without a pre trial lol and it turned out AMAZING EVERYONE loved it cant wait to try More of your recipes .. thanks for making them easy to follow .
    Tanya 🙂

  73. hey girls! in was just writing you to ask if u have your recipes on pintrest or google+ or facebook? so we all can follow you and your delious p.s love the rice recipe thank you so much for sharing! oxo

  74. This was such a perfect recipe!! Thank you Fay! Small tweek is I’ll use less water next time around and actually rinse my rice! 😉

  75. Richard on said:

    This is a great and very simple recipe! It pairs so well with my first time doing jerk chicken. Great first Caribbean meal I’ve prepared. I mistakenly picked up parboiled rice and was afraid it would be wet as some commented. I cooked it about 4 minutes longer, stirring occasionally. If your rice is too wet fluff it every few minutes after its done with the top off. Came out perfect! Thank you so much for sharing your traditional recipes! God Bless!

  76. Richard on said:

    I have a quick question about this recipe. Why don\’t you use a scotch bonnet chilli in this recipe? I thought that was a defining ingredient of rice and peas?

    • Fay & AngelaFay & Angela on said:

      Hi Richard,
      Thanks for reaching out. I wouldn’t say that scotch bonnet peppers is a defining ingredient for rice and peas, it’s just a matter of taste. I don’t think rice and peas needs to be spicy. Instead I like my rice and peas to “cool off” what it’s being served with. Blessings, Fay

  77. Hello fay I try your recipe rice and peas for the first time and my family loved it, im now cooking another pot as I type this message. The first pot I made was September 8 and I have about a half a bowl left, I knew I had to make more cause my son loves rice and peas. Thanks so much for the recipe and I look forward to trying others, peace and blessing

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