Rice and Beans

Jamaican style rice and beans is an excellent side dish and perfect to go alongside jerk chicken. This classic Jamaican dish is very easy to make and the scotch bonnet pepper adds a nice flavour with a bit of heat.

A bowl of rice and beans.

Jerk chicken one of my favourite things to cook and for a side dish I love this Jamaican rice and beans recipe. It is the absolute perfect side dish to go with jerk chicken.

While white rice can be plain with very little flavour, this recipe for rice and beans really packs a surprising amount of flavour into every forkful.

Another name for this dish is called rice and peas, where pigeon peas are used instead of the kidney beans in this recipe. While pigeon peas are more authentic for Jamaican cuisine, they are also more difficult to find in a local supermarket compared to kidney beans being quite common.

An overhead picture of a bowl with rice and beans and a platter of chicken and vegetables.

Great with these Recipes!

Rice and beans is an excellent side and perfect with other West Indian inspired dishes like these recipes.

Ingredients for this recipe on a cutting board.

Ingredients used to make Rice and Beans

Making Jamaican rice and beans is very easy and here are the ingredients that I like to use.

  • Long grain rice
  • Kidney beans
  • Cooking onion
  • Scallions (green onions)
  • Scotch bonnett pepper
  • Garlic
  • Allspice berries
  • dry thyme
  • Salt
  • Lime zest
  • Oil

Diced onions and scallions in a dutch oven.

The first step for making rice and beans is to sauté the onions, scallions and garlic in a large enough pot. Cook, over medium heat, with the oil and lime zest.

The onion should be diced into medium sized chunks. Slice the scallions and mince the garlic finely. As they cook, they will shrink in size.

Onions and scallions sautéing in a dutch oven.

Sauté the Vegetables

Stir the vegetables regularly, to ensure that they do not burn on the bottom of the pot. After a few minutes, the onions should become soften and brown around the edges. This will give the rice a sweet caramelized flavour.

Adding the kidney beans and rice to the pot.

Dump in the long grain rice as well as the kidney beans. I used a can of kidney beans that has been drained and rinsed.

Holding three allspice berries over the pot.

Dump in the seasoning, including the allspice berries and the scotch bonnet pepper. Do not be afraid that the pepper will turn the rice spicy. Since the pepper stays whole, it will only give off a little heat. If you want it hot, feel free to slice it or cut it in half. You could toss the whole pepper in with a gash in it, or even throw in one or both halves of the pepper. Be aware, that this could make the rice very spicy. Scotch bonnet peppers can really pack the heat.

Ingredients all mixed together, before the water is added.

Let the rice toast for a couple of minutes in the pot. Make sure to stir regularly so the rice does not stick to the bottom of the pot. Giving the rice a chance to cook in the oil for a couple of minutes, prior to adding the water, will result in a deeper and nuttier flavour profile to the rice.

The water is boiling with all the rest of the ingredients.

How long to Cook the Rice?

Pour in the water and stir the rice thoroughly to make sure none of the rice is sticking to the bottom of the pot. Once the water comes to a boil, reduce the heat to a low simmer and cover with a lid. Cook until the rice is tender and the water has all been absorbed. This should take around 10-15 minutes.

Midway through the cooking process, the rice is partially cooked.

After the rice has cooked, for about 5 minutes with the lid on, it is time to take a peak. Lift off the lid and give the rice a stir to make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom of the pot. There should still be a fair amount of liquid with the rice, as you can see in the picture above. Put the lid back on the pot and continue to cook.

Rice and beans fully cooked in the pot with a scotch bonnet pepper resting on top.

The rice should be cooked through and tender by the time that the water has been completely absorbed. Once the rice is finished cooking, remove it from the heat and fluff the rice with a fork or spoon.

A close up image of the finished dish.

Serve the rice and beans with some jerk chicken for a complete Jamaican style meal. This rice is fragrant and flavourful from the onions, scallions, garlic and seasoning. This is not some plain and boring rice. Plus, there are lots of kidney beans and mixed throughout the rice. It tastes so good!

A bowl of rice and beans with a platter of chicken and vegetables in the background.

Other Rice Side Dishes

Rice is a great compliment to many other dishes. Here are some other delicious rice recipes. Some are so hearty that they could be served as a complete meal!

Rice and Beans

A bowl of rice and beans with a platter of chicken and vegetables in the background.
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Rice and beans is a great side dish that is perfect with jerk chicken. Similar to Jamaican rice and peas, but made with red kidney beans.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Servings: 8

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1 medium onion , diced
  • 6 scallions/green onions , thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic , minced
  • 1/2 tsp lime zest
  • 1 scotch bonnet pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1 can kidney beans (28 oz can) , drained
  • 2 cups uncooked long grain rice
  • 3 allspice berries
  • 4 cups water

Instructions

  • Use a saucepan, pot, or dutch over that has a lid and is large enough for the whole dish.
  • Heat oil in the large saucepan/pot/dutch oven over medium high heat.
  • Add onions, scallions, garlic and lime zest and cook for 3-5 minutes, or until tender and the onions are starting to caramelize.
  • Stir in the rice, kidney beans, scotch bonnet pepper, salt, thyme and all spice berries. Cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly.
  • Pour in the water and stir, making sure none of the rice is sticking to the bottom of the pot.
  • Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a low simmer. Cover with a lid and cook until the rice is tender and has absorbed all the water. This should take 10-15 minutes. Lift off the lid and stir the rice after it has been cooking for about 5 minutes. If the rice still seems a little crunchy after all the water has been absorbed, you could add another 1/4 cup or more and then continue to cook.
  • Serve with the jerk chicken for a taste of Jamaica!

Nutrition

Per serving:

Calories: 242kcalCarbohydrates: 40gProtein: 4gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 301mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1g

Nutrition Disclaimer

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A bowl of rice and beans.

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Leave a comment and let me know how it turned out. Or, take a picture to share on Instagram and tag me @theblackpeppercorn.

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3 comments

  • Great twist on the classic dish. I have never heard of a scotch bonnet pepper- but I do love spicy!!
    Sounds awesome!

    • Reply
  • If you ever dive into Cuban foods, Steve, please, please invite me…when I saw this posted on Facebook I got all excited, but, alas, it was Jamaican…white rice and black bean soup, served with “picadiyo” (spicy fried hamburger) and fried ripe plantain slices, along with a side of cubed avocado and pineapple salad in oil and vinegar…Ai, mi madre!!!!

    • Reply
    • Wow Alan! That food sounds awesome! Cuban food is not something I have tried to cook – I think I need to give it a go.

      • Reply

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