Coconut Rice and Beans


Long grain rice, cooked in coconut milk with beans, a favorite side dish of Jamaica.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

When doing research for our recent Jamaican goat curry recipe, what came up most often as an accompaniment was something those from Jamaica call “rice and peas”. (Several commenters suggested this dish too.)

Traditionally the “peas” are pigeon peas, often substituted with kidney beans (which is what we are using). The rice is cooked in coconut milk.

Oh my gosh. This is one of those I-can’t-wait-to-make-it-again dishes. Think of it as a Caribbean version of a Cajun red beans and rice.

Jamaican Rice and Peas

Our version is a little different from the traditional rice and peas in that we sauté onion and garlic to start the recipe, then add a little fresh grated ginger for added zing.

Serve it with curry, roasted meats, jerk chicken or all by itself. The rice is especially good with a little lime juice sprinkled on to serve.

Coconut Rice and Beans Recipe

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6-8

The chile is cooked whole with the rice and is there just for a bit of flavor. It doesn't make the rice hot at all, as it stays whole and you discard it at the end.


  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 cups long-grain rice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup chicken stock (or vegetable stock for vegetarian option)
  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • 1 15-ounce can kidney beans, rinsed and drained, or 1 1/2 cups cooked kidney beans
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1 whole Scotch bonnet chile (can substitute a whole habanero)
  • Lime (optional)


1 Sauté onions: Heat the oil in a medium pot over medium-high heat. Add the onions and sauté for 4-5 minutes, until they begin to brown on the edges.

2 Add garlic and rice: Add the garlic and rice, stir well and cook for another 2-3 minutes, stirring often.

3 Add remaining ingredients: Add the grated ginger, salt, water, stock and coconut milk and stir well. Add the kidney beans and sprinkle the thyme over everything. Add the whole Scotch bonnet chile (or habanero); it will season the rice much like a bay leaf would.

4 Cook: Bring to a simmer, then turn the heat to low and cover. The rice should be done in about 15-20 minutes, depending on the type of rice you are using (some long grained rice takes longer to cook). Check after 15 minutes.

5 Remove from heat, cover: Once done, remove from heat and cover for 10 minutes.

6 Serve: Fluff with a fork. Sprinkle with a little lime juice if you want. Discard the habanero (or eat it, if you dare!)

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Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

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45 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Nordia

    This is not how we cook this dish, this direction is incorrect. Contact a Jamaican and ask for proper guidelines on how it’s done.

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  2. Scott

    Made this probably 20+ times at this point. Its a family and friends favorite.

    Goes great with jerk chicken.

    I don’t use any water. Just 2 cups coconut milk and 1 1/4 cups of stock.

    Instead of salt, I add a dash or two of 3 Crabs brand fish sauce. Gives it an extra savory, unctuous, umamai note.


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  3. Charlotte

    Any nutritional info pls? Calories, fat etc?

    Love this dish, I use light coconut milk and still beautiful


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  4. Dave D

    Simple, fast, and delicious! Perfect side dish for jerk chicken!

    I’ll never understand people who read a recipe, change the ingredients, experience problems from those changes that they can’t figure out how to fix, and then post a bad review of the recipe. Geez, that must drive you crazy. Or, commenters blabbing on about how it’s “not the proper way.” The proper way requires hours to make! Using the canned beans in this version really cuts down the time, and makes it an authentic tasting dish that you could pull together any night of the week.


  5. Trina

    Followed the recipe and triple checked the amounts- I followed exactly but mine had way too much liquid at the end of 20-25mins and rice was soggy. I used 2 cups jasmine rice, 1cup stock, 1cup water, 2cups coconut milk. Beans were well drained. Bummer, had to throw out the whole pot.


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