Traditional Caribbean Recipes (2024)


Caribbean cuisine typically refers to the cuisines of various islands in the Caribbean Sea, from the Bahamas to Jamaica to Barbados. The cuisines are influenced by the foods native to the region, as well as by the variouscolonial powers that claimed the islands, including the Spanish, Portuguese, French, Dutch, Danish, and English.

Traditional Caribbean Recipes (1)

Typical Ingredients

The indigenous peoples of the Caribbean relied on the plentifulfish and Traditional Caribbean Recipes (2)seafood. Corn, cassava, chayote, beans, peanuts, guava, pineapple, and hot peppers (e.g. Scotch Bonnet peppers) are all native to the Caribbean. Other fruits that grow in the Caribbean include lesser-known fruits like naseberry, passion fruit, jackfruit, and soursop.1

The Spanish introduced pigs, cattle, and goats, as well as tropical plants, such Traditional Caribbean Recipes (3)as bananas, plantains, sugar cane, limes, oranges, coconut, and ginger. TheEnglish brought breadfruit, mangos, turmeric, black pepper, and most remarkably, rum! Rice, another staple food, was also introduced by European colonizers.2

The Caribbean's history of slavery under European rule also influenced the cuisines, as enslavedAfricans were often given salted cod rather than fresh fish, and took to growing their own fruits and vegetables, including okra, yams, pumpkin, and ackee. For this reason, some traditional African dishes are eaten in the Caribbean as well, such as the popular dish fufu. Africans also brought the very popular pigeon peas to the Caribbean.2 Once slavery ended, laborers from India, China, and the Middle East came to the Caribbean for work, bringing curry powders and other ingredients.

Caribbean thyme, sweet basil, allspice, annatto, cinnamon, mace, and nutmeg are other popular herbs and spices.

Traditional Caribbean Recipes

Appetizer:Saltfish Fritters
Main Dish:Jerk Chicken
Main Dish:Grilled Fish
Main Dish:Goat Curry
Side Dish:Rice and Beans
Dessert: Bread Pudding

Recommended Read

Traditional Caribbean Recipes (4)

Tastes Like Home: My Caribbean Cookbook

This cookbook contains over 100 traditional recipes from across the Caribbean covering everything from breakfast to dessert.

check it out »


  1. Food Culture in the Caribbean
  2. Caribbean Cooking
Traditional Caribbean Recipes (2024)


What are 4 common ingredients in Caribbean cuisine? ›

Caribbean dishes

Ingredients may include garlic, onions, scotch bonnet peppers, celery, green onions, and herbs like cilantro, Mexican mint, chives, marjoram, rosemary, tarragon and thyme.

What foods were native to the Caribbean? ›

Corn, cassava, chayote, beans, peanuts, guava, pineapple, and hot peppers (e.g. Scotch Bonnet peppers) are all native to the Caribbean.

What are 2 prominent foods in the Caribbean? ›

10 Iconic Caribbean Dishes You've Got To Try at Least Once
  • Bahamas: Conch Fritters.
  • Antigua and Barbuda: Fungee and Pepperpot.
  • Puerto Rico: Mofongo.
  • Dominican Republic: La Bandera.
  • St Lucia: Creole Bread.
  • St Kitts & Nevis: Stewed Salt Fish with Dumplings, Spicy Plantains, and Breadfruit.
  • Jamaica: Jerk Chicken.
Jun 30, 2020

What are 6 Caribbean foods? ›

Food guide

It is divided into the six Caribbean food groups: staples, vegetables, fruits, legumes, foods from animals and fats and oils; and surrounded by images of people doing physical activity.

What is Caribbean national food? ›

Here are a selection of must-try national dishes of the Caribbean. Barbados – Flying Fish and Cou Cou. Jamaica – Jerk Anything. Antigua – Fungee and Pepperpot. Dominican Republic – Mangu.

What is unique about Caribbean food? ›

The Joy of Caribbean Cooking

Known for its fragrant spices and diverse influences, Caribbean cuisine is a testament to the cultural richness and resilience of the region, combining flavors from Africa, India, Europe and the Indigenous communities that have shaped the region for centuries.

What are traditional Jamaican foods? ›

The 8 best Jamaican foods to try
  • Ackee and saltfish. Considered to be the national dish of Jamaica, ackee and saltfish is popular with both locals and tourists alike. ...
  • Fried breadfruit. ...
  • Goat curry. ...
  • Jerk chicken. ...
  • Jamaican beef patty. ...
  • Bammy. ...
  • Escovitch fish. ...
  • Mannish water.
Dec 22, 2020

What are the 5 food groups in the Caribbean? ›

The food groups include staples such as corn, tubers, rice and plantain; vegetables; fruits; fats and oils including fat-rich foods such as avocado and coconut; animal-source foods including fish, meat, eggs and dairy products; and legumes and nuts.

What is the number one food in the Caribbean? ›

1. Jerk Chicken – Jamaica. Although you can find Jerk-style cooking all over the Caribbean, it's actually native to Jamaica, where meat is dry-rubbed or wet marinated with a very hot spice mixture called Jamaican jerk spice. It's traditionally applied to pork and chicken, but any meat or fish can be used.

What did slaves eat in the Caribbean? ›

The slaves' diet consisted of a mix of traditional African foods brought over to the Caribbean (including okra, blackeyed peas, saltfish, ackee, mangos, kidney beans and rice), vegetables and fruits native to the Caribbean (such as papaya, yams, guavas and cassava).

What is a Caribbean diet? ›

The Caribbean six food groups are staples, legumes, animal foods, fruits, vegetables, and fats and oils (5). The staples group — which includes rice, ground provisions (tubers), wheat, oats, corn, and starchy fruits — is always represented at each meal and forms the foundation of the Caribbean diet.

What is a traditional Caribbean dish? ›

Jerk chicken: Often combined with rice and peas, jerk chicken is one of the most traditional Jamaican food options. The flavoursome meal is marinated with hot Jerk spice, which includes Scotch bonnet peppers, and is a popular way of cooking in the Caribbean.

What's hard food in Caribbean? ›

Hard Food! This is one the of the most authentic dishes in Jamaica, mostly eaten for breakfast. Hard food is a combination of Boiled dumpling, banana and yam and can be eaten with many dishes such as Ackee and saltfish, callaloo, and more. Try this filling dish you'll be wanted more and more!

What are some authentic Jamaican dishes? ›

Ask someone, “What exactly is Jamaican food?” and the answer will probably include the following: jerk chicken, rice and peas, oxtail and broad beans, beef patties, curried goat—all delicious and all equally perceived as heavy, fattening, and heavy on the meat and starch.

Is Caribbean and Jamaican food the same? ›

The Caribbean and Jamaican foods contain many local plants. Usually they prepare the meals with lots of herbs, condiments specific to the Caribbean islands. Sometimes, they use the same meats, fish, veggies or fruit. However, plants or other ingredients may be called with a different name.

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