Red Beans and Rice

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Red Beans and Rice made with coconut milk, thyme, scallions, and scotch bonnet peppers give this Jamaican rice dish an island flair!

Coconut milk, thyme, scallions and scotch bonnet peppers give this Jamaican red beans and rice dish an island flair!

Jamaican Red Beans and Rice

When I vacationed in Jamaica years ago, I fell in love with their food and couldn’t wait to recreate my favorites at home. This easy Red Beans and Rice recipe is the perfect side dish for Jamaican Brown Stew Chicken, Slow Cooker Jerk Pork, or Jamaican Coconut Shrimp Stew. You can also enjoy this meal as a vegetarian entree with a simple avocado and tomato salad on the side. This Caribbean red beans and rice recipe is vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free!

Jamaican Red Beans and Rice

Rice and beans are a staple in most Latin and Caribbean countries because they are inexpensive and nutritious. Beans are an excellent source of fiber, protein, and complex carbohydrates. Some Latin recipes to try are arroz congri, or Cuban rice and black beans, and these Puerto Rican beans.

This Jamaican-inspired Red Beans and Rice recipe is cooked in coconut milk and tastes slightly sweet. It is not spicy since the scotch bonnet pepper is cooked whole for added flavor and is discarded before the rice finishes cooking. Of course, if you want a spicy rice dish, you could chop the scotch bonnet and add it to the rice, but be warned – it will be hot!


You can easily halve the recipe to have fewer servings. Leftovers can be refrigerated up to 4 days. Or freeze it for up to 3 months.

How do you make red beans and rice from scratch?

  1. Start by sautéing the garlic, onion, scallion, and thyme for a few minutes.
  2. Add in the rice and beans followed by the coconut milk, water, salt, pepper, and whole scotch bonnet pepper.
  3. Stir ingredients, bring to a boil, and then remove the pepper from the pot.
  4. Cover the pot, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 25 minutes until almost the liquid is absorbed and just skims the top.
  5. Remove the pot from the heat and keep covered for 10 minutes. The steam will continue to cook the rice, so don’t take off the lid!

Coconut milk, thyme, scallions and scotch bonnet peppers give this Jamaican red beans and rice dish an island flair!

More Rice Dishes You’ll Love:

Jamaican Red Beans and Rice Recipe

5 from 4 votes
Red Beans and Rice made with coconut milk, thyme, scallions, and scotch bonnet peppers give this Jamaican rice dish an island flair!
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Jamaican Red Beans and Rice
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 50 minutes
Total: 1 hour
Yield: 10 servings
Serving Size: 3 /4 cup


  • 1 tsp coconut oil, or canola
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1/4 cup onion, minced
  • 1 scallion, chopped
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 15.5 oz can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups uncooked long grain rice
  • salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 1/4 cups water
  • 13.5 oz can, 1 3/4 cups light coconut milk
  • 1 whole scotch bonnet hot pepper, not chopped


  • In a medium heavy saucepan, heat oil over medium heat; add garlic, scallion, onion and thyme.
  • Sauté a few minutes, then add rice, beans and stir.
  • Add the coconut milk, water, salt and fresh pepper and place the whole scotch bonnet pepper in the pot, stir to combine and bring to a boil.
  • Remove and discard the hot pepper and continue to cook the rice until almost all the liquid is absorbed and just skims the top.
  • Cover; reduce heat to low; simmer for 25 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and keep covered for 10 additional minutes to allow the steam to finish cooking the rice (do not be tempted to lift the lid before that).
  • Serve hot.

Last Step:

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Makes 7 1/2 cups.


Serving: 3 /4 cup, Calories: 192.5 kcal, Carbohydrates: 36 g, Protein: 5 g, Fat: 3 g, Saturated Fat: 2.5 g, Sodium: 136.5 mg, Fiber: 2.5 g, Sugar: 1 g


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60 comments on “Red Beans and Rice”

  1. Hi Gina
    Is there anyway to make this with cauliflower rice. My family is doing low carb. But we love red beans and rice. Love your recipes

  2. Would like to try the recipe but I am allergic  to coconut 
    What can I substitute for coconut milk

  3. Avatar photo
    Morgan Schumann

    Love this. Used a habanero because I couldn’t find scotch bonnets, but it still came out great! Shared with friends that also wanted the recipe.

    1. I made this recipe the way you suggested and it’s great,
      as a chef myself from the island we make it a little different 
      But anyway great side dish. 

  4. Hello! 

    I’ve made this before and it’s been amazing. Haven’t made it in awhile so just checking – for the coconut milk do we use (1) 13oz can, or is it the 13oz can plus 1 3/4oz cups? Thanks so much! 

  5. Hi, The nutritional info is not for this recipe. It lists avocado and tuna (maybe it’s just the serving size into that’s incorrect?). 😉 Your recipes are great by the way! I’ve lost 30 lbs on WW with mostly your recipes as help! Thank you!

  6. My parents are Jamaican so I was raised eating Jamaican food including rice and peas. I made this tonight and I can say that this recipe is authentic. Even though the preparation is slightly different from the way my mom makes it (she doesn’t sauté the onions, garlic, scallion & thyme) the ingredients are essentially the same. It was very flavorful and so good I had to stop myself from getting another serving! The only thing I’ll change next time is to use a little less water because I like my rice to be soft. But that’s just my own personal preference. 

    As a side note, I want to say thank you Gina for your wonderful recipes. Everything I have made on your site has been delicious and even my picky eating children have liked what I’ve made. You have restored my faith in my ability to cook and I really appreciate that!! Thank you!

  7. I had to add an additional teaspoon of oil. Even with my burner on low, it was not enough to stop the onions from browning very quickly. though I used dry thyme and maybe it was the moisture in the fresh thyme that allows for only 1 t. of oil.

  8. Thank you. I have been promising myself o find a red beans and rice recipe. This one looks healthy to boot!. Love the comments guys, with suggestions and mods!

  9. I made this on Sunday for our Caribbean night meal. The only change I made was to use Chicken Broth instead of water. It may not be traditional but it was very good! I'll be making this one again.

  10. Gina,
    Thanks for the lightened up version of one of my favorite rice dishes. I have done my own experimentation with the same ingredients, yet I'm one of those cooks who never writes down what I do. This is why we have blogs like yours.
    Love your site!!!

  11. I'm not a fan of coconut (like eating sunscreen) … does the flavour come through very strong? I think I need to get over the whole sunscreen thing but want to take baby steps!

  12. I followed the recipe but used the brown rice and added 1/2 cup as per Gina's suggestion in the comment. It was way too much liquid and would not dry out. I suggest not adding the 1/2 cup and cook as the recipe suggests.

    I also used instant brown rice. Very good! Not authentic like the others have suggested but still a great alternative for us island folks who want to eat a healthier version.

  13. After reading the comments and looking up similar recipes, I made the following adjustments and it came out delish!

    -I toasted the rice first
    -Cooked with 2 chopped jalepeno peppers
    -Let everything but the rice cook in the coconut milk and water uintl the beans released some color
    -Used 2 cans light coconut milk and 1 1/4 cups water

  14. I really can't believe how delicious this is! I am so glad that I finally started liking beans. If my mom knew, she would kill me for all the grief I gave her as a kid! LOL Thanks so much for sharing!

  15. I make it with brown rice all the time, using basically this same recipe, minus the onion and garlic. I use a rice cooker and it comes out perfect every time. In fact, you really can't tell it's brown rice, it tastes completely authentic. I also add a few whole allspice berries and cook dried peas and add a few spoonfuls in addition to some of the boiling water to give the rice that pinkish color.

  16. Avatar photo

    Hi Gina,

    For the coconut milk, should it be unsweetened like what is called for in the Jamaican chicken recipe?

    Thank you!

  17. Gina, I love your recipes! I am a vegetarian and a Registered Dietitian, and I'm enjoying making tons of your recipes. I made this dish last night, but I chopped up 2 scotch bonnet peppers and 1 jalapeño and added scotch bonnet pepper hot sauce to it. We love spicy! I also used brown rice, but sadly the rice didn't turn out great, so I will have to play around w/ the recipe some more. The flavors in this dish were great. We visited Jamaica 2 years ago and can't wait to go back. Thank you for your amazing recipes!

  18. I actually made this recipe this week and I have to say it was very easy. To top it off it was DELICIOUS!!By the third day it was DIVINE! I love this site and have made other dishes and I’m always amazed that something that is healthy can taste sooo good! It’s helping stick to my Weight Watcher Plan!!

  19. Made this tonight along with the Jamaican chicken stew. Both were fantastic. Thanks Gina for the great recipes

  20. Avatar photo
    Joy Farrington

    Thank you thank you thank you! I'm Jamaican and I haven't had a Jamaican meal since joining Weight Watcher. Your healthy version of rice and peas and brown stew chicken made my day.

  21. Hi there! Thanks for your awesome recipes! I have a question for you though- is there a way to print your recipes without all of the pics, pictures, etc? More like a traditional recipe print out? I love the pics and comments but really want a shorter form for my cookbook. Thanks!

    1. At the bottom of the recipe is a box to print recipe. I never get all the pictures and comments. You many need to click a button to turn them off.

  22. If you don't care for killer hot food, you may want to use a jalapeno instead. Habanero and Scotch Bonnet are some of the hottest peppers in the world!! If you drop it in whole and do not puncture the pepper, the dish may not be killer hot; I'm not sure as I steer clear of these 2. I sell peppers for a living and have a good tolerance for chiles, but those are off my list. If you cut it open, be sure to wash your hands including under your finger nails, cutting board and knife thoroughly before touching eyes and other tender tissues. I actually have a box of disposable surgical gloves for use with chilies and raw chicken. That's a tip from a chef I work with. I'm not trying to scare the heck out of anyone. Just a warning for those who love Skinnytaste and may not be familiar with this type of chile.

      1. The scotch bonnet is primarily used for it’s unique flavor profile. It has an underlying sweetness. It is to be added whole and removed. You also don’t want to allow it to burst. If it bursts, the dish will be spicy. I prepared this dish according to the instructions and it was delicious. I love Jamaican rice and peas and have prepared the authentic version before. However, this recipe is great! I used Uncle Bens parboiled brown rice. I love it and will opt for this because it has been healthified. Although it is healthy, it is a very nice treat that satisfies my Caribbean food craving. Well done Gina!

  23. Arlene,
    So tru my sista. Mi rice n peas neva look so white, but more reddish like dem peas colour.

  24. Thanks Gina – this looks delicious. For those who want to make half a batch, coconut milk freezes well in a small ziplock bag or plastic container.

  25. Avatar photo
    Gina @ Skinnytaste

    I found the peppers in a nearby market that sells Latin and carribean food but you can use a habañero OR Serrano chilies (use twice as many) OR jalapeno peppers (use twice as many).

    Arlene, thanks for sharing your version.

    So glad you enjoyed this Amy!!

  26. I love your recipes, you keep us eating less processed foods. They are delicious. I made this and the chicken tonight and they were to die for I didnt have any of the peppers you had but used jalepeno's and the stew was hot just the way I like it. Thank you!!!

  27. Thank you so much, Gina! I'm Jamaican, and have been looking for a healthier way to cook cuisines from my country! It looks delicious. I'll definitely let you know how both recipes (this and the Brown Stew Chicken) taste. Thanks again. Your website is wonderful!


  28. Avatar photo
    Hilliary@ Happily Ever Healthy

    I love red beans and rice! It was my favorite dish when I would travel to Jamaica for mission trips! Thanks so much for sharing!

  29. I just actually got back from Jamaica about a week ago. They called it Rice and Peas when we were there and this was pretty much the same dish. The chef at the resort we stayed at said they added coconut milk to pretty much every dish too.

  30. Gina what pepper do you think would be a good substitute for scotch bonnets? I've never seen that particular pepper in any store near me.

  31. Avatar photo
    Gina @ Skinnytaste

    To make this with brown rice you will have to add more water, about 1/2 cup more and simmer it longer.

  32. To make it more authentic, soak dried beans overnight and boil them until soft before adding rice. this will give the dish a gorgeous red color 🙂

  33. Avatar photo

    Sounds easy & yummy! We used to have it made for us while in Jamaica & I loved it so I will definitely need to try this soon! I'll be cutting up that pepper & keeping it in there, love spicy!