Sign In Chef


No account yet? Sign up.

Forgot your password?


Traditional Caribbean Recipes

light bulb

In this Lesson you will Learn

  1. Which historical events influenced Caribbean cuisine?
  2. What are typical ingredients in Caribbean ingredients?
  3. What are traditional Caribbean dishes?


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 various colonial powers that claimed the islands, including the Spanish, Portuguese, French, Dutch, Danish, and English.

Typical Ingredients

The indigenous peoples of the Caribbean relied on the plentiful fish and 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 as bananas, plantains, sugar cane, limes, oranges, coconut, and ginger. The English 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 enslaved Africans 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
Soup: Pepperpot
Main Dish: Jerk Chicken
Main Dish: Grilled Fish
Main Dish: Goat Curry
Side Dish: Rice and Beans
Dessert: Bread Pudding

Recommended Read

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 ยป


  1. Food Culture in the Caribbean
  2. Caribbean Cooking


  1. The cuisines of the Caribbean have been influenced by colonization, slavery, and foreign laborers.
  2. Typical Caribbean ingredients: fish and seafood, corn, cassava, beans, peanuts, hot peppers, tropical fruit, rum, coconut, and yams.
  3. Typical Caribbean dishes: saltfish, pepperpot, jerk chicken, grilled fish, goat curry, rice and beans, bread pudding
Mark as Learned
next lesson » Traditional Chinese Recipes