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Tasty Jamaican Festival!
Plus A Simple Recipe

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Jamaican Festival DumplingsJamaican Festival Dumplings

by Venesha Johnson | Associate Writer

Have you ever heard of a Jamaican festival? And no, I am not referring to an event where we dance, eat and enjoy cultural music. Although I must admit those are quite fun as well. The festival I am referring to is our yummy, mouth-watering, soft on the inside, crunchy on the outside perfection. It is perfectly named Festival because it has a combination of flavours that will make you want to get up and dance. It is like a party of flavours in your mouth.

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What Does Festival Mean In Jamaican Cuisine?

The Jamaican festival, the food, it is fried dough. When made correctly it is slightly sweet, with a soft fluffy texture in the middle and crunchy golden brown on the outside.

Festival is very similar to a regular Jamaican fried dumpling, but it is the shape of the dough and a few added ingredients that kick it up a notch and set it aside from just the typical dumpling. It is a traditional and cultural Jamaican food that can be had as a snack by itself or as a part of a full meal.

What Is The Jamaican Festival Made Of?

The Jamaican festival is made of a few main ingredients. These include flour, cornmeal, sugar, butter and milk. It is very flexible, once the main ingredients are added it can be customized with added flavours and spices. When making Jamaican festivals, some persons even add a little vanilla essence or grounded or powdered cinnamon.

What Do You Eat Festival With?

Jamaican Festival Dumplings and Jerk ChickenJamaican Festival Dumplings and Jerk Chicken

Festival is normally had with pretty much any and every dish. It is great with steamed vegetables like Callaloo and cabbage, Ackee and Saltfish, some persons love their festival with a bowl of steaming hot red peas or Pumpkin Soup. But the main thing, the one thing you must try festival with is some spicy Jerk Chicken or Jerk Pork and of course some Escovitched Fish.

Just thinking about the yummy goodness of a warm festival is making me hungry. So I am sharing with you the recipe I am about to make myself, this is my favourite way of making festival.

Here is what you will need:

Jamaican Festival Recipe


  • Flour
  • Cornmeal
  • Baking powder
  • Coconut Milk 
  • Sugar (I prefer to use brown sugar but granulated sugar is fine)
  • Melted Butter or margarine
  • Vegetable oil
  • Salt
  • Vanilla
  • Nutmeg (optional)
  • Cinnamon powder (optional)


  • The first thing you need to do is sieve your flour.
  • You will then add all your dry ingredients, so that equal parts flour and cornmeal, a pinch of salt, grated nutmeg if you choose to, sugar, some baking powder, and mix this around with a whisk or a fork.
  • Next, you will add your wet ingredients, the vanilla and melted butter. The milk is used to combine the ingredients into a tight dough. You can choose to use cows milk but coconut milk is my preference. Just water can also be used if you have any milk allergies.
  • It is best to use your bare hands to need the mixture, just lightly dust your hands with flour and knead until the texture of the dough is tight. If you added too much milk, simply add a bit more flour to the mixture to tighten it up.
  • The next step will be to take small portions of the dough and form them into a long, oval ended shape, almost like fingers or a hotdog.
  • Pour enough oil into a pot that will at least cover the festivals and bring the temperature of the oil to around 350°F.
  • Add each festival to the pot, and fry until they are a golden brown colour. Turning from side to side as necessary. Remember to overcrowd the pot.
  • To check if the festivals are fully cooked, use a fork to remove one from the oil, then split it in two. The inside should be light and fluffy and the outside golden brown and crisp.
  • Additionally, once the festivals are done, I like to be a little extra with mine if I am eating it as a snack. I simply combine equal parts sugar and cinnamon powder and sprinkle that over the festivals. Yummy, golden delight perfections. 

 Serve with whatever side you like!

The Jamaican Festival is a delicious treat for everyone! Try making a batch for your family and friends and remember to grab a plate of Jerk Chicken and Festivals during your next stay in Jamaica.

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Return to Jamaican Food from Jamaican Festivals Recipe 
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References & Sources For Jamaican Festival Recipe

  1. Jamaican Festival (Caribbean Dumpling) - Immaculate Bites,
  2. Jamaican Fried Dough ~ Festival Recipe | Leite's Culinaria,
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