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Jamaican Pepper Steak Recipe

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Jamaican Pepper Steak Recipe | Image source: gypsyplate.comJamaican Pepper Steak Recipe | Image source:

By Venesha Johnson | Associate Writer

If you know anything about Jamaica, I am certain that you know just how much food means to us and that it is a major part of who we are.  Among the plethora of mouthwatering delights, one dish that is truly loved but not as popular as others is our Jamaican Pepper Steak. This tantalizing dish combines tender beef, aromatic spices, and a burst of heat, resulting in a harmonious symphony of flavours that dance on your palate.

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I know when you hear Pepper Steak, you are probably just thinking of a nice big piece of steak that is cooked with extra pepper to make it spicy. That is far from the truth. Our pepper steak is cut into thin slices, marinated and cooked in a way that allows the meat to soak up all the goodness of the sauce. Jamaican Pepper Steak, also known as "peppa steak," is a prime example of this fusion, combining techniques and ingredients from various cultures to create a dish that's beloved by locals and visitors alike.

Jamaican Pepper Steak Recipe


    For the Marinade:

  • 1 ยฝ pounds (680g) beef, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons dark rum
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon thyme leaves
  • ยฝ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • For the Pepper Steak:

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 bell pepper, thinly sliced (use a mix of colours for visual appeal)
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 2 teaspoons ginger, minced
  • 2 teaspoons Scotch bonnet pepper, minced (adjust to taste for heat)
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • ยฝ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 cup beef broth or water
  • Fresh parsley or cilantro, chopped (for garnish)


  • Prepare the Marinade:
  1. In a bowl, combine soy sauce, dark rum, minced garlic, brown sugar, ground allspice, thyme leaves, and black pepper.
  2. Place the sliced beef in a resealable plastic bag or a shallow dish. Pour the marinade over the beef, ensuring it's well coated. Seal the bag or cover the dish and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or ideally overnight, to allow the flavours to meld.
  • Cook the Pepper Steak:
  1. In a large skillet or wok, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat.
  2. Remove the marinated meat from the bag, allowing any excess marinade to drip off.
  3. Add the marinated beef slices to the hot skillet and cook for about 2-3 minutes per side, or until they are browned and slightly caramelized. Transfer the cooked meat to a plate and set aside.
  4. In the same skillet, add the sliced onion and bell pepper. Sautรฉ for 3-4 minutes, or until the vegetables are slightly softened and have a vibrant colour.
  5. Stir in the diced tomatoes, minced ginger, and Scotch bonnet pepper. Cook for an additional 2 minutes, allowing the flavours to meld.
  6. Sprinkle brown sugar, ground allspice, black pepper, and salt over the vegetables. Stir well to combine the spices with the vegetables.
  7. Pour in the beef broth or water, and bring the mixture to a simmer. Allow it to cook for about 5 minutes, allowing the flavours to meld and the sauce to thicken slightly.
  8. Return the cooked steak slices to the skillet, along with any accumulated juices. Stir everything together to ensure the steak is coated in a flavorful sauce. Cook for an additional 10 minutes to heat the steak through.
  9. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. If you prefer more heat, add a bit more minced Scotch bonnet pepper at this stage.
  10. Once the steak is heated through and the flavours have melded, remove the skillet from the heat.  
  • Serve and Garnish:
  1. Transfer the Jamaican Pepper Steak to a serving platter.
  2. Serve the Pepper Steak alongside some of our traditional Jamaican sides like rice and peas, fried plantains, or even bammy โ€“ a cassava flatbread.

Jamaican Pepper Steak is a symphony of flavours that will make your palette sing. With its tender marinated steak, aromatic spices, and fiery kick, this dish exemplifies our love of everything spicy. Whether enjoyed at a local eatery in Jamaica or prepared in your kitchen, Jamaican Pepper Steak promises to become one of your favourite beef dishes.

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References & Sources For Jamaican Pepper Steak Recipe

  1. 60 Jamaican Foods | Our Favourite Dishes On The Island. (2023, August 8).
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