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Jamaican Pumpkin Rice
 The Recipe!

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Jamaican Pumpkin Rice | (Photo Credit: Grace Kitchens)Jamaican Pumpkin Rice | (Photo Credit: Grace Kitchens)

by Venesha Johnson | Associate Writer 

Jamaicans on a whole consume a lot of rice, it being one of our staple foods and all. Because of this, we sometimes have to make it a little more…interesting. The solution, creating delicious dishes like Jamaican Pumpkin Rice.

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Adding pumpkins to your rice comes with many nutritional benefits. These include:

  • Vitamins A, C and E
  • Iron and folate
  • fibre, copper and magnesium
  • Potassium and protein
Jamaican PumpkinsJamaican Pumpkins

Jamaican Pumpkin Rice Recipe


  • 2 cups Pumpkin- cut into small cubes
  • 1 lb Long Grain White Rice or brown rice
  • 1 cup Coconut Milk or cream
  • 2 stalks Scallion- chopped into small pieces
  • 2 stalks whole scallion- washed
  • 1 medium Onion- finely diced
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 3 cloves garlic- minced or crushed
  • 2 cups water, vegetable or chicken broth
  • 2 Tablespoon Unsalted butter 
  • Coconut or Vegetable Oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon pimento- grounded
  • 2 teaspoon All Purpose Seasoning
  • 1 Scotch Bonnet Pepper- whole
  • 1/4 Red Crushed Pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated Ginger
  • Salt to taste


  1. In your favourite pot, a Dutch pot or any pot you use to cook rice in will be fine, add your vegetable or coconut oil, just enough for a light stir-fry of your vegetables and herbs.

  2. Once the oil is heated and your finely diced onions, chopped scallion, minced garlic, crushed red pepper, grated ginger and grounded pimento seeds. Stir it for a few minutes, allowing the delicious flavours to be released. Do this on low heat.

  3. After stirring for about 2 to 3 minutes, add your diced cubes of pumpkin and stir in for another 2 minutes.

  4. The next step is to add your water or chosen broth. Cover and allow the pumpkin pieces to cook until they are soft.

  5. Once the pumpkins are nice and soft, add your coconut milk or cream, whole stalks of scallion, butter, thyme and a whole scotch bonnet pepper. Cover and bring to a boil.

  6. The next step is to add your rice. If you would like before adding your rice, you can choose to use a fork and quickly crush the pieces of pumpkin cubes, so that there won’t be any distinctive cubes of pumpkin in the end product.

  7. Once you have added the rice, stir it and cover for 20 to 30 minutes to finish cooking.

  8. Once you have checked and your rice is ready, remove and discard the scotch bonnet pepper, scallion and thyme, then fluff the rice with a fork.

  9. Serve your steaming hot rice with any protein and additional sides that you like.

Some of the most common dishes to have pumpkin rice with includes curried chicken and goat, brown stew chicken, fish and pork. It is a very versatile side dish that goes with almost everything. Pumpkin rice is so tasty, and so highly nutritious that you can even choose to have it on its own.

Can I put coconut milk in pumpkin rice?

Yes, absolutely! As a matter of fact, it is the standard to use coconut milk in not just pumpkin rice, but even in other Jamaican rice dishes like rice and peas and callaloo rice. However, if you get allergic reactions from coconut milk or for any other reason you would not like to use coconut milk, you can absolutely skip it and use just water, as many choose to do, or for additional flavour, you can use vegetable or even chicken stock. 

What is a Jamaican pumpkin?

Jamaican pumpkin, also sometimes called Caribbean pumpkin is known otherwise as Calabaza. It is actually a part of the squash family and usually has a bright orange or yellow colour. It is often used in stews, soups and desserts. 

What is pumpkin rice made of?

Pumpkin rice is made of your choice of brown or white rice, pumpkin of course, and other herbs and spices such as onion, garlic, pimento seeds, scallion and thyme.

How do you make Jamaican seasoned rice with pumpkin?

To make Jamaican season rice with pumpkin, it is pretty much done in the same way you will make pumpkin rice. The key difference will be the addition of a protein such as salted cod fish or salted mackerel which are commonly used in seasoned rice. 

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References & Sources For Jamaican Pumpkin Rice

  1. 9 Impressive Health Benefits of Pumpkin,
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