A Deliciously Tasty Jamaican Red Peas Soup Recipe

Jamaican Red Peas soup is one of the classic soups of the Caribbean, a spicy, herbal broth filled to bursting with red kidney beans and beef, loaded up with yams, dumplings, potatoes, and carrots. It’s also super-easy to adapt to different diets like vegetarian or vegan diets just by changing up a few things in the soup base, giving you a versatile, delicious dish of warmth that can be had at any time of the year, from the chill of deep winter to the heat of summer.

Remember that spicy soups can make you sweat a lot and that sweat will make you cool down in the summer, so just because you think of soup as a cold weather food, doesn’t mean that’s all it is.

Red peas soup makes a lot of use of the Caribbean staple, ground provisions. Ground provisions are a mix of whatever starchy vegetables are available, most typically yams, taro, cassava, and sweet potatoes.

What Is Red Peas Soup?

Red peas soup is a red bean and beef soup from the Caribbean Island of Jamaica. It’s traditionally cooked with salt beef, salt pork or chicken feet but can be made with other proteins including vegan proteins like tofu or seitan. Where “beef” is included in this recipe, understand that you can use any protein that you want in the recipe, but remember that the important part is getting the proportions accurate and having satisfying pieces that you can eat is important, so be sure not to cut it too finely. Food


For the Red Peas

  • 2 cups dried red kidney beans.
  • ½ gallon water, may adjust
  • 4-6 cloves garlic, crushed, large.
  • 8 whole Allspice berries

Jamaican Red Peas Soup

  • 10-12 cups water
  • 3 lbs. beef divided into:
  • 2 lbs. beef stew meat or cubed chuck roast
  • 1 lb. salt-cured beef
  • 1 medium onion, chopped.
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced.
  • 3 green onions, chopped.
  • 3 sprigs of thyme
  • 1 medium carrot peeled and chopped.
  • 1 medium potato peeled and chopped.
  • 1 cup yam peeled and chopped.
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 6 pimento berries
  • 2 cubes chicken, beef, or vegetable bouillon, or 1 tbsp of bouillon granules.
  • 1 whole hot pepper. The traditional pepper is a Scotch bonnet, but you can substitute other hot peppers with less capsaicin.
  • salt, to taste
  • 1 batch of spinners
  • 1 cup All Purpose Flour
  • ½ cup Water
  • ½ tsp Salt


Soaking the Beans

To start soaking the beans, put the beans, garlic and allspice in the water and bring to a boil. Use 2 tablespoons of coarse kosher salt per pound of beans, turn off the heat and let the beans soak for at least 4 hours, up to 12 hours.


If using salted beef, add water to a large stockpot and bring it to a boil. Add the salted beef and boil for about 20 minutes to remove salt from the beef. Discard water and repeat, if necessary, until the beef has reached the appropriate level of saltiness.

Salt and brown the stew meat, making sure that it remains red in the middle.

Bring 10-12 cups of water to a boil. Add the stew meat and salted beef (if using), and pour the entire bean soak pot, including the water, into the soup. Once returned to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and continue to simmer for 45 minutes to an hour, at least, to tenderize the stew meat.

While the beef and beans are on the boil, prepare your onion, green onion, carrot, potato, herbs, and yams along with the hot pepper, and set aside for later.

Once the beef and peas have started to tenderize, add the remaining ingredients plus two cups of water and keep the heat on a simmer. Pour in the coconut milk, add allspice, salt, and black pepper, remove Scotch bonnet pepper and thyme sprigs.

Five minutes before the soup comes off the heat, add the spinners and let them cook in the broth. It’s important that they don’t go in too soon to avoid having them fall apart in the broth.

Making the Spinners

Spinners are Caribbean dumplings. They’re delightful little flavor bombs and so easy to make. To make them, just make a simple dough of flour, water, and salt and rest it for about 10 minutes. Wrap and store until you’re ready to use them. They’re called spinners because they spin and sink in the broth as they cook, whereas other dumplings, like spaetzle, float. They should be rolled into little spindle-shaped dumplings and this recipe should make about 12 to 24. When the soup is about 5 minutes from done, scatter the spinners into the soup to cook them.



Do not allow the Scotch bonnet pepper to burst unless you want an extremely spicy soup. If it happens and your diners are not ready to eat a very spicy soup, add sugar or another sweetener – the sugar will neutralize the heat without making the dish taste sweet.

How Can You Change Your Meats?

Some Caribbean cuisines including some from the island of Jamaica eschew beef and other red meat; some are vegetarian entirely. If you want to remove the red meat from this stew, feel free to substitute a stewing chicken if you’re still eating meat – you can find stewing chicken at most botchers – or any vegan protein of your choice if not.

What Side Dishes Should We Serve?

After a spicy meal, Caribbeans often cool off with some fantastic dishes. Filled with coconut milk, allspice, garlic, and pineapple juice, the starch of Caribbean rice is a crowd-pleaser alongside a hot and spicy main dish. Yucca fries take advantage of the delicious, starchy cassava or yucca to create a sweet and nutty delight. Caribbean coleslaw is light, sweet, and fruity with a kick of hot jalapenos and honey.

If you don’t mind spicy with spicy, Caribbean chicken sausages are a flavorful kick. Fried green plantains are a popular dish across the entire region. Known as Tostones in Spanish, these plantains are fried, smashed, and fried again, giving you a crispy and salty-sweet flavor.

To cool down your palette with sweets afterward, consider Jamaican treats like Pineapple upside-down cake, sweet potato pudding, rum cake, coconut toto. Gizzada is another delicious coconut dessert with brown sugar and a pinched dough crust that has a look like pecan pie. Tamarind balls are a sweet and sour snack that tastes like natural candy.

If you’re curious or excited about the cuisine of Jamaica, red peas soup is a great place to start, with an engaging flavor, trademark Caribbean spiciness, and endless possibilities.

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