When it comes to flavors and cuisines in the Caribbean, Jamaica and Jamaican cuisine is a contender for one of the best and most popular foods in the area.
We’re not saying that it beats Cuban or Haitian food, they’re both great. But if we’re talking about recipes for both sweet and savory dishes, we’re more partial to ackee and salt fish and mutton curry as we are a Cuban sandwich or picadillo.
As we said, Jamaican food has plenty of iconic savory dishes, but more often than not, it feels like their sweet and dessert dishes often get overlooked.
And that’s a shame because if you’re looking for the perfect sweet treats in a tropical climate, Jamaican desserts are practically tailor-made for this kind of weather.
If you like the sound of having the perfect hot summer or tropical weather recipe handy, then make sure that you take a look at some of the following recipes that we have gathered!
Starting off our list with perhaps one of the most famous Jamaican desserts, we have the gizzada.
Made from coconut cream, and packed with tons of flavor and spices, this is a kind of dessert that is unlike virtually any other dessert that you would commonly find at a normal American dinner table.
This also makes it a perfect example of what Jamaican dessert cuisine is like: Sweet, but with lots of spicy flavors to set them apart.
If you want to try your hand at a classic Jamaican dessert, then you cannot go wrong with a good gizzada recipe like this!
While many people may assume that sweet potato is only good for side dishes and savory meals, this particular pudding shows just how versatile this humble little vegetable is!
Thai recipe is traditionally baked in between layers of coal, creating an interesting combination of textures where the more baked top and bottom hide a smooth, deliciously sweet cooked middle.
It’s kind of surprising that an ingredient that has ‘sweet’ in its title isn’t used in more sweet or dessert recipes. Good thing that pudding recipes like this one are here to pick up that sack!
Probably the most famous Jamaican dessert dish that people are aware of, we couldn’t exactly have a list of recipes without not mentioning arguably the king of Jamaican desserts!
Rum is a very popular ingredient to use in recipes and cuisines across the Caribbean, with its alcoholic flavors and hints of sugary sweetness being a favorite item to use in drinks and desserts alike.
And here, it is used to make one hell of a sweet cake, packed to the brim with flavor and just a little alcoholic aftertaste for a brand new dessert flavor to work with!
Bammy, while not exactly the most well-known recipe to come out of Jamaica, is still a staple recipe that everyone should try at least once for themselves.
This sweet type of flatbread is quite different from other flatbreads, with its sweeter, coconut flavors making it a noticeably sweeter type of bread.
And of course, it is a flatbread, which means that it can be paired with virtually any other food that you can think of, Jamaican or otherwise!
5. Grater Cake
Moving to a completely different combination of flavors and textures, we have this particular dish! Grater cake has a very interesting texture to it, with it being quite chewy when compared to many other cakes and desserts.
However, that chewiness is more interesting than it is frustrating, and is balanced out by the beautifully crusty underside, as well as allowing its sweet coconut flavors to sit in your mouth a little longer.
Easy to make, it’s no wonder that this recipe has stood the test of time!
6. Rum Cake
Look, with a recipe as popular as rum cake, we could hardly leave it at just the one recipe, could we? With its constitutional ingredients being very easy to find, it’s not hard to see how this recipe became so popular with so many people.
Try serving this recipe with a dollop of heavy cream, custard, or even ice cream, if you want a creamy flavor combination!
Hummingbird cake might not contain hummingbirds in it, but you’ll find that this recipe will have you energized and fluttering like one!
This is a bona fide Jamaican spice cake, using plenty of fruity ingredients for both the cake batter and creamy topping and filling, particularly pineapple and banana. If you want to try a cake that feels tropical to both bake and eat, give this recipe a whirl!
8. Black Cake
Staying with the cake recipe a little while longer, this black cake is almost the complete opposite of the previous recipe that we covered!
Dense, and packed with tons of rum-soaked fruit, this is almost a completely different flavor experience. If you want the best experience with this cake, let the fruit soak in rum for 5 days at least. It creates a flavor combo that can’t be beaten!
Plantain is an ingredient that most people will have at least heard of and is a staple of many Jamaican recipes out there. It also, as this recipe shows, makes for a pretty tasty dessert treat on its own!
10. Coconut Toto
Toto is another staple Jamaican dessert that uses coconut. With a soft, yet crumbly texture, and the subtly sweet coconut flavors spread throughout the recipe, this is an absolute must for fans of coconut who just want to appreciate this ingredient a little more in their cooking, a put it front and center!
11. Gingerbread Cake
You’re almost certainly familiar with gingerbread as a dessert, but have you tried a gingerbread cake before?
If you love this little ground root in your desserts, you owe it to yourself to try out this particular cake recipe. It might just become your new favorite!
12. Bulla Cake
Bulla cake is an interesting recipe, as while it is somewhat unremarkable on its own, it pairs amazingly with pretty much any kind of topping that you can think of, sweet or otherwise.
Don’t believe us? Then try this recipe for yourself, with some honey, banana, or maybe even some avocado and cheese!
13. Coconut Drops
Now, this is a recipe for coconut lovers! Diced and flakes of coconut that are boiled and glazed in syrup, it is not hard to see how this recipe became a favorite of many people in and around Jamaica!
14. Jamaican Gizzada
Gizzada is a pretty popular recipe, so we shouldn’t be too surprised that there would be more than one recipe for this amazing dish out there!
15. Mango Cheesecake
Cheesecake is a popular dish around the world, and the same is true in Jamaica, where there is a popular tropical spin on this classic dessert!
With both its strong flavor, and the variety of ways it can be prepared, mango was almost tailor-made to be put into a cheesecake!
16. Coco Bread
Coco bread is a classic Jamaican pastry that is made using flour and, of course, coconut milk. Because would it be a true Jamaican recipe without at least a little coconut in it?
17. Tamarind Balls
With tamarind balls being the perfect pocket-sized dessert to transport around, we’d figure that more tamarind ball recipes could only give you even more options for extra to add!
18. Banana Pancake
Finally, to cap off this incredible list of phenomenal recipes, we have a simple and familiar recipe for you. But not quite as you might recognize it.
These pancakes, on the surface, look like your classic scotch pancakes, and they are very similar in many ways. However, with banana pancakes, the titular fruit is used in the making of the batter, giving these pancakes a naturally sweet flavor to them.
This means you can eat them as they are, saving on extra unhealthy ingredients without missing flavor, or just go the whole hog with your extras. The choice is yours!
Are there any pistachio desserts in Jamaican cuisine?
Jamaican cuisine is known for its vibrant flavors and unique blend of spices. While traditional Jamaican desserts may not typically include pistachios, there are delightful and creative ways to incorporate this nut into the island’s sweet dishes. With a dash of culinary imagination, you can conjure up delicious pistachio dessert ideas that beautifully merge the essence of Jamaica with the irresistible taste of pistachios.
So, there you have it! As you can see, Jamaican food doesn’t just make for amazing main meals. It’s also packed with tons of incredible dessert recipes! So, which of these amazing desserts will you try first?
Frequently Asked Questions
This will likely be a frustrating answer, but how healthy a Jamaican dessert is will likely depend on what exactly you are cooking!
A lot of Jamaican dessert recipes will use plenty of different sugars for added flavors, which isn’t exactly the healthiest ingredient in the world, with it raising your blood pressure, as well as excessive amounts potentially being a factor in causing type 2 diabetes.
That being said, a lot of other recipes use fruit like bananas and ackee, which are great sources of nutrients such as vitamin C, so it depends on the type of dish that you are making.
If you’re trying to keep the food a little on the healthier side, it may be worth looking into low-calorie sweeteners.
With so many varying flavors that still come together and make a cohesive cruise all of its own, many people may be wondering where exactly Jamaican cuisine gets its flavors from its history and culture.
Jamaica was a vital British colony in America from the 17th century, where many of the people living and working on the island were either slaves or indentured servitude.
As a result of this, for its cuisine, perhaps the strongest influences that you’ll notice are a strong root in both African and English/British cuisine, as well as produce and items that were grown and cultivated on the island.
However, because it was also a major hub of trade and commerce in the area, there are also many influences from French, Latin America, and even spices and flavors from the Middle East as well!
All of this has blended over the last 300 to 400 years to create a cuisine that, while containing elements from all of them, has a distinct style all of its own.
Jamaican rum cake is one of the most popular desserts that is made both in Jamaica and around the world. And, like many other cakes, there is often the worry that this cake will spoil.
However, provided that the cake is covered, you’ll be surprised to know that rum cake stays fresh and unspoiled for a surprisingly long amount of time.
This is because the cake is coated or soaked in rum during the baking process, which acts like a preservative, allowing the cake to stay edible for potentially months at a time.
Make sure that you keep the cake in an airtight container, though, and store it in a cold, dry place where bacteria don’t have a chance to multiply.