What Curry Powders Do Jamaicans Use?

Curry powder is an enchanting spice blend that has won over the hearts and palates of food enthusiasts worldwide. Jamaican curry powder is no exception.

What Curry Powders Do Jamaicans Use

Understanding Jamaican Cuisine

Jamaican cuisine is an exciting synthesis of various culinary traditions, including African, British, Indian, Chinese, and Spanish influences.

This has created an irresistibly flavorful cuisine that's enjoyed by millions around the world.

Common Ingredients and Spices

Jamaican cuisine commonly includes scotch bonnet peppers, allspice, ginger, garlic, thyme, and scallions.

These flavors are typically combined with hearty meats, seafood dishes, and starchy vegetables to create mouthwatering dishes with an irresistible kick of spice.

Scotch Bonnet peppers
Scotch Bonnet peppers

What Is the Role of Curry in Jamaican Dishes?

It is integral to Jamaican cooking, often used to season various meat and vegetable dishes.

Here are two popular Jamaican curries that demonstrate their versatility:

  • Curry goat: This classic Jamaican dish consists of tender goat meat simmered in a robust, spicy curry sauce. It's often served alongside rice and peas - another staple side dish from Jamaican cuisine.
Curry goat
Curry goat
  • Curry chicken: A classic Jamaican dish, curry chicken comprises marinated chicken pieces cooked in an aromatic curry sauce. It's commonly served with rice, roti, or fried dumplings.
Curry Chicken
Curry Chicken

Jamaicans Use Different Types of Curry Powder

Jamaicans don't use one type of it; instead, there are several varieties depending on personal preference or the recipe they're cooking.

Here are three popular curry powders commonly used in Jamaican cuisine:

1. Jamaican Curry Powder

  • Composition and Flavor

Jamaican curry powder combines turmeric, coriander, cumin, fenugreek, allspice, and pepper.

It has an earthy taste with just enough sweetness from allspice added. Due to scotch bonnet pepper, Jamaican curry powder tends to be milder in the heat than other curry blends.

Jamaican curry powder
Jamaican curry powder

2. Indian Curry Powder

  • Composition and Flavor

Jamaicans sometimes turn to Indian curry powder for its aromatic flavors and medium heat level.

This powder makes great Jamaican dishes with local ingredients like scotch bonnet peppers.

Indian curry powder
Indian curry powder

3. Trinidadian Curry Powder

  • Composition and Flavor

Trinidadian curry powder is another option Jamaicans may use in their dishes.

This curry blend consists of turmeric, coriander, cumin, fenugreek, and mustard seeds for a rich, robust taste slightly hotter than Jamaican curry powder.

How to Make Your Jamaican Curry Powder

Make your own to recreate an authentic Jamaican curry experience at home.

Here's a straightforward recipe to get you started:



  1. In a small bowl, combine all the spices until they are well mixed.
  2. Store it in an airtight container away from direct sunlight and heat.
  3. Use it in your favorite recipes to add an authentic Caribbean flavor.


Jamaicans utilize a variety of curry powders in their dishes, with Jamaican, Indian, and Trinidadian being the most common options.

Each blend adds to the vibrant and flavorful nature of Jamaican cooking - whether purchased pre-made or made from scratch!

Experimenting with different blends is an enjoyable and delicious way to explore Jamaican cooking!


Can Jamaican curry powder be substituted with other types of curry powders?

You can substitute it with another variety, such as Indian or Trinidadian. However, the flavor profile may differ slightly, so adjust spices according to your preferences.

Jamaican curry powder - is it spicy?

It can vary in heat depending on how much scotch bonnet pepper is included in the blend, but generally speaking, it's less fiery than some other curry powders.

Can I make a vegetarian or vegan Jamaican curry dish?
Absolutely! For delicious vegetarian or vegan dishes, Jamaican curry powder can season various vegetables, legumes, and tofu.

Where can I purchase Jamaican curry powder?

It can be purchased through grocery stores, specialty Caribbean shops, or online retailers.

How long does homemade Jamaican curry powder last?

Appropriately stored in an airtight container away from direct sunlight and heat, the homemade powder can last up to 6 months. For optimal flavor, however, it's recommended that you use it within three months.

Sarah Cortez
Sarah Cortez

My name is Sarah and I'm a baker who loves trying out new recipes and flavor combinations. I decided to challenge myself to use a new spice or ingredient powder in my baking each week for a year. Some successes were the cardamom sugar cookies, vivid turmeric cake, and beetroot chocolate cupcakes. Failures included the bitter neem brownies and overwhelmingly hot ghost pepper snickerdoodles. Through this experience I've discovered amazing additions to spice up desserts while learning how to balance strong flavors. Follow my journey as I push the boundaries of baking with unique powders!

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