Jamaican Red Pea Soup

A Traditional Recipe

This Jamaican Red Pea Soup recipe is a family favorite, made using dry red peas which have to be soaked overnight. in Jamaica we call them "Red Peas" but they are really Red Kidney Beans. See also our Quick  Red Pea Soup recipe when you are pressed for time, or just want to make enough for one or two people.


  • 2 Cups dry Red Peas
  • 1/2 lb in total of salted Pig's tail ... and/or salt beef ... if you can't get those use chopped bacon
  • About a dozen whole dry pimento berries (Allspice)
  • 1/2 of a fit but not ripe Bread fruit, or 1 tin of Bread fruit slices
  • 2 to 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 whole Scotch Bonnet pepper (2 if you wish) - but do not break
  • 4-5 stalks scallion (escallion, skellion, spring onion) - chopped
  • Black Pepper and Salt to taste at the end
  • You can add spinners, dumplings, yam or dasheen to Red Pea soup ... your choice.

How to Make

  • Soak the dry Red Peas and the pig's tail or salt beef overnight.
  • Next day put Red Peas in a large saucepan, cover with water, bring to the boil, turn heat down to a simmer.
  • Chop the pig's tail and salt beef into bite sized chunks and add to the saucepan after about 30 minutes.
  • Add pimento berries at the same time.
  • If you have a whole fresh breadfruit cut it in half, scoop out and discard centre, peel skin off, and put half in freezer for next time.
  • Cut the other half into slices.
  • Add the breadfruit, thyme and Scotch Bonnet Pepper to the pot after the peas have been cooking for about 75 minutes.
  • If you are using tin bread fruit don't add until peas begin to soften ... and if you are using bacon instead of pig's tail add it at the same time.
  • When red peas are soft (after 1 3/4 to 2 hours cooking) carefully remove Scotch Bonnet Peppers (don't break) and Thyme sprigs.
  • Some cooks like to remove the breadfruit and meat from the pot and puree the red peas ... others prefer it as is ... your choice.
  • Put all ingredients back into pot ... add Scallion ... simmer for 10 miutes.

Enjoy your Red Pea soup ... and "Give Thanks".

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