What Is Caribbean Food?
Caribbean cuisine reflects the mixed origins of its recipes, from African influences to Portuguese, French, Spanish, Latin American, and in some cases, even Chinese and Jewish roots.
Many of the sweet flavors and fruity aromas associated with Caribbean cuisine are also influenced by the tropical setting of its islands.
The spicy kick in many traditional Caribbean sauces, stews and curries comes from indigenous red peppers grown on many of its islands. The most well-known flavor in Caribbean food is the legendary Jerk seasoning, a delicious marinade or rub for meat and fish whose distinctive flavor comes from spices such as allspice and thyme.
Tips On How To Cook Caribbean Inspired Food
- Eat a Lobster the Right Way with This Handy Chart
- Flavor Shortcut: Jerk Chicken & Roasted Plantains
- 17 Essential Caribbean Dishes You Won't Find (Almost) Anywhere Else
- Flavor Story: Ground Allspice
- Flavor Story: Cinnamon Sticks
- Flavor Story: Hot Mexican Chili Powder
What To Use When Cooking Caribbean Cuisine
Explore easy ways to use these herbs and spices for delicious Caribbean food.
McCormick's pure thyme is an essential and versatile herb. Just a few sprinkles will fill the kitchen with a sweet aroma and robust flavor, the perfect addition to all types of recipes. For Caribbean food, use it as a seasoning on meat or in soups with rice for a rich, full flavor. Try McCormick Ground Thyme or McCormick Thyme Leaves.
Cumin is a part of many spices blends across the Caribbean. Rich and earthy with a hint of citrus, cumin pairs wonderfully with beans and fatty meats. Try McCormick Ground Cumin or McCormick Cumin Seed.
Indigenous to the Caribbean and Central America, allspice is the dried, unripe fruit of Pimenta dioica, an evergreen tree. Caribbean cuisine features allspice in many dishes, including meat and sweet potato stews. Sweet and spicy, this Caribbean native is a key player in Jamaican jerk seasoning. It combines the warm flavors of cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg. You’ll know your allspice is fresh if the aroma of the crushed berries brings to mind the sunny warmth of the Caribbean. Try McCormick Ground Allspice or McCormick Whole Allspice.
From spicy beef patties to jerk chicken, red pepper spices up food all over the islands of the Caribbean. Try McCormick Ground Cayenne Red Pepper.
Cinnamon is not only a part of Caribbean desserts, it's also a typical ingredient in jerk seasonings and marinades. Try McCormick Ground Cinnamon.
Nutmeg is used in rum based cocktails as well as savory sauces across the Caribbean. Try McCormick Ground Nutmeg.
Caribbean kitchens are no strangers to the gentle fire and spice of ginger. You’ll find it in everything from drinks made with ginger beer to meat and sweet potato stews. Its pungent aroma is one of the reasons Jamaican jerk seasoning smells so enticing on and off the grill. Try McCormick Ground Ginger.
This member of the ginger family is a common ingredient in spice blends from the Caribbean. Try McCormick Ground Turmeric.
Caribbean Inspired Recipes
Try These Caribbean Inspired Appetizers and Side Dishes For Starters
- Coconut Caribbean Rice
- Caribbean Summer Salad
- Caribbean Shrimp Bruschetta
- Caribbean Chicken Fingers
- Sweet And Spicy Caribbean Nuts
- Caribbean Jerk Rice
Caribbean Inspired Foods You Will Definitely Love
- Caribbean Chicken And Rice Lettuce Wraps
- Caribbean Jerk Pulled Pork Sliders
- Caribbean Coconut And Pigeon Pea Rice
- Jammin’ Jerk Chicken
- Caribbean Jerk Burger with Mango Slaw
- Caribbean Pork Chops
- One Pot Caribbean Jerk Chicken And Rice
Caribbean Inspired Sauces And Marinades For More Flavor
More Cuisines To Try Beyond Caribbean
Switch up some of the herbs and spices for a different take on your favorite dish.
Want to create a meal plan for your Caribbean food recipes? Need help planning your weekly meals and want to try new recipes? Save your favorite food, dessert, drink recipes and organize your ingredients with McCormick Meal Planner.