When the British occupied many of the Caribbean islands beginning in the 1700s, they brought with them traditions and customs that would influence the region long after their forces withdrew. Emancipation was ordered by the Brits on August 1, 1834, now officially known throughout the region as Emancipation Day. 

Over the centuries, cuisine across the Anglo-Caribbean territories became a mix of English, African, Latin and Amerindian tastes. Try these recipes for authentic British Caribbean cuisine. 

Jamaica: Mackerel Rundown

British Caribbean Cuisine

A tasty “old Jamaican” breakfast dish that is a creamy, salty and savory vestige of the island’s colonial past.

What You’ll Need


  • 2 pounds salted mackerel
  • Lime juice
  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Scotch bonnet pepper, chopped after seeds removed
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • parsley for garnish

What To Do

  1. Wash the mackerel with water and lime juice, then boil in hot water for 10 minutes to remove excess salt.
  2. Drain and then break the mackerel into small pieces.
  3. Add coconut milk to a pan and boil on medium simmer until it reduces, becoming oily.
  4. Stir in onion, garlic, thyme, Scotch bonnet pepper and tomatoes. Add the mackerel and cook for 10 minutes on medium heat. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Serve with other Jamaican sides like dumplings or ground provisions.

The Bahamas: Banana Pudding

British Caribbean Cuisine

Traditional British puddings were steamed in small vessels covered with greased paper and foil. This Bahamian banana-flavored pudding is close to bread but retains its chewy texture with no baking powder added.

What You’ll Need

  • 7 ripe bananas 
  • 1 cup sugar 
  • ¼ teaspoon salt 
  • ½ cup milk 
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla flavoring 
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • ¾ stick butter, melted
  • ¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour 

What To Do

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, mash the bananas. 
  3. Mix in the sugar, salt, milk, vanilla, eggs, butter and nutmeg, then the flour until completely combined. 
  4. Pour into a buttered 9 x 12 inch rectangular pan. 
  5. Bake on the middle rack for about 40 minutes until browned on top and a toothpick or knife inserted comes out clean. 
  6. Allow to cool at least slightly, then cut into squares and serve hot or cold. 

Saint Vincent: Breadfruit Puffs

British Caribbean Cuisine

Breadfruit was first brought to the Caribbean islands by the British in the late 1700s. These savory Vincentian breadfruit puffs create the perfect snack or party appetizer.

What You’ll Need

  • 1 whole breadfruit
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley
  • ¼ cup chopped green onions
  • 1 Scotch bonnet pepper, chopped and seeds removed
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • pinch of black pepper
  • 1 ½ cups breadcrumbs
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
  • Oil, for frying

What To Do

  1. Cut an “X” into the breadfruit to pierce the skin, then boil, fully submerged, until it is easy to insert and remove a knife. Remove and drain.
  2. Once cool to the touch, remove the skin and core. Add the breadfruit to a large bowl and mash while the flesh is still warm.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg and milk, then add to the breadfruit.
  4. Add the onion, Scotch bonnet pepper, green onions, parsley, salt and pepper to the mix and combine. 
  5. Pour 1 ½ cups of breadcrumbs into a small bowl and mix together with remaining salt and pepper.
  6. Form the puffs by taking a heaping tablespoon of the mixture and, with oiled hands, rolling it into a ball, repeating until the entire mixture has been used.
  7. Toss the puffs in the breadcrumb mixture to coat evenly.
  8. In a pot or deep fryer over medium heat, add enough oil to cover the puffs. Once hot, add the puffs and fry until golden brown and crispy.
  9. Remove with tongs or a metal spoon. Drain on a paper towel to remove excess oil. Then enjoy!

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