Bring on the flavors and essence of Jamaica to your kitchen with these traditional Jamaican desserts!
Do you ever wish you could grab your sunhat and head out the door with your favorite book to the sandy Caribbean beaches?
All filled with a Caribbean flair, these bread, cakes, and puddings will put your mind in the Caribbean spirit.
Deep-flavored spices like ginger, nutmeg, and cinnamon will have your kitchen smelling delightful.
These desserts and bread boast flavors of rum, coconut milk, and dried fruits.
So many different kinds of Jamaican desserts and pastries are waiting to be prepared and enjoyed in your home.
Learn what Dukunnu is and how to make it.
Can you use a banana leaf to make a dessert?
Rules do not apply when you are on island time!
From Rock Cake, Bammy, Bulla, Coco Drops and more, you’ll be wowed by this list of delicious Jamaican island treats!
With just four ingredients, bammy is one of the most delicious Jamaican treats on this list.
This delicious flatbread comprises cassava root, coconut milk, olive oil, and a pinch of salt.
Cassava root, also known as yuca, is a starchy, complex carbohydrate vegetable.
The cassava is grated, shaped into a disc, and sealed in a skillet.
The vegetable goes through a second cooking process, where it is first soaked in coconut milk, then fried in olive oil and seasoned with a pinch of salt.
A crucial step in making your bammy from scratch is draining all the liquid from the grated cassava.
Skipping this step will result in a bammy that does not hold its shape, leaving you with a mess!
Pair this hidden gem of Jamaican culture with fish or vegetables for an authentic experience!
2. Black Cake
Black cake is one of the most delicious traditional Jamaican desserts.
Rum-soaked dried fruit and spices give the black cake its rich texture and decadent flavor.
Eaten during holidays and special occasions, black cake is a sign of celebration in Jamaican culture.
It is a staple dessert recipe all over the Caribbean.
The strong liquored flavor comes from the soaking of dried prunes, dried cherries, raisins, and currants in either rum or sweet red wine.
The traditional black color is from browning and burnt sugar, which you can find in Caribbean markets.
You will want to make sure and plan if you’re going to make a black cake, as the fruits must soak for a minimum of 5 days.
Get the family together for a celebration with Jamaican black cake!
3. Bulla Cake
Often paired with cheese, avocado, or butter, Bulla Cake is more of a sweet roll than a cake.
These sweet, flat, round loaves are traditionally sweetened with molasses and spiced with ginger and nutmeg.
Depending on the amount and type of molasses used, a Bulla Cake can range from light to dark-colored.
Bulla Cake is a typical sweet for school children, as they are easy to transport to school.
Molasses, ginger, and nutmeg mix with flour and a raising agent such as baking soda to form a dough, then baked into these rolls.
A variation to a Bulla Cake is filling them with cheese or butter instead of topping them with it after baking.
4. Coco Bread
Of all the Jamaican pastries, Coco Bread is one of the tastiest.
Its buttery, slightly sweet flavor makes these rolls comparable to buttery croissants.
Coco Bread is made primarily with coconut milk and flour.
They have a firm outside and a warm, soft interior.
The unique shape of Coco Bread makes these rolls great for sandwich making.
Roll the dough balls into small circles after mixing the dough and allowing it to rise.
They are then folded in half, making them great to fill with your favorite sandwich fixings.
The rolls are slathered with melted butter before, during, and after the baking process.
This makes them a favorite amongst the whole family!
Tamarind Balls are a favorite amongst Jamaican sweets.
Using the sticky flesh of tamarind, these sweet and sour treats are one of the traditional Jamaican dessert recipes loved by so many.
Tamarind balls are made by mixing the flesh of the tamarind fruit with a little bit of water, then rolling the mixture into balls and covering them with brown sugar.
Some like to add a kick to their tamarind balls by adding hot chili pepper powder to the otherwise sweet and sour treat.
Whatever your taste buds like, you can personalize tamarind balls as you wish!
Jamaican Hard Dough Bread, also called Hardo bread, consists of flour, yeast, sugar, water, and salt.
It gets its name because it is a sturdy bread.
It does not get soggy and stands up to fillings and sandwiches nicely.
Hard dough bread tends to have a bit of a sweet flavor because of the sugar used.
Variations to the traditional recipe include using molasses as a sweetener. The molasses gives a great Caribbean flair to the bread.
Also called blue draws or tie-a-leaf, Dukunnu is one of the traditional Jamaican desserts, and it has a very unique cooking process.
Like Spanish tamales, Dukunnu is a cornmeal pudding wrapped in a banana leaf and boiled.
It is traditionally made with cornmeal, but you can swap in cassava, sweet potato, yam, or green bananas.
Spiced with a traditional Jamaican mixed spice and mixed with coconut milk, Dukunnu boasts a Caribbean flavor that is sure to be a hit with your family.
8. Rock Cake
Even with one of the least appetizing names amongst the Jamaican dessert recipes, rock cakes are far from bland.
Rock Cakes are a hybrid between a cake and a cookie.
They get their name from their crunchy exterior, but they are not dry and firm like rocks.
Cold butter and flour are used, making them comparable to a sweet biscuit or a scone.
They are stuffed with raisins or other dried fruit to give them a blast of sweet flavor and moisture.
Try these tasty treats with a hot cup of tea in the morning for a great breakfast!
9. Rum Cake
Spiced rum and coconut milk will get you in the island mood, especially in cake form!
Rum Cake is a favorite among Jamaican desserts.
It doesn’t have a strong liquor flavor like black cake but is a moist, fluffy yellow cake with a rich vanilla flavor.
The spiced rum gives a hint of the Caribbean.
The crunchy pecan topping makes all the difference by adding extra texture.
Some people make it from scratch, but some people use a mixture of yellow cake mix and vanilla pudding mix.
Whichever way you decide to make rum cake, you will enjoy it!
10. Easter Spice Bun
More of a sweet bread loaf than a bun, the Jamaican Easter Spice Bun is delightful all year round, not just for Easter!
This highly spiced, soft bread is studded with fruits such as raisins and cherries.
Easter Spice Bun is a sweeter take on hot cross buns.
It is eaten during Lent, when Catholic Christians abstain from eating meat and lean more towards bread for their diet.
There are many adaptations to Easter spice bun recipes.
They are typically a deep dark color due to browning sugar and molasses.
Some recipes even call for a stout beer, like Guinness.
11. Sugar Bun
Jamaican Sugar Buns are another Easter tradition in the Caribbean.
Unlike an Easter spice bun, sugar buns resemble a cinnamon roll instead of a sweet loaf.
They use Jamaican sweet bread recipes, including spices, browning sugar, and mixed dried fruit.
Sugar buns start with dough like cinnamon roll dough, which you’ll fill with cinnamon, butter, brown sugar, and raisins.
This island twist on a traditional American cinnamon roll is an excellent addition to your recipe collection!
12. Coconut Toto
Unlike many other Jamaican desserts, coconut toto cake has a light, airy texture.
What makes this cake so delicious are the real grated coconut flakes and deep spices.
Coconut Toto is spiced with vanilla, nutmeg, and cinnamon.
Some even add rose water or almond essence, making them the star of the show.
The fresh coconut makes this cake delicious.
Visit a Caribbean grocery store to get the best coconuts available to set your cake apart.
What makes this recipe so great is that it can be made with or without a mixer.
Go the old-school way and mix by hand, or use the convenience of a mixer to make your Coconut Toto cake!
This simple recipe makes plantains the star of the show.
Coated in brown sugar and fried in coconut oil, these sticky sweet fried plantains make you feel like the Caribbean is right in your mouth.
This recipe is a great last-minute dessert.
It takes less than 20 minutes to make your unexpected guests very happy at the end of the night!
Eating this traditional Jamaican Sweet Potato Pudding while enjoying a cool glass of coconut water will make you feel like you are sitting on the sunny beaches of Jamaica.
With ingredients such as coconut milk, sweet potatoes, almond extract, and nutmeg, you know this is going to be a decadent, Jamaican dessert.
A blender is preferred when processing the potatoes.
If you do not have a blender, there are other options for processing your potatoes.
Back in the day, the potatoes were grated for this sweet Jamaican treat.
So, if you do not have the modern conveniences of a blender, no worries, you can still enjoy this amazing Jamaican dessert!
15. Coconut Drops
Jamaican Coconut Drops are a classic delicacy that has traditional Caribbean flavors thanks to ginger and cinnamon.
A sweet mixture of brown sugar, vanilla extract, cinnamon, ginger, and fresh coconut is boiled until it reaches a syrup.
Traditionally, cooked drops were scooped from the saucepan and dropped onto a banana leaf to cool and harden.
No worries, you don’t need a banana tree in your backyard to make these delicacies.
An extra sheet pan or some parchment paper will do the trick!
16. Grater Cake
Grater Cake is one of the most simple Jamaican desserts with traditionally just three ingredients.
Freshly grated coconut, granulated sugar, and a splash of food color make up this traditional candy pastry.
It is a stunning and easy dessert to serve at parties.
If you want to add some extra flair, throw in some ginger and vanilla, or even peppermint; make it your own!
This dessert shows off the fresh, fruity side of the Caribbean.
A gooey caramel bottom layer is spiced with long pepper.
A cousin of the black peppercorn, long pepper is a ginger-like spice that has notes of cardamom and black pepper.
Allspice and bay leaves give this dessert a distinct palate of Caribbean flavors.
Make this fluffy, fruity, bold, and buttery dessert at your next get-together, and you will be a fan favorite!
Gizzada is the Jamaican version of a pie.
This old-time favorite Jamaican dessert has a pastry shell that is fluted and filled with a spiced fresh coconut filling.
Nutmeg and brown sugar give the coconut filling a rich texture, like pecan pie.
The tender pastry crust melts in your mouth.
Put a twist on your next family get-together and serve this rich Jamaican pastry!
19. Cornmeal Pudding
Jamaican Cornmeal Pudding, also called cornmeal pone, is similar to a British steamed pudding.
This traditional Jamaican treat is topped with a coconut milk glaze, giving it that Caribbean essence.
Cornmeal is a versatile ingredient that comes in multiple varieties.
Jamaican cornmeal pudding traditionally uses yellow cornmeal, so be sure and grab the right kind of cornmeal before you make your Pone!
Like other Jamaican desserts, cornmeal pudding utilizes rum, dried fruit, coconut milk, and rich spices.
20. Banana Fritters
These Banana Fritters are a cross between a donut and a mini pancake.
Light and fluffy, banana fritters are sure to be a crowd-pleaser.
Whether you want to start your morning with these little beauties or eat them for dessert after dinner, they’ll be just as good any time of day.
The spiced batter is mixed until smooth, then shallow fried in a cast iron pan.
Topped with powdered sugar, these fritters will not disappoint.
21. Plantain Tarts
Prepared like a hand pie or turnover, Jamaican Plantain Tarts are a great on-the-go dessert.
The spiced plantain filling is stewed and cooled first, developing rich flavors.
The pastry dough is prepared and then filled with the cooled plantain mixture.
The tarts are then baked to a crispy golden brown.
The bottom line
Even when you don’t have time to jet away for a Jamaican vacation, you can bring some of those Caribbean flavors right to your home kitchen with these sweet treats.
From fried plantains to cornmeal pudding, there is a rich variety of textures and flavors to experiment with that will soon become regular in your dessert rotation.
Which of these scrumptious Jamaican desserts are you most excited to make?
- Black Cake
- Bulla Cake
- Coco Bread
- Tamarind Balls
- Hard Dough Bread
- Rock Cake
- Rum Cake
- Easter Spice Bun
- Sugar Bun
- Coconut Toto
- Sticky Sweet Fried Plantains
- Sweet Potato Pudding
- Coconut Drops
- Grater Cake
- Pineapple Upside-Down Cake
- Cornmeal Pudding
- Banana Fritters
- Plantain Tarts
- Choose a recipe from any of our Jamaican Desserts list.
- Check all the necessary ingredients and instructions.
- Try these best Jamaican treats and share to our Facebook page!