Best Recipe To Make Ackee and Saltfish

Cover photo credit: Paul_Brighton/

If you’ve never tried ackee and saltfish, you’re missing out.

Ackee and saltfish is the national dish of Jamaica, and as you might expect it’s a powerhouse of big, bold flavors, just like this jerk chicken recipe. Combining the buttery, smooth texture of ackee and the tangy punch of saltfish, this is a dish that many Jamaicans consider their favorite comfort food.

If you’re headed to Jamaica anytime soon, you absolutely must try ackee and saltfish. You’ll find the dish on the menu at restaurants across this exotic island, and on many a Jamaican family’s dinner table too.

We’ll show you how to prepare the delicious dish soon, but we thought it was only right that we take the time to introduce you properly to these two staple Jamaican ingredient first.

What is Ackee?

Although its relatively widespread in Jamaica, you are unlikely to encounter ackee in many other places. It’s an unusual fruit, which is a member of the soapberry family. Its closest relatives, to give you an idea of the type of fruit we’re talking about here, are longans and lychees.

The ackee is known for its smooth texture, and unusual appearance which is reminiscent of scrambled eggs. It’s the shape of a pear and it’s usually boiled for around five minutes before being consumed.

There are so many interesting ways to enjoy this fantastic Caribbean fruit. It’s typically eaten as part of the ackee and saltfish dish, however you can also find it being used in more unusual ways in other ackees recipes. For instance, one Jamaican company produces ackee wine.

While you’re most likely to find ackee being eaten in Jamaica, it didn’t actually originate there. It was first found growing in West Africa.

It remains a popular food in the Ivory Coast, Faso, Gambia, Ghana, Cameroon, Sierra Leone and a few other African nations.

What is Saltfish?

Saltfish is a delicacy across the Caribbean, but it’s definitely the Jamaicans who eat the most of it. If you have not yet discovered the delicate and delicious flavor of saltfish, you’re in for a treat.

Saltfish is a preserved fish, which has been dried and cured with salt. This was a typical way of preserving meat prior to refrigeration, and it remains a popular method due to the unique flavor that it gives the food.

Saltfish can be a range of different fish, but it’s usually a meaty white fish such as cod. In the Caribbean you’ll also find saltfish made with pollack, snapper or shark.

Prior to cooking, saltfish must be rehydrated and soaked overnight in water. This removes most of the salt. It is important, however, not to remove all the salt from the fish, as that’s where it gets its great flavor.

How to Make Saltfish

Caribbean people have been enjoying saltfish since the 16th Century, and its popularity shows no sign of slowing down.

When saltfish rehydrated and much of the salt has been removed, you can try the staple Jamaican saltfish recipe. Sauté your fish with a mixture of flavorsome herbs, such as thyme, onions, hot peppers and tomatoes. It’s great when served with rice, roti, fried dough known as bakes and a healthy helping of root vegetables.

Of course it’s also really good with ackee!

Our Favorite Ackee and Saltfish Recipe

There are a few different ways to prepare the national dish of Jamaica. Like any popular dish, recipes have evolved over time, and have passed from generation to generation. Many home cooks and chefs in Jamaica have their own unique take on this classic recipe. But if you’d like to learn how to make ackee and saltfish, we recommend you start with this simple Jamaican ackee and saltfish recipe.

You Will Need:
½ pound of Saltfish
½ cup cooking oil
3 cloves of garlic
Fresh thyme
2 onions
1 cup of bell peppers
¼ Scotch bonnet chilli
1 can of ackee
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon pepper


  1. Soak your saltfish overnight in cold water.
  2. In the morning, drain the water and soak for one hour in hot water. The fish will now be rehydrated and ready to use.
  3. Fry garlic, thyme, onions, bell peppers and Scotch bonnet on the stove for five minutes. Stir.
  4. Add your saltfish to the pan of garlic, thyme, onions, bell peppers and Scotch bonnet peppers.
  5. Simmer the mixture for a further five minutes.
  6. Once five minutes has passed, add your ackee to the mix.
  7. Season with black pepper and paprika.

Your dish is ready to serve!

Have we inspired you to try this authentic Jamaican dish? You’ll be glad to hear it’s simple to prepare and so flavorful!

If you are off to Jamaica to an all-inclusive resort, make sure you don’t miss out on this great, authentic taste of the island.

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Kylie Morrow

About Kylie Morrow

Born on the tropical island that is Saint Lucia affords a never-ending source of inspiration. In the past 13 years, Kylie loved to work with various newspapers, magazines and blogs in the Caribbean.