11 Jamaican Desserts and Sweet Treats Your Taste Buds Will Love
Nothing sparks nostalgia like remembering the Jamaican desserts served at Sunday suppers! Here are some traditional desserts made by grandmothers in Jamaica.
Sweet Potato Pudding
This popular dessert is affectionately called “hell a top, hell a bottom and hallelujah in the middle” because it’s baked with coals layered above and below. A good Sweet Potato Pudding should be crusted on top and the bottom and perfectly moist in the middle. That’s what locals call the hallelujah in the middle!
In Jamaica, rum is used for everything from making cocktails to clearing stuffy noses in local homes. So when rum found its way into the cakes, it became a tradition. The rum cake is a popular Christmas treat, but love for the dessert has seen manufacturers selling rum cake in local supermarkets all year round.
Coconut toto, also called toto (pronounced toe-to), is a coconut-flavored Jamaican dessert. With its long history and origin dating back to slavery, Toto has become an island favorite over the centuries. Think of a soft yet crumbly coconut-flavored cake, and that’s toto.
Quite a few Jamaican desserts have one ingredient in common—and gizzada is no exception. Coconuts are an affordable way to make a great dessert. To make gizzadas, combine grated coconut with brown sugar and bake in a pinched crust.
Find more Caribbean recipes with tropical flavors.
This famous childhood treat is a homemade take on a natural candy. The sour tamarind fruit is taken from its shell and separated, rounded into balls, then coated with sugar. The result is a sour-sweet natural candy every kid wants to try.
Try making a homemade Jamaican banana pancake! You’ll need flour, sugar, salt and a few ripe bananas to make a batch of banana fritters. Despite its gray appearance, this dessert packs a punch in the flavor department—and it makes a great meal on its own. For savory dishes, check out this list of traditional Jamaican foods.
Bulla cake or bulla is a Jamaican dessert made with molasses and spices. Made popular by its introduction into the school lunch system, bulla is a seasonal delight that adults pair with avocado or cheese.
Coconut drops are the perfect snack for the coconut lover with a sweet tooth. With only a few ingredients, they’re easy to make, too. Gather some diced coconuts, sugar, fresh ginger and boil all your ingredients to create a thick syrup. Let set—and then voila! You have a taste of Jamaica.
Grater cake, also known as “pink on top,” is another simple Jamaican coconut sweet treat. This chewy candy-like dessert gets its name from being a grated coconut square. Although it’s called a cake, this Jamaican dessert has no flour in it. It’s a coconut treat compacted together and sometimes flavored with peppermint.
This inventive yet delicious dessert is made in a most unique way. Dukunnu, which is also called “tie-a-leaf” or “blue draws,” is a cornmeal pudding made by boiling. The pudding ingredients are wrapped in banana leaf and boiled until done. Although it’s traditionally a cornmeal pudding, you can replace the cornmeal with green bananas, cassava, sweet potato or yam.
A tropical twist on an international dessert, the mango cheesecake has a burst of mango fruit flavor in every bite. This is one of the Jamaican desserts on our list that’s most likely to be had after dinner. Don’t miss our full list of desserts from around the world.