How to Make Belizean Rice & Beans

Traditional Rice & Beans with Stew Chicken

One of the all-time classic Caribbean dishes, rice and beans hold a special place in every Belizean’s heart. Simple enough for everyday fare, beans & rice are the perfect base to any meal. Accompany rice & beans with any meat. You can commonly find it with stewed chicken, stew beef, or stew pork. Other options include BBQ chicken, jerk chicken, curry chicken, and the list goes on!

DI - Rice and Beans

What is Belize's National Dish?

You have not visited Belize properly if you have not eaten rice and beans with stew chicken. As Belize’s national dish, it is a staple in Belizean cuisine. Click here learn more about Belizean cuisine and other traditional dishes.

As you travel across the country, the flavors infused in the rice and beans fluctuate and shift in subtle and dramatic ways, with each ethnic community putting their own variation on this traditional dish. Be sure to try it in any village you go to during your journey!

When do we eat Rice & Beans?

Belizeans traditionally enjoy rice and beans during lunch time. If a traveller joins a tour with lunch provided, VERY LIKELY it will be a plate of rice & beans with stew chicken and a side of coleslaw or pasta salad.

Whether you already visited and enjoyed our Belizean rice & beans firsthand, or want to sample it before your first trip – let us entice you to try making it back at home following our Drift Inn staff-made recipe.

Rice and Beans Recipe

Rice & Beans Ingredients:

  • 1 pound red kidney beans (washed and drained)
  • 2 pounds uncooked rice
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • Half a sweet onion diced
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon thyme (can sub cilantro)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup coconut milk (can use canned or dry powder – just follow directions on the package)

Rice & Beans Instructions:

  1. If using dried beans, soak overnight or a minimum of 6 hours until soft.
  2. Boil beans with garlic and onion in 6 cups of water.
  3. Add pepper, thyme, and salt.
  4. Add coconut milk and return to boil.
  5. Add uncooked rice to beans.
  6. Cover and then cook on low heat until rice is tender. Be sure not to stir.

Stewed Chicken Ingredients:

  • 4 pounds of chicken (various parts).
  • Vinegar or lime juice to taste
  • 1 clove chopped garlic
  • 1 teaspoon of red recado / achiote paste (if you cannot locate red recado, a mixture of oregano, chili powder and paprika with lard/oil can be used as a substitute) 
  • 1 teaspoon each of thyme, salt, and pepper
  • 1 small tomato
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cumin
  • 1 tablespoon chopped green/red peppers (sweet)
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped onion
  • Cilantro to taste

Stewed Chicken Instructions:

  1. Thoroughly wash and pat dry chicken pieces.
  2. Season chicken with cilantro, cumin, thyme, salt, pepper, vinegar/lime juice, and recado paste.
  3. Add 2 tablespoons of oil to a pan and add brown sugar. Cool until melted without burning.
  4. Add garlic to the pan.
  5. Add ginger to pan, removing ginger when it is fully browned.
  6. Add chicken and fully brown on all sides.
  7. Add all remaining seasoning plus half a cup of water.
  8. Cover pan and reduce heat to low, simmer for one hour until chicken is tender.

Note: Add water as needed throughout the cooking process so the pan never is completely dry.


We hope you try this recipe and love it! If you want more Belizean recipes, check out this one on How to make Belizean Salbutes.

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