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Jamaican Ackee and Saltfish Recipe

Ackee and saltfish is Jamaica’s National dish, full of flavor and cultural importance. It contains ackee, a yellow fruit with a mild taste, and salted codfish, which provides it with a savory flavor.

ackee and saltfish recipe on white plate


Full Recipe Ingredients/Instructions are available in the 
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Ackee and saltfish, a beloved Jamaican staple, is surprisingly simple to prepare at home. My grandma had an ackee tree. I remember her picking the ripe ackee, taking out the seed, boiling it, and cooking it for us.

Those were the good ol’ days when I had access to fresh ackee, but now, canned ackee does just as well in this dish. It comes in handy when I want to make this ackee and saltfish recipe.

This recipe is easy to make. It only has a few steps. First, boil the saltfish to remove excess salt. Then, sauté aromatics. Finally, add canned ackee is warmed through.

People typically serve this recipe alongside fried dumplings, roasted breadfruit, boiled green bananas, festival, or pear. 


  • Aromatics: Canola oil, yellow onion, green scallions, fresh thyme, scotch bonnet pepper (optional) – These ingredients infuse the dish with fragrance and depth of flavor.
  • Protein: Salted codfish – This provides a savory and salty foundation for the dish. Ensure that you bone the codfish and have already removed the bones. You can also purchase boned codfish without the bones. You’ll also want to boil or soak the codfish overnight to remove any excess salt.
  • Produce: Roma tomato, ackee – These provide freshness, color, and essential nutrients. I typically used the canned ackee.
  • Seasoning: Black pepper – This adds a subtle heat and complexity to the dish.
ingredients for ackee and saltfish

How to make Ackee and Saltfish

First, prepare the saltfish by soaking it in water overnight, draining it, boiling it once, and then draining it again. You can skip the overnight soak and boil and drain the salted fish 2-3 times until the excess salt is removed.

Break the saltfish into small pieces and set it aside. 

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions, scallions, thyme, and scotch bonnet peppers to the skillet and saute for 3-4 minutes, until the onions have softened. Then add salted fish and stir for an additional minute. 

Add the roma tomatoes and drained ackee and cook for 3-4 minutes, gently stirring to prevent the ackee from breaking up. Season with black pepper. 

finished ackee and saltfish in skillet

Serve and enjoy.

What is ackee?

Ackee is Jamaica’s national fruit, growing on trees. Jamaicans commonly eat it with saltfish in the national dish, ackee and saltfish, but they can also use it in other ways. Ackee has its distinct flavor and texture. Once cooked, it becomes soft and creamy-like. It’s mild in flavor and it’s not sweet.

Finding fresh ackee in the US is hard because the government bans its import. Fresh ackee can be toxic if not cooked correctly.

You can find canned or frozen ackee at your international market or online.

More Ways to Use Ackee

Although mostly used in this dish, ackee can be used in many ways. You can use it as a substitute for scrambled eggs, add it to your favorite curry, or make fritters using the ackee.

And there you have it: delicious ackee and saltfish. If you’re looking for more Caribbean breakfast recipes, check these out:

ackee and saltfish recipe on white plate
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5 from 3 votes

Jamaican Ackee and Saltfish

Ackee and saltfish is Jamaica’s national dish. It’s typically served for breakfast on the weekends but can be eaten any time of the day. This recipe is a staple in the Caribbean kitchen. 
Course Breakfast
Cuisine Caribbean
Keyword ackee and saltfish
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4 people
Calories 405kcal
Author Tanya


  • 8 oz salted cod fish boned
  • 2 Tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 yellow onion chopped
  • 2 green scallions chopped
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme stems removed
  • 1 scotch bonnet pepper seeds removed and chopped (optional)
  • 1 roma tomato chopped
  • 15 oz can ackee drained
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper or to taste


  • First, prepare your saltfish by either soaking it in water overnight, draining it, and then boiling it once, and then draining it again. You can also skip the overnight soak and boil and drain the salted fish 2-3 times until the excess salt is removed. Once the saltfish has been boiled and drained, break the saltfish into small pieces. Set aside.
  • Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions, scallions, thyme, and scotch bonnet to skillet and sauté for 3-4 minutes, until onions have softened. Add salted fish and stir for an additional minute.
  • Add roma tomato and ackee and cook for 3-4 minutes until heated through. Season with black pepper.
  • Serve and enjoy.



  • This recipe calls for canned ackee, which is already cooked and can be found in most international grocery stores or online. If using fresh ackee, it will need to be prepared properly by boiling the ackee.
  • If you can’t file salted codfish, use cooked cod or tilapia and season the dish with salt. 


Calories: 405kcal
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Although attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Under no circumstances will be responsible for any loss or damage resulting for your reliance on nutritional information.

This post was originally published on July 9, 2021. It has been updated with new photos and additional information.

5 from 3 votes (2 ratings without comment)
Recipe Rating

Roy Burtrum

Monday 15th of July 2024

The scotch bonnet peppers, add a robust flavor to this recipe. You must be careful not to add an excessive amount of scotch bonnet, unless you really enjoy a blast of heat.


Monday 15th of July 2024

Thanks Roy! I agree, scotch bonnet peppers can be might spicy. I like to remove the seeds and rinds to calm the spice down.