Jamaican curry powder is a key ingredient in many traditional Jamaican dishes. This homemade version is easy to make, and the resulting flavor is well worth the effort.
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I’ve shared some of my favorite Jamaican dishes, from oxtail to brown stew chicken, and of course, curry chicken.
Curry is quite popular in Jamaica and requires curry powder to get that unique flavor and yellow color many curry dishes have. You can find many different kinds and brands of curry powder in the stores, but sometimes a good one is hard to find.
I have my favorite store-bought brands, like Blue Mountain Country and Betapac,but this homemade version can compete with the best of them. Made with a few spices, this homemade curry powder has only eight ingredients and is relatively easy to make. It’s the perfect blend to have on hand if you love authentic Jamaican curry.
Ingredients for Jamaican Curry Powder
My homemade version includes the following ingredients:
- Whole spices – I like to use whole spices in this recipe because I toast them before making the powder. The whole spices I use are coriander, cumin, allspice berries, fenugreek, and black peppercorn.
- Ground spices – turmeric, ground ginger, ground scotch bonnet pepper.
How to make Jamaican Curry Powder
Toast the coriander, cumin, allspice, fenugreek, and black peppercorn seeds in a medium-sized skillet over medium heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Be careful not to burn the spices.
Remove the seeds from the skillet and transfer them to a spice grinder. Grind the seeds until they are a fine powder. If you don’t have a spice or coffee grinder, use a mortar and pestle to grind the spices.
Add the turmeric powder, ground ginger, and scotch bonnet pepper and grind for a few seconds more to combine the spices.
Transfer the curry powder to an airtight container and store it in a cool, dry place. Use in your favorite curry recipes.
My Favorite Spice Grinder
How do I use Jamaican Curry Powder?
You’ll want to use this curry powder in any recipe that calls for curry powder. Here are a few of the most popular Jamaican recipes using curry powder
How much curry powder should I use?
I recommend using 1 Tablespoon of curry powder per 1 pound of meat or vegetable.
Should I burn the curry?
Burning the curry is a phrase that means to cook the curry in fat, usually oil, to allow it to bloom and darken a little. You don’t actually burn it. I find it makes your dish taste a little more flavorful. You can do this if your recipe calls for it.
Is there salt in curry powder?
This homemade version does not have salt as an ingredient. Some store-bought Jamaican curry powders do add salt. I’ve chosen to keep this curry powder salt-free so you can control the salt. Please add salt to the recipe when you’re cooking.
How long does curry powder last?
This spice blend can be stored in an airtight container for up to 6 months.
- When toasting the spices, only toast them for 2-3 minutes. Toasting it any longer can burn the spices, and it will cause your curry to taste bitter.
Making your own curry powder at home has several benefits. First, you can customize the flavor to suit your taste by adjusting the measurements of each spice. Second, homemade curry powder is fresher and more flavorful than store-bought versions since it hasn’t been sitting on a shelf for months. Finally, making your own spice blend is a great way to save money since you can buy the ingredients in bulk.
The main difference between Jamaican curry and Indian curry is the number of ingredients used and the fact that Jamaican curry powder has certain spices added, like allspice and fenugreek.
Although this curry powder has a hint of scotch bonnet pepper added, it is not spicy. If you are not a fan of any heat, omit the pepper. If you cannon find scotch bonnet pepper, use cayenne pepper instead.
Jamaican Curry Powder Recipe
- 1 Tablespoons whole Coriander seeds
- 1 Tablespoon whole Cumin seeds
- 1 Tablespoons whole Allspice berries
- ½ Tablespoon Fenugreek seeds
- ½ Tablespoon whole black peppercorns
- 3 Tablespoons ground turmeric
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon ground scotch bonnet pepper
- Toast the coriander, cumin, allspice, fenugreek, and black peppercorn seeds in a medium-sized skillet over medium heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Be careful not to burn the spices.
- Remove the seeds from the skillet and transfer them to a spice grinder. Grind the seeds until they are a fine powder.
- Add the turmeric powder, ground ginger, and scotch bonnet pepper and grind for a few seconds more to combine the spices.
- Transfer the curry powder to an airtight container and store it in a cool, dry place. Use in your favorite curry recipes.
- This recipe makes about ½ cup of Jamaican curry powder. This version is salt-free. I like to add salt to the dish I’m cooking. If you’d like to add salt to this curry powder, I recommend about 1 teaspoon of kosher salt.
- While toasting, as soon as you smell the spices, remove them from the stove and the skillet. Be careful not to burn the spices when toasting them in the skillet. Only toast for up to 2 minutes, or your curry may taste bitter.
- Cayenne pepper can be subbed if you can’t find scotch bonnet pepper. Or simply leave the pepper out.
- This curry powder can be stored for 3-6 months.