Jamaican Curry Shrimp

Jamaican Curry Shrimp

Jamaican Curry Shrimp brings the flavors and tastes from the Caribbean island of Jamaica into your own home. The easy recipe can be on your table in 30 minutes making it perfect for a weeknight meal.

Jamaican Curry Shrimp
Jamaican Curry Shrimp

This delicious Jamaican curry shrimp has a warm and robust flavor without being hot. It is different from Indian or South Asian curries, especially those traditionally served in Britain, because Jamaican curry powder contains allspice and has less heat than curry powders from other countries. While somewhat spicy, this recipe is not hot as it gets its taste solely from the curry powder. You can easily adjust the curry to your own heat preference by either adding some hot pepper sauce or a fresh chopped scotch bonnet or habanero pepper to the recipe if you really want to go for the heat.

While not all Jamaican curries call for coconut milk, it does add a wonderful flavor and richness to this island recipe. I like to serve this Jamaican shrimp curry, which is a little spicy and rich tasting, over rice and then garnished with sliced green onions and a wedge of lime.

Jamaican Curry Shrimp

Recipe serves two, adjust the recipe accordingly.

  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil or butter
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. Jamaican curry powder or to taste * see note
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 lb. jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 green onion (scallion) sliced for garnish
  • sliced limes (optional)

Note: For an authentic flavor, use Jamaican curry powder. If you can’t locate it where you live, you can use Madras curry power and add some allspice but know that the flavor will be different. Instead of a yellow color, it will be darker and spicer because of the red pepper found in Madras.

Heat oil in a sauté pan over medium heat and add the onion and garlic and cook until soft and translucent. Add the curry powder, mix well, and cook about a minute. Pour in the coconut milk, stir well, and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the chopped tomato, thyme, salt and pepper and simmer for another 5 minutes. Add the shrimp and simmer in the sauce until they are firm, pink, and cooked through, about 5 minutes, depending on the size of the shrimp. Make sure to not overcook or the shrimp will be tough. Spoon the shrimp curry on top of cooked rice, if you wish, and garnish with green onions and a slice of lime.


Jamaica is the first Caribbean island that I’ve visited where the food really impressed me. Huge succulent shrimp, known locally as “janga”, that were almost the size of small lobsters served in an upscale restaurant. Homestyle curried goat served under florescent lights at formica tables in a tiny shop where the locals ate. The most memorable meal, however, was jerk chicken that was being sold at an open air shack at a road’s edge that was recommended by a local. The chicken was smoked in a pit over pimento wood logs under a piece of corrugated roofing metal, chopped then sold by the quarter, half or full pound and eaten with your fingers. The chicken was charred yet moist, smokey and savory from the herbs and spices of the jerk seasonings. Needless to say, there was a scotch bonnet jerk sauce if you wanted to eat it like the locals…really hot. One small spoonful made your eyes water and your nose run. My curry shrimp recipe won’t do that.

When you want a quick and easy weeknight dinner, think about this Jamaican curry shrimp recipe. Served over a bed of rice with a squeeze of lime juice, it will bring the flavors and tastes of the Caribbean to your own kitchen table. Have some reggae music playing in the background, open a bottle of Red Stripe beer and perhaps this delicious curry will inspire you to start planning a tropical vacation to the island of Jamaica.




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100 thoughts on “Jamaican Curry Shrimp

  1. We have just gotten back from a long trip and I have to think about dinner. It happens that I have all the ingredients for this so guess what will be on the table!

    1. I so enjoyed following along on your adventure and it certainly was a wonderful one. I’m happy that you had everything to make the Jamaican curry. Thank you for letting me know that you enjoyed the meal. 😀

  2. I like the sound of this one! Not sure if I can find Jamaican curry powder here in Spain but I can add allspice to the Indian curry. I know I will love it. Thanks.

    1. Thank you Darlene, I’m glad to know that you like the sound of the Jamaican curry. Yes, I think you will get a nice curry using Madras curry and allspice as I’m sure you would have trouble finding Jamaican curry powder in Spain. 🙂

  3. Karen, I have fond memories of eating Jamaican Curry Shrimp at a fish camp I visited on Little Cayman Island. I don’t know that I’ve had it since, but now I can. Thanks for the substitution tip for using Madras curry powder with a touch of allspice.

    1. Hi Ron, Yes I thought many of my readers from other parts of the world might have a problem finding Jamaican curry powder so I think the Madras and allspice will give you a good result.

    1. Hi Jeanie, I’m happy to know that you like the looks of the Jamaican curry shrimp. It does have a delicious flavor, thank you for your compliment.

  4. Delicious. I love shrimp and curry. I have a friend who likes to come out for a curry with me sometimes but only likes mild not hot curries. So I choose all the mild ones. It’s good to try things other than my usual favourites and they’re just as delicious as the hot.

    1. Thank you Kay. Yes it is nice when you can make a dish that is very well seasoned but not so hot that some people won’t want to eat it. This is one curry that would please your friend and you could add a spicy hot sauce to yours at the table.

    1. Thank you for your compliment Jovina. I’m happy that the recipe brought back memories of your trip to Jamaica…I’m sure you had a wonderful time.

  5. I know so little about curry, and so I was interested to learn that Jamaican curry was different and less intense…also I bet the coconut milk does add another layer of flavor…the dish sounds elegant!

    1. Hi Jenna, You are right about the coconut milk adding a nice flavor to the curry. It is very easy to make and delicious. I’m glad you like the recipe, thank you.

  6. Whenever I see a recipe that calls for curry powder, I find many of them contain garlic which is a non-starter for me. For your beautiful shrimp dish, rather than use Madras curry and add allspice, I will go online and find a recipe to make the curry powder myself – which will give this dish a more authentic taste. (Just did this and found several really good recipes!) Thanks for a great summery recipe, Karen!

    1. I’m glad you like the curry David. Yes, you can definitely make your own curry powder…that way you can be sure that there is no garlic in it. We are lucky and have a women at our farmer’s market that sells her own spices and I couldn’t resist buying her Jamaican curry powder.

    1. I have to agree with you Pam about loving shrimp. I do think you would enjoy this Jamaican curry dish and I’m always happy to share recipes. Thank you!

    1. Hi Ronit, Living in NYC, I don’t think you will have any problem finding Jamaican curry powder. I do believe that you would enjoy this curry and appreciate your nice compliment, thank you.

  7. Mmm, curry. Love the stuff! I haven’t eaten much Jamaican curry, and have never cooked it. But I will! This looks great — thanks.

    1. Thank you for your nice compliment John. If you get a chance to make this Jamaican curry I hope you will enjoy it as much as we did.

    1. Hi Carolyn, I’m glad you like the curry recipe, thank you. If you can’t find Jamaican curry powder at your local market, you can order it online or use Madras and add some allspice.

    1. Hi Sandhya, it is so nice to hear from you…you have been missed in the blogging community. 😀 Thank you for your nice compliment. I happy to know that you like the Jamaican curry shrimp recipe.

    1. I’m glad you like the Jamaican curry shrimp Boleyn. Madras curry powder will definitely work but do try adding a little allspice to the dish if you have it.

      1. Used the last of the shrimp in the freezer but I’ll have to remind myself to pick some up the next time I go shopping. I’ve got allspice … use it in my Jamaican beef patties. 🙂

  8. Well, Karen, I know this is intended for me! Because you well know about my inept cooking skills, even at Jamaican food, at which I should be a boss. Tee hee.. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Hi Cynthia, You may have had a mishap or two in the kitchen but I do believe that this is one recipe that you could definitely make. You could probably teach me a thing or two when it comes to a good Jamaican curry shrimp. 😀

  9. Karen, I have never heard of Jamaican curry…thanks for the information as the shrimps look so tasty and love the creamy sauce. Have a great week

    1. Hi Juliana, I do believe that you would enjoy this flavorful Jamaican curry…I hope you give it a try sometime. Thank you for your compliment and wish.

  10. As over half my cooking is sourced from SE Asia, S Asia and Africa, prawns in a so-called ‘curry’ sauce are a familiar part of the menu. Do not have much experience in Caribbean cooking but dear friends have taught the differences . . . shall certainly try yours tho’, like Davit, I make my own spice bases . . . not that I do not use garlic, but simply because I can change them around to reflect what I like. Have noted the thyme: quite strange to me . . .shall include !

    1. Hi Eha, I do believe that this is a dish that would suit your tastes and I’m sure that a you can make a delicious curry powder. Yes, thyme both fresh and dried is very prevalent in Jamaican cooking. Enjoy!

  11. hi karen
    yum i do love prawns (sorry– we don’t say shrimp here) tho i usually prefer them cold with mayo:-) we are lucky to have a spice shop or 2 nearby so i can always head there and check them out for curry powders. i really like sri lankan curry powder i have to say….just by the by… cheers sherry

    1. Hi Sherry, now you have me curious about Sri Lankan curry powder. I bought my Jamaican curry powder from a women that specializes in spices at our local farmer’s market…I will check with her. That is the fun of blogging. 🙂

  12. We occasionally go to a local eatery called, “Jamaican Me Crazy,” which is a great name, I think, and the food is delicious. I love the flavor profile of what I experience as Jamaican food, although I am hardly an expert. And I’ve never been to Jamaica for the “real deal.” This Jamaican Curry Shrimp is so appealing, Karen, and I’m excited about trying something a little different. My husband enjoys Red Stripe, and I think I can provide the music. 🙂

    1. Thank you Debra, for your nice compliment. If you’ve got the music and your husband likes Red Strip…the rest of the meal will be a piece of cake for you. Enjoy!

    1. Hi Tandy, I was lucky to be able to buy Jamaican curry powder from a woman that makes up spice blends to sell at our local farmer’s market. There are several readers who want to make their own curry powder and there are indeed recipes online. Enjoy!

  13. I think our local grocery store carries all kinds of different curries. I have to look and see if they have the Jamaican variety to make this delicious looking dish.

    1. Hi Gerlinde, I do hope you can find Jamaican curry power at your local store. Thank you for your nice compliment about the recipe, it is much appreciated.

  14. This looks so creamy and so delicious. I must say, I am a big fan of curries and I make them every now and then but I have never tried a jamaican one. Very inspiring thank you for the recipe, I want to try it.x

    1. Thank you Alida for your nice compliment. If you like curries then I do believe that you would enjoy the Jamaican curry shrimp. 🙂

    1. Hi Mad Dog, There was no question in my mind that you would enjoy not only this shrimp curry but curry goat and jerk chicken as well. You are a true adventuresome eater. 😀

    1. Hi Larry, Perhaps it is all the time that I’ve lived in Florida that I’ve experience different foods from the Caribbean. I hope you will give the Jamaican curry shrimp a try some time.

    1. I appreciate your lovely compliment Mimi. If you like Indian curries, I do believe this is a recipe you would enjoy…it is easy to make it mild or spicy, whichever you like.

  15. I agree with Mimi – I love seafood curries but are Indian based. Sounds like the Jamaican curry powder is important to use – will have to look around. Then of course there is always good ole’ Amazon!

    1. Thank you Judi, I’m glad you like the Jamaican curry shrimp. I bought my Jamaican curry powder from a woman that sells spices at our local farmer’s market. Yes Amazon has it if you can’t find the curry powder at your local market.

    1. Hi Judi, Several readers are going to make their own Jamaican curry powder if they can’t find it locally. I’m sure yours would be good.

  16. I’ve never had such a curry, it looks amazing. I would have to make my own Jamaincan curry powder as well, there is no such thing around here, I am afraid! But I am sure it would be worth it!

    1. Thank you Adina for your lovely compliment. Perhaps you will be able to make your own curry powder as the end result is a delicious dish.

    1. Thank you Jo, I believe blogging friends do prod each of us to try new things and I’m happy to learn that I’ve inspired you into perhaps trying a Jamaican curry. 😀

    1. Thank you Scarlett, for your lovely compliment. Definitely head over the the Jamaican side of the aisle as I think you will really enjoy the Jamaican curry shrimp.

  17. I will always welcome flavors from Jamaica into my home! I was in Jamaica many moons ago and LOVED the food. This recipe sounds delicious and the fresh lime and green onion is such a nice touch.

  18. I was drawn to the recipe for the shrimp and stayed for the 30 minutes to dinner! What a fabulous way to enjoy curry.

    1. I enjoyed your clever comment Deb. 😀 I’m very happy to know that you like the recipe for Jamaican curry shrimp, thank you.

    1. Thank you Jan, the Jamaican curry shrimp is a flavorful dish. Very different from what you usually cook but I do believe you would enjoy the curry.

    1. Hi Amanda, I’m happy that you like the Jamaican curry shrimp recipe. Yes, allspice is a very popular spice in Jamaican cooking…I hope you will enjoy the curry. Thank you for your nice compliment.

    1. Hi Inger, I’m glad you like the recipe. If you have something like McCormick’s curry powder, it doesn’t have allspice in it. It is fun to try different curry blends and I think you would enjoy the Jamaican version if you can find it. If not just add some allspice to the one you have and it should be similar.

  19. I think I still might have some Jamaican curry powder from the time I made Jamaican chicken roti! I’ve been feeling a little ho hum with my recipe repertoire so this shrimp curry would make an awesome addition.

    1. Hi Eva, Since you have some Jamaican curry powder in your pantry, you are on your way to a different and delicious meal if you give the Jamaican curry shrimp a try. Enjoy and thank you! BTW, I hope you are feeling better.

  20. Many of my fellow RN colleagues were of Jamaican heritage when I worked in NY, and I always loved when they brought homecooked food to holiday parties. The curried goat and jerk chicken and curried rice and beans were so good! I will have to look for Jamaican curry powder at a local spice shop and try to reproduce some of those meals. This shrimp looks so delicious!

    1. Thank you Pat for your lovely compliment. I’m happy to know that the recipe brought back memories of the food your RN colleagues shared at the holidays. I hope you will enjoy the Jamaican curry shrimp if you give it a try.

  21. I’ve never tried Jamaican curry powder, but like the sound of it. I’m wondering if the janga are like our Australian King Prawns, which I adore. I appreciate you advising how to make up a batch of the curry powder with what he have in the pantry!

    1. Thank you Kathryn for your nice compliment. Having already made a curry paste for your goat curry, you could probably almost make this dish with your eyes closed. 😀

  22. I don’t think I’ve ever had anything Jamaican, but have always suspected Jamaican cuisine is fascinating. I’m very curious about the Jamaican curry powder. Your shrimp curry looks fantastic!

    1. Hi Sissi, I know your love for different cuisines from around the world and your love of curries. I have a feeling that you probably have all the spices in your pantry to make a good Jamaican curry powder as well as this recipe. Thank you for your nice compliment and I hope you give Jamaican cuisine a try, I think you will enjoy it.

  23. Interesting! I’m not familiar with Jamaican style curries, but I’m super intrigued now. This curry shrimp sounds like a delicious meal, and it doesn’t look too hard to make either! I do like jerk seasoning, and your description of that smoked chicken is making my mouth water. The use of pimento wood logs sounds super cool. I’ve never smoked anything with pimento wood!

    1. Hi David, The Jamaican curry shrimp is so easy and quick to prepare and I think you would really enjoy this flavorful dish. The smoked jerk chicken we had in Jamaica was outstanding. A local woman told us that a good jerk sauce is a guarded family secret. Her father had given her brother his recipe but to no one else in her family. She then suggested if we wanted to try really good jerk chicken we should go to that roadside shack. 😀

  24. I love the flavor of curry with tomato. This one look tasty and easy to prepare.
    Thank you for another wonderful recipe. 🙂

    1. Hi Amy, You can’t believe how easy and quickly this delicious curry comes together. Thank you, I appreciate your lovely compliment.

  25. Thank you Thao, I’m happy to know that you like my Jamaican curry shrimp recipe. It really was a nice dish and you are right, the shrimp were indeed very tender.

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