Pumpkin rice

Pumpkin rice is a type of seasoned rice common in Jamaica. It’s usually made on weeknights as it’s an easy one pot meal. It’s a simple dish usually made with ingredients you already have at home and need a meal on a budget. One of my favorite comfort foods from my childhood. Every time I make this it makes me feel like I’m in Jamaica. This dish is vegan friendly and gluten free. Perfect for fall and winter.

Pumpkin rice

What is seasoned rice?

Seasoned rice is basically a one pot rice dish with herbs and spices such as thyme, pimento, onion and garlic. In Jamaica, there are many types of seasoned rice, but the two most common are pumpkin rice and saltfish seasoned rice. They are made the same way except one uses saltfish and the other uses pumpkin. It’s also common to see it made with salted pork.

Is pumpkin rice better made on the stove or in a rice cooker?

This comes down to personal preference. I used to only make this stove top but then I tried making it in the rice cooker and honestly, I’ve never looked back. You could even make this in the Instant Pot.

What pumpkin is best for pumpkin rice?

Kabocha or calabaza squash are the best for this recipe but any winter squash will work. I’ve used butternut squash, acorn squash and recently, blue Jarrahdale squash. Each squash will add a different flavor profile so feel free to experiment.

Things to know about this recipe:

  1. Use a long grain rice like jasmine or basmati so the dish won’t be mushy.
  2. Add in a tablespoon of all purpose seasoning to give it an extra boost of flavor.
  3. It’s much better the next day.

What to eat this with?

I like to eat this by itself, but it would be perfect with Jerk Pork or Air Fryer Jerk Salmon.

Pumpkin rice

Pumpkin Rice

A flavorful seasoned rice. Perfect for the fall. Quick and easy weeknight one pot dinner.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine Jamaican
Servings 5


  • Cutting board
  • Large skillet
  • Knife
  • Wooden spoon
  • Rice cooker


  • 3.5 cups rice
  • 5 cups water
  • 2 cups pumpkin diced
  • ½ onion diced
  • 2 stalks green onion chopped
  • ½ green bell pepper chopped
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 3.5 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 TBSP dried thyme
  • ½ TBSP pimento whole, optional
  • 1 scotch bonnet or habanero optional


  • In a large skillet on medium heat, add oil. Once heated add onion, bell pepper, green onions and sauté until onions are translucent.
  • Add in pumpkin and seasonings. Stir to combine and cover pot for 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add everything from the skillet to the rice cooker, add rice, water, pimento, and hot pepper. Stir then close the lid. Cook on white rice setting until done.
  • Once done cooking, open the lid and stir to combine and fluff the rice.
  • Serve as is or with your favorite protein.


This can be made stove top by sauteing in a medium pot and after sauteing and water and bring to a boil. Then add in the rest of the ingredients and reduce to a simmer. Cover the pot and cook for 25-30 minutes or until the rice is cooked.
Use the pumpkin or squash you have on hand. I’ve tested this recipe with kabocha, acorn, butternut squash and Jarrahdale. 
Keyword caribbean, caribbean food, jamaican, jamaican food, one pot, one pot recipe, pumpkin rice, rice, seasoned rice

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