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Jamaican Ackee & Saltfish

Jamaican Ackee & Saltfish









Jamaican Ackee & Saltfish


Ackee and Saltfish is a very popular traditional Jamaican dish. It is also Jamaica’s national dish. Some people eat this for breakfast or dinner but it is mostly prepared as a big Saturday or Sunday breakfast including in my home.







In Jamaica, local Ackee is very easy to get all year long as we have many Ackee trees. However, living in the United States for example you may only be able to get canned Ackee unless someone visiting brings it from Jamaica. 


I remember when I lived in the states, Ackee and Saltfish was one of the dishes I craved most and looked forward to having whenever I visited Jamaica.







  • Ackee – Freshly picked is best or sometimes after picking, if not ready to use, it can be pre-boiled for about 5 minutes (which is required of any fresh picked ackees before using), cooled and then frozen. Canned as a last option.
  • Salt-fish – pre-boiled and picked.
  • Ham – pieces optional or bacon works well too.(not pictured)
  • Tomatoes – Preferably plummy or nice ripe ones diced.
  • Onions – cut horizontally.
  • Green Bell Pepper – or red or yellow (as pictured here).
  • Fresh Thyme Leaves
  • Scotch Bonnet Pepper – Just to taste or more if you want it spicy.(not pictured)
  • Black Pepper











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  1. First you boil the excess salt from the salt-fish, I repeat this step once.
  2. Next, after running cold water to cool the salt-fish, you remove any excess skin, and bones and pick the salt-fish into small pieces as shown
  3. you cut up all seasonings and have your prepared ackee set aside.
  4. Using a  large non-stick skillet on medium – high heat and about 3 Tbsp. of oil, when hot, sautéed the salt-fish, ham or bacon (pre-cooked) if using, thyme and vegetables for about 1 minute.
  5. You would then add the ackee and gently stir using a big spoon just to incorporate being careful not to make the ackees break up as it is sometimes very delicate especially when soft like canned ones. You may simmer a few minutes until cooked then remove from heat.


The best side served with Ackee & Saltfish also only found in Jamaica unfortunately is Roast Breadfruit (a must have whenever you visit). Other sides that do go well with this is boiled green bananas, yam, dumplings, fried dumplings, fried festival or fried plantains.








Jamaican Ackee & Saltfish

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 6 People
Author Dianne


  • 3/4 Lb. or 12 oz. Saltfish
  • 1/2 cup Ham pieces or pre-cooked Bacon *optional
  • 1 1/2 Dz. Ackee pods Or 1 can
  • 1 Medium Plummy Tomato or 1/2 cup diced
  • 1 small Onion Sliced horizontally
  • 1/4 Cup Green pepper Diced
  • 2 Cloves Garlic Minced
  • 3 Sprigs Fresh Thyme Leaves
  • 1/2 Scotch Bonnet Pepper More or less according to preference
  • 1/4 tsp. Black Pepper
  • 3 Tbsp. Oil


  1. Wash excess salt off Saltfish. Cover with water in a medium pot. Bring to boil and boil around 10 minutes. Change water and bring to boil again for about 10 minutes.

  2. Drain hot water off fish and replace with cold pipe water. After a few minutes when fish is cool, revel skin and bones and pick Saltfish into small pieces in a bowl and set aside.

  3. Fresh picked ackees should be pre-boiled in salted water for about 5 minutes and cooled. For canned ackees, just drain and use as is.

  4. Cut up all seasonings. Heat medium or large skillet on medium-high heat. Add oil, when hot add seasonings and sautéed for about 1 minute. Add Saltfish and black pepper and stir.

  5. Add ackee and gently stir to combine. Turn heat to low and cover. Simmer 3-4 minutes. Turn off heat and serve.




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