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Christmas in Barbados – 3 Bajan Foods

Immerse yourself in the rich traditions (and tastes) of Barbados this Christmas. If you are lucky enough to be on the island this Christmas, we recommend dining at Champers Restaurant or Atlantis Hotel which are known for their traditional Christmas Lunches. If you cant join us in Barbados this year, here are the recipes to three Bajan Christmas dinner must haves that you can try making at home over the holidays. 


Jug Jug 

Jug Jug is a traditional Bajan Christmas dish made mostly of pigeon peas. Stock is made by boiling various ingredients together, such as meat, herbs and spices. It is believed that this dish was created as a result of poor Barbadians having access to limited ingredients like peas, corn and meat and creating something unique with what they had.



8 cups pigeon peas (gungo peas)
1 cup guinea cornflour
½ lb salted meat
¼ lb pork or meat of your choice
2 tbsp butter
2 onions finely chopped or minced
4 tbsp green Bajan seasoning
4 cups of water
salt and pepper to taste




1.     Soak the salt meat in water for an hour to remove most of the salt, changing the water once halfway through. Cut into small pieces.

2.     Boil the chicken or pork in water; once the meat is tender add the salt meat, peas.

3.     When the peas are soft, strain the mixture being sure to reserve the liquid for use as stock later on.

4.     Mince the meat, pea and herb mixture to a fairly fine consistency.

5.     Cook the guinea cornflour in the reserved stock for about 10 mins stirring constantly.

6.     Add the minced mixture, lower to medium heat, cook for 30 mins (stirring regularly) until you achieve a fairly stiff consistency. Stir in half the butter.

7.     Remove from the heat, pour the mixture into a dish, and spread out smoothly with the remaining butter.

8.     Serve hot, with sliced ham, pork, turkey or chicken.


Recipe compliments of


Baked Ham with Pineapples & Cherries

There is Fall and there is Winter and then there is ‘Ham Season’ - a true tradition in Barbados. From December 1st ham will be in most grocery carts around the island. Many Bajan’s treat themselves to a baked ham at Christmas time. Families and friends are known to get competitive over who has the best ham glaze. One common must-have on a Bajan baked Ham is the pineapple! 

A Bajan Christmas table is certainly not complete without the Christmas Ham! 



½ cup brown sugar
1 cup pineapple juice
¼ cup whole cloves
1 tablespoon dry mustard
1 (4.5 pound) butt-end smoked ham
1 (15.25 ounce) can pineapple rings, drained
1 (4 ounce) jar maraschino cherries, drained




1.     Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).

2.     Whisk pineapple juice, brown sugar, and dry mustard in a bowl until brown sugar has dissolved.

3.     Place ham in a baking dish with cut side down and arrange pineapple rings and maraschino cherries onto the ham; secure with toothpicks if needed. Push cloves into ham and baste ham and fruit with pineapple juice glaze.

4.     Bake in the preheated oven until glaze has baked onto ham, 1 1/2 to 2 hours; baste with glaze every 30 minutes.

5.     Turn on oven’s broiler.

6.     Broil ham until the glaze forms a crust and the pineapple slices are browned, about 5 minutes.


Recipe compliments of


Great Cake 

Great Cake, also known as Christmas Cake or Black Cake is the go-to Christmas dessert in Barbadian households. This cake is similar to the British Plum Pudding or Figgy Pudding, with the inclusion of Bajan spices and Bajan Rum of course!!



For Fruit Mixture:

3/4 cup candied citron, diced

1/2 cup candied orange peel, diced

3/4 cup candied cherries

4 cups raisins (mix golden and dark)

2 1/2 cups currants

1 cup dates, chopped

1 cup cooked prunes, chopped

1/2 cup almonds, toasted and chopped

2 1/2 cups dark Bajan rum


For Cake:

2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted

2 tablespoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon cloves

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon allspice

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

2 cups dark brown sugar, firmly packed

5 large eggs, at room temperature




For Fruit Mixture:

  1. Combine all ingredients. Fruit mixture can be minced or chopped according to liking.
  2. Make sure that the rum covers all of the fruits. Add more as necessary.
  3. Refrigerate or store in a cool place, lightly covered for four weeks or more.


For Cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
  2. Sift flour with baking powder, cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice, and salt; set aside. 
  3. Cream butter. Add sugar and beat a few minutes. Scrape bowl occasionally with wooden spatula during beating. 
  4. Add eggs one at a time, beating at medium speed. Make sure that eggs are thoroughly mixed and incorporated into mixture. Increase speed to high and beat until light and fluffy - about three minutes. You may add a small piece of lime or lemon peel while mixing to eliminate rawness of eggs. Remove peel from mixture when thoroughly mixed. 
  5. Re-sift half the flour mixture and add to the butter mixture and blend thoroughly, using lowest speed of mixer. 
  6. Now add mixture to soaked fruits while adding the additional flour. Stir with wooden spoon to blend thoroughly. 
  7. Butter two 9-inch loaf pans and line with buttered parchment paper. Spoon batter into pans. 
  8. Place a small pan half-full of water on bottom rack of oven for first hour of baking to keep cake moist. Bake at 300 degrees F for 2 to 2-1/2 hours or until cake tester comes out clean.
  9. Cool in pans, then invert on baking rack. Remove paper. Sprinkle with rum to moisten, then let cake dry and cool. 


Recipe compliments of

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