Jamaican curry chicken patties are a popular Caribbean snack that is loved for their bold and spicy flavors. These patties are filled with a delicious mixture of curried chicken and vegetables, all wrapped in a flaky, buttery pastry shell made from scratch. With the use of authentic Jamaican seasonings and spices, you’ll be able to create an irresistible and versatile treat that’s perfect for any occasion.
Table of Contents
Why We Love This Recipe
- The Perfect Combination: The tender, curried chicken and flaky pastry shell create a delicious balance of textures and flavors.
- Bold Jamaican Spices: Jamaican spices such as thyme, habanero peppers, curry and allspice give the patties a distinct and delicious flavor.
- Versatility: These patties can be enjoyed as a snack or a meal, making them a perfect choice for any time of the day. You can also fill them with different proteins such as beef, goat and veggies.
- Better Than Store-Bought: With a simple recipe and a few ingredients, you can make these patties right in your own kitchen. You’ll never go back to the grocery store varieties.
- International Cuisine: If you’re a fan of trying new international dishes or simply love spicy food, Jamaican curry chicken patties are definitely worth a try.
What are Jamaican Meat Patties?
Jamaican meat patties are a popular dish in Jamaican cuisine. They are small, handheld pastries or hand pies filled with savory fillings of spiced ground meat, vegetables, and sometimes other ingredients like cheese or seafood. The filling is typically seasoned with a blend of spices, including thyme, allspice, and scotch bonnet peppers, which gives the patties a unique and bold flavor. The pastry shell is flaky and buttery, and is usually made from a mixture of flour, butter, lard and water. Jamaican meat patties are often sold in bakeries, food trucks, and restaurants throughout Jamaica and are also popular in other Caribbean countries and in areas with significant Caribbean populations.
What gives Jamaican patties their yellow color?
The flaky crust of a Jamaican patty usually gets its yellow color from turmeric powder, a spice commonly used in Jamaican cuisine. Turmeric is a bright yellow-orange spice that comes from the root of the Curcuma longa plant. It has a warm, slightly bitter taste and is not only used as a coloring agent in food but it is also consumed for its amazing health benefits. The addition of turmeric not only enhances the appearance of the patties but also adds to the flavor profile of the dish. Because the flavor of turmeric is very potent we chose to mix it with curry powder to color our pastry dough.
Ingredients Needed for Jamaican Chicken Patties
See recipe card for full ingredient list and exact measurements.
- All-purpose Flour – Used as the base ingredient for the pastry dough, providing structure and texture to the crust.
- Kosher Salt – Amplifies the flavors of the other ingredients.
- Granulated Sugar – Adds a touch of sweetness to the crust, balancing out the savory flavors of the filling. You can also use brown sugar.
- Jamaican Curry Powder – Adds a distinct Jamaican flavor plus helps to give it a yellow color.
- Turmeric Powder – adds additional yellow color to the crust and enhances the flavor of the curry powder.
- Butter – Provides richness and flavor to the crust and helps to create a flaky texture.
- Vegetable Shortening – Adds tenderness and flakiness to the crust. Traditional recipes call for lard.
- Ice Water – Used to bind the dough together and create a workable dough.
Curry Chicken Filling Ingredients:
- Ground chicken – The star of this dish (or is it that flaky pastry?!) that absorbs the flavors of the spices and vegetables.
- Green Onion – adds a fresh and mild onion flavor to the filling.
- Habanero Pepper – Provides heat and flavor to the filling. If you have access to Scotch Bonnet Peppers, we suggest using that instead. It’s a signature element of Jamaican cuisine.
- Fresh Garlic – You can also use garlic powder or garlic paste if that’s what you have on hand.
- Onion – We used a sweet white onion that added a slight sweetness to the filling.
- Dried Thyme – A signature Jamaican spice that adds flavor and aroma to the filling. You can also use fresh thyme.
- Ginger Paste – We prefer fresh ginger in this dish but we only had the paste on hand. You can use that or even ginger powder.
- Allspice – Another signature Jamaican spice that adds a unique and complex flavor to the filling.
- Curry Powder and Turmeric powder – Used to season the filling and give it a yellow color.
- Breadcrumbs – Helps to bind the filling together and to create a tender texture.
- Chicken Stock or Broth – For moisture and additional flavor.
- Vegetable Oil – For sauteeing the veggies and browning the chicken. You can also use avocado oil. We used a non-gmo canola oil.
- Salt and Black Pepper, to taste – To season the filling and balance the flavors of the dish.
- Egg Wash – Beaten egg and water to give our patties a golden shiny finish. This step is optional.
Tips & Tricks for Achieving a Flaky Crust
- Use very cold butter and shortening. Cold fats help to create a flaky texture in the crust by creating steam pockets as they melt during baking.
- Work quickly. When cutting the butter and shortening into the flour mixture work quickly. Overworking the dough can result in a tough and dense crust.
- Use a food processor or pastry cutter to cut the butter and shortening into the flour mixture. This helps to create small, evenly sized pieces of fat that will distribute throughout the dough.
- Add just enough ice water to the dough to bind it together. Too much water can result in a tough crust.
- Chill the dough before rolling it out. This helps to relax the gluten and prevent a tough crust.
- Roll the dough out to a thickness of about 1/8 inch (3mm) for the perfect balance between flaky and sturdy.
How to Make Jamaican Chicken Patties
Make the Pastry Dough
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, sugar, Jamaican curry powder, and turmeric powder.
Using a pastry cutter, food processor, fork or your hands, cut in the cold butter and vegetable shortening until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
Gradually add the ice water, a few tablespoons at a time, mixing until the dough comes together and is no longer dry. Be careful not to overwork the dough.
Divide the dough into two equal portions, flatten them into disks, wrap them in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
While the dough is chilling, make the chicken filling. In a large skillet, heat the canola oil over medium-high heat.
Make the Filling
Add the onion and sauté until the onion begins to soften, about 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic and habanero pepper. Cook for another 30 seconds or until the garlic is fragrant.
Add the allspice, curry powder and turmeric powder to the pan and allow the spices to bloom for about 30 seconds.
Add the ground chicken and cook until browned and cooked through, stirring occasionally.
Add the green onion, thyme, ginger paste, bread crumbs, and chicken broth. Stir to combine and let simmer until the mixture thickens but is not too dry. If the mixture gets too dry add a little bit more broth or water. If it’s too loose, add a little bit more breadcrumbs.
Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and let cool.
Assemble the Patties
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
On a floured surface, with a rolling pin roll out one of the dough disks to about 1/8 inch thickness into a rectangular shape. Dust the dough with additional flour as needed to prevent sticking.
Fold the dough into thirds like a letter, then turn it 90 degrees and fold into thirds again. Repeat this process 2-3 more times to create layers in the dough, which will make it flaky.
Separate dough into 10 equal pieces. Roll out each piece to about 1/8 inch thick circles.
Place a spoonful of the chicken filling onto each dough circle, leaving enough space around the edges to seal.
Fold the other half of the dough over the filling to enclose it, and press the edges together with your fingers (as we did) or with a fork. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling.
Lightly brush the tops of the patties with the egg wash.
Place the patties on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown. Let cool for a few minutes. Serve and enjoy!
Jamaican Meat Pie Variations
- Beef Patty – Jamaican beef patties are filled with spiced ground beef, mixed with onions, garlic and Scotch bonnet pepper for heat.
- Veggie Patty – Sautéed vegetables such as carrots, peas, potatoes, and onions mixed with Jamaican spices make for a delicious vegetarian filling.
- Shrimp Patty – Chopped shrimp can be a tasty and seafood-inspired variation.
- Ackee and Saltfish Patty – The national dish of Jamaica, ackee and saltfish can be used as a filling for a unique and delicious twist on the traditional patty.
- Goat Patty – Ground goat meat mixed with traditional Jamaican spices and herbs for a bold and flavorful filling.
How to Store and Reheat Jamaican Patty Leftovers
Storing Leftovers: Let the patties cool down to room temperature before storing. Place the patties in an airtight container or wrap them tightly in plastic wrap. Store the patties in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
To Freeze: If freezing, place the wrapped patties in a freezer-safe container or freezer bag to prevent freezer burn. Freeze the patties for up to 3 months.
To Reheat: Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Remove the patties from the refrigerator or freezer and allow them to come to room temperature. Place them on a baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes or until they are heated through and the crust is crispy. Alternatively, you can reheat the patties in a toaster oven or microwave, but the crust may not be as crispy as in the oven.
What other ways can I color my pastry dough yellow?
Aside from turmeric, there are several other color agents that can be used to give Jamaican patties their characteristic yellow color. Some of these include:
- Annatto – a natural dye made from the seeds of the achiote tree. It has a mild flavor and is commonly used in Caribbean and Latin American cuisines.
- Saffron – a spice derived from the flower of the Crocus sativus plant. It has a distinct flavor and is one of the most expensive spices in the world. It can be used to give the patties a yellow color, but its high cost makes it less commonly used.
- Food coloring – We actually don’t suggest this option as your first choice. Artificial food dyes can be added to the pastry shell to give it a yellow color. However, this option is less desirable to those looking for natural ingredients.
Jamaican Patty Troubleshooting
The pastry is tough or dry.
This may be due to overworking the dough, using too much flour, or not enough fat. Be sure to handle the dough gently and avoid overworking it. Additionally, make sure to use the correct amount of fat and liquid to keep the pastry moist and tender.
The pastry is too greasy.
This may be due to using too much fat or not chilling the dough properly. Make sure to use the correct ratio of butter and shortening, and refrigerate the dough for at least 30 minutes before rolling it out.
The Jamaican patty filling is too dry.
This may be due to using too lean of meat, overcooking the filling, or not adding enough liquid to the mixture. Try using meats with a higher fat content, adding additional fats to pan before sauteeing, cooking the filling until it is just cooked through or adding a little chicken broth or water to the mixture as needed.
The patties are breaking apart during baking.
Chances are the edges of the patties were not sealed properly or they were overfilled. Make sure to crimp the edges of the pastry together tightly, and avoid overfilling the patties.
Jamaican Patty FAQs
Can I use store-bought pastry dough for Jamaican patties?
Yes, you can use store-bought pastry dough, but it may not be as flaky and flavorful as homemade dough. But you already knew that!
Can I make Jamaican patties ahead of time?
Yep!, Make the patties ahead of time and store them in the refrigerator or freezer until ready to serve.
How spicy are Jamaican chicken patties?
The level of spiciness can vary depending on the amount of Scotch bonnet or habanero pepper used in the filling. If you prefer a milder version, you can reduce the amount of pepper or use a milder pepper.
What is the best way to serve Jamaican meat patties?
Jamaican patties can be served as a snack or as a main course with a side salad or vegetables. They are also delicious with a variety of dipping sauces or chutneys. You can also serve as an appetizer to Jamaican Jerk Chicken Thighs or alongside Jamaican Jerk Egg Rolls.
Jamaican style curry chicken patties are a flavorful and popular snack and street food that you make at home. Making your own Jamaican chicken patties from scratch is a rewarding experience that allows you to customize the spice level and filling to your liking. With a flaky, yellow pastry crust and a savory chicken filling with a hint of spice, these patties are a delicious and satisfying treat.
Jamaican Curry Chicken Patties
For the Crust
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 2 tsp granulated sugar
- 1 tsp Jamaican curry powder
- 1 tbsp turmeric powder
- ½ cup 1 stick butter, very cold
- ¼ cup plus 2 tbsp vegetable shortening
- ¾ cup ice water, you may not need it all
For the Filling
- 1 lb ground chicken
- 3 stalks green onion, finely chopped
- 1 habanero pepper, finely chopped (remove seeds for less heat)
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 medium sweet onion, diced
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp ginger paste
- 1 tsp allspice
- 1 tbsp curry powder
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- ½ cup breadcrumbs
- ½ cup chicken broth
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- salt and pepper, to taste
- egg wash – One beaten egg and two tbsp water
Make the Pastry Dough
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, sugar, Jamaican curry powder, and turmeric powder.
- Using a pastry cutter, food processor, fork or your hands, cut in the cold butter and vegetable shortening until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
- Gradually add the ice water, a few tablespoons at a time, mixing until the dough comes together and is no longer dry. Be careful not to overwork the dough.
- Divide the dough into two equal portions, flatten them into disks, wrap them in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
- While the dough is chilling, make the chicken filling. In a large skillet, heat the canola oil over medium-high heat.
Make the Filling
- Add the onion and sauté until the onion begins to soften, about 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic and habanero pepper. Cook for another 30 seconds or until the garlic is fragrant.
- Add the allspice, curry powder and turmeric powder to the pan and allow the spices to bloom for about 30 seconds.
- Add the ground chicken and cook until browned and cooked through, stirring occasionally.
- Add the green onion, thyme, ginger paste, breadcrumbs, and chicken broth. Stir to combine and let simmer until the mixture thickens but is not too dry. If the mixture gets too dry add a little bit more broth or water. If it’s too loose, add a little bit more breadcrumbs.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and let cool.
Assemble the Patties
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- On a floured surface, roll out one of the dough disks to about 1/8 inch thickness into a rectangular shape. Dust the dough with additional flour as needed to prevent sticking.
- Fold the dough into thirds like a letter, then turn it 90 degrees and fold into thirds again. Repeat this process 2-3 more times to create layers in the dough, which will make it flaky.
- Separate dough into 10 equal pieces. Roll out each piece to about 1/8 inch thick circles.
- Place a spoonful of the chicken filling onto each dough circle, leaving enough space around the edges to seal.
- Fold the other half of the dough over the filling to enclose it, and press the edges together with your fingers (as we did) or with a fork. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling.
- Lightly brush the tops of the patties with the egg wash.
- Place the patties on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown. Let cool for a few minutes. Serve and enjoy!
These Jamaican Chicken Patties were an absolute delight – easy to make and with a taste that was out of this world! I’ll definitely be whipping up another batch soon.
I haven’t tried the recipe but I can’t wait to give it a go! I love that these are hand-held and I love the flakey shell! What a lovely recipe!
These Jamaican Chicken Patties are amazing ! The light and flakey pastry holds in a yummy filling that is full of flavor. My whole family loved these.
Bi fans of Jamaican patties here! Never made them with chicken but why not and all those spices tells me this is a party that just exudes texture and flavor!
What fabulous flavors and the pastry has amazing texture! I think the turmeric really shines. And they’re fun to make, too!
Don’t let this long and very detailed blog post scare you away from making Jamaican Chicken Patties. Thank you for the detailed instructions. My Chicken Patties turned out pretty perfect. The pastry was so light and flaky and the filling out of this world. Highly recommend making them
The filling is absolutely delicious. An excellent option for the spicy lovers in the family, the habanero is not joke! But the combination with all the spices and the beautiful pastry made this dish fun to eat.
Whoaaaa…these chicken patties are delicious! Love the flavors combo and buttery pastry. Such a satisfying treat!
I made these patties and turned out delicious and were enjoyed by the entire family. Since I doubled the recipe, I stored some in the freezer. However, I’m now being asked to bake them, and I’m not sure if I should thaw them completely before doing so. So, my question is: should I thaw them first or bake them frozen?
Love the spices in the filling! These are delicious!