Creamy Jamaican Shrimp Rasta Pasta

June 29, 2024
Shanika | Orchids + Sweet Tea

DISCLAIMER: This post may contain affiliate links, which means that I make a small commission off items you purchase at no additional cost to you. Please read my policy page!

Get ready for Creamy Jamaican Shrimp Rasta Pasta—a one-skillet wonder packed with spicy jerk flavors and a rich, silky sauce. Loaded with tender shrimp and vibrant veggies, it brings a taste of the Caribbean straight to your table.

Creamy Jamaican Shrimp Rasta Pasta

Get ready to dive into Creamy Jamaican Shrimp Rasta Pasta—a mouthwatering mix of Caribbean spices, and a luscious, cheesy sauce. Packed with juicy shrimp, colorful bell peppers, and a rich, spicy jerk kick, this dish brings a taste of the islands straight to your table. It's a cozy, one-pot wonder that'll have you craving more! Dairy-free + Vegan options.

Rasta Pasta in a red skillet with a wooden spoon.

Regardless of the weather or time of year, I'm always happy to sit down to a comforting dinner of pasta in a creamy sauce. And this Creamy Jamaican Shrimp Rasta Pasta recipe is especially close to home, thanks to the traditional jerk seasoning. Plump, juicy shrimp add light and healthy protein and extra seafood flavor.

Despite its creamy, cheesy sauce, this pasta dish is just as perfect for cold weather eating as it is in the middle of summer, thanks to the delicate shrimp and the bright jerk flavors. And for a dairy-free, meatless + vegan option, there is always my Creamy Jamaican Rasta Pasta!

It's super easy to make, only requires a handful of ingredients, comes with the right amount of spicy and cheesy flavors, works for the entire family and it's just as delicious warmed up as leftovers. It's seriously my go-to weeknight dinner ---Of course, you can always search weeknight meals‘ on the site for more deliciousness!

Jump to:

What Is Rasta Pasta?

Basically, rasta pasta in the Jamaican culture is made from jerk seasoning, bell peppers, cream + pasta. The colors from the dish originally reflected the colors of the Rastafarian culture: red, green, and yellow, which prompted someone to call it "rasta pasta".

However, today, most rasta pasta dishes now reflect the Jamaican flag colors: yellow pasta, blackened chicken, green bell peppers, and fresh herbs (cilantro or parsley).

Ingredients on a brown wood table.

How to Make Creamy Jamaican Shrimp Rasta Pasta

Start making this recipe by boiling your pasta. In the meantime, you sauté your seasoned shrimp and make your creamy sauce by sautéing a few garlic cloves, and then adding in the seasoning, heavy cream, chicken or seafood stock, and white cooking wine. Assemble everything together, stir, simmer, and wallah!



  • Shrimp. Wild-caught jumbo or colossal shrimp, deveined.
  • Extra virgin olive oil. Feel free to use your favorite high-quality EVOO. My fave tried and trusted brand is California Olive Ranch.
  • Butter. I use unsalted to have more control of the flavor. You can also use vegan butter for a dairy-free option.
  • Seasonings. Sea salt, black pepper, smoked paprika, garlic powder + dried parsley.


  • Rigatoni pasta. Feel free to use a different pasta shape if you have it on hand
  • Extra virgin olive oil.
  • Garlic. Imparts aromatic, savory notes to the sauce. I recommend fresh, but you could use ½ teaspoon granulated garlic.
  • Bell peppers. You can use an array of colors for a brighter look.
  • Fresh thyme sprigs. You could also used dried thyme in a pinch!
  • All-purpose flour. This helps to thicken up the sauce!
  • Jerk seasoning. Homemade or store-bought.
  • Heavy cream. I recommend organic–always! I use Organic Valley. Of course, for a dairy-free option, just use full-fat coconut cream/milk.
  • Chicken or seafood stock. Low-sodium (You can also use vegetable stock, if desired)
  • White cooking wine. Choose a dry wine that you like the taste of. You can also omit this and just use additional veggie stock.
  • Parmesan cheese. Freshly-grated is best!
  • Mild cheddar. This adds a bit of sharpness to the cheese sauce. If you like a stronger cheddar flavor, you can use sharp cheddar. For an even more mild flavor, use shredded Swiss cheese.
  • Chopped scallions. Aka green onions for serving!
Cooked pasta in a pot on a brown wood table.


Here, I've curated a list of cooking + baking essentials that I use to achieve my favorite baked goods or cooked meals, especially with this Creamy Jamaican Shrimp Rasta Pasta recipe. Everything from my fave baking sheet, dutch ovens, immersion hand-blender, mixing bowls, and more. SEE THEM HERE!

Veggies chopped on a cutting board with a knife.

How To Make Homemade Jerk Seasoning

To make your own jerk seasoning dry rub, you'll need to follow my Homemade Jerk Dry Rub Seasoning recipe using the following -

  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 2 tsps cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsps black pepper
  • 2 tsps dried thyme
  • 2 tsps organic brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin powder


  • In a bowl, mix together the onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, black pepper, thyme, brown sugar, allspice, parsley, smoked paprika, red pepper flakes, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and cumin until combined.
  • Store seasoning blend in a tightly sealed mason jar or seasoning jar at room temperature.
  • Enjoy!

Can I Use a Jerk Marinade Instead?

Absolutely! In jerk sauce or marinade, the 3 main ingredients that MUST be present are: scotch bonnet, thyme + allspice (aka pimento seeds). You can't remove any of these ingredients or else it wouldn't be considered "jerk". To see the recipe for a jerk marinade,

Two bowls of rasta pasta with a drink on a brown wood table.

What Type Of Shirmp Is Best?

When selecting shrimp for this recipe, I suggest going for jumbo or large shrimp. These sizes strike a balance between being substantial enough to provide a satisfying bite and not too overwhelming.

Can I Use Frozen Shrimp?

Yes! While it may sound counterintuitive, using frozen and thawed, shrimp can actually be advantageous. Opting for frozen shrimp allows you to have more control over the quality and timing of your meal preparation. It's like having a secret stash of deliciousness in your freezer, ready to be transformed into a scrumptious meal whenever you desire an easy weeknight dinner.

Do You Eat The Skin/Tails On Shrimp?

Yes, you can if desired! The shrimp shells/tails are cooked until tender and are infused with seasonings and spice, which make it truly easy and delicious to eat as a whole. Of course, if preferred, you can always remove the shells.

Two bowls of rasta pasta with forks and a drink on a brown wood table.

Why You'll Love This Jamaican Shrimp Rasta Pasta

First and foremost, the flavors in this simple and creamy rasta pasta is enough to convince anyone, however, here are a few more reasons why you’ll love this pasta dinner:

  • It’s absolutely delicious—creamy + velvety
  • Rich, satisfying, and full of Caribbean flair!
  • Super easy to make + quick! Plus, no crazy clean-up! Can we say–Everything in a pot and skillet?
  • Customizable --- Can be made meatless, dairy-free + gluten-free easily!
  • Makes for the BEST leftovers! It seriously tastes even better the next day.

What Are Delicious Foods to Pair This Shrimp Rasta Pasta With?

With most pasta dishes, I often enjoy them with a side of bread of some sort. Most times, I make my own homemade garlic bread, however, you can choose to spruce things up with many other Jamaican-inspired options such as:

Can I Swap The Shrimp For Another Protein?

If you make this more than once and want to try something other than shrimp, or maybe want to try a vegetarian option then you can spruce things up by adding:


  • Roasted chickpeas for added crunch and protein
  • Tofu or tempeh
  • Mushroom
  • Grilled eggplant or zucchini slices
  • Kale or other greens!
  • Steamed broccoli florets for added greenery


Up close shot of shrimp rasta pasta.

Choosing Your Perfect Pasta

I love using Rigatoni pasta because it does a beautiful job of embracing and holding onto the sauce and the texture is just fun to eat! But any of these pasta varieties would work for this dish -

  • Penne
  • Shells
  • Spirals
  • Spaghetti
  • Tagliatelle
  • Perciatelli
  • Fettucini
  • Paccheri
  • Orecchiette
  • Ravioli + gnocchi would also go wonderfully with this sauce combo!
Shrimp rasta pasta in a skillet scooped with wooden spoons.

Jamaican Shrimp Rasta Pasta Recipe Q + A's

How to store leftovers?

Any leftovers can be kept in a tightly sealed container and refrigerated for up to 3-4 days.

Can I Make This Shrimp Rasta Pasta Dairy-free or Vegan?

Absolutely! Opt for a vegan butter and to make this sauce dairy-free, simply swap the heavy cream with full-fat coconut milk or coconut cream. And use your favorite dairy-free shredded cheese or nutritional yeast instead of parmesan. For a vegan version, see my Creamy Jamaican Rasta Pasta recipe!

Can I make this recipe Gluten-Free?

Yes simply use your favorite gluten-free pasta and ensure that the cream and stock are GF-friendly. 

How much jerk seasoning should I use in the sauce?

The amount of seasoning to use depends on personal taste preferences and the specific dish you are preparing. It is best to start with a small amount (1 Tbsp) and gradually adjust according to your desired flavor intensity (up to 2 Tbsps).

More Traditional Jamaican Recipes to Try

Now that you've fallen in love with the Jamaican flavors in this recipe, I recommend trying out the following amazing Jamaican recipes next:


If you tried this Creamy Jamaican Shrimp Rasta Pasta recipe or any other recipe on my website, please please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how you go in the 📝 comments below. And don't forget to tag @orchidsnsweettea_ on Instagram and hashtag it #orchidsandsweettea! I love hearing from you!

Up close shot of shrimp rasta pasta.

Creamy Jamaican Shrimp Rasta Pasta

June 29, 2024
5 from 3 votes
Get ready to dive into Creamy Jamaican Shrimp Rasta Pasta—a mouthwatering mix of Caribbean spices, and a luscious, cheesy sauce. Packed with juicy shrimp, colorful bell peppers, and a rich, spicy jerk kick, this dish brings a taste of the islands straight to your table. It's a cozy, one-pot wonder that'll have you craving more! Dairy-free + Vegan options.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Serves: 4 servings



  • 2 lbs. wild-caught jumbo or colossal shrimp, deveined
  • 1 tablespoon Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley


  • 1 (16 oz.) package  organic rigatoni pasta (You can use your fave short-cut pasta; See Notes for GF option.)
  • 1 tablespoon Extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups chopped bell peppers (You can use an array of colors for a brighter look)
  • 2 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 2 Tbsps organic all-purpose flour
  • 1-2 Tbsps jerk seasoning, homemade or store-bought (Depending on how much jerk flavor you'd like.)
  • 2 cups organic heavy cream
  • 1 cup chicken or seafood stock, low-sodium (You can also use vegetable stock, if desired)
  • 2 Tbsps white cooking wine
  • 1 cup freshly-grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup shredded thick-cut mild cheddar (optional)


  • Chopped scallions (aka green onions)



  • To begin, cook pasta according to packaging. NOTE: rigatoni pasta doesn’t take a long time to cook, usually 8-10 minutes (however, you should cook at 6-8 minutes or so—‘al dente’).


  • In a bowl, add the freshly rinsed and patted dry shrimp along with salt, black pepper, smoked paprika, garlic powder, and parsley, mixing together to combine.
  • In a medium 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat, add the olive oil and butter until butter has melted. Add in the minced garlic to sauté frequently about 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Next, add in the shrimp and cook on both sides (about 3-4 minutes), until pink and cooked through. Set aside unto a plate.


  • In a large (12-inch) skillet, add the olive oil and minced garlic, sautéing until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Add the chopped bell peppers, sautéing until tender, about 3-4 minutes. Add the jerk seasoning and flour, stirring everything together. Whisk in the heavy cream, stock, and white cooking wine until everything thickens and becomes smooth with no lumps visible. Add the thyme sprigs.
  • Reduce the heat to low and let the sauce simmer for 3-4 minutes until it thickens more and the peppers become more tender. Stir in the grated parmesan and mild cheddar (if using) until it has melted and the sauce is even more creamy.
  • Add in the cooked pasta and shrimp and stir until everything is well coated. Let everything simmer for 1-2 minutes.
  • Remove from heat, discard the thyme sprigs, and serve immediately with a garnish of chopped scallions, if desired.
  • Bon Appetit!

Tips & Tricks

  • STORAGE: Any leftovers can be kept in a tightly sealed container and refrigerated for up to 3-4 days.
  • SPICES/HERBS: If desired, you can reduce the amounts slightly. Please know that this recipe is bold in flavor, so feel free to adjust based on your tastebuds.
  • PASTA: You can use long pastas like Pappardelle, Tagliatelle, Fettuccine, etc. however, I would recommend tossing with tongs to ensure that pasta is fully manageable and fully coated. Otherwise, other pastas such as Penne, Rigatoni, Paccheri, Orecchiette, etc. are perfect.
  • MEATLESS OPTION: To make a delicious meat-free version, see my Creamy Jamaican Rasta Pasta!


Calories: 749kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 70g | Saturated Fat: 40g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 20g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 192mg | Sodium: 1271mg | Potassium: 273mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 3203IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 520mg | Iron: 1mg


Tag @orchidsnsweettea_ on Instagram and hashtag it #orchidsandsweettea

Xx, Shanika in script writing

Love this Post? SHARE!


5 from 3 votes (2 ratings without comment)

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Love this Recipe?

  1. I made this last week and it was delicious! The recipe was super easy to follow and this will definitely be in my weekly rotation.

    • Hi Arlyn! I'm so thrilled to hear that you enjoyed this pasta! Thanks so much for giving it a try! 🙂