"Festival" (Jamaican Cornbread Fritters)


These slightly sweet fritters are fluffy inside and crisp on the outside.

"Festival" (Jamaican Cornbread Fritters)

Greg Dupree / Food Styling by Chelsea Zimmer / Prop Styling by Thom Driver

24 pieces

According to legend, these light Jamaican corn bread fritters got their name because eating them is fun — like a festival. That might be just a story, but the name makes sense when you see how popular Festival is as street food in Jamaica, sold from carts by the road or at the beach. Similar to hush puppies and cornbread, Festival are traditionally shaped into elongated buns. The barely sweet fritters are light and fluffy, and get beautifully crisp from the fryer. We love eating them paired with Jerk Chicken, Jamaican Braised Oxtails with Carrots and Chiles, Callaloo, or Jamaican Chicken and Potato Curry. They also make a nice afternoon snack with tea, or can even stand in alongside eggs for breakfast.


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

  • 1/2 cup cornmeal

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar

  • 3/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda

  • 3/4 cup water

  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil, plus more for frying


  1. Combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a large bowl. Add water and oil and stir gently with a wooden spoon until thoroughly blended. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour.

  2. Heat 1 inch of oil to 350°F in a medium saucepan. Using well-oiled hands, roll tablespoon-size pieces of the dough about 3 inches long, then flatten them slightly and drop into the hot oil. If the dough sticks to your hands, just peel it off; don't worry about the shape. Fry 3 or 4 fritters at a time until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the fritters to a rack set over a baking sheet to drain. Adjust the heat if necessary to maintain 350°F. Serve immediately.

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