Jamaican Beef Tacos With Tropical Slaw Recipe

When you combine tacos and Jamaican beef patties, something magical happens. Morgan Eisenberg

Why It Works

  • Brushing the flour tortillas with a turmeric- and curry-infused oil simulates the flavor and color of a Jamaican beef patty's pastry crust.
  • A bright tropical slaw adds plenty of fresh fruity flavor.

What do you do when you want Jamaican beef patties (and you want them now), but you don't want to bake them? Make a mashup by turning them into tacos with a bright, fruity slaw.

Recipe Facts

Active: 60 mins
Total: 60 mins
Serves: 5 servings

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For the Slaw:

  • 1/2 cup diced mango (from about 1 large mango, pitted and skinned)

  • 1/2 cup diced fresh pineapple (from 1 pineapple, cored and skinned)

  • 1/2 cup diced red onion (from 1 medium red onion)

  • 3 small radishes, thinly sliced

  • 1/3 cup fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems

  • 2/3 cup thinly sliced red cabbage (from 1 head red cabbage)

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh juice from 2 limes

  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar

  • Kosher salt, for seasoning

For the Beef Filling:

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil

  • 4 scallions, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced

  • 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped

  • 4 medium cloves garlic, minced

  • 1/2 to 1 Scotch bonnet pepper, seeded and minced, or Scotch bonnet hot sauce, to taste (see note)

  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika

  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice

  • 1 teaspoon Jamaican curry powder

  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme

  • 1 pound ground beef

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning

  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning

  • 1 teaspoon sugar

For the Tortillas:

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil

  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon Jamaican curry powder

  • 10 small flour tortillas


  1. For the Slaw: In a large bowl, toss together mango, pineapple, red onion, radish, cilantro, cabbage, lime juice, and sugar. Season with salt and refrigerate until ready to use.

  2. For the Beef Filling: Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add scallions, yellow onion, garlic, and Scotch bonnet pepper or hot sauce. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are softened and translucent, about 4 minutes. Add paprika, allspice, Jamaican curry powder, and dried thyme, and stir to combine.

  3. Add ground beef, breaking up any large chunks as you stir. When the beef is just beginning to brown, pour in just enough water to cover the meat and add salt, pepper, and sugar.

  4. Bring the beef to a boil, then reduce to a gentle simmer. Simmer until mixture is saucy and the meat is fully cooked through, 25–30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

  5. Meanwhile, for the Tortillas: In a small bowl, combine oil, turmeric, and Jamaican curry powder. Stir well. Working on a baking sheet, brush oil onto both sides of each tortilla. (Turmeric can stain skin and plastic, so wear latex gloves and avoid drips and spills on surfaces that can stain.)

  6. Working one at a time, cook tortillas in a skillet over moderate heat until oil is absorbed and tortillas are slightly crisp but still pliable, about 2 minutes per side; turmeric won't stain once fully cooked into tortillas. Transfer tortillas to a baking sheet and cover with a clean dish towel to keep warm.

  7. Fill tortillas with spiced beef and top with pineapple-mango slaw. Serve warm.

Special equipment

latex gloves


Scotch bonnets are very hot peppers, so it's best to wear gloves when handling. Additionally, if you're worried about the heat level, start off with a small amount of Scotch bonnet pepper or hot sauce and add more only if you're able to take extra heat.

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Nutrition Facts (per serving)
517 Calories
23g Fat
47g Carbs
25g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 5
Amount per serving
Calories 517
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 23g 30%
Saturated Fat 6g 30%
Cholesterol 61mg 20%
Sodium 734mg 32%
Total Carbohydrate 47g 17%
Dietary Fiber 4g 16%
Total Sugars 7g
Protein 25g
Vitamin C 27mg 133%
Calcium 88mg 7%
Iron 5mg 28%
Potassium 551mg 12%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)