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+ servings
Festival in a blue bowl

Jamaican Festival Recipe

A fool proof version of Jamaican Festival (cornmeal fried dumpling) that is gluten free and vegan friendly. This island favourite is the perfect side to a number of savoury foods.
Course Appetiser
Cuisine Jamaican
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 4 people
Calories 197kcal
Author Charla


  • ½ cup fine cornmeal (78g)
  • ½ cup cassava flour (68g)(NOT STARCH)
  • ¼ cup brown rice flour (32g)
  • 2 tablespoon raw cane sugar (24g)(I used powdered coconut sugar, see post)
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum (3g)
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder (2g)
  • teaspoon pink salt (0.75g)
  • a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg optional
  • 1 cup almond milk (250ml)


  • Place the cornmeal, cassava flour, brown rice flour, xanthan gum, nutmeg, cinnamon, sugar, baking powder and pink salt in a medium sized bowl.
  • Use a whisk to evenly combine the dry ingredients.
  • Make a well in the centre of the bowl then start to pour the milk into the centre, a small amount at a time (you may NOT use all of the milk).
  • As you pour the milk, start to knead to form a soft dough ball (if shouldn't be tough, nor very sticky). Add more flour if it is too sticky!
  • Pinch off a small amount of dough and proceed to roll into 4 inch long sausage shapes, then stretch a little to make 2 points on each side.
  •  Place the festival on a tray lined with parchment paper then repeat the above step with the rest of the dough.
  • Once the festival dumpling are formed, use a pastry brush to brush each side with some of the leftover milk.
  • Preheat a small frying pan with coconut oil, you want the oil to be very hot.
  • Add the festival to the frying pan (you may need to work in batches).
  • Reduce the heat to medium-high and fry the festival for several minutes until they are golden brown, turning frequently (if they brown too soon, then reduce the heat to medium).
  • Place the cooked festival on kitchen towel to absorb the excess oil and serve accordingly!


  • The dough shouldn't be too sticky, but it shouldn't be really firm either or the festival with be more of the dense side.
  • To re-heat the festival, wrap them up in aluminium foil and heat for a few minutes in the oven.
  • When adding the milk PLEASE DO NOT ADD IT ALL AT ONCE, add and knead until the get a pliable dough to avoid creating a sticky mess!
  • The amount of festival you make will vary, depending on the size/shape. I made a total of 7 but you can portion the dough to get a specific/even amount.
  • Once the festival are shaped, fry them quickly, don't leave the dough to rest for best results.
  • I recommend using almond or cashew milk don't use coconut milk because it will be overpowering in taste.
  • Make sure to use fine cornmeal (or fine cornflour if you live in the states), non gmo or organic where possible.
  • DON'T use coarse cornmeal as this needs more time to cook through and you will end up with grainy, raw cornmeal in your festival.
  • This recipe does need frying (I shallow fry), unfortunately, air frying and oven baking simply doesn't work, after several attempts I had to admit defeat so save yourself the time and hassle.
  • Make sure you are using CASSAVA FLOUR not STARCH I cannot stress this enough or the recipe simply won't work.
  • To minimise the use of oil use a small frying pan, rotate/swirl the pan and cook in small batches.


Calories: 197kcal | Carbohydrates: 42g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 231mg | Potassium: 100mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 129mg | Iron: 2mg