Guyanese: Pepperpot

If there was ever a dish which made me immensely proud of my Guyanese heritage, it would be this one. Pepperpot, the National dish of Guyana. Simply the bitter-sweetest, warmest, stickiest pot of stew you will ever taste. It has a taste like none other, and its all down to one main ingredient: Cassareep.

Cassareep was not as accessible in the 80’s when I was growing up as it is now; and even here, only certain West Indian shops sell it. I don’t know where we found the thick black molasses mixture when I was a child, but it was cherished like liquid black gold in our home: It would sit at the back of the cupboard, in a used Pepsi Bottle silently, waiting for the 25 December. I recall it being sealed with masking tape around its mouth and neck, as if smuggled out of the country, put on a boat destined for the Motherland…only to sit at the back of someone’s cupboard for 11 1/2 months of the year.

“Cass-a-reep” I was told by my mother as she would stir the pot of generous dark meat, was invented by the Native Amerindian’s of Guyana. They would extract the juice from bitter Cassava root which is in itself poisonous to eat if not cooked properly, and then boil, and boil and boil the juice down until eventually what remained was a thick black syrup. For more information on how Cassareep is made, follow this link.

“It always tastes better the next day…” she would add smiling.  Music to my ears. Because the Amerindian’s had no refrigeration,  Cassareep’s  natural preserving properties kept the dish going for days on end (that is why pepperpot can be left on the stove, re-heated daily for days and not spoil).

Pepperpot is traditionally eaten with thick, white home-made bread and made with several types of meat. For this recipe, I limited myself to Ox-tail, but feel free to combine it with Mutton if you wish.

If you would like this recipe - just drop me an e-mail: [email protected]





15 thoughts on “Guyanese: Pepperpot

      1. Oh you really should! It is so good believe me, but go sparingly on the cassareep, adding a little at a time, it has a very distinct taste…you will enjoy it!


  1. I might try this.. Looks like meat in a molasses sauce.. Yummy!! Could you eat it with rice or hard food instead of bread?


      1. Ok.. Thanks.. This is similar to Jamaican Pepperpot.. Without the cassareep though! That one is more like a soup though!


    1. Hi Ray

      I’ve experimented with different flavours and I actually found that ginger and lime work really well in this recipe. I know the traditional flavours are orange rind. Have you tried this version?


  2. Hi Ranette
    Would you believe I’ve just walked in from West Green Rd in Tottenham with some goat, oxtail, trotters and stewing beef and decided for no reason to cook this incredible dish for the first time! And it’s not Christmas! I’m also of Guyanese parentage, yes, I can remember back in the day, people would bring bottles of this cassareep, which were sellotaped to high heavens, and would happily sit in one of the cupboards for some time until Christmas, then it would be brought out where my mother would work her magic. In addition she would also bake some Guyanese bread so on Christmas morning, we would eat the pepperpot with the bread. The Xmas period, the breakfasts would alternate between pepper pot or garlic pork (which was equally delicious). When mother used to cook this, she would always use orange rind but I’m not sure about the ginger. But I will try this. Thanks for writing about this but your experience has triggered me down memory lane.


  3. I cooked this a few months ago. I’m in Australia, theres no way I was going to find Casareep here (believe me I tried), so I substituted with a combination of molasses and red wine vinegar. The result was delicious. So good that it’s been requested again. I’ve come back to refresh myself on the recipe quantities and you’ve taken it down 😦 Please can you email it to me for the future. This was the best recipe I found. Will definitely purchase your book if you’re going to write one. For now cross your fingers this one turns out as good as the last.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Ange!

      Thank you for getting in touch and for experimenting with this recipe! You are absolutely right: molasses is probably the closet ingredient to this, mixed with a few more spices like cinnamon. I am so glad your guests loved your cooking. I need to start working on a book…you will be the first to know 😉

      Drop me an e-mail and I will send you the recipe: [email protected]


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