The Best Nigerian Jollof Rice

The Best Nigerian Jollof Rice

The Best Nigerian Jollof Rice


Spicy, authentic Nigerian Jollof Rice full of flavour and character!

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Jollof Rice is a hugely popular West African dish rice dish cooked in a tomato stew made of tomatoes, onions, red bell peppers, scotch bonnet and herbs + spices. This one pot rice dish is a rice lovers best friend. It is spicy, smoky and savoury and truly the Best Nigerian Jollof Rice! I cook Jollof rice at least twice a month. It is easy to prepare and lasts up to a week in the fridge and is perfect for entertaining or simple meal prep!

For Nigerian’s this rice is not a side but the main dish and is as much an everyday meal as it is a celebration dish! Often served with roasted meats, fried plantain ‘dodo’ and a side salad or coleslaw. Today I had mine with roast chicken and dodo – check out my recipes to complete your meal! Fried Plantain and Roast chicken.

Jollof rice

What is Jollof Rice?

Jollof rice is a one pot rice dish from West Africa. The origins of the rice are not 100% agreed but it seems likely it came from present day Senegal or Mali. The dish is traditionally made with rice, tomatoes, red bell peppers, onions, scotch bonnet and herbs and spices in one single pot. Although, its ingredients and preparation methods differ from country to country. Jollof rice is wildly popular and is one of the most common dishes found in West Africa and is arguably the continent’s most famed dish!

My recipe is obviously Nigerian and is inspired by both my mother and auntie’s classic recipes. Nigerian Jollof rice is traditionally cooked with long grain rice in a rich stew of tomatoes, red bell peppers known as ‘ata rodo‘ in Yoruba, onions, scotch bonnet, curry, thyme and bay leaf. The Nigerian rice for me is the best (facts not bias :p) long grain rice is the optimal choice of rice for me when cooking one pot rice. Ghanaians use Basmati rice, which has a stronger flavour and cooks too quickly for my liking. I want to give the rice enough time to be infused by the rich spicy stew without the risk of overcooking into a mushy mess!

By now most would have seen or heard about the Jollof Wars and Jollof Gate. Back in 2014, Nigerian’s and Ghanaian put their Jollof wars to the side to object to Jamie Oliver’s unconventional Jollof rice recipe! But the war very much remains in place and it is a sensitive topic amongst West African’s – don’t be surprised if you hear or see a pair arguing on the topic! I’m afraid I stand with my fellow Nigerian’s that our rice IS SIMPLY THE BEST!

jollof rice

What do i need?

  • Long grain rice – I wont be providing any tips on cooking with other types of rice as I don’t know how. This is a Nigerian Jollof rice recipe that calls for fluffy long grain rice only!
  • Tinned tomatoes – Unlike my Nigerian stew recipe I like to use tinned tomatoes instead of fresh.
  • Red bell peppers – A key ingredient, without these the flavours are simply not the same! Nothing replicates the flavour of sweet bell peppers.
  • Scotch bonnet – This very spicy chilli is a very popular Nigerian ingredient. The flavour and spice level of this chilli is a match made in heaven – not for the faint hearted!
  • Good quality brown onions a vital component of the stew mix.
  • Bay leaf and Dried thyme – 2 key dried herb ingredients to compliment the tomato stew.
  • Curry powder and stock cubes – Essential to achieve the authentic rich flavour the rice has. I like to use organic Kallo chicken stock cubes. Traditionally Maggi cubes are used! You can also use chicken stock instead of water.

Tips & Tricks

  • When cooking the rice I place a piece of foil on top of the pot to contain the steam better. The rice is being steamed more than it is being boiled, as there is minimal water in the stew base. It is vital your pot contains the steam well.
  • Following on from that, don’t fuss with the rice. You want to contain the steam as much as possible so do refrain from opening and stirring every 5 minutes. Just leave it to steam and do its thing.
  • You will need a good blender. It is important that the stew base is blended smooth for the best results. You do not want the base to be bitty as you will feel this once the rice is done. This is my blender which works perfectly for blending sauce bases.
  • Avoid using a madras curry powder, you want a mild classic curry powder or Caribbean style for this recipe.
  • The key to good jollof rice is fluffy separate grains of rice with a rich red colour and flavour. If you are new to cooking rice, when you check just have a taste. If you are a little more advanced you should be able to tell how cooked the grains are from their texture and colour. Raw rice has a white/grey colour and looks hard not fluffy.
close up jollof

Jollof Rice Serving Suggestions –

Today I had mine with some Roast Chicken and Fried Plantain but Jollof rice goes with soooo many things! I love eating it with any roasted meat, sautéed prawns or fried fish. Veggie wise I love buttered green beans, coleslaw, a green salad or tender stem broccoli. I hope you love this dish as much as I do. I would love to hear from you in the comments!

jollof and roast chicken
5 from 1 vote

The Best Nigerian Jollof Rice

Smoky, spicy and savoury this rice is a cult favourite not just for Nigerian's!
Servings 10 servings
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes


  • Blender
  • Chopping board
  • Sharp knife
  • Wooden spoon
  • Heavy base pot


  • 4 cups long grain rice
  • 2 tinned tomatoes
  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 small onion sliced for the rice
  • 2 scotch bonnet
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp sea salt
  • chicken stock cubes
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp curry
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup sunflower or vegetable oil


  • Wash, chop and blend the onions, chilli, tomatoes and peppers in your blender and set aside. Measure out your seasonings into a small bowl ready for later.
  • Now add oil to your pot and turn the heat to high and heat the oil until smoking. Then pour your stew mix into the pot in one go and add the 1 cup of water immediately to avoid excess splashing. TIP – you can also balance the wooden spoon on the top of the pot to stop excessive splashing. Finally add all the herbs and spices and leave to fry and boil for  approximately 30 minutes.
    jollof mix and seasoning
  • Keep an eye on your stew stirring from time to time. The stew will thicken and change colour to a deeper orange/red and the smell of raw tomato and onion should be completely gone before your base is ready for rice.
  • Once the stew base is ready take the pot off the heat and add the butter, rice, optional sliced onions and tomato paste and stir until the butter has melted. Now place the pot back on the heat on low. Place a piece of foil on the top of the pot and put the lid on top of it firmly and curl the excess foil around the pot sealing the edges. Leave to cook for 20 minutes on low without disturbing.
  • After 20 minutes take the lid off the pot and stir and check the rice. It should be half done by now and most of the liquid should be gone. If you are unsure try the rice and add a little water if you think its needed. Leave for a further 20 minutes.
  • Your rice should now be ready and you should remove the foil to prevent the residual heat from overcooking your grains. Your rice is ready to serve as you wish – enjoy!


I don’t always add sliced onions to my jollof rice but it is a great addition when you want some extra flavour and texture in your rice. Give it a try!
Cost: £5
Course: Dinner, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine: Nigerian, West African
Keyword: one pot, Rice, Savoury, Spicy

Did you make this recipe?

Got any questions? Ask away! I’m here to help! If you loved this recipe, I hope you’ll leave a comment and rating below! Let me know how it turned out for you and share it on social media. Don’t forget to tag us at @chilliandlife and hashtag it #chilliandlife ! I’ll be sure to share it!


  1. Jollof is a top hit in this home. Thank you! I’ve made a few minor adjustments such as the addition of garlic, black beans, sliced green beans and peas, and subbing chicken stock for veg stock. Everyone that drops by always grabs a bowl. Its fantastic! If there happens to be any leftovers then I stuff some peppers topped with breadcrumbs and feta. Double winner!! Just so that you know, your recipe has reached a small fishing village in the East Neuk on the east coast of Scotland

    1. Wonderful news! The adjustments all sound delicious! I will definitely be trying the stuffed peppers, brilliant idea! You should try making arancini with it you can add meat or cheese to the filling . If you love oxtail try it stuffed with braised oxtail in the middle- SIMPLY DEVINE!

  2. Love eating jellof rice but where i am now, it is hard to get it. Can i add green beans along other spices? Would want to try it this weekend.

    1. Its so good right! You should definitely make it this weekend and yes you can add green beans but I would add them towards the end so they do not overcook. In this case maybe try baking the jollof! Would love to hear how it goes 🙂

    1. Hi Hyacinth we have the same name in different languages! Gorgeous flowers are they not! It can be either diced, chopped or whole and the size is 400ml cans!

  3. 5 stars
    After making this recipe at home, the Ghanaian vs Nigerian jollof rice battle has officially been won in my mind. Thank you for this delightful recipe that I paired with a salad and ribeye steak!

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