Skip to Content

How to Make Jollof Rice

How to Make Jollof Rice

Last Updated on 20th July 2022 by Pauline Loughlin

For an easy African dish, try the Nigerian rice entree jollof rice. It’s made with a few veggies and spices, and it’s an incredibly flavorful way to make rice that goes really well with baked or fried chicken.

What Is Jollof Rice?

There are actually a couple different kinds of jollof rice, particularly Nigerian and Ghanaian versions. I’m going to share with you the Nigerian version of jollof rice, because it uses plain white rice as opposed to basmati or Jasmine rice like what you would get in the version used in Ghana. The

Nigerian version is a bit bolder and not as sweet, so you can choose whatever your preference may be.

Where Is Jollof Rice From?

The dish I’m going to show you how to make is from Nigeria, but there is a version from Ghana as well.

The origins of this dish can actually be traced back to an ancient empire that is in modern day Senegal, which lies on the western tip of Africa.

This version I’m going to share with you is made using seasonings and ingredients that you can find throughout most of the western world, so if someone tells you this is a westernized version of the dish, they may be right.

What Is in Jollof Rice?

The primary ingredient is plain white rice, and then vegetables like tomatoes, onions, and bell peppers are added to give it texture and flavor.

The seasonings used in this dish include curry powder, bay leaves, vegetable or chicken stock, thyme, and all-purpose seasoning.

It’s a really flavorful dish with a lot of variety to it, making for a complex addition to your meal. It’s often served with chicken, and between the jollof rice and the chicken, you may not feel like you need to add anything else to the meal.

How to Make Jollof Rice

I want to share with you a recipe for how to make Nigerian jollof rice using standard ingredients you should be able to find in your local grocery.


  • 2 cups of parboiled rice
  • 5 Roma tomatoes, chopped roughly
  • 1/4 cup of groundnut oil
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped roughly
  • 3 tablespoons of tomato paste
  • 1 onion, chopped roughly
  • 2 habanero peppers
  • 1/2 teaspoon of thyme
  • 2 1/2 cups of chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 stock cube
  • 1 teaspoon of salt, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon all-purpose seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon of curry powder
  • 3 bay leaves
  • Water


  1. Put habanero peppers, red pepper, and tomatoes into a blender and blend for about 45 seconds.
  2. Heat oil on medium high heat in a pot. When oil is warm, add in the onions to cook until they start to become golden brown.
    Add in the tomato paste and continue cooking for two to three minutes.
  3. Add in the tomato and pepper mixture to the onions and tomato paste and cook for 30 minutes. Stir frequently to keep ingredients from burning.
  4. Lower the heat to medium and pour in the chicken stock. Then, add in all of the seasonings- stock cube, salt, thyme, curry powder, and all-purpose seasoning- and stir. Cook for 10 minutes more.
  5. Add in the rice and mx it together with the rest of the ingredients. Add in water as needed to keep the rice and tomato mixture level.
  6. Add bay leaves and close the pot. Cook for an additional 15-30 minutes on medium-low heat.
  7. Cook until the liquid has dried up completely and then serve u your Jollof rice.

Now that you know how to cook jollof rice, let’s talk about a few things you can do with it to make a more complete meal or mix things up a bit.

How to Make Jollof Rice and Chicken

What kind of chicken do you use for jollof rice or how do you prepare it in the traditional manner so that it goes well with the rice?

You can cook the chicken separately or cook it with the rest of your food. To cook it with the food, add the chicken to the oil while you’re cooking the onions at the beginning of the cooking process.

Then, that same chicken can be added when you’re stewing the rice in with your tomato and pepper mixture.

Just make sure that the chicken cooks all the way through. You can pierce it in the center and check for pinkness or use an instant read thermometer and make sure it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

All you really need to season the chicken with salt and pepper for this dish. It gets a lot of flavor from the jollof rice.

You could also make the chicken separately, and I would recommend either baking it or frying. The chicken can be pan fried in a little bit of oil and seasoned with salt and pepper or baked in the oven and basted with barbecue sauce or just cooked up with a little salt and pepper and sprayed down with cooking oil.

You should bake the chicken at 450 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 to 20 minutes.

What to Eat with Jollof Rice

Jollof rice is typically served with fried or baked chicken, but you can serve it up with other dishes as well. It pairs well with cooked vegetables, garlic bread, and just about any kind of salad, including potato salad, macaroni salad, and traditional leafy salads.

I’ve covered how to prepare jollof rice in depth for you, so you should be ready to make it on your own. I think you will like this traditional Nigerian dish. The only tricky part is keeping the liquid levels right for everything to cook fully.

Just watch those levels carefully and add more liquid as necessary until everything is cooked. Don’t add too much liquid at once, though, as you don’t want a soupy dish. If you end up adding too much, you can always drain it off.

To add liquid to the dish, I prefer adding in tomato puree or chicken (or veggie) stock, but water works as well.

5/5 - (4 votes)
Website | + posts

I'm Pauline, a retired patisserie chef, mother of four and now a full time food blogger! When i'm not cooking i love long walks, reading thriller novels and spending time with my grandkids. Head to my about me page to learn more about the woman behind the food!  You can find my Facebook here