Jollof Rice Recipe (Crowd-Pleasing)

Experience African dining like never before with one of the best side dishes: Jollof Rice!

Jollof Rice is a popular African delicacy that’s popular for its savory flavor, vibrant color, and incredible quality. It is a staple in lots of African countries like Nigeria, Liberia, and Ghana.

In this rice recipe, the rice is parboiled and cooked in a tomato-based sauce. Using the sauce is an effective way of infusing the rice with flavors beyond what you can imagine.

Everyone loves a savory and smoky side dish that satisfies the appetite. After eating it, you’ll realize that it’s everything you want to taste in a rice side dish.

Nigerian smokey party Jollof rice

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Whenever you need a side dish with grains, this recipe should be on top of your list. You will surely have a good time eating any dish when you have Jollof Rice on the side!

How to Make Jollof Rice

jollof rice ingredients

There is a unique way of cooking Jollof Rice that will give it the best quality. Instead of cooking rice with water, you cook it in homemade pepper sauce to infuse it with the right flavors.

Don’t worry, I will teach you everything you need to know about the Jollof Rice!


Everyone can make it differently, but these are the ingredients I suggest when cooking Jollof Rice:

Long-grain rice

Of all the rice options, I especially love using asli basmati rice.

Any long-grain rice variety can be good for your recipe. As you cook it, the rice will have a loose and fluffy quality that takes the dining experience to the next level.

It will absorb the sauce well to give it the full flavors of the peppers and spices. Asli basmati rice also has a nutty undertone and a fragrant aroma.

Whenever I crave Coconut Fried Rice or Leftover Fried Rice, I always use long-grain rice for the best results!

Pepper sauce

Sometimes, the secret to a good African recipe is homemade pepper sauce. You will just need tomatoes, bell peppers, sweet peppers, scotch bonnets, and onion.

The tomatoes and peppers give the sauce a sweet and sour taste, while the onion balances them with a pungent flavor. On the other hand, the scotch bonnets add a kick of spice to the recipe.

You can also use this pepper sauce to cook Okra Soup, Red Bream Stew, and Assorted Meat Stew!

Tomato puree

Give the Jollof Rice a better flavor with some tomato puree.

The tomato puree adds incredible flavor and color to the rice. I suggest making it from fresh tomatoes for an authentic flavor.

Its acidity also complements the smoky and savory flavor of the pepper sauce. Even a little tomato puree can go a long way!


The Jollof Rice recipe will not be the same without an onion. It adds a peppery and pungent flavor that makes rice taste better. It certainly adds a fantastic fragrance to the dish that will leave you craving more!


In this recipe, I suggest using herbs and spices like mixed herbs, meat liquid stock, chicken stock cubes, bay leaves, and sea salt. These will surely improve the sauce and the rice, too!

Sunflower oil

When making Jollof Rice, it is important to use oil with a high smoke point to withstand the temperature. Use other cooking oil variants of your choice. 

party Jollof rice recipe side dishes

You won’t have a problem buying these ingredients. They are readily available in grocery stores! Who knew these basic ingredients could transform into extraordinary Jollof Rice, right?


Here’s a step-by-step guide on how you can cook Jollof Rice at home:

Make the sauce

  1. Blend the tomatoes, sweet peppers, bell pepper, scotch bonnet, and onion until smooth. Set it aside.
  2. Heat sunflower oil in a pot over medium heat.
  3. Saute the onion, mixed herbs, curry powder, turmeric, and stock cubes.
  4. Then, add tomato puree and cook for two minutes. 
  5. Pour in the blended pepper sauce and cook for five minutes.
  6. Add bay leaves and assorted meat liquid.
  7. Allow it to cook for 15 minutes or until done.
  8. Season with salt if needed. 

Cook the rice

  1. Rinse the grains with warm water.
  2. Drain them twice. 
  3. Put the grains in the pot.
  4. Then, coat them with the sauce.
  5. Reduce heat to low fire and cover the pot with aluminum foil.
  6. Cook it for 20 to 25 minutes.
  7. Stir the Jollof Rice.
  8. Add hot water if needed and steam for five more minutes. 
  9. Once you’re happy with the flavor and texture, your Jollof Rice is ready to serve!
Jollof rice ingredients prep

Did you notice that it’s almost like cooking plain rice? Add the seasoning and pepper sauce, and you’ve got yourself irresistibly delicious Jollof Rice! 


Check out these tips to make the best Jollof Rice!

Long-Grain Rice

Buying long-grain rice
  • Long-grain rice varieties are readily available in grocery stores.
  • Also, select packaged rice without holes and molds. 
Storing long-grain rice
  • Unopened long-grain rice can be kept in its original packaging.
  • Once opened, put the rice in a container at room temperature to last for several months. 
  • According to Recipe Vibes, cooked rice can be refrigerated for three days or frozen for three months. 


Buying tomatoes
  • Choose tomatoes that feel heavy for their weight.
  • They should be free from soft spots or discoloration.
  • The skin should also be smooth and plump. 
  • Bon Appetit suggests buying tomatoes that are uniformly ripe.
Storing tomatoes
  • Store the tomatoes at room temperature, away from sunlight.
  • Once ripe, transfer them to the fridge to extend their shelf life. 

Peppers and scotch bonnet

Buying peppers and scotch bonnet
  • Look for sweet peppers and bell peppers with healthy-looking skin and stems.
  • They should also feel heavy for their size.
  • Use the same guide for the scotch bonnet. 
Storing peppers and scotch bonnet
  • These peppers can last up to five days at room temperature.
  • Place them in the fridge to last up to more than a week.
  • For the scotch bonnet, freeze them to prolong shelf life. 


Buying onion
  • Buy onions without soft spots or holes.
  • The skin should also be intact.
  • They should also feel firm.
Storing onions
  • Onions can last for more than a week at room temperature.

Pepper Sauce Without a Blender

Aside from blending the sauce, you can also use an immersion blender or a food processor. Alternatively, chop them finely with a knife or pound them with a mortar and pestle

There is no need to add water because the tomato juice can help with the sauce’s texture. 

How to Make Meat Liquid Stock

Assorted meat and liquid stock are helpful when cooking African dishes like Jollof Rice. You can go for abodi, tripe, or other beef organs available for the meat.

  1. Rinse them thoroughly. 
  2. Put the meat parts in a pot and heat to medium fire.
  3. Mix it with chopped garlic and onions.
  4. Use curry powder, stock cubes, thyme, and salt for the seasoning.
  5. Allow this to cook for about 30 minutes or until the meat is tender. 
  6. Then, filter the meat and the stock.
  7. Store them separately to use for other recipes.
  8. The meat liquid stock can be frozen to preserve for several weeks. 

How to Make and Store Tomato Puree

Tomato puree may be readily available in stores, but it is always best to make an all-natural one at home.

Chop the tomatoes and puree them using a blender, food processor, immersion blender, or other similar kitchen tools. 

Store the tomato puree in a resealable bag and label it. Alternatively, freeze the puree in ice cube trays before storing the cubes in the freezer bags.

The tomato puree will surely give your Jollof Rice a whole new flavor!

party Jollof rice recipe serving

Jollof Rice Variations

How else can you cook Jollof Rice?

Jollof Rice is customizable, so feel free to substitute other ingredients. For instance, the meat liquid stock can be replaced with stock from vegetables or chicken. 

If you want to add more vegetables, then I suggest using green beans, carrots, cabbage, onion leeks, and more. To make it a full meal, toss in some beef, chicken, seafood, or eggs. 

The seasoning is entirely up to you. However, note to use them in moderation for a well-balanced flavor. 

More Rice Recipes

  • Pot: Cook the Jollof Rice in a pot. 
  • Blender: Use a blender to make the pepper sauce.
  • Knife: Chop the ingredients using a knife. 
  • Wooden spatula: Stir the rice with a wooden spatula. 
  • Glass bowl: Rinse the rice in a glass bowl. 

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Nigerian smokey party Jollof rice recipe

How to Serve Jollof Rice

Are you excited to try the Jollof Rice?

Aside from serving it as a side dish, the Jollof Rice can also be a standalone dish. You can also serve it with grilled or fried foods for a good balance of flavor.

It will also taste well with plantains, salads, and so much more I also love serving it for lunch or dinner to give everyone a filling meal.

For the complete Nigerian culinary experience, try these recipes:

  • Coleslaw – balance all of the flavors with a good coleslaw.
  • Fried Plantains – even fruits like plantains taste great with Jollof Rice.
  • Grilled Salmon – grill your salmon to go with your rice.
  • Boiled Eggs – even something as simple as boiled eggs can taste fantastic with this dish.

Limit your jollof rice intake to one cup every other day or week. Eat it with healthy dishes to balance the nutritional value. You can also have it for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. 

If you plan on introducing Nigerian rice recipes to children, then My Active Kitchen suggests cooking the jollof rice in its vegetarian version. 

party Jollof rice recipe

Storage Tips

At room temperature: Eat the Jollof Rice while it is still hot or within two hours.

make ahead

In the fridge: Put the rice in a container or resealable bags. Then, refrigerate it for up to four days. 

To freeze: Portion the Jollof Rice in freezer bags and freeze it for up to three months. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is so special about jollof rice?

Jollof Rice is a special dish because it is deeply rooted in African cuisine. In most countries, it is known as a symbol of hospitality and togetherness. Flavorwise, it has a good mix of sweet, savory, and spicy tones that will excite your taste buds.

Is Jollof Rice Jamaican or Nigerian?

According to Healthier Steps, Jollof Rice is commonly a Nigerian or Ghanaian recipe. However, Jamaicans may also have their own way of cooking Jollof Rice.

What’s the secret to great jollof rice?

Generally, there are two types of Jollof Rice: Nigerian and Ghanaian Jollof Rice. The Nigerian version has a tomato-based sauce and is often cooked with chicken, beef, and other protein sources.

Meanwhile, the Ghanaian version is known for its milder taste and less spicy flavor. It also uses a tomato sauce that’s less thick.

smokey party Jollof rice recipe

Smoky Jollof Rice

5 from 1 vote
Fall in love with Nigerian cuisine by cooking this savory Jollof Rice that goes with anything and everything!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 8
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine African, Nigerian
Calories 486kcal


for the pepper sauce

  • 5 tomatoes
  • 2 sweet peppers
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 1 onion (small-sized )
  • 2 scotch bonnets

for the jollof rice

  • 4 cups long grain rice
  • 1 tbsp mixed herbs
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 2 cups assorted meat liquid stock
  • 3 tbsp tomato puree
  • cup sunflower oil
  • 1 onion (small-sized)
  • 2 chicken stock cubes
  • 3 bay leaves
  • sea salt


  • Make the sauce.
    Blend the tomatoes, sweet peppers, bell pepper, scotch bonnet, and onion until smooth. Set it aside.
  • Cook the sauce.
    Heat sunflower oil in a pot over medium heat. Saute the onion, mixed herbs, curry powder, turmeric, and stock cubes. Add tomato puree and cook for 2 minutes.
    Pour in the blended pepper sauce and cook for 5 minutes. Add bay leaves and assorted meat liquid. Allow it to cook for 15 minutes, depending on the quantity of the sauce. Season with salt if needed.
  • Prepare the rice.
    Rinse the grains with warm water and drain them twice or until the water is clear.
  • Cook the rice.
    Add the grains to the pot and coat it with the sauce. Reduce heat to low fire and cover the pot with aluminum foil or parchment paper to seal the steam.
    Cook it for 20 to 25 minutes. Stir the Jollof Rice to ensure that it is not burnt badly. Add hot water if needed and steam for five more minutes.



  • Use other herbs and spices of your choice for seasoning.
  • Make homemade tomato puree for a healthier ingredient.
  • For child-friendly Jollof rice, cook it with vegetables and with less seasoning. 


Serving: 1 (of 8)Calories: 486kcalCarbohydrates: 86gProtein: 10gFat: 11gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 2mgSodium: 339mgPotassium: 544mgFiber: 4gSugar: 7gVitamin A: 2146IUVitamin C: 75mgCalcium: 53mgIron: 2mg
Keyword african jollof rice, crod-pleasing jollof rice, delicious nigerian rice recipe, easy jollof rice, easy nigerian jollof rice, healthy jollof rice, homemade jollof rice, smoky jollof, smoky jollof rice

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