Jollof Rice – Easy, flavorful and perfectly cooked African classic dish Jollof rice both made completely in the oven and on stovetop. Perfect for regular nights or special occasions!
Jollof rice is a legendary one-pot dish that’s ubiquitous in Nigeria, Cameroon, Ghana, Liberia, Togo, and Sierra Leone. In fact, this is the most popular party food in West Africa and has been gaining momentum elsewhere in East Africa.
Because of its popularity, there have been several debates as to its origin. What I know for sure is that- it is an AMAZING one-pot dish and there is no argument when everyone is shoving it down their throat.
What is Jollof Rice?
Jollof Rice, or sometimes called as jellof rice, is a classic rice dish cooked in a flavorful tomato-based broth. With its several regional variations in name and ingredients, there is NO absolute right or wrong way of cooking this popular African rice recipe.
Jollof Rice Ingredients
I just want to say that jollof rice is great for entertaining, especially if you have picky kids. They always go for it.
It is fair to say, this delicious rice dish is fairly easy to make anywhere in the world because the ingredients are easy to find.
Despite its many variations, the most common ingredients of a jollof rice recipe are as follows:
- Rice (uncooked long-grain rice) – The starchy base for our dish, this filling ingredient is generally fragrant and soaks a lot of water.
- Tomato Sauce – The sweet and fresh flavors of tomato in a thick mixture perfect for many starchy dishes.
- Chicken Broth (or water) – Basically the water where the chicken was boiled and simmered. It has a lot of flavor and it’s also filled with oils and collagen.
- Onions – This veggie is great served fresh with its tangy flavor. I personally love it slightly caramelized for a bit of sweetness. Get the perfect cut for this ingredient with this easy-to follow guide.
- Cooking Oil – A Pantry essential to evenly cook the whole dish.
- Vegetables (like peas and carrots) – Use a mix of colorful veggies to make it even more vibrant.
- Hot Pepper – Give it a kick of heat with a dose of this ingredient
- Salt to taste
- Scotch bonnet pepper or hot pepper – This pepper is really HOT, so most of the time I put it whole instead of chopping it. This way, I can still get the flavors from
its skin and not the spiciness from the seeds.
How to Cook Jollof Rice?
Traditionally, Jollof is cooked over the stovetop; involving with a lot of stirring and sometimes the rice would stick to the pot making the dish quite unappetizing.
In this blog post, I completely eliminated that problem by making it in the oven with just a 5-minute prep time and no constant stirring involved. But if you want to stick to the traditional way, I’ve also included the stovetop method here in this blog post. Here’s the easy steps to make this simple dish.
- Rinse the rice: Make sure you you clean it through with just water. DO NOT PARBOIL it.
- Put it all in!: Add all the ingredients in the baking dish or pan.
- Cover and cook: And lastly, covering it with aluminum foil and popping in the oven.
Isn’t that easy enough for you? Now, if you are not vegan and want to throw in some meat or protein, do so by all means. Simply stir fry shrimp, beef or chicken and medley of vegetables, mix with the rice and serve.
What to Serve with Jollof Rice?
This delicious rice dish can be served with just about any meat or non-meat recipes that you like. You can start with these few below and then explore other recipes to pair with this lovely dish:
- Chicken Stew (African-style)
- Suya Chicken
- Fried Plantains
- Asun (Spicy Roast Goat)
- Curried Goat Stew
- African Beef Stew
- Cucumber Tomato Salad
More Popular African Recipes That You’ll Love
- Egusi Soup
- Moin Moin
- Puff Puff (Please also see my list of Puff Puff Recipes HERE)
- Fish Pepper Soup
- Okra Soup
How to Make Jollof Rice
- Prepare the rice and the oven: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Rinse rice through the water. In a half sheet baking pan.
- Combine and Stir: In a half sheet pan (12-13/16″ l. x 10-7/16″ w. x 2-1/2”) combine all ingredients and stir so that everything is fully combined. (See photos 1-2)
- Cover and Cook: Cover tightly with aluminum foil paper. Double if you can, it helps cook faster. Gently place in oven and let it cook for about 70 -80 minutes. Carefully remove from the oven and check after 70 minutes. Since posting I have retried recipes several times and it works best for my oven after 75 minutes. (See photo 3)
- Open and Serve: Remove carefully from the oven and let it rest for about 5 minutes. Then carefully remove the aluminum paper. Fluff rice with a fork and mix evenly. Serve warm. (See photo 4)
Watch How to Make It
Jellof Rice (Oven and Stovetop Method)
- 3-4 tablespoons (42ml-56ml) vegetable oil
- 1 medium onion , diced, (red or white onions)
- 2 teaspoons (1.6g) fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon (1g) dried thyme , optional
- 1 tablespoon (8g) minced garlic or (9.7g) garlic powder
- 3 cups (591g) rice , long-grain, uncooked rice (I used Basmati)
- 1 tablespoon (7g) paprika
- 2 teaspoons (4g) chicken bouillon
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 14-ounce can of tomato sauce or puree
- 4 cups (1000ml) chicken broth or water ( 5 1/4 cups for stove top)
- 1 scotch bonnet pepper or ¾ teaspoon hot pepper , omit if cooking for kids
- 1 pound (453.59g) vegetables (optional) (can be peas and carrots, green beans or corn)
- parsley for garnishing
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Rinse rice through water. In a half sheet baking pan
- In a half sheet pan (12-13/16" l. x 10-7/16" w. x 2-1/2”) combine all ingredients and stir so that everything is fully combined.
- Cover tightly with aluminum foil paper. Double if you can, it helps cook faster.
- Gently place in oven and let it cook for about 70-80 minutes. Carefully remove from the oven and check after 70 minutes. Since posting, I have retried recipes several times and it works best for my oven after 75 minutes.
- Remove carefully from the oven and let it rest for about 5 minutes. Then carefully remove the aluminum paper. Fluff rice with a fork, thrown in your add-ins and mix evenly. Serve warm.
- Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.
- Next add onions, thyme, and garlic, cook for about 2 minutes or until onion becomes soft and translucent.
- Add rice, season with paprika, bouillon, salt, and pepper.
- Cook stirring often until fragrant, for about 30 seconds. and brown stirring occasionally, for about 2-3 minutes.
- Pour tomatoes sauce, chicken broth, and hot pepper, if using any into saucepan.
- Bring to a boil stirring once or twice. Reduce heat to low, cover saucepan and simmer until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed, for 15-18 minutes.
- Remove pan from heat, let it sit covered for 5 minutes then fluff rice with a fork or serving spoon. Then throw in sauteed veggies and/or beef, chicken and shrimp and mix, if desired
- Garnish with parsley and serve.
Tips & Notes:
- Use 5 1/4 cups of broth or water when making this stove top.
- I have tried several cookware for this rice and my recommendation are as follows: any shallow baking dish would work here, a Dutch oven is good, too and an aluminum baking dish.
- Make sure they have a tight fitting lid or cover it tightly with an aluminum foil as show in the video.
- Tightly cover the pot or pan with foil paper or its corresponding lid. Double foil paper to retain more heat.
- If you don't have a can of tomato sauce in your pantry, you may replace it with a can of crushed tomatoes or tomato puree (thicker than tomato sauce), HOWEVER the consistency will not be the same.
- I would recommend, if you can, to use the can of tomato sauce if you can get your hands on it because it’s a crucial ingredient to this dish.
- To double the recipe, double everything EXCEPT the cooking time. You might have to add just a few minutes more, depending on the baking dish. Start checking after 80 minutes.
- If you want to add other vegetables in this dish like green beans and corn, sauté first the vegetables and throw it in when it’s all done. It is vibrant and colorful this way, also this would ensure that your vegetables are perfectly cooked.
- One of our readers threw in shredded cabbage, carrots, yellow pepper and green onions into the mix.
- On the other hand, if you want to throw in shrimp, saute them first and add them as you fluff the rice. The residual heat will warm them enough and they will not go rubbery.
- Make sure your beef or any other meat is cooked before throwing it in the mix.
- The rice was NOT PARBOILED before putting in the oven. All you need to do is RINSE the rice with water.
- I use Royal basmati rice for this recipe which is available at Walmart and Costco. I have tried several variety and they work just as well.
- If you don't have basmati rice, you may replace it with white long-grain rice with same ratio of rice and water.
- As per some of our readers here, you can use brown rice but that would need a bit more water (cannot give you the exact measurements because I never tried it) and it will take you two hours since brown rice takes longer to cook.
- Swap habanero pepper for scotch bonnet or replace it with ¾ teaspoon hot pepper. Omit if serving it for the kids.
- You may swap bouillon cubes with 1-2 teaspoons of Creole seasoning. That should add more flavor to it.
- When using bouillon cubes instead of the powder, simply dissolve it completely in liquid before adding.
- You may leave out completely the paprika, or swap it with curry. It would slightly alter the taste, but not that much if you love curry.
- To avoid a mushy rice, reduce the liquid by 1/3 cup.
- You can also cook this in a rice cooker.