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Classic Nigerian Jollof Rice – The Tastiest Simplicity

Rice dishes are very common in most West-African cultures and the Nigerian jollof rice is one of many great variations. Jollof rice itself is popular in countries such as Ghana, Nigeria, and Senegal. Like I said in my food in theory article Nigerian Jollof 101 – Extras & Essentials, the debate on which country makes the best Jollof is one that could go on forever. As a Nigerian, I can say that aside from the taste and flavour, a beautiful thing about the Nigerian Jollof rice dish is how it varies. From the classic Jollof to party style Jollof and a recent favourite that is basmati Jollof and more.

This recipe is the more common and classic recipe, used by most home cooks. I wouldn’t go as far as calling it the most traditional, however, it upholds the desired standard of the classic dish. Which is:

  • vibrant in colour,
  • use of fresh ingredients,
  • rich in flavour,
  • spicy and aromatic,
  • Classic long grain rice (which arguably holds on to flavour better)

Complex not complicated

A dish that requires simple steps, but is seemingly complicated. To some people, it comes naturally whilst for some others it’s a journey to master just the basics. However, I say it’s a journey that is worth it all! A delicious dish that encompasses: Blitz, fry, simmer, and steam, no more, no less. This recipe will guide even the novice of novices to embark on this delicious journey. One of the many Jollof rice variations that I promise you will enjoy. If you want a little cheat sheet, you can check out how I make Nigerian Jollof rice using pasta sauce.

How to make Classic Nigerian Jollof Rice:

What you’ll need:
  • Tomatoes
  • Red bell pepper
  • Red onion
  • Fresh ginger
  • Garlic
  • Scotch bonnet pepper
  • Sunflower oil
  • Rice
  • Paprika powder
  • Dried thyme
  • Nutmeg
  • Bay leaf
  • Salt
  • Vegetable stock
The Cooking Process:
  • Chop tomatoes, onions, bell pepper, ginger, garlic, scotch bonnet pepper and puree in a blender/food processor.
  • Cook the pureed mixture in a pot with hot cooking oil over medium-high heat. Stir together and place a lid over it, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Stir in the spices and seasonings (Paprika, thyme, nutmeg, bay leaf, and salt), then add the rice and vegetable or meat stock and stir together.
  • Place a piece of aluminium foil into the pot, covering the entire surface of the rice, then place a lid over the pot. Cook for 20 minutes on low heat (stirring occasionally).
  • Remove the lid, bin the aluminium foil and give the rice a gentle stir, then return the lid and cook for another 5 minutes.
Classic jollof rice

Classic Nigerian Jollof Rice

Immaculate Ruému
Nigerian jollof rice is undoubtedly delicious and rich in flavour. The classic recipe is the forerunner of the popular West-African dish
4.82 from 32 votes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Nigerian, West-African
Servings 3


  • 4 plum tomatoes
  • ½ bell pepper
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 thumb-size fresh ginger
  • 2 garlic gloves
  • 1 scotch bonnet pepper
  • ¼ cup sunflower oil
  • 1 cup long-grain rice (Washed)
  • 1 tsp paprika powder
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup vegetable stock


  • Chop the tomatoes, onions, and bell pepper into chunks. Place into a blender/food processor together with the ginger, garlic, and scotch bonnet pepper. Then blitz into a smooth paste.
  • Place a pot over medium heat, pour in the sunflower oil, and add the blended mixture. Stir and allow to sizzle, then place a lid over it, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 20 minutes.
  • After simmering for 20 minutes, remove the lid, then add the spices and seasonings (Paprika, thyme, nutmeg, bay leaf, and salt). Stir altogether.
  • Also pour in the rice and vegetable or meat stock and stir together.
  • Place a piece of aluminium foil into the pot, covering the entire surface of the rice (this will keep the steam in), then place a lid over the pot. Cook for 20 minutes on low heat (Stirring occasionally to cook the rice evenly and also to prevent it from burning at the bottom).
  • Remove lid, bin the aluminium foil and give the rice a gentle stir, then return the lid and cook for another 5 minutes.
  • Now the rice should be ready to serve. Serve hot with your favourite sides and enjoy!


Keyword: Jollof, spice mix
Tried this recipe?Mention @Immaculateruemu or tag #iruemurecipes!

Some of the ingredients used in this recipe are a list in my 10 Essential Ingredients in a Nigerian Kitchen, where you can learn more about Nigerian food.

29 Responses

  1. 5 stars
    This recipe is fantastic! This was my first time making an African dish. The spicy flavor is everything. I’ll be making this again.

  2. 5 stars
    I’ve always wanted to try making Jollof rice and have been too intimidated to try! This recipe is classic, easy to follow and definitely upped my rice making confidence. Thank you!

  3. 5 stars
    I’m so happy to have an authentic Jollibee Rice recipe. The food I had in Lagos was some of the best food I have tasted anywhere.

  4. 5 stars
    This is one of my favourite Nigerian dishes and I’m so happy that I now know how to make it at home. This recipe is delicious and everyone loved it. The video makes it easy to follow too. Thank you for sharing!

  5. 5 stars
    Nigerian Jollof Rice!! OMG, this recipe was soo yummy!! The flavour was everything! Loved bringing the taste and flavours from West-African culture into our home – thank you!

  6. 5 stars
    I’ve never made Jollof Rice out of fear of not doing it justice. But this recipe is everything. I can’t wait to enjoy my leftovers for dinner tonight!

  7. 5 stars
    The video was so helpful. I love jollof rice, but have never tried to make it on my own. This will definitely be a repeat dish for dinner.

  8. 5 stars
    I’m so glad I found this recipe!! I’ve always loved Nigerian Jollof rice, but it always seemed so intimidating! Your video made it easy. I subbed a habañero pepper because I couldn’t find a scotch bonnet — it was so good!!

  9. 5 stars
    I’ve always wanted to try jollof rice, thanks for this recipe and for walking me through the steps. It’s so flavorful, definitely plan to add it to our weekly rotation.

  10. 5 stars
    I had not made jollof with plum tomatoes before but followed your recipe and love the outcome. Now I know I can use different ingredients based on what I have on hand. Thanks!

  11. 5 stars
    I’ve had many jollof rice- but this one was AMAZING! Everything was simple to follow, and all of the flavors were on point.

  12. 5 stars
    My neighbors were from Ghana and made jollof rice for me. I am forever a fan. This recipe taste just like what my neighbors made for me years ago. Thank you for a great and authentic recipe.

  13. 5 stars
    I have been trying HARD to learn to make Jollof and this recipe was so easy to follow!

  14. 4 stars
    Love the recipe! Please add Bay Leaf to the ingredients list. I was following it at the grocery and didn’t buy it because it wasn’t on the list ?

    1. Thanks for bringing this to my attention! Bay leaf was originally included in the ingredients list but there must have been some mishaps due to recent updates. However, I am very glad you love the recipe!

    1. The video is a virtual representation of the written recipe. You can make use of both. Thanks

    2. 5 stars
      First recipe I tried I failed, then I found this one and it came out great even my Nigerian family was happy with the results

  15. Nice recipe ma, but ma pls if tomato paste is not used will it still come out well

    1. Hello. Thanks for your question. Yes, it will come out well. This recipe does not need tomato paste but you can add it if you desire.

  16. 5 stars
    I have cooked this twice now, first time with brown rice as that was what I had at the time.
    The second time, I cooked with long grain rice. MUCH better. It was received with much pleasure.
    I shall definitely be cooking it again. Thank

  17. 5 stars
    Tried this tonight and it was amazing. I couldn’t find the required pepper and used habanero instead and it still turned out pretty good.

    I forgot to put the foil on and my rice was not done yet, oof. Added more broth cooked it another 10 minutes and it still turned out well.

    This was my first time trying Jollof rice and I am now a huge fan. Thank you for sharing.

4.82 from 32 votes (15 ratings without comment)

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Chef Immaculate Ruému


I'm Immaculate, a trained chef that enjoys all that encompasses food. Exploring a variety of local international cuisines with the aim of ‘Breaking Global Culinary Boundaries’.

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