If you love rice and spices then this Nigerian Jollof rice recipe is the dish for you. Full of flavour and usually enjoyed as a dish on its own, it is amazing and definitely one you will be making again and again. This West African-inspired recipe is super easy to make too.

After I posted it on social media many of you asked for the recipe so here it is along with some information about it for you too!

Nigerian jollof rice is perfect on its own or as a side dish

What is Nigerian Jollof Rice?

It is an African centrepiece and is a very popular dish served for family dinners and at gatherings. It is a spiced rice dish that is flavoured with many different spices as well as tomatoes, onions, and peppers.

The dish has major significance in certain areas of West Africa and is a staple meal that is served at not just family events and gatherings but also social gatherings of importance within communities.

The great thing about this dish is that it can be served on its own as a meal but it’s also a fantastic side dish for other entities like fish, meat and vegetables.

It has a rich red/orange colour that makes it appealing to the eye and the seasonings and spices give off an incredible aroma. 

chopping fresh tomatoes
Chopped fresh tomatoes

Where did this rice come from?

Traditionally, many people associate the dish with being born from rice farmers in West Africa back in the 14th century. West Africa was a prominent area for trading with other countries such as Portugal.

This is where the introduction of other ingredients such as tomatoes came from, which became essential to the dish. Some would say that the creation was born out of a shortage of barley, and the use of rice being an alternative to a specific dish called Benachin, or “One-pot” as it translates to. 

Is there a difference between regionalised versions?

As the Jollof rice recipes have been adapted over the years, the once traditional Western Dish has now been capitalised as signature meals in both Nigeria and Ghana.

Even the famous Mark Zuckerberg, the creator of Facebook, has stated that the Nigerian version is the best he has tasted. 

There are many varying versions of the basic dish these days, using different ingredients to enhance the flavours of the tomato and pepper bases.

A traditional Nigerian Jollof rice will be warming and inviting, bright in colour and smell incredible. It is a heartwarming dish that many people love on its own, or as a side dish. 

One of the regional differences you may find is the type of rice used. Nigerian Jollof rice will use long grain rice, whereas others may use basmati rice.

Some will change up the ingredients and add different things to it. But a true recipe includes elements such as pureed tomatoes, red peppers, and parboiled long grain rice.

Traditionally, especially when servicing to larger groups, they will cook the jollof rice dish in cast iron pots on open fires. This gives it the smokey flavour you have learned to expect and love in the Nigerian Jollof rice recipe. 

jollof rice
Nigerian jollof rice

Tips for making Jollof rice

It is vegetarian and even vegan so there are not many people who wouldn’t like it. The spice levels can be adjusted to your taste but this recipe is my preference. Quite spicy but not excessively so!

The best rice for this recipe is long grain rice, not basmati rice, due to the way it holds together perfectly for the recipe. It is eaten on its own in Africa so this recipe makes 4-6 large portions if eaten on its own.

If you are making a side dish then you could consider making half quantities! Alternatively, you could take leftovers to work for lunch.

hessian bag of dry rice on a white table

The ingredients

All of the ingredients in this Nigerian jollof rice recipe are easy to get hold of and many you probably already have in your cupboard or on your spice rack!

Scotch bonnet peppers are available in most supermarkets and I have often seen them reduced which makes this recipe even cheaper!

I like to go into Nottingham to the specialist food shops for ingredients sometimes too.

This recipe uses spray oil as an alternative to oil in a large pan, if you use a non-stick pan it is going to work just as well.

bowl of cooked rice

How is Jollof rice healthy?

All of the ingredients used in this recipe are natural and low in calories. Look at the spicy tomato sauce you make at the beginning of the recipe!

There are lots of vegetables in it which we all know is great for weight loss and chillies are good too so you really can’t go wrong with this recipe.

That said this is a yummy recipe you will love and you’ll soon forget it is healthy!

If you follow Slimming World, Weight Watchers (WW), Noom or any other weight loss plan you can usually count the ingredients within this recipe in your allowances. It is of course important to check any plan you follow and remember all nutritional information and ingredients are found in the recipe card below.

bowl of red peppers

Why you need vegetables to lose weight

Everyone knows vegetables are good for you, don’t they? They are healthy and filling for very few calories!

The best vegetables are those with low-calorie density.

This means if you eat 100g of spinach, for example, it is just 23 calories and 100g of crisps, which would be just as filling, is around 536 calories!

Find more tips about the best vegetables for weight loss.

More healthy recipes

Have you tried my cauliflower and chicken fried rice yet or my egg fried rice? If not add them to your meal plan I am sure you will love them.

If you love the look of this then don’t forget to check out my other healthy recipes in my menus. You will find lots more tasty recipes including the popular Cowboy Cheesy Potato bakeMushroom Stroganoff and Vanilla baked cheesecake!

If you don’t fancy this but would like another recipe with rice check out my huge selection of rice recipes here and check out my tips for cooking the perfect rice!

carrot cake made to a Slimming World recipe

I have a lot of weight loss guides and support if you want to exercise including if you have a condition like fibromyalgia.

Have a good look around and see how I can help you achieve your weight loss goals. Request my free resources to get you started too!

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jollof rice

Easy and healthy Nigerian Jollof rice recipe

  • Author: JustAverageJen
  • Prep Time: 10 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 75 Minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
  • Yield: 6 Portions 1x
  • Category: Side dish
  • Method: Hob
  • Cuisine: Nigerian
  • Diet: Low Calorie



500 grams Long grain rice

500 ml Vegetable Stock The two amounts of vegetable stock are used separately

750 ml Vegetable Stock The two amounts of vegetable stock are used separately

400 grams can Peeled plum tomatoes

4 Red bell peppers (deseeded and cut into chunks)

1 medium Red onion (thinly sliced) Keep onions separately as used at different points

2 medium Red onions (roughly chopped) Keep onions separately as used at different points

1 Scotch Bonnet chilli pepper Deseeded if preferred. If you like very spicy then add two here!

3 tbsp Tomato Puree

2 tsp Jollof Seasoning (made in bulk with 1.5 tbsp onion granules, 0.5tbsp mixed spice, 0.5tbsp dried thyme, 0.5tbsp ground black pepper, 0.5tsp cinnamon, 0.5tsp cayenne pepper, 0.5tsp garlic granules, large pinch of salt) alternatively use jerk seasoning for ease.

1.5 tsp Dried Thyme

2 Dried bay leaves

Low-Calorie Cooking Spray


Using a jug blender, combine the tinned tomatoes and their juice, red bell peppers, chopped onions (NOT the sliced ones!) and the chilli pepper until smooth then set aside.

In a large lidded saucepan add the rice and 500ml of stock and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and allow to cook for around 5 minutes with the lid on until the water is absorbed by the rice. Don’t panic that the rice is not cooked at this stage, it is not supposed to be.

Meanwhile, spray a large lidded wok or frying pan well with low-calorie cooking spray and place over medium heat.

Fry sliced onion for 2 minutes then add tomato puree, Jollof seasoning, dried thyme and bay leaves and fry for a further 2 minutes.

Add the blended chilli, tomato and onion mix to the pan and cook on a medium heat for 10-12 minutes. This allows the tomatoes to cook and the onions may sting your eyes a little at this point!

Add 500ml of stock to the pan along with the parboiled rice, stir and cover the pot with a lid. Turn the heat down to low and cook for 15 minutes.

Remove lid and stir well to ensure it is not sticking then add a further 250ml of stock and replace the lid. Cook for a further 15 minutes. stirring every 5-10 minutes to prevent it sticking.

If you feel the rice is too hard, add an extra 150ml of stock at this point and allow to absorb then remove from heat.

Remove the lid and cover with a clean tea towel. Leave to stand for 30 minutes.

Serve and enjoy! I served mine with some chunks of fresh tomatoes but you can serve however you wish.


If you prefer the Jollof to have a smokier taste, as they call party rice in west Africa, then this is easily done. Before removing from the heat at the end turn up the heat to full and allow to burn and crackle on the bottom of the pan for 3-5 minutes. Leave the lid on to stand for 30 minutes. this gives the smokier tasty of the classic Nigerian Party rice.

Keywords: Nigerian rice, party rice, jollaf rice, jollof,

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One Comment

  1. I’d never even heard of Jollof before. Wow! What a treat – loved the flavours in this dish. Simple enough to make, too. Thanks for sharing 🙂