5 tips for the perfect Jollof rice

It’s finally August 22nd, the day we have been waiting for. It started as a joke, but I am glad we all came together to make #worldJollofriceDay and #NationalJollofriceday a thing. There is no food as unifying yet as divisive for West Africans.

Getting jollof recipe down can be very tricky, but the great thing is that once you have it down, you are golden.

Those who know me well know that I don’t play with my Jollof. Even though I like to say that no two pots of Jollof are the same, there are some basic principles for the absolute best jollof rice. Here they are:



Always use equal parts rice and water; let steam do the work. Reason being that Jollof should be infused with steam, not boiled.  The more you are able to infuse your rice without overcooking, the tastier it is. If you boil jollof on super high heat, it’s pretty much mixed rice and stew 🙁 . To ensure that the steam stays in the pot, I cover with foil then a tight fitting lead and cook on medium-low heat . People didn’t really understand when I first shared this tip in 2012, I am happy to see that it’s now the norm.  Check out pictorial in my jollof recipe .

Jollof- dambu - danbu - nama - plantain - dodo - nigeria - ghana - recipe - best

Jollof served with shredded beef & Plantain



There are two major determining factors for jollof color. These are:

  1. properly fried base and
  2. tomato paste (purée) .

I use one heaped tablespoon of paste per 2 fresh tomatoes. If you don’t like canned paste, you can make it yourself or substitute  paprika. I also do something which I call the paper towel test. The goal is to take the base oil from A to B as pictured below

Jollof - recipe - west - african - food - national - world - day - easy - best - recipe

Jollof with egg & Plantain

Richness, jollof, color

Jollof color test


Cook / Texture

Texture of jollof is just as important as the taste. You never want the rice to turn to mush, yet you don’t want undercooked rice. If you are ever in a sticky situation, here are some tips:

If there is too much water in your Jollof, but the texture is just right. Transfer the rice to a wider pot (if possible), increase the heat to maximum and leave UNCOVERED. The water will evaporate quickly.
If your rice looks like it might get soggy, DON’T leave it in the pot. You want to cool it down as fast as possible in order to stop the cooking process. Spread it out on an oven tray and place in a cool place like an open fridge (don’t close the fridge oh, all that condensation will pull on your food) to cool down . Toss the cooled rice in the oven to completely dry out

If the water is all dry in the pot but the rice isn’t quite done:

Is it burning? If yes- add 1 tablespoon of boiling water for every cup of rice in the pot. COVER TIGHTLY. Increase heat for about 1 minute (this is to bring the water to the right temperature) immediately turn off the heat, switch the rice to a different burner that isn’t warm, leave covered for 10-20 minutes depending on the size of your rice.

Not burning – Turn off the heat but leave the rice covered for another 8-10 minutes, the retained heat and steam will continue to cook the rice.


Jollof - recipe - west - african - food - national - world - day - easy - best - recipe

Local Jollof with Ofada Rice



The unique taste of jollof comes from the cooking technique as well as basic seasonings and spices. General flavor profile of  jollof has Bayleaf, tomato, onion, bouillon (maggi), curry, thyme and salt. I have seen very old West African cookbooks with unique ingredients like nutmeg.  I also know some west African countries put ginger and garlic in theirs. It’s up to you to find the flavour pairing you enjoy the most, make sure the basics are included and build on those flavors. Also, do not be afraid to add more seasonings and spices after the rice is cooked, just make sure your rice is still hot when you do.
Jollof - recipe - west - african - food - national - world - day - easy - best - recipe



The jollof experience is often as important as what it’s paired with. Jollof is NEVER served alone. A perfectly paired plate of jollof should include two or more of the follow:

Jollof - recipe - west - african - food - national - world - day - easy - best - recipe

Jollof with stewed meat, moimoi and fried plantain

There you have it folks! enjoy jollof day, cook a pot or two and share with family and friends.

Have jollof related questions? tips? concerns? Be the comment pioneer, start a conversation below 😀

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By |August 22nd, 2015|19 Comments


  1. David January 1, 2018 at 9:52 am - Reply

    I always cook a very tasteless jollof rice damn I need a lot lesson on this

  2. Salena Harris April 24, 2017 at 11:45 pm - Reply

    I made jollof rice today it came out really good but was to spicy for me I used whole pepper

    • 9jafoodie
      9jafoodie May 9, 2017 at 6:13 pm - Reply

      Hi Salena,

      Congrats on nailing your J. Rice.
      Maybe use less pepper next time. 🙂

      Build your tolerance up slowly

  3. Kingsley December 10, 2016 at 4:06 am - Reply

    Thanks for this tips will give it a try

  4. Adina February 21, 2016 at 9:35 pm - Reply

    I adore your recipes! I was wondering if your special stew paste : http://www.9jafoodie.com/nigerian-stew/ could be used rather than the regular method of grinding and frying the paste?

    • 9jafoodie
      9jafoodie February 25, 2016 at 8:20 pm - Reply

      awwwww thank you. Yes, that’s the aim of the recipe.

  5. Nike O. January 5, 2016 at 8:37 pm - Reply

    Thank you so much, the steaming made the difference.

  6. salspeters November 28, 2015 at 7:14 pm - Reply

    having a party and i want to prepare jollof rice for about 25 people. how do i go about the ratio of the ingredients plus rice. And what is the effect of bell pepper the food?

    • 9jafoodie
      9jafoodie November 29, 2015 at 3:11 pm - Reply

      please see detailed recipe for Jollof here :

  7. Bumsaras October 2, 2015 at 4:29 am - Reply

    Can one use ofada rice to prepare Jollof rice?

    • 9jafoodie
      9jafoodie October 2, 2015 at 8:57 pm - Reply

      yes you can. you can use this brown rice jollof recipe we have here :

  8. Florence September 12, 2015 at 7:28 pm - Reply

    I used foil for the first time… the difference was clear.

  9. Ogochukwu September 2, 2015 at 5:52 am - Reply

    Thanks so much for the tips… Now I know what I’ve been getting wrong. steam. I’m still waiting for a reply to my kulikuli question. Thanks.

  10. Xty August 24, 2015 at 9:35 am - Reply

    Absolutely no disapproval!!! You’re the all time Jollof Prof. LOL

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