International Recipes and Cooking Around the World

Jollof Rice

Jollof Rice Recipe (West African chicken with rice)

(West African chicken with rice)

Average: 4.1 (67 votes)

Jollof rice probably originated from rice dishes eaten by the Wolof people of Senegal and Gambia, but its popularity has spread to most of West Africa, especially Nigeria and Ghana. Based on rice, tomatoes and usually meat or fish, it is believed by some to be the origin of Cajun jambalaya.

Also spelled jolof or djolof rice. The Gambian version is called benachin.

4 to 6 servings


  • Oil -- 1/4 cup
  • Chicken, cut into pieces -- 1 1/2 pounds
  • Water or stock -- 5 cups
  • Onions, chopped -- 2
  • Red or green bell pepper, chopped -- 1
  • Garlic, minced -- 3 or 4 cloves
  • Long-grain rice -- 3 cups
  • Tomato paste -- 1/4 cups
  • Tomatoes, chopped -- 2 cups
  • Carrots, peeled and chopped -- 2
  • Green beans -- 1 cup
  • Cabbage, chopped -- 1 cup
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Heat the oil over medium-high flame in a large pot. Working in batches, add the chicken and brown on all sides. Remove the chicken to another large pot and add the water or stock. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes.
  2. While the chicken simmers, pour all but 2 to 3 tablespoons of oil out of the first pot. Heat the oil over medium flame, add the onions and peppers and sauté until the onions are wilted and translucent, 4 or 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for another 1 to 2 minutes.
  3. Stir the rice into the onions and peppers and heat through for another 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste to coat the rice and give it a reddish hue. Add the chopped tomatoes and let them cook down for 2 or 3 minutes.
  4. Pour in the chicken and its simmering liquid into the rice pot and add the carrots, green beans and cabbage. Season well with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover tightly and simmer for 20 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat, let rest another 10 minutes. Remove to a serving platter and serve with dodo, sliced hard-boiled eggs and a side salad.

Jollof Rice Variations

  • There are many variations of jollof rice. Feel free to improvise using what you meats and vegetables you have on hand. Try beef, ham, shrimp, fish, goat or pork. For vegetables, add peas, potatoes, eggplant or mushrooms
  • Beef Jollof Rice: Substitute cubed stewing beef for the chicken. After browning the beef, simmer in liquid for 45 minutes before adding to the sautéed rice mixture.
  • Vegetarian Jollof Rice: Simply eliminate the meat and stir hot water or vegetable stock into the sautéed rice mixture.
  • Optional spices that can be used to flavor the dish are cinnamon, curry powder or cayenne. Some minced chile peppers can be sautéed with the onions to add extra bite.


Hi, i like your recipe, it seems easy to prepare without a lot of ingredients.

you know i think jollof rice is the best food in the all wide world.up up up up nigeria



i relly appreciate the recipe they are so easy to prepare with not many ingredients. i am married to a nigerian man so i normally look out to your recipes to impress him thank you

thanks it explain very well and it helps young adults who r old enough to know how to cook and it helps especially if u r goin uni and cant be eatin junk food all the time. And when some parents can teach properly how to cook

There are so many jollof rice recipes out there..I decided on this one and I loved it. I've made this recipe a few times and the whole family loves it.

This recipe is awesome!! I jst tried it out n it has given m d best jollof rice i've ever made. Am pregnant n can hardly eat some foods, but i hav eaten n enjoyed my food today.
Thanks so so much for this!!!

There was a bit too much water for the rice I had - I'd probably decrease the stock to 4 cups next time. Otherwise, it was very tasty

Yes - the measurement ratio of water to rice must be 1-1/2 cups of water to 1 cup rice so if you use 5 cups of water, you will need to steam/fry your sauce on low heat until all the water has simmered out of it.

i love jollof rice is the best asfrican food

Authentic Nigerian jollof rice doesn't have garlic in it. That would give it a different taste altogether. Also, it shouldn't have the carrots, cabbages and green peas. Yeah, you may add that if you like, but that's not the REAL thing...Nice try, though

yea, but the recipe didnt say that it was Nigerian. I'm Nigerian and we do without the vegerables and garlic but other countries have that as their variation

I wouldn't say it isn't right. It all depends on where you grew up. My husband is from Ghana and he puts garlic in his. A good friend, also from Ghana, was a chef there and when she makes it she adds the carrots and everything else so I would just say there are different variations and perhaps Nigerian jallof is different.

I'm an American that lived in Ghana as a student and this is the real deal. I have made this a few times and it's a great recipe. I agree - bring down the number of cups of stock to 4 rather than 5, otherwise it's fantastic.

I live in a Nigerian hourse hold, and that's where my parents are from. They try and try to cook jollof rice but it never tastes good as my ghanian friends' parents make. I'm going to give this recipe a try and see if I can be the one in the house to make it. I have all the ingredients, and it sounds delicous already!

I am Nigerian born in England and i have been brought up eating a lot of jolloff rice.The way i was taught to make this is totally different. You fry the onions in oil till soft, add blended fresh or tinned tomatoes,hot pepper and tomato puree, cook till the oil rises to the surface, add a bay leaf, nutmeg, stock cubes and thyme, stir and cook a bit further, add washed easy cook rice and enough water to cover rice and some butter, cook till rice is tender.

I have been searching for a good jollof rice recipe. I am having my book club over for Little Bee and naturally want to serve West African food! Excuse me if this sounds like I am not a cook (true) but is the rice cooked first? If not, does one just put the uncooked rice into the mixture and the 20 minutes of simmering cooks the rice? Thanks!

You are correct that you should use uncooked rice. The 20 minutes of simmering is the right amount of time to cook the rice through. If you use cooked rice, you are making a different dish. It's called Jollof PASTE.

kwasia u foolish boy the rice is not cooked first
are u african?

I am a Nigerian born in England and this recipe is not what or how i was taught. Jolloff rice does not have garlic, bell pepper, carrots,green beans and cabbage in it.A tomato stew made with fresh or tinned tomatoes, onions, hot peppers, bay leaf, nutmeg, tomato puree and stock cubes is fried in oil then the rice is added with enough water to cook till tender. This is then served with fried meats or fish that can also be cooked in a tomato based stew or the rice can be served with fried plantain.
Hope this information is useful, please try it before passing judgement.

Jollof rice at its most basic is just rice, tomatoes and onions. There are many variations on this basic recipe throughout West Africa and even from family to family. The recipe above includes vegetables and chicken that are commonly added to make Jollof rice a full meal.

Why are you guys arguing over rice? seriously? I know everyone wants to be like my way of cooking is authentic and its the best..but seriously..its just food.. i'm Cameroonian and we do it differently too and i love it..i also happen to love the way my Ghanaian and Nigerian friends make..i embrace the uniqueness of each countries way of making it..i actually thinks its quite beautiful..we can all be so different yet the same...

me too

I am recently married to an African man who is very particular about his food. Since most traditional West African food is usually cooked with hot peppers my American taste buds will not let me taste my new found recipes. I really appreciate all the feedback about the variety of cooking techniques. They are most helpful.

Everyone has their own variation to jellof rice and you know thats right, so dont come here talking about it doesnt have this that and the other.

Thats what I thought. I will be using the ingredients you list and work out my own measurements.

Cut the nonsense please. You Nigerians have one sided way of looking at things. There are many different ways to cook the Jolof rice. Your way is not the only way. The taste is what matters.

well said. I am ghanaian and i use a bit of garlic, ginger, dell pepper, nutmeg, and curry. some at different stages of the cooking process though. Its the taste that matters; if you cook it right, there is no way it will taste funny. everyone can add their own twist to it. no one will know EXACTLY what was first used to make the ORIGINAL jollof. obviously the recipe has been carried down from generation to generation and there are some ingredients added along the way. people need to chill out. **side note, it did not originate from Ghana, although some like to believe so, its from the Wollof people of Gambia and Senegal.

My husband, and his family are Nigerian born in Nigeria, and they make it with carrots and peas curry powder and thyme. Maybe this is their European variation? I know a lot of ingredients vary in West African dishes in Europe if they cannot get the ingredients that they would use back at home. So, like every region differs, maybe every family has their own variation too. I think it's really narrow-minded to say that no "real" African uses garlic, I have lots of African friends here in Barcelona that use it, maybe again, it's how their cooking style has adapted since living here, but it doesn't make them any less of a person! Anyway, this dish is delicious and I have to go back to the kitchen as that's what I am cooking for Sunday lunch today!!

I have an Aunt named Maisy :) Both of you are very helpful. I think I'm going to try your recipe

What REAL African puts garlic in Jollof rice? I tried to do it once but my mother just gave me one look. Garlic is a no no.Recipes do vary but the more simple the recipe the better.

Garlic definitely adds a good flavor. I'm Ghanaian and a lot of us put Garlic. Also, Jallof rice originated from Ghana.

I beg to differ... Jollof rice is a dish from the Gambia!! There is a tribe in Gambia called Jollof and 'benechin' or jollof rice as it is known to many is the jollof peoples staple dish.In the local Jollof/Wollof language, 'Benechin' means one pot.It is cooked similar to it is described above and yes it does have garlic in it..maybe the corrrupted version adopted by many africans doesnt have garlic but the original sure does..Also, i suggest you all go to a Gambian resturant, go to Gambia or ask a Gambian person to make 'Benechin' or jollof rice as you call it.

I think Jollof rice came from nature, and from God <3 I don't know if anyone can say for sure where jollof originated from, but what all these lands who "invented" Jollof rice can say for sure, is that it originated from West-Africa, where they all are from and can unite under one banner... rather then argue. I stayed in Ghana for one year as an exchange student and i LOVE Jollof rice, so for me, the food is what matters. Not the origination, nothing you say will change that :)

- Matt

it is good to try new flavours and put garlic, I might try it but jellof rice did NOT originate for Ghana, I can tell you that!

umm jollof rice is not Ghanaian. its senegalaise. wolof, jollof..sounds similiar doesnt it.
my grandparents and great great great ancestors wrote in stories how they used to cook that rice for the whole community back home.

excuse you, jollof rice originated from Cameroon!!!!!!

I think the owner of this website just copies recipes from other websites and puts the here. He claims he "researches" the recipes and cooks them. That's a blatant lie. If he cooks them, then he should have his own pictures of the recipes not these borrowed pictures.

I know this comment may not be published but I will give it a shot. But beware, by the next Google SERPs update, you will find your site in the sandbox where you will disappear forever.

dat impossible cos jellof rice originated from nigeria so stop the nonsense argument

Hi Google Panda! I'm the owner of this website, and no, I do not just copy the recipes. I research and come up with original recipes for each dish. No lie.

The reason I don't have original images for most of the recipes is because I suck at photography, quite frankly, and I don't have the resources to do it right. I also feed the dishes to my family, and by the time I'm done cooking them, the kids are hungry, I'm tired and we just want to eat, not stage it to look pretty.

As for Google SERP ranking, I do quite well, thank you very much.

Hope that clears things up!

Chef Brad

I love the way this recipe turned out for me. I have lived in Nigeria before and I like their Jollof rice but this was a little different but had more moisture and flavor and personally I liked it alot. Maybe not everyone would but I think its a great way of making jollof rice. Thumbs up.

Hi Chef Brad,
Do not worry about some of these people I think some of them need to get a life. What people do not understand if you go to a country each person may cook a national dish but cook different the items may differ. Indian curries differ from region, Rome dishes may vary from Milan and to speak is all over the world.

Please folks, there is a lot of information about the word Jollof on the internet. There is no Nigerian, Ghanaian, Cameroonian or Liberian language that has the word Jollof in it. The Sierra Leonians know where Jollof rice comes from. They call the Wollof people of Senegal and Gambia "Jollof" mimicking the British who wrongly used the name of Wollof lands "Jollof" for its people. For us the Wollof people, the land of Jollof is part of an area that now covers the region of Senegambia and to this day there is a region of Senegal called the Jollof (Djollof in French)region. The Wollof people had six kingdoms, mainly Sine, Saloum, Kayor, Baol, Jollof and Walo. These kingdoms are still mainly intact without the kings and queens. in fact the region occupied by Gambia is mainly part of the kingdom of Saloum. Even though the Wollof are the majority ethnic group in this region, they share the area with the Mandinka, Peulh (Fulani),Serer, Serankholi, Jola and mostly in Gambia, Sierra Leonean Krios. Jollof rice (called Benachin in Gambia and Thiebe in Senegal) is the traditional dish of the Wollof people and the original was made with fish and did not have tomato paste but only lots of fresh tomatoes. The dish was spread to the rest of West africa by travelers but mostly by African missionaries serving in Gambia returning back to Nigeria, Ghana, British Cameroon and Sierra Leone.

And all this long story because? mscheeww.

"All this long story because" I have a friend from Sierra Leone who is a single mother of two children and want to learn about Christmases those children might've experienced before, and how I can help make this year special for them on my own strained budget.
This "story" was helpful for me.

Thank you!

Its nothing but a variation of Chicken Biryani and it originated from the Indian Sub-Continent.

I know! I know there are many guys here who want to trash me nicely... LOL...

On a serious note, this seems interesting and i am going to try this weekend.

The recipe here is essentially the same as Arabic Kabsa (but they would add cumin and other spices). I suggest this style of rice originated in the Indian subcontinent and was introduced to Africa by the Arabs who brought Islam. Regardless of the origin, I have always found this style of cooking delicious.

You can add carrots, eggplant, sweet of hot peppers, or any other vegetable you want to experiment with; beans, lentils, corn or green peas; chicken, beef, lamb. camel, shrimp, fish etc; dried limes either whole or powdered; cumin, cardamom, cinnamon, clove, allspice, saffron, coriander, etc etc; vinegar (balsamic is great)--feel free to play with what you have on hand.

This dish is quick and easy in a pressure cooker.

Service can be bumped up by topping with slivered almonds or pine nuts browned in butter, with wedges of lemons and wedges of hard-boiled eggs, and a cold salad of chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots and lemon juice.

I made this about 2 weeks ago and my son who is 15 months loves it. And my husband is from africa and said that I did great.... Pretty good for a american girl cooking african... Thanks for the recipe....