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A photo of a large red pan with West African jollof rice and a wooden spoon.
5 from 11 votes

West African Jollof Rice

A spicy and aromatic rice that is easy to make with step by step photos.

Course Main dish
Cuisine West African
Keyword African food, easy recipe, spicy rice
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Resting time 5 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings: Change to adjust-> 8 servings
Calories 258 kcal


  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • 5 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 onion medium sized, chopped fine
  • 6 oz tomato paste
  • 1 habanero pepper Whole with only stem removed, this is very spicy!
  • 1 tsp ginger fresh minced or microplaned
  • ¼ tsp thyme dried
  • ¼ tsp oregano dried
  • ¼ tsp black pepper fresh ground
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp paprika smoked
  • 2 cubes chicken bouillon Qty 2 4-gram cubes, crushed fine.
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cups rice parboiled, do not rinse
  • 3 cups water 1 blended with tomato and habanero, 2 added with rice.
  • 1 Tbsp parsley for garnish


  1. Preheat your oven to 400°F.

  2. Heat the oil in an oven safe Dutch oven on medium heat then add the onion and garlic. Sauté until translucent about 5 minutes.

  3. In a food processor add 1 cup of water, tomato paste and the habanero. Blend until smooth.

  4. Add the tomato paste mixture to the Dutch oven and stir to combine.

  5. Add the ginger, thyme, oregano, pepper, salt, paprika, chicken bouillon, bay leaf and simmer for about 2 minutes while stirring.

  6. Add the remaining 2 cups water and rice. Stir until well combined.

  7. Cover and place in the oven for 45 minutes.

  8. Remove from the oven and let rest for about 5 minutes and then fluff up the rice with a fork. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve.

Recipe Notes

Frequently Asked Questions:

  • How long can I store this in the refrigerator? Once it has completely cooled you can store this in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in the microwave on medium power until hot but stop and stir every 30 seconds to fluff it up.
  • Can I freeze the jollof rice? Yes, once it has completely cooled you can pack into zip top freezer bags packed flat to save space and expel all the air. This will keep for a month in the freezer. Thaw it completely and microwave is as described above.
  • How can I make this recipe less spicy? You can experiment at the step where you blend the tomato paste and water together. Add a little of the habanero, blend it in and give it a taste. Add more until you get the desired level of heat. Remember most of the pepper's heat is contained in the seeds and ribs.
  • Can I use frozen a habanero pepper in this recipe?  Sure!  I buy several habaneros at a time and freeze them in an airtight bag for later use.
Nutrition Facts
West African Jollof Rice
Amount Per Serving
Calories 258 Calories from Fat 63
% Daily Value*
Fat 7g11%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Sodium 182mg8%
Potassium 303mg9%
Carbohydrates 43g14%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 3g3%
Protein 5g10%
Vitamin A 518IU10%
Vitamin C 9mg11%
Calcium 30mg3%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.