Jollof Rice

A spicy and smoky famous rice dish from West Africa.

4-6 servings

Time: 1 hr 25 mins

Ethan ChlebowskiBy Ethan Chlebowski

Jollof Rice, also known as Party Rice, is a dish that every home cook should know how to make. Since this is West Africa's most famous dish, every family & country has their way of doing it.

In general, it is rice cooked in a pepper and tomato-based sauce with a smoky & complex spice mixture. I would describe this dish as subtly addictive.

Ethan Chlebowski

Ethan Chlebowski



  • Jollof spice mix

    • ground ginger
      4 parts
    • dried thyme
      4 parts
    • red pepper flakes
      3 parts
    • ground coriander
      2 parts
    • onion powder
      2 parts
    • garlic powder
      1 part
    • ground cinnamon
      1 part
    • smoked paprika
      1 part
    • cubeb tail pepper
      1 part
    • crayfish powder
      1 part
    • salt
      1 part
    • nutmeg
      1/2 part
  • Jollof sauce

    • whole peeled tomatoes
      397 g1 14 oz can
    • white onions
    • red bell peppers
      , chopped
    • habanero peppers
    • salt
      a sprinkle
    • cooking oil
      30 g
    • curry powder
      3 g
    • cayenne pepper
      to taste
    • red onions
    • bay leaves
    • jollof spice mix
      10 g
  • Rice & garnishes

    • chicken broth
      454 g
    • basmati rice
      300 g
    • cooking oil
      30 g
    • cilantro
      for garnish
  • Chicken thighs

    • chicken thighs
    • salt
      a sprinkle
    • butter
      a spoonful
    • thyme
      1 sprig
    • garlic
      2 cloves
    • jollof spice mix
      5 g


Step 1: Prepare the spice mix

Prepare the spice mix. Choose a very small measuring spoon to represent '1 part' by volume.

  • For this recipe, you'll only need about ~15 g of spice mix total, so you'll likely end up with extra (make this recipe again!).

Add all the spices to a container and mix them up. Cover and seal until ready to use.

Preheat the oven to 350°F/ 176°C.

Step 2: Make the sauce & rinse the rice

In a blender, add the canned peeled tomatoes, 1/4 of a white onion, red bell peppers, habanero, and a sprinkle of salt. Blend until completely smooth and set aside.

Set a pan over medium heat and add the cooking oil. Thinly slice the red onion and toss it in the pan. for about 5 minutes until softened, but still with a bite to them.

  • Remove half of the red onions and set aside for garnishing later on.

With half of the red onions still in the pan, add the bay leaves, Jollof spice mix, curry powder, and cayenne powder to for 30 seconds before pouring in the sauce from the blender.

Bring the liquid to a , then turn the heat to medium-low and let it simmer for 15 minutes to and slightly thicken.

Meanwhile, rinse the basmati rice 3 to 4 times in a strainer to remove the starch.

Step 3: Cook the rice

Once the Jollof sauce is almost done reducing, place another pan or pot (that you have an oven-safe lid for) over medium heat and add more cooking oil just to coat the surface. Once hot, toss in the rice and for 1-2 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the reduced Jollof sauce to the pan with the rice and stir together. Add the chicken stock into the pan as well. Bring the liquid to a simmer then cover the pan with an oven-safe lid (aluminum foil works well too).

Transfer the pot to the 350°F/ 176°C oven. Set a timer and for 30 minutes during which the rice should and become tender.

  • Prepare the chicken thighs (below) while this is in the oven.

Step 4: Cook the chicken thighs

Salt both sides of the chicken thighs.

Set a cast-iron pan over medium heat and add the chicken thighs skin side down to the cold pan. This will begin to slowly render the chicken fat. Once the fat has been rendered, flip the chicken thigh over and turn the heat to low.

Add the butter, sprig of fresh thyme, 2 cloves of garlic, and a sprinkle of the Jollof Spice mix. Baste the fat and spices over the top of the chicken thigh.

Place the entire pan into the oven with the rice and until the internal temperature reaches 170°F/ 76°C.

If you time it right, you can have both the rice and chicken ready at the same time. Check both at the end of the 30 minutes and leave either in the oven longer, if needed (the rice should have absorbed almost all of the cooking liquid).

Step 5: Fluff the rice & serve

Remove the rice from the oven and let sit covered for 10 minutes. Remove the chicken from the oven when done, and let it rest off the heat while the rice finishes steaming.

Fluff the rice and then stir in the reserved red onions. Serve with the cooked chicken thighs and garnish with cilantro.



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