Jollof Rice + Instant Pot Jollof Rice (GF, Vegan) - Recipes From A Pantry (2024)

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This easyJollof Rice recipe and Instant pot Jollof Rice is a spiced tomato rice served all across West Africa. Served during all celebrations like wedding, birthdays, Christmas and more.

Suitable for gluten-free and vegan diets. Post includes Weight Watchers points.

Jollof Rice + Instant Pot Jollof Rice (GF, Vegan) - Recipes From A Pantry (1)

What can I say about Jollof Rice? Or is it Jellof Rice? Or Benachin? All across West Africa there are fierce debates about the origin of this dish, as well as about it’s ‘authentic’ ingredients. Whenever I cook this I tend to have a bowl of it for breakfast the next day, then lunch, then supper.

What is Jollof Rice?

The base of any Jollof Rice recipe is rice and tomatoes to which everyone adds in their own ‘authentic’ ingredients. Mine, well coconut. I love how the tomato and coconut flavors blend together to produce fragrant and gorgeous colored rice and that tastes divine.

Different countries add ginger, garlic, paprika, beans peppers, carrots, sweet corn, cabbage, curry powder, nutmeg. Some even put chicken and fish in it, but in Sierra Leone, it tends to be vegetarian. And it is then served with a stew as a side dish.

Wherever it originates, whatever is put in it, however it is cooked, we all agree on one thing. No special occasion is complete without this traditional dish. Firewood is lit well before dawn under huge pots whilst piles and piles of onions, chilies, and other accompaniment are prepared. Jollof Rice + Instant Pot Jollof Rice (GF, Vegan) - Recipes From A Pantry (2)

Dozens of cups of Jollof Rice are cooked in anticipation of it being the main dish at festivities. Four dozen cups of rice to be precise in my childhood home on Christmas day and New Year’s Day too.

Why so much? Because during the celebrations, everyone visits everyone else’s houses, and when they leave, they’re always given some food to take back with them. So throughout the day, there are always take-away containers being filled to the brim with the rice, stew, fried plantains, coleslaw and more.

Jollof Rice + Instant Pot Jollof Rice (GF, Vegan) - Recipes From A Pantry (3)

How to Make Jollof Rice

There are a lot of ways to make Jollof Rice and here I give you my simpler versions that anyone can make.

  1. Heat oil in a non-stick pan and fry onion, garlic, bay leaves and 4 tbsp of water for about 5 minutes.

  2. Add in tomato puree and fry for about 30 seconds.

  3. Then add in rice and stir constantly until rice is coated with tomato puree.

  4. Transfer the rice mixture into a rice cooker and add in coconut milk, water, spices, and jumbo cube (if using, mix well and adjust seasoning.

  5. Cook according to your rice cooker instructions.

  6. About 10 minutes into cooking give the rice a very good stir to make sure all the tomato is well mixed in.

  7. When the rice has cooked and the rice cooker switches to the keep warm setting, let it rest in this setting for about 10 minutes.

  8. Then open the cover of the rice cooker, fluff up the rice and leave uncovered for about 5 minutes before serving.

How To Make Instant Pot Jollof Rice

Instant Pot fans, I’ve made an Instant Pot version of Jollof rice just for you. Here is how to make it (check the recipe card at the end of the post for ingredients).

  1. Step 1.Mix together stock, tomato puree, coriander, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon and chili in a jug and set aside.
  2. Step 2.Select saute on the pressure cooker, once it reads “hot” add oil and onion into the insert and saute for 5 mins then press cancel.
  3. Step 3.Add in the garlic, stock and tomato mixture, rice and season with salt and pepper to taste and mix.
  4. Step 4.Lock the lid, set valve is set to “sealing” position, select pressure cook (or manual), high pressure, and 5 mins cook time.
  5. Step 5. When the cook time ends, turn the Instant Pot off and let the pressure release naturally.
  6. Step 6. Stir the Jollof Rice, let stand for another 5 mins then serve.Jollof Rice + Instant Pot Jollof Rice (GF, Vegan) - Recipes From A Pantry (4)

Recipe Tips

  • Add in scotch bonnet or chilies if you would like some heat.
  • Jumbo/Maggi/Dole cubes are stock cubes used to flavor food in West Africa and can be found in ethnic foods shops. You can use stock cubes plus water instead.
  • You can add in veggies like sweet corn, carrot, and peas to your Rice Cooker Jollof but add these halfway through the cooking time to avoid overcooked veggies.
  • Rice will stick a bit – decant rice from the inner pot immediately, soak inner pot for 5-10 mins and wash clean.
  • You can try 4 mins for firmer rice or 6-7 mins for softer rice. Try and see which you prefer.

Prep Ahead and Meal Prep

Prep Ahead – Make ahead and refrigerate for up to 3 days in an airtight container.

Freeze– Follow the handy tips below on how to freeze this.

  • Let it cool down, then transfer into these very handyZiploc freezer bags.
  • Squeeze out all the extra air and seal the bags.
  • Label the bags and then lay them flat in the freezer.
  • Store in the freezer for 3 months.

Recipe Variations

Sierra Leone Jollof Rice

Sierra Leone Jollof Rice is simple and is what is cooked here. We tend to use stock cubes like Maggi or Dole to make up our stock but if you don’t have access to these simple use some vegetable stock or chicken stock if you prefer and you are good to go.

You can cook it in the rice cooker, which is super easy. Or you cook it traditionally in a pot over the fire till almost done, then open the pot, cover the rice fully with a plastic bag, cover again and cook till the end. And done…….

Nigerian Jollof

Classic Nigerian Jollof tends to start with much more of a stew. The rice is added to a spiced (blended) tomato stew and some stock and cooked. A tip is that you can precook the stew and keep it in portions in the freezer. Then just defrost what you need, add it to the pot along with the rice and cook. Nigerians tend to add curry powder to their Jollof as well as use parboiled long grain rice for this dish.

Jollof Rice Ghana

Similarly to Nigeria, Ghanian Jollof Rice is also cooked in a tomato stew, most often a chicken gravy. Also, Ghanaians tend to add bell peppers, crayfish to their Jollof as well as use jasmine or basmati rice for this dish.Jollof Rice + Instant Pot Jollof Rice (GF, Vegan) - Recipes From A Pantry (5)

Serving Suggestions

You would need to serve a stew with this Jollof Rice. You can try one of the versions below.

  • Meatball Jollof Stew.
  • Black-eyed Beans and Sweet Potato Stew {vegan}.
  • Fried Plantains {vegan).

More Instant Pot Rice Recipes

  • Instant Pot Brown Rice.
  • Instant Pot Mexican Rice.
  • Instant Pot Rice {White Basmati}.

More African Recipes

If you are interested in African recipes, then you may be interested in

  • West African Groundnut Spicy Chicken Soup {Keto, Gluten-Free}
  • andCassava Leaf {Sauce} + Tutorial – African Recipe.

Instant Pot Rice Recipe Video

Whilst this is not actually jollof rice, it is a video for how to cook Instant Pot Rice. Tostart you off cooking rice in the Instant Pot.

Reader feedback on this post

I learned something new today. I am on a deadline, yet I was sucked into your post because it was so incredibly different. Thanks for teaching me about a new culture today. I enjoyed every word! And now I want some Jollof Rice with chicken – yes, I went hunting for that recipe too.Jollof Rice + Instant Pot Jollof Rice (GF, Vegan) - Recipes From A Pantry (6)

Weight Watchers Points

If you replace the oil with a calorie-controlled cooking spray and increase the servings to 8 servings, there are 5 Blue Plan SmartPoints per serving.

Thank you for reading this Jollof Rice recipe post.And please come visit again as I continue dreaming up recipes, traditional African recipes, African fusion recipes, Sierra Leone recipes, travel plans and much more for you. Thanks for reading Recipes from a Pantry, food blog. Picture updated on July 30 2017. Post Updated March 2020.

Get The Jollof Rice Recipe

Don't forget to tag #recipesfromapantry on Instagram or Twitter if you try Jollof rice! It is really, really awesome for me when you make one of my recipes and I'd love to see it. You can also share it on my Facebook page. Please pin this recipe to Pinterest too! Thank you for reading Recipes from a Pantry.

Jollof Rice + Instant Pot Jollof Rice (GF, Vegan) - Recipes From A Pantry (7)

Print Recipe

Jollof rice

You will love this delicious Jollof Rice recipe.

Prep Time5 minutes mins

Cook Time35 minutes mins

Total Time40 minutes mins

Course: Main

Cuisine: African, American

Servings: 6

Calories: 282kcal

Author: Bintu Hardy

Ingredients

Non-Instant Pot version:

  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 5 tbsp tomato puree or to taste
  • 600 g (3 ¼ cups) basmati rice
  • 400 ml coconut milk
  • 750 ml (3 ½ cups) water
  • 0.5 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 0.5 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 jumbo cube optional, see notes
  • Salt to taste

Instant Pot version:

  • 470 ml (2 cups) vegetable stock
  • 3.5-4 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 0.5 tsp ground ginger
  • 0.5 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 0.5 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil (or olive oil)
  • 1 onion finely sliced
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 370 g (2 cups) basmati white rice
  • Salt to taste
  • Freshly ground white pepper (or black pepper)

UK Measures - **Convert to US Measures**

Instructions

Non-Instant Pot version:

  • Heat the oil in non-stick pan and add in onion, garlic and bay leaves and 4 tbsp of water, stir and fry for about 5 mins.

  • Add in tomato puree and fry for about 30 seconds.

  • Then add in rice and stir constantly until rice is coated with tomato puree.

  • Transfer the rice mixture in to a rice cooker and add in coconut milk, water, spices and jumbo cube (if using).

  • Mix well and adjust seasoning.

  • Cook according to your rice cooker instructions.

  • About 10 minutes into cooking give the rice a very good stir to make sure all the tomato is well mixed in.

  • When the rice has cooked and the rice cooker switches to the keep warm setting, let it rest in this setting for about 10 minutes.

  • Then open the cover of the rice cooker, fluff up the rice and leave uncovered for about 5 minutes before serving.

Instant Pot version:

  • Mix together stock, tomato puree, coriander, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon and chilli in a jug and set aside.

  • Select saute on pressure cooker, once it reads "hot" add oil and onion into the insert and saute for 5 mins then press cancel.

  • Add in the garlic, stock and tomato mixture, rice and season with salt and pepper to taste and mix.

  • Lock the lid, set valve is set to "sealing" position, select pressure cook (or manual), high pressure and 5 mins cook time. (See recipe notes for additional cook time options.)

  • When the cook time ends, turn the Instant Pot off and let the pressure release naturally.

  • Stir the rice, let stand for another 5 mins then serve.

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Video

Notes

Non-Instant Pot Version Notes

  • Stock of your choice can be substituted for the water and or coconut milk.
  • Add in scotch bonnet or chillies if you would like some heat.
  • Jumbo/Maggi/Dole cubes are stock cubes used to flavour food in West Africa. They can be bought in shops selling ethnic foods. If you don't have these you can substitute the water with some stock.

Nutrition facts are calculated for the Instant Pot version.

Instant Pot Version Notes

  • Add in scotch bonnet or chilies if you would like some heat.
  • Jumbo/Maggi/Dole cubes are stock cubes used to flavour food in West Africa. They can be bought in shops selling ethnic foods. If you have access to these, you can use stock cubes plus water instead of the stock.
  • Warm stock comes to pressure faster.
  • Rice will stick a bit – decant rice from the inner pot immediately, soak inner pot for for 5-10 mins and wash clean.
  • You can try 4 mins for firmer rice or 6-7 mins for softer rice. Try and see which you prefer.

Weight Watchers Points in Instant Pot Jollof Rice

If you replace the 2 tbsp oil with a calorie-controlled cooking spray and increase the servings to 8 servings, there are 5 Blue Plan SmartPoints per serving.

Nutrition

Calories: 282kcal | Carbohydrates: 53g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 320mg | Potassium: 138mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 215IU | Vitamin C: 3.3mg | Calcium: 26mg | Iron: 0.7mg

Jollof Rice + Instant Pot Jollof Rice (GF, Vegan) - Recipes From A Pantry (2024)

FAQs

What's the secret to great jollof rice? ›

Heat & Steam

When you check on the texture of the rice and it is not soft enough to your liking, cover tightly and leave to steam further. The steam is all that is needed to soften the rice. When ready, you can cook on high heat for a few minutes to infuse that smokey flavour jollof rice is known for.

Why is my Jollof not tasty? ›

You are not using enough tomato/pepper blend

You blend 2 pieces of tomatoes, 1 chili pepper, 1 red bell pepper and half an onion and hope to make enough rice for a small wedding. Ko le werk. The key to an awesome Jollof rice experience is that each grain of rice is saturated in the delicious Jollof sauce.

What does butter do in jollof rice? ›

White pepper and Bay leaves are added alongside spices and seasonings when frying the tomato puree, while butter is added at the end; a few minutes before the rice is ready. While the white pepper and bay leaf give your Jollof rice a prominent flavour and taste, butter gives it a rich look and taste.

What do Nigerians eat with jollof rice? ›

The dish is then served with the protein of choice (which in theory may be any meat but often beef, turkey, chicken or croaker-fish; much less commonly lamb, pork, etc.) and very often with fried plantains, moi-moi, steamed vegetables, coleslaw, salad, etc.

What are the 2 types of jollof rice? ›

Two other kinds of Jollof are popular, Party and Native Jollof. Party Jollof, also called Party rice, is imbued with smoky flavors and commonly cooked outdoors, over firewood.

What is the secret ingredient in jollof rice in Nigeria? ›

Jollof Rice Secret Ingredients

1000ml of Ground Fresh red tomatoes. fresh red pepper to taste. salt to taste.

Should jollof rice be wet or dry? ›

It takes time to get the right consistency of the fried stew for Jollof rice. After frying your stew, it should look a little dark and dry before adding your rice to the mix. Errm I cannot stress it any more than I do already. Your rice should not come out dripping with water or stew.

Why do we cover jollof rice with foil? ›

Cover the pot with a sheet of foil paper. This will allow the rice to cook to steam cook without needing to add any water. Lower the heat and cook for about 20 minutes or until cooked, checking regularly.

Why does my jollof rice keep burning? ›

Use the right pot: Use a heavy-bottomed pot with a tight-fitting lid. This will ensure even heat distribution and prevent the rice from burning at the botto.

Why does my jollof rice taste bitter? ›

Your jollof rice is not complete if bayleaf is missing. That bayleaf is the one that will make your neighbor know that something is happening in your house. But depending on the quantity you are cooking, don't over use bayleaf if not, your jollof will taste quite bitter.

Is Uncle Ben's rice good for jollof rice? ›

The classic version is cooked with long-grain rice (Uncle Ben's/Carolina's) and seasoned with Nigerian-style curry powder and dried thyme. Served with fried, ripe plantains which we call dodo and coleslaw, it is everything.

Can you use white pepper for jollof rice? ›

Add the thyme, curry powder, white pepper, and bay leaf to the pot and stir. Pour the chicken or beef stock into the pot and stir to combine. Add the rice to the pot and stir to ensure that the rice is well coated with the sauce.

Why is my jollof rice not red? ›

A tip is to make sure the pepper is more than raw tomatoes used. Using more raw tomatoes will water down the colour of your Jollof rice. Tomato purée is the secret to the signature red Jollof colour. Substitute the rest of the needed tomatoes for tomato purée.

How do you keep jollof from getting mushy? ›

It takes time to get the right consistency of the fried stew for Jollof rice. After frying your stew, it should look a little dark and dry before adding your rice to the mix. Errm I cannot stress it any more than I do already. Your rice should not come out dripping with water or stew.

How do you make jollof rice not mushy? ›

It's as simple as steaming your jollof rice in meat stock. yes MEAT STOCK (hope you have a number of bowls saved up in the freezer?) Let's take this back to the very beginning. I don't parboil my jollof rice.

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