Baked Jollof Rice


I think I’ve mentioned my slight obsession with making the ‘perfect’ pot of jollof rice before, of how I want to make jollof that tastes just like my mom’s and how I’ve come up short so far.
I chide myself sometimes for wanting this; I try to convince myself that it’s just rice in tomato sauce, and it shouldn’t matter so much.
Yet, it’s so much more, jollof is party food; it’s celebration food – it makes me hopeful for joyful times.

Baked Jollof Rice IMG_1404

I got the idea to make baked jollof rice from this baked salsa rice recipe, cooking the rice in an oven yields the most perfect firm and fluffy rice.

I love that there isn’t a standard recipe for jollof, it’s highly adaptable, the rice and tomato sauce is just the base.
Since I’d never baked rice before and didn’t know what to expect, I chose a simple recipe, and added a dash of lime juice just before I popped it into the oven.

Dinner: Baked Jollof Rice with roasted red cabbage

I may not be able to recreate my mom’s jollof, at this point not even my mom can recreate it, I’m afraid the taste is probably gone with my childhood.

This rice was pretty close, the texture was perfect; and the taste… perfectly savoury, tomatoey and spicy.

IMG_1478 IMG_1487


Baked Jollof Rice


  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 Jalapeno peppers, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 large tomatoes, chopped (2 cups canned tomatoes)
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 vegetable bouillon cube (I use Harvest Sun Vegetable Bouillon)
  • 2 cups parboiled rice, rinsed
  • 2 – 3 cups vegetable stock (or water)
  • 2 tablespoons juice of lime
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, for garnish


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan or skillet over medium heat
  3. When oil is heated, add onions and sauté for about 5 minutes, until onions start to brown
  4. Add cumin, peppers and garlic, stir, and cook for 1 – 2 minutes more
  5. Add garlic, smoked paprika and ginger and cook for another minute or so
  6. Add the tomatoes and tomato paste and cook, stirring frequently until tomatoes soften
  7. The oil should get a slight reddish hue, add the cubed bouillon and rice, stir and cook for about 3 minutes
  8. Lower the heat and add the vegetable stock (or water), use 2 to 2 ½ cups for firmer chewier rice and up to three cups if you prefer softer rice
  9. Add the lime juice, and salt to taste
  10. Transfer mixture into a large baking pan or casserole dish
  11. Cover with foil, place it in the oven, and cook for about 45 minutes until rice is cooked through and the liquid is all absorbed
  12. Fluff rice with a fork when it’s done and garnish with cilantro
  13. Enjoy!



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  • Reply LovelyLinda

    This and the baked plantain look super delicious!

    1 August, 2012 at 5:25 pm
    • Reply Elsa

      Thanks Linda! 🙂

      1 August, 2012 at 7:58 pm
  • Reply Ms. Shalewa

    This looks amazing!! I’m Nigerian and still perfecting the my pot of jollof rice. The way I learnt to cook Jollof rice is to steam it on the lowest heat possible covering the pot with aluminum foil before putting the lid on it. And DO NOT STIR-I’ll stick my spoon in there to shift the water around,- once the water comes up to a bubble.

    3 August, 2012 at 7:51 am
    • Reply Elsa

      That’s exactly how I was thought to cook jollof too! except something always goes awry and I end up burning or under-cooking it 🙂
      I know I’ll get it eventually, but cooking it in the oven is the easiest and most perfect I’ve had it.

      3 August, 2012 at 10:51 am
  • Reply Richa

    gorgeous colors! love the red rice. is that just plain roasted cabbage, or with some spices.

    6 August, 2012 at 12:14 pm
    • Reply Elsa

      Thanks Richa! I roast the cabbage with a little bit of salt and pepper and olive oil. It’s really good! 🙂

      7 August, 2012 at 10:32 am
  • Reply Yinka Djin

    That looks like the perfect jollof rice indeed. I can’t wait to try this baked version out. Thanks for sharing the recipe 😉

    20 August, 2012 at 9:30 am
    • Reply Elsa

      Thanks 🙂

      20 August, 2012 at 1:27 pm
  • Reply Magna

    So we are not blending the tomatoes? That is how I was taught but it has not come out properly as yet. I will try this for my kids birthday party tomorrow and let you know how it goes.

    26 October, 2012 at 11:09 am
    • Reply Elsa

      No, no blending the tomatoes, just chopped should be fine. Blending them tends to dull the colour. Good luck and happy birthday to the little one! 🙂

      26 October, 2012 at 11:52 am
  • Reply Kitchen Butterfly

    it appears that baked Jollof rice is the preserve of Africans in Diaspora. Honestly. The ink had barely dried on my stir-fried Jollof post (learnt from a Spanish cook in Ghana), when I discovered in Upstate New York, oven-baked Jollof. It was AMAZING – it took me backkkkkkkkk to my childhood.

    And so, on Christmas day, yes, this Christmas past, I got out of bed, jet-lagged and all and rustled up and amazing oven-baked Jollof dish.

    Your photos are absolutely gorgeous Elsa. Gorgeous. This post is very ‘kindred-spirit’ish.

    Happy New Year

    3 January, 2013 at 4:18 pm
    • Reply Elsa

      Thank you and a very Happy New Year to you too!
      Ah yes, I think oven-baked is the only way we can get that ‘back-home’ texture, it never comes out right when I try cook it on stove top. And, is there anything better than jollof at Christmas? It takes me back too. 🙂

      3 January, 2013 at 11:49 pm
  • Reply SEMEKA

    Not only did I appreciate the photography, but I tried out this recipe for myself. I absolutely love it!!!! There was more of a reddish hue due to the tomatoes being placed in the skillet rather than blended. The vegetable bouillon cube helped as well. I am Nigerian and even people in my family appreciated this recipe. Thanks for sharing!

    28 February, 2013 at 4:45 am
    • Reply Elsa

      Hi Semeka! I’m so glad that you and your family enjoyed this unconventional jollof 🙂 Thanks for the feedback!

      28 February, 2013 at 2:23 pm
  • Reply sandy_asia

    I know this is an old post but could you please tell me how many people this can serve? Assuming these people have a big appetite…

    19 December, 2013 at 8:53 pm
    • Reply Elsa

      Hello there! It serves 4 – 6 people; I’d say it’ll easily serve 4 people with big appetites. 🙂

      20 December, 2013 at 9:56 am
      • Reply sandy_asia

        Great! I plan to cook this for Christmas and I hope it turns out as well as your photos look. Thanks a bunch!

        20 December, 2013 at 10:44 am
        • Reply Elsa

          Awesome! Enjoy… hope you like it. Merry Christmas 🙂

          21 December, 2013 at 8:22 am
          • sandy_asia

            Merry Christmas to you too! 🙂

            22 December, 2013 at 10:26 am

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