Nigerian Jollof rice is a staple in my household. But over the years, I've received a lot of requests to develop an Instant Pot (or pressure cooker) friendly version, so here we are! Delicious, spicy, and authentic Nigerian Jollof rice that can be made in an Instant Pot in under 30 minutes!
This post contains helpful tips and tricks! If you're in a rush, please use the "Jump to Recipe" below!
💭 Why you'll love this recipe
- Instant Pot version of a fan-favorite West African dish. If you're looking for the traditional stove top version, check out Vegan Nigerian Jollof
- Super simple and great to make-ahead in batches! This recipe takes about 30 minutes and it's so great to have on hand during the week.
- Customize to your spice tolerance. Jollof is a bit on the spicier side, but you can reduce or take the habaneros out to adjust to your taste. Don't forget to pair with a delicious Efo Riro (Nigerian spinach stew!)
📋 Ingredients and notes
You'll need red peppers, tomatoes, habanero peppers, onions, vegetable oil, tomato paste, vegetarian bouillon, curry powder, thyme, long grain rice, vegetable broth, bay leaf and salt.
Notes and Variations
- Adjusting to spice tolerance. Habaneros give this recipe a nice kick. If you want something more subtle, reduce or remove them. If you want a savory rice recipe that's low on heat, you can check out my Jeera Rice or Quick Fried Rice recipes!
- Use of palm oil versus vegetable oil. Traditional Jollof uses red palm oil (palm fruit oil, not the palm kernel oil frequently associated with mass deforestation!) I use vegetable or avocado oil instead but you can totally use palm oil too.
- Bouillon and curry powder. Vegetable bouillon provides a hearty depth to the dish, but you can omit and just use curry powder in a pinch.
📖 How to make Instant Pot Jollof
- Create the base of the Jollof by blending a tomato, red pepper, half a red onion, and two habanero peppers. Measure a cup and set the rest aside.
- In sauté mode, add vegetable oil to the inner pot, and sauté diced onions. Add two tablespoons of tomato paste, and stir to avoid any burning. Don't have tomato paste? Check out one of these substitutes!.
- Add puree, bouillon cubes, thyme, curry powder, and fry them together.
- Wash two cups of rice until water runs clear. Add to inner pot along with vegetable broth, a bay leaf and salt to taste. Give it a good mix.
- Pressure cook on high for 7 minutes; allow natural pressure release for 10 minutes (you can also quick release if you're in a hurry!) Open the lid when it's depressurized and give it a good stir. Devour!
Note: Some of the sauce will likely settle at the top, this is totally normal! Just give it a good stir and enjoy.
👩🏽🍳Top tips and FAQs
Yes! There's no difference with traditional Jollof rice - I've tested the recipe several times to ensure that it's consistent!
The key is to measure the liquids carefully and allowing manual pressure release for about 10 minutes. You can also quick release if you are in a hurry but I find that natural release helps ensure that the rice is soft and fluffy!
Preheat the oven to 350F. Spread out the Jollof on a baking sheet. Bake in 2 minute intervals until it reaches your desired consistency.
🍴 Serving and storage suggestions
You can save this Instant Pot Jollof rice in an airtight container in the fridge for a couple of days after you make it. I don't recommend freezing this dish. Instead, I suggest freezing the base (African pepper sauce) and then thawing it as and when you need to make Jollof.
If you like this recipe, check out my other African recipes:
Instant Pot Jollof Rice
- 1 red bell pepper, stems and seeds removed
- 1 tomato
- ½ red onion, medium size
- 2 habanero peppers, adjust to spice tolerance
- ⅓ cup vegetable oil
- ½ red onion, medium, diced
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste, substitute puree
- 2 bouillon cubes, vegetarian
- ½ tablespoon curry powder, optional
- ½ teaspoon thyme
- 2 cups long grain rice, substitute basmati
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Blend 1 tomato, 1 red pepper, ½ red onion and 2 habanero peppers in a blender until you get a smooth puree. This is the base of the Jollof rice. Measure 1 cup of this sauce and save the rest (check post for how you can use this!)
- Turn on the sauté mode in your Instant Pot. Add ⅓ cup of vegetable oil into the inner pot of the Instant Pot, followed by ½ red onion diced well. Sauté the onion and then add 2 tablespoons of tomato paste. Stir consistently to avoid the bottom burning.
- Pour 1 cup of the blended pepper base along with 2 bouillon cubes (crumbled so it can dissolve faster), ½ teaspoon of thyme, and ½ tablespoon of curry powder (optional). Fry for another minute or two, making sure to scrape the bottom of the pot. Turn off the sauté mode.
- Wash 2 cups of long grain rice (or basmati rice) until the water runs clear (typically at least three times!) Then, add the washed rice to the inner pot of the Instant Pot along with 3 cups of vegetable broth, 1 bay leaf, and 1 teaspoon of salt (adjust to taste).
- Make sure to give this a really good mix to ensure the pepper sauce has not settled at the bottom (to prevent burn notices). Cover the Instant Pot and set valve to sealed.
- Cook on manual high pressure for 7 minutes, and then allow natural pressure release for 10 minutes.
- Open the lid when the Instant Pot is depressurized. If you notice sauce settling at the top (this is natural!) give it a good stir and serve hot. Your Instant Pot Jollof Rice is ready to be devoured.
- Type of rice: You'll want to use a long grain rice (either easy cook rice like Uncle Ben's or golden sella basmati). We typically have regular basmati in my house, so that's what I use, but you're welcome to use either.
- Ensuring sufficient liquid: This recipe requires 4 cups of liquid (typically divided as 1 cup of the blended puree and 3 cups of broth). However, sometimes you might end up with more pepper base than you need, and if you don't want to save it, you can also use all the pepper base and then adjust the amount of broth so you end up with 4 cups of liquid total.
- Adjust spice tolerance: I use two habanero peppers in my pepper base, and this gives the jollof a good kick without overpowering the dish. However, you're welcome to adjust this to your spice tolerance one of three ways: you can remove the seeds (which are the most potent part), reduce the number of habanero peppers you use, or remove them altogether!
- Troubleshooting soggy jollof: Check post for detailed instructions but in general, you can retrieve soggy jollof by drying them out on a baking sheet!
- Avoiding burn errors: You'll want to make sure you're constantly stirring the inner pot of the Instant Pot (especially after adding rice and broth) to ensure the sauce hasn't settled to the bottom. This will help prevent most burn errors! Make sure you have sufficient liquid.