If you’re looking to take your jollof rice up a notch, the right combination of spices is key.
Trust me—the flavorful West African dish only gets better with a few select seasonings.
Whether you’re making it with chicken or seafood, brown rice or white, I’ve put together this list of my favorite spices for jollof rice that are sure to deliver on flavor every time.
So sharpen those cooking skills and let’s mix up your menu with these tasty ingredients!
1. Curry Powder
Curry powder adds a unique flavor to jollof rice, combining both savory and sweet spices for an earthy yet bright taste.
When adding curry powder to your dish, start by using 1 teaspoon per cup of cooked rice.
Adjust the amount according to your preferences; add more if you want a more intense flavor or less if you would like it milder.
For best results, combine with other spices like cumin, turmeric, and bay leaf for a truly delicious meal!
Salt adds a savory flavor to any dish, and jollof rice is no exception.
A pinch of salt can bring out the other flavors of your dish without overpowering them.
Start by adding 1 teaspoon of salt to your pot when cooking your jollof rice.
Taste it after you’re done and adjust the seasoning as needed – you may find that you need more or less depending on how salty you like your food!
3. White Pepper
White pepper has a unique flavor that is musty, grassy, and slightly fermented.
It is generally considered milder than black pepper but still packs a punch.
When added to jollof rice, it will give the dish an earthy complexity with hints of ginger and heat.
To get the best flavor out of white pepper, add 1 teaspoon per serving – you may want to adjust this depending on how much heat you like in your food.
4. Garlic Powder
Garlic powder adds a sweet, mild garlicky flavor to dishes like jollof rice.
To bring out the optimal taste, add 1 teaspoon of garlic powder for every cup of cooked rice.
Be sure not to go overboard with the seasoning – too much can overpower the other flavors in your dish!
5. Onion Powder
Onion powder is the dried and powdered form of an onion.
It works well when you’re in a pinch and don’t have any fresh onions, but it’s a lot more concentrated than using actual onions.
Onion powder has a taste slightly more pungent than an actual onion, but without the same level of sweetness they are known for.
For this reason, it can be used to lend flavor without adding too much texture like chopping onions would do.
When making jollof rice (or any other dish), use about 1 teaspoon of onion powder for every chopped onion that your recipe calls for – unless you’re wanting extra strong oniony flavors which will come down to personal preference!
Ginger is often described as spicy, peppery, and either warm or hot.
It has a strong flavor profile that can add zest to any dish.
How much of it you should add to your jollof rice really depends on your tastes.
But, a good starting point would be around 1 teaspoon of freshly grated ginger for every cup of cooked rice.
If you’re using dried ginger powder instead, then use about one-third the amount called for in fresh ginger recipe measurements – ¼ teaspoon per cup of cooked rice.
Adjust to taste – some people prefer more intense flavors while others are better served with subtlety so get creative and have fun!
7. Black Pepper
Black pepper has a strong, woody flavor and a lingering pine aroma.
It may seem overly spicy or hot at first, but the heat mellows out with time.
When it comes to cooking, you should use black pepper in moderation as just a small amount will yield the right amount of spiciness.
When adding black pepper to jollof rice for example, I would recommend starting out with one-fourth of a teaspoon and then adjusting from there according to how spicy/hot you prefer.
Rosemary has a distinct flavor which could be described as peppery and sage-like.
When using rosemary in your cooking, make sure you don’t go overboard – if you use too much, its strong flavors can overpower the subtle flavors of other ingredients in your dish.
As a rule of thumb, start by adding small amounts – approximately 1 teaspoon per pound of food.
Give it a taste test before adding any more to get the ideal combination for your dish!
9. Bouillon Powder
Bouillon powder is a blend of herbs, spices, and salt meant to add a savory flavor to your dishes.
It can typically be found in chicken, beef, or vegetable varieties and each has their own distinct tastes.
Chicken bouillon typically will have a light and savory broth flavor with hints of parsley, thyme, garlic, and pepper among other more subtle flavors.
Beef bouillon also carries the same note but will usually taste richer because of its beef stock base.
Finally, Vegetable Bouillon has a light Veg flavor along with several spices associated with it such as celery seed or bay leaf.
Thyme has a unique taste — it’s both minty and sharp with a light herbal flavor.
It’s also known to have an earthy undertone, giving food more complexity of flavor.
When adding thyme to your jollof rice, the exact measurement will depend on how much you prefer its flavor or if other herbs or spices are making up its flavoring too.
As a general rule of thumb, add 1 teaspoon for every cup of rice to give your dish that subtle but distinctly delightful minty-sharp hint with every bite!
11. Bay Leaves
Bay leaves have a unique flavor that can be described as almost minty with some subtle hints of black pepper.
If you’re adding bay leaves to your jollof rice, it’s best to use only one or two.
You don’t want the leafy flavor to overpower the entire dish as it’s quite strong compared to other spices you may add. Just remember not to eat them – they’re for flavoring rather than eating!
12. Smoked Paprika
Smoked paprika has a unique smoky and slightly sweet taste that adds a lot of character to any dish.
Its flavor profile makes it incredibly versatile, pairing well with vegetables, meats, or anything else you can think of!
At its core is a mustardy sharpness which is balanced by the subtle sweetness underlying it.
If you like your foods spicy then smoked paprika is an excellent choice for you as many varieties add heat too.
Smoked Paprika alone can intensify flavor to dishes but when added to jollof rice will take your meal in another direction entirely.
The ideal portion would be small amount; start slow with half a teaspoon per serving of 4 people and add more if desired.
Nutmeg has a very distinctive flavor and aroma.
It’s nutty and warm with a hint of sweetness that adds complexity to dishes.
When it comes to how much to add in jollof rice, it really depends on your personal preference as most people have different taste buds.
As a general guideline, you can start by adding 1/4 tsp, or depending on how pronounced the spice flavor you want in your dish, you could add slightly more up to 1/2 tsp.
With nutmeg, less is usually more since the flavor can be quite potent.
Taste your dish before serving and adjust accordingly!
Tumeric is an incredibly popular spice that has a strong, earthy, and bitter taste.
It can be used in both savory and sweet dishes alike.
When it comes to jollof rice, you may need to adjust the amount of Turmeric based on your preference since some people think it overpowers the other flavors.
In general, 1/4 teaspoon should do for about 2 cups of dry rice for a subtle earthy flavor but feel free to use more or less as per your liking.
Oregano is a herb with a slightly pungent, sharply bitter taste.
The taste usually varies based on where it is grown and the overall quality of each particular bunch.
The leaves commonly have hints of citrus, basil, mint, and/or sage.
Oregano can be used to add richness and complexity to various dishes including jollof rice!
How much oregano you should add depends on how strong you like your flavor profile!
I would recommend adding between 1/4 teaspoon for a subtle flavor or up to 2 teaspoons for those who prefer more intense flavors.
16. Cayenne Pepper
Cayenne pepper has a strong, hot, and fiery effect.
It adds tremendous flavor to dishes as well as a bit of heat. Its flavor is bright and peppery with slight herby notes in the background.
It’s usually used as a condiment or accompaniment to dishes to add some extra tanginess, but it can also have other uses such as in teas or biscuits for its medicinal properties.
As for jollof rice, adding cayenne pepper depends on your personal taste preferences and level of spice tolerance: I would recommend starting off with 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper since you can always add more if you want it spicier!
16 Spices for Jollof Rice You Must Try
- Curry Powder
- White Pepper
- Garlic Powder
- Onion Powder
- Black Pepper
- Bouillon Powder
- Bay Leaves
- Smoked Paprika
- Cayenne Pepper
- Pick your favorite spices from this collection to add to your recipe.
- Prepare the rest of your amazing meal.
- Enjoy in no time!