Jollof Beans

I love stewed beans.

Or Jollof beans as we would call it in Nigeria.

Beans cooked in a tomato sauce. Except my sauce is more onions and peppers than tomatoes. But it still ends up with the Jollof ‘hue’, a cross between deep orange and red.


Today, I share my beloved recipe for ‘stewed’ beans: Brown beans pre-cooked, then finished in an oniony sauce, reddened with palm oil.

This bean dish can be cooked with white or brown beans. I prefer brown beans especially a variety known by the Yorubas as ‘Oloyin’, meaning honey. Of sweetness.


Because beans take a while to cook, I often make a large batch and then portion into small containers for deep freezing.

Jollof Beans


1kg brown beans
1 cup palm oil
4 cups tomato mix (onions, fresh tomatoes and pepper)
6 tablespoons ground crayfish
Salt, to taste
Dry pepper, to taste


Top Tip

If you can, soak beans for at least 4 hours or overnight prior to cooking, then discard water. This will aid the digestibility and reduce incidents of flatulence. Discard the water after soaking.

I like the blend of tomatoes, onions and pepper to have more onions than anything else. This lets the taste of the beans shine through. In my humble opinion.

Don’t salt the beans till the second step or it’ll harden prematurely, before it’s fully cooked – and also take a long time to become soft.

Step 1 – Boil Beans

Put beans in a large pot, cover with water, an inch above the level of beans. Bring to the boil, then turn down heat and let cook on medium to low heat for up to an hour, until the beans are soft yet hold their shape. Top up with water, if required.

Remove from the heat and drain the liquid away.

Beans and Fish Stew

Set aside.

Step 2 – ‘Fry’ Beans

Heat palm oil in a large pot.

Add onion-tomato mixture, crayfish and salt. Let simmer for 5 – 10 minutes.

Add cooked beans, stir well to combine and allow stew for about 30  minutes with the lid on, stirring every 10 minutes or so to keep it from burning.

Beans and Fish Stew

Take the lid off and continue cooking for another 10 – 15 minutes, stirring now and again.

Beans and Fish Stew
‘This is definitely not salt’ – it’s ground crayfish and dried yellow (Camerounian) pepper


Check for salt, and adjust accordingly.

Your pot of Beans is ready.


 How to Serve

There is an astounding variety of things to serve the beans with.

You can have it with freshly baked, soft white bread. That is awesome.

You can have it with plantains, cooked separately – boiled, fried, or have it with plantains cooked along with it, in a pottage.


You can have it with yams or potatoes – both Irish and sweet, cooked separately – boiled, fried, or have it with yams cooked along with it, in a pottage.

You can have it on its own. I should have said that first.

You can have it with garri sprinkled over the top.

Or garri soaked alongside.

It goes well with fish. Especially, fried fish.

You can have it with rice. White. Jollofed. Fried even.

Those are sufficient options to enjoy your stewed beans with.

The choice is yours.[wpurp-searchable-recipe]Jollof Beans – – – [/wpurp-searchable-recipe]


  1. thank u so much for this you’re an angel. the first time I tried to cook beans for myself it took nearly four hours and was still hard as a rock. I got discouraged and wrote it off as something I couldn’t learn. Now I’m learning it all because I added salt to the boiling water. knowledge is power. thanks.

  2. Kitchen Butterfly…can’t someone add salt to beans after cooking it. As in add salt to d beans before putting th red oil.

  3. Thank you!!! I’d been putting too little Crayfish all this while and no one would put quantity guides for me to follow. And the frying the pepper bit was a fantastic idea. I used to only add palm oil. My beans is on fleek, if I must say so myself. Thank you.

  4. Very bad procedure, arrangement and explanation. Picture 3 showed some unknown ingredients on top of the beans and you start wondering ‘what has been added here’!
    Confusingly enough the pictre is also captioned ‘Check for salt, and adjust accordingly.’!
    Those are definitely not salt.

    • Lool. Why so rude, dude?

      Bad procedure, arrangement and explanation? That is not in the spirit of constructive conversation.
      First of all, it is my procedure – it works for me. Bad arrangement? Of what? Bad explanation? How?

      The unknown ingredients are unknown to you…perhaps.
      Check for salt is not a photo caption either = the photo captions are usually at the bottom of the frame with the photo – see update. ‘Those are definitely not salt’. That’s ground crayfish and cameroun pepper.

      But…….salt isn’t only white. There are sooooooooo many salts round the world that range from blue to black.

      Stay well

  5. Yum! Jolly jollof! (I’m sure you get that a lot, but I couldn’t resist. Sound associations have always made Jollof sound like such a happy dish. Comfort food, too. A winning combination!)

  6. I love a good bowl of beans. I was raised with beans simmering on the stove. My family has a rich deep roots in appalachia and a good bean stew was a staple. Thanks for sharing.


  7. Oh I love stewed beans too! Jollof beans, I think I’m going to start calling it that too. Stewed beans with fried plantains are called ‘red red’ in Ghana. 🙂

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