My All-Time Favorite Gumbo

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My All-Time Favorite Gumbo Recipe -- made with chicken and andouille sausage, and full of the best flavor! |

During the seven years that I worked my last job — spent mostly in a windowless, florescently-lit, cubicle of an office — I was always desperate to escape the building for lunch.

It wasn’t that I didn’t love my job.  (I did.)  It wasn’t that I wanted to go home to eat.  (I lived too far away.)  It wasn’t even that I just wanted to go out to eat.  (I usually brought my lunch at least half the time.)  It was simply that I had to escape that dark cave and soak up some sunlight for at least a few minutes each day, and eating out once or twice a week was an easy excuse to do so.

The only catch was that I was living on a modest non-prof salary at the time.  So I pretty quickly developed a list of all of the favorite meals I could order in the neighborhood for $5 or less.  My favorites at the time included a bowl of tortilla soup at Jose Pepper’s, a salad from Hen House, rosemary flatbread from Spin Pizza, a roast beef sandwich and curly fries from Arby’s, or a half salad or soup from Panera.  But the meal I craved more than anything else??  Gumbo from Jason’s Deli.

I know, I know, it’s probably not the most authentic place ever to eat a bowl of gumbo.  But for about seven years, Jason’s Deli’s $5 gumbo was the lunch I looked forward to escaping the office to order every week.  And it inspired a gumbo-obsession that has me ordering it pretty much every time I ever spot it on a menu, which has now happened dozens and dozens and dozens of times.

In a nutshell, I love eating gumbo.

But after a few attempts at making it over the years with sub-par results (which I must say are especially discouraging considering the time and cost it takes to make a batch of gumbo) I had basically given up trying to master it myself — until recently.  For some reason, I got inspired to try it again this past winter.  And with the help of my amazingly-patient cooking assistant, Rachel, we tested and tested and — I’m happy to say — I think we finally nailed it!

And I couldn’t wait to share it with you.

My All-Time Favorite Gumbo Recipe -- made with chicken and andouille sausage, and full of the best flavor! |

Of course, gumbo is one of those dishes where everyone likes theirs a different way.  Some like it super thick like a gravy, some like it thinner and soupy.  Some like theirs extra-spicy, some like it mild.  Some like it thickened with a roux, some like it thickened with okra, some are die-hard believers in filo powder (and some like a combination of all three).  Some like theirs overflowing with chicken and sausage and shrimp, some like it vegan all the way.

Personally, I like mine thick enough to coat a spoon with a nice kick of heat, and I’m a deep-dark roux and okra fan all the way.  Andouille sausage is always a “must” in my book, simply because it adds so much good flavor to the broth.  But if I have shrimp or chicken around, I like tossing those in too.

That said, however you like your gumbo, there are tips below for how to adjust the recipe to some of your preferences.  This is a roux-based gumbo, though, so it’s going to require at least a good 15-20 minutes of constant whisking in front of the stove.  But don’t worry — just set up some Netflix and grab a cold beer, and I promise it will be worth it.  :)

Rachel and I did want to take a minute to highlight a few tips that we learned:

  1. Be sure to thoroughly prep your ingredients before you start cooking.  Usually I’m a big fan of multitasking while things cook — you know, chopping veggies while my pasta water comes to a boil, or making a frosting while the cake is in the oven — but that will backfire with this recipe, because making the roux really does require 100% of your attention.  And once you start stirring in ingredients after the roux is ready, there’s still not much time to chop.  So do yourself a favor and prep and then cook.
  2. Let your roux get nice and dark brown, but don’t let it burn.  Your nose will tell you if the roux has burnt.  If it has, throw it out and start again and set your stove to a lower heat.  Otherwise, if it’s not burning, keep whisking it constantly until it reaches a deep brown color (the color of milk chocolate), which will give it the nuttiest depth of flavor.
  3. Use a heavy-bottomed pot if possible.  We tried a few batches in my Dutch oven, which was awesome.  And the another in my normal stainless-steel stockpot, and it was much more challenging not to burn the roux.  If you don’t have a heavy-bottomed pot, you can still use it, but I recommend cooking the roux on medium-low (which will take longer) and just keeping an extra-close eye on it so that it doesn’t burn.
  4. Enjoy those leftovers.  In our opinion, this soup tasted even better the same day.  So be sure and save those leftovers!

My All-Time Favorite Gumbo Recipe -- made with chicken and andouille sausage, and full of the best flavor! |

Alrighty, enough talk about this gumbo.  Let’s get to the recipe!


My All-Time Favorite Gumbo

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Total Time: 60 minutes
  • Yield: 8 -10 servings 1x


My all-time favorite gumbo recipe is FULL of rich flavors, made with andouille sausage and chicken, and irresistibly delicious!



  • 1 cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 large bell peppers, cored and diced (I used one red, one yellow, one green)
  • 2 large celery stalks, diced
  • 1 small white onion, peeled and diced
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen chopped okra
  • 1 pound (16 ounces) andouille sausage, sliced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (14 ounce) can fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon Creole seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 12 teaspoons cayenne, to taste
  • 12 teaspoons salt, to taste
  • 12 teaspoons freshly-cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups shredded cooked chicken
  • 3 bay leaves
  • optional for serving: white rice or quinoa, chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, hot sauce


  1. Heat oil in a large thick-bottomed pot over medium-high heat.  (I used a Dutch oven.)  Whisk in flour until combined.  Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until the roux mixture reaches a dark brown color (similar to milk chocolate), about 18-20 minutes.  Be very careful not to let the roux burn!  (And if it does, throw it out and rinse out the pan, then start again and lower the temperature of your stove slightly.)
  2. Once the roux reaches the dark brown color, stir in the bell peppers, celery, onion, celery, and okra until combined.  Continue to cook, stirring every 10-15 seconds, until the vegetables have softened a bit, about 8-10 minutes.
  3. Stir in the andouille, tomatoes, Creole seasoning, thyme, cayenne, salt, and pepper until combined.  Cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Gradually stir in the stock, chicken and bay leaves, and continue cooking until the soup reaches a simmer.  Reduce heat to medium-low, and let the gumbo simmer for at least 5-10 minutes minutes until the vegetables are completely tender.  Taste, and season with extra salt, pepper and/or cayenne if needed.
  5. Serve warm with rice or quinoa, sprinkled with fresh parsley and/or hot sauce if desired.

My All-Time Favorite Gumbo Recipe -- made with chicken and andouille sausage, and full of the best flavor! |

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68 comments on “My All-Time Favorite Gumbo”

  1. I’d love to try this! Do the leftovers freeze well?  

  2. This looks so unbelievably delicious. It’s been chilly and rainy where I live, and this sounds like exactly what I want to come home to after a long day at work. Yum!

    • Thanks Gabriella — we hope you enjoy (it’s the perfect kind of cool, rainy day food). :)

  3. This dish looks so comforting! This recipe’s definitely going on my list.

  4. This sounds delicious!! I would just make a big batch and eat if for lunch the next day.

  5. Staying alive! Looks awesome. Put in in coach, I’m ready to play. (gym teacher here!) 

  6. Try making you roux in the oven like Alton Brown.  It takes a little longer, but frees up time to do all the chopping while the roux is cooking.

    • Thanks for this tip Kathy! :)

    • America’s Test Kitchen uses the same roux in oven method and it is an AMAZING improvement on the flour+oil on stovetop method. Works perfectly every single time and you save 1600 calories becuase you don’t have to use 1 cup of oil to make it like traditional recipes.

  7. Yum, this looks amazing! With the cold spring we’ve been having, this is definitely going on the menu!

  8. I made this several weeks ago and it was delicious!  My husband REALLY enjoyed it.  He told me it is the BEST gumbo he has ever eaten.  I had picked up a roasted chicken from COSTCO and thought I would try this recipe using the chicken.  So happy I did!  THANK YOU for this fantastic find!

    • Thanks for sharing Shelly — we’re so glad you and your husband enjoyed this! :)

  9. Reading about all your lunch options, I was thinking “is she from Kansas City because when I lived in Olathe, KS these were all my favorite lunch spots and they were all within 10 minutes of one another.” And then I did some investigating (ok, I went to your About page–no actual sleuthing) saw that you ARE from KC!
    So was I close? Did we go to the same Spin! Pizza?? :P

    • My sisters used to work at Spin and I was a waiter at Minskys on college for years. I live in Salt Lake City now and I miss the food in Kansas.

  10. The list of dishes that you had mentioned for under $5 is good. I could see myself in your post. Homemade Gumbo is the best thing. Your dish looks yummy. Beautiful color and glaze on the recipe. The rice is super white and the contrast color provided by the fresh parsley is a treat not just for the taste buds, but for the eyes too!!!

  11. Wow! It looks so delicious and tasty! I can feel the smell! I will definitely make this for dinner! I risk my kids to filthy the rug because they can’t eat on the dining table. Thanks for sharing :)

  12. I made this this weekend it is to die for! It also made a huge quantity, so I have a large container in my freezer and still have leftovers for this week. I skipped the okra as I’m not a huge fan. It’s also very difficult to find andouille sausage in my area, so I went for a double smoked sausage, which seemed to work just as well. I also made my own creole seasoning so that I could go easy on cayenne to make it more toddler friendly. I love this recipe!

  13. Looks delicious. I haven’t had gumbo in a while, thanks a lot

  14. Looks so saucy and delicious. I haven’t ever tried a gumbo before – coming from Australia it’s not very well known. Definitely have to try this though. Lovely photos.

    • Thanks for your sweet words Thalia! And we hope you can give the gumbo a try sometime — we love it! :)

  15. Sometimes I find myself craving the weirdest things, and I’ve got to confess that one of those things is gumbo. And being a Midwestern gal, good gumbo isn’t always easy to come by. This, however, might just solve my problem! It looks AMAZING!

  16. Looks very delicious. I’m just wondering is it spicy or not?

    • Thanks Eva — we hope you like it! And it’s definitely got a kick to it (from the andouille sausage and the cayenne), but it’s all relative. We’d suggest starting with 1/2 teaspoon of the cayenne and tasting it — you can always add more if you like. We hope this helps!

  17. I really liked your recipe smells delicious. Would like to know if one could make this wonderful GUMBO in a crock pot. this would be perfect after a long day at work. Thanks for the recipes and your time.

    • Hi Don! We haven’t tried a crockpot version of this, but we think it should work fine! We highly recommend browning all of the veggies first, as well as the sausage (that’s what gives the gumbo such great flavor). Add the chicken at the very end, right before serving. Cook on low for about 6 hours, or on high for about 3-4 hours. We hope you enjoy!

  18. This is very similar to Chef Paul Prudhomme’s recipe. I watched his video and learned a lot about making gumbo. Hubby wants it but I think he is not a Cajun flavor person so I will have to modify it a little. He loves my jambalaya, he likes mild, so I will try to make a lovely gumbo. : )

  19. Looks awesome! Can’t wait to cook it. We don’t have okra in where I live, what do I replace it with?

    • Thanks Galya — we hope you enjoy! Okra is the main ingredient for what makes gumbo gumbo though. To still achieve some of the consistency the okra gives gumbo, you could try mixing 2 Teaspoons cornstarch with 2 tablespoons cold water, and for the veggies, green beans and/or eggplant would be the closest veggies that resemble okra. We hope this is helpful!

  20. Do you cook the sausage first? And do you remove the casing?

    • Hi Carly! No need to do either of those things. Just add the sausage in step 3 (you can remove the casing if you prefer though). We hope you enjoy!

  21. I have a pot of this simmering on the stove right now. It smells heavenly, I can’t wait to try it. Unfortunately, I accidentally got the wrong kind of tomatoes (Italian style). I didn’t realize it until it was time to add them to the recipe. Hopefully, it won’t ruin it. From what I understand gumbo is one of those recipes that is very open to various methods and ingredients. Fingers crossed :-)

  22. Okay, follow up post. This was absolutely amazing!! Perfect for a cold evening and so filling! The roux makes the sauce so silky smooth. I’ll be freezing the leftovers for another night. Thank you so much for sharing this delicious recipe.

  23. Hi Nelda! The instructions are listed in the third paragraph. Once the rice is tender, add in the shrimp and okra and stir to combine. We hope you enjoy! :)

  24. Looks good I definitely will try that recipe

  25. This looks delicious! Do you have any recommendations on modifying the recipe to use seafood as the main protein?

    • Thanks, Katherine — we hope you enjoy! And sure, if you wanted to use seafood as your main protein, we would suggest shrimp and we would add it in step 4 (after you’ve added the stock). We hope this helps!

  26. Just made this and oh man, it is good! I was a little intimidated about the roux since I don’t have a Dutch oven but my stainless steel pot worked just fine on lower heat. I also didn’t have cooked chicken on hand so I seasoned some raw chicken with creole seasoning then simmered with the canned tomatoes before shredding it and dumping all of it in in step 3. It was helpful to have a soux-chef nearby, lots of stirring =little time for anything else. But seriously, worth it. Yum. Already trying to decide who I am want to invite over to share this with when I make it again. 

  27. Can olive oil be used?

  28. I make a ton of gumbo, and if you make your roux in the oven it takes about 90min and you only stir it a couple times. 350 degrees. And you have very little chance of burning it. Super easy to get that deep chocolate brown color

  29. 5 stars
    I make this recipe often! Great dish for a group of people and it is AMAZING! Everyone always complements it over and over! I usually cook it for several hours and the leftovers are frozen for an easy meal another time! Thanks for this recipe!!

  30. 5 stars
    The Roux is a key main ingredient that makes gumbo what it should be.
    If you are familiar with Gumbo , you know you have to make a Roux or it is not really gumbo.
    Especially if you make it Louisiana or Cajun gumbo.
    I used to work in a seafood restaurant and made Louisiana gumbo and I got rave reviews

  31. 5 stars
    Just made this terrific recipe. It’s easy and versatile. I rarely make gumbo, probably because the recipe I’ve used before is the one from the Lafayette Junior League cookbook, which is great, but it’s too much of a production. In that recipe and many others, you’re basically frying chicken as a major part of it. To me, this much simpler and easier recipe is the ideal non-seafood gumbo.

    I did it with a couple of minor modifications and it turned out great. The amounts listed seem mostly just right for my tastes. I didn’t include okra, and used 1 tsp of file instead. I just used regular canned diced tomatoes. If you’re using a Creole seasoning like Konriko and a spicy andouille sausage I don’t think it’s necessary to add any cayenne pepper until the end, to your taste. In an enameled Dutch oven, the roux turned out perfect. The result had just the right thick gumbo consistency, and I can tell it’s going to be even better as a leftover. Great job with this recipe.

  32. I’m vegetarian. I’ve really missed having gumbo. Could I substitute vegetable broth and leave out the chicken and sausage and have this be a good vegetarian gumbo recipe? I really love all the recipes I’ve tried on your site. They are so good!

  33. 5 stars
    I’ve made this recipe several times and it is Amazing!Havent changed a thing. I’m always worried about burning the rue but each time I go a little longer and darker And I think I got it down. I’m going to make it tomorrow for my birthday at work treat in 3 days and am going to add cooked shrimp at the end for the first time. I just hope the shrimp doesn’t break down while reheating in the slow cooker and ruin a perfect dish. We will see. A+++ on this recipe

  34. 5 stars
    Twenty two years ago my husband and I spent our honeymoon in New Orleans. One if the things we did was took a a cooking class. The B&B we were staying at asked us if they bought the ingredients if we would make Jambaylaha and Bread Pudding for everyone. It was one of our highlights of our trip. I have lost the recipes we were given 😞. I have been. Searching for one ever since. I decided to try your recipe. I also decided to add shrimp to it. Was very pleased…will be making this again. Thank you for posting this recipe.

  35. This is very much how I make my gumbo; exception being I fry the grease from the sausage before.
    Technical question – Is it a gumbo sin to serve on hot cornbread instead of rice? (try it)
    Also I love mushrooms in mine. Is this wrong ?

  36. 5 stars
    Absolutely the best thing I’ve ever cooked – and my husband agrees! This recipe helped me conquer my fear of the roux, and it was 100% worth it!

  37. I love your jambalaya. It’s so delicious and easy. I remember trying one of your other recipes that turned out great so I tried this one. I’m torn between your jambalaya (which is fabulous) and the excellent gumbo recipe. I’ve made gumbo in the past but never ate it because it didn’t taste right to me. Your recipe makes me serve it immediately or there wouldn’t be any food left. Yes I eat it out of the pot while simmering it the last ten minutes. I don’t like okra so I use file powder that’s when I throw in the shrimp.

  38. So delicious! One question – Does the garlic go in at the same time as the onions, peppers and celery? If so, I missed that the first time we made it and added it later, not sure it got cooked all the way! My hubs doesn’t care for okra so we will try it with file powder this time around. Thank you for sharing this lovely dish!

  39. Just Great!

  40. Hint on rux you can cook in oven at 225°F stir to keep sides and bottom from getting to dark as needed to keep it cooking consistently till it reaches your disiered color the darker the better and turn off oven. You can take out then or leave in oven till ready to use. Can make day before this takes longer but have less chance of burning and frees you up from constantly wisking rux.

  41. I am making this for the second time! It is a great Gumbo! Thanks for the recipe!

  42. This gumbo is awesome! My husband said it was restaurant quality, LOL. Takes a little prepping but the results are awesome.