Jambalaya

This authentic jambalaya recipe is surprisingly easy to make, and full of bold Cajun flavors that everyone will love!

Some people make popcorn to celebrate the Academy awards.  Some might whip up a fancy cocktail or two. My neighbors John and Cate?  They invite the whole neighborhood over for a massive jambalaya feast.

NBD.

Actually though, it was a big deal because his jambalaya was freaking amazing.  I went back for thirds, in between cheering on Lupita and watching Brad Pitt hand out pizza.  It was an epic night all around. So I asked John if he would teach me his ways.  And like a good neighborrrr, John and Cate were therrrrre.

Here’s what I learned…

Jambalaya Recipe | gimmesomeoven.com

First of all, I learned that these two make a pretty darn cute team in the kitchen.  They’ll both be the first to admit that John is more of the cook in the family, whose specialty is usually anything Italian.  But his family is from Alabama and have been making jambalaya for decades, usually with fresh shrimp from the Gulf, they are quick to note.  (Something we Midwesterners just dream about…)

Jambalaya Recipe | gimmesomeoven.com

For some reason I had always associated jambalaya with gumbo, thinking that the process required oodles of cooking time trying to make the perfect roux.  But John assured me that the whole dish can be made in under an hour.  My kind of meal. So last week, he and Cate came by for an afternoon cooking sesh.  John manned the stove and Cate peeled shrimp, and I basically cheered them on and took notes and photos.  And then dove in and (again) had thirds once everything was cooked. Here’s the how to:

Jambalaya Recipe | gimmesomeoven.com

You basically begin with the “holy trinity” of Cajun/Creole cooking — bell peppers, celery and onion.  You all know that I’m a sucker for color in cooking, so I picked up three different colors of peppers for this version.  Oh, and I accidentally forgot fresh garlic, so cheated and went with the refrigerated stuff.  Judge away…I use it all the time.  :) Saute the veggies up until they’re nice and soft.

Jambalaya Recipe | gimmesomeoven.com

Then add in your meat.  We went with chicken and andouille sausage for this batch, and then added in shrimp at the very end.  Feel free to swap out whatever proteins you like for this recipe.

Jambalaya Recipe | gimmesomeoven.com

Saute those up until mostly cooked.  (The chicken should not be pink on the outside.)

Jambalaya Recipe | gimmesomeoven.com

Then pour in all of the crushed tomatoes, broth, seasonings, and rice, and give it a good stir.  Cover and let it simmer on medium-low for about 30 minutes, or until the rice is cooked, stirring occasionally so that the rice doesn’t burn on the bottom of the pan.

Jambalaya Recipe | gimmesomeoven.com

Once the rice is cooked, add in the shrimp and continue simmering until the shrimp are cooked through.  Season with additional salt and pepper and hot sauce, if needed. Then serve it topped with a little fresh parsley and scallions for garnish.

BAM.  So flipping good. And also, very easy to customize especially when it comes to heat.  I prefer jambalaya heavily seasoned and spicy, but if you like a milder version, just go easy on the Cajun seasoning and only use one seeded jalapeno.  If want to “kick it up a notch”, add lots of seasoning, pop in two jalapenos (with seeds), and maybe even add some hot sauce in at the end. John also likes to add in okra to the dish, which I love.  But if you’re anti-okra, hakuna matata, just leave it out.

Big thanks to John and Cate for Jambalaya 101.  I’ve already made the dish once more since our little lesson, so I think it’s safe to say I’m hooked.  ;)

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Jambalaya

This authentic jambalaya recipe is surprisingly easy to make, and full of bold Cajun flavors that everyone will love. 

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 3 small bell peppers, cored and diced (I used a yellow, red and green bell pepper)
  • 1-2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely chopped (*more/less to taste, see note below)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 pound andouille sausage, thinly sliced into rounds
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1 (14 ounces) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked short grain white rice (you can use brown if you prefer, but you’ll need to cook it separately if you do, otherwise it takes significantly longer to cook than white rice)!
  • 2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning (**more/less to taste, see note below)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoons thyme, crushed
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 pound raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • (optional) 1 cup thinly-sliced okra
  • salt and pepper
  • (optional garnishes: chopped fresh parsley, thinly-sliced green onions, hot sauce)

Directions:

  1. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a stock pot (or a very large/deep saute pan) over medium-high heat. Add celery, onion, bell peppers, jalapeno and garlic. Saute for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft and mostly cooked. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil, chicken and sausage, and stir to combine. Continue sauteing for an additional 5 minutes, or until the chicken is no longer pink and mostly cooked.
  2. Add the chicken stock, tomatoes, rice, Cajun seasoning, bay leaf, thyme, and cayenne, and stir to combine. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for about 25-30 minutes, or until the rice is cooked, stirring occasionally. (Don’t forget to stir, or the rice may burn on the bottom of the pan.)
  3. Once the rice is tender, add in the shrimp and okra and stir to combine. Let the mixture continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the shrimp are cooked and pink. Remove bay leaf and season the jambalaya with salt and pepper and hot sauce and additional Cajun seasoning if needed. Remove from heat.
  4. Serve warm with optional garnishes if desired.  Or refrigerate and store in a sealed container for up to 3 days.

*If you like spicy jambalaya, I recommend adding 2 jalapenos with their seeds in. If you like it mild, I’d go with just 1 seeded jalapeno. Or you can go somewhere in between, and always add extra hot sauce at the end if it’s too mild.

**I also like heavily seasoned jambalaya, so I go with a full 2 tablespoons of Cajun seasoning. If you think that might be too much, I recommend adding just 1 tablespoon and then taste-testing the rice before adding the shrimp. If you want to add more at that point, just stir some extra seasoning in when you add the shrimp.

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713 comments on “Jambalaya”

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  1. This is my third time I make it. I love it. A couple of years ago I went to New Orleans and fell in love with Creole dishes. This recepie is very good!!

    Rating: 5
  2. It was amazingly delicious!!! I only used green pepper but added mushrooms and zucchini. The whole pot was gone in one meal😊 the spices were perfect for me but my husband & son added hot sauce. I would make this again in a heartbeat .

  3. Really excellent jambalaya, and just as easy to make as advertised. Even better the next day. This recipe is a keeper!

    Rating: 5
  4. Even though it was a little spicy, the entire family enjoy it. Will certainly do it again because it was that delicious.

  5. I make this at least twice a month. Love it! I just never have chicken thawed, so I just do the sausage and shrimp.

    Rating: 5
  6. My 15-year-old made this and it was outstanding! It was her first time making jambalaya. We used cooked shrimp and added them at the very end.

    Rating: 5
  7. Pingback: Spicy Jambalaya with Chicken, Shrimp, and Sausage — Garlic Delight

  8. I’ve made this at least a dozen times in the last year & it is delicious!!! We pretty much follow the receipt to the letter & it’s perfect. Thanks for a wonderful dinner & great leftovers.

    Rating: 5
  9. This was so yummy but I added 1/2 cup more of rice, so perfect!

    Rating: 5
  10. Excellent recipe! Lots of chopping, but otherwise easy to make. I added 1/3 of the spices with the veggies, 1/3 with the meat (I removed the veggies while cooking the meat, then put them back in), and 1/3 when I added the rice. I left out the jalapenos entirely,then put Tabasco sauce on the table for those who wanted it spicier – my thinking was that Tabasco is from Louisiana and fitting with the Louisiana theme of the dish. I made my own Cajun spice from another internet recipe. Everyone loved it and had two people go back for thirds! I thought I made enough for an army but we finished it all. Thanks.

    Rating: 5
  11. Can I make this for 25 people?

  12. If I were to use pre-cooked brown rice, should the liquid content of this be reduced at all? And when should it be added if it’s not needing to cook?

  13. Wonderful. Everyone loved it. Made this last night with a few changes due to shrimp allergy. Left the shrimp out and used 1.25 pounds of each chicken and sausage. Cooked brown rice separately and added it with 2 cups of stock. Simmered for 15 minutes partially covered to thicken. Will definitely make again.

    Rating: 5
  14. Very tasty and spicy dish that is wonderful! I’m asked to make this by the family every month. Thanks for a great recipe, so easy as well.

    Rating: 5
  15. Instead of trying to figure out how and when to add cooked brown rice, I decided to science it up for you. My uncooked, rinsed brown rice took 1 1/2 hours to cook, with the second half of that requiring almost constant stirring to prevent sticking and burning. I have a reasonably thick-bottomed pot (it’s certainly not a Dutch oven, though), and it’s possible my stove runs a little hot. It’s hard to tell, though. Maybe my last stove was just garbage… lol

    Thanks again for the amazing recipe! I had to resort to using frozen cut baby okra, which I thawed prior to adding. The jambalaya froze well, though it has a strange bready texture before being heated up again, and the okra turned to mush. I served it over a 50/50 mix of brown and black rice, which is just a textural treat for this texture fiend. Also helped stretch leftovers, a big plus for someone who doesn’t like spending time in the kitchen!

    Rating: 5
  16. Excellent, quick, easy recipe! I have tried different Jambalaya recipes and have finally found my “go-to” recipe. Two of my boys who are “foodies” really enjoyed it and said they would have spiced it up a bit, but that it was very good just as it was just the same. I can’t spice it up more because of the younger kids for whom it would then be too spicy, so as it stands it is a definite crowd-pleaser. Please note that I did not have okra on hand – forgot to buy it – and it was still very good.

    Rating: 5
  17. This recipe is wonderful! It is a constant “go-to” for our family!

    Rating: 5
  18. I love Jambalaya but my other half had never had it. When I described it, he said yuck. This is the guy who likes pretty much anything but tomato soup, hummus and yogurt LOL. Too bad. I am the cook. I made it he ate 2 large helpings and liked it. Love the flavors and I am thinking it is time to make it again especially with this 0-20 degree whether. Anyone who has never made it. Do so. It is wonderful.

    Rating: 5
  19. Great recipe, and I have tried many jambalaya recipes. I will save this one. Had very spicy Cajun seasoning so left out the jalapeños. Rice was a bit mushy but I think I over stirred. I was able to go from start to finish in 1 hour :)

    Rating: 5
  20. I’ve made this several times now. Very easy to make, don’t need to change anything it’s great as is! Yummy leftover lunch also. Thanks!

    Rating: 5