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Jambalaya

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Hands-down the best jambalaya recipe! It is surprisingly easy to make, customizable with your favorite proteins (I used chicken, shrimp and Andouille sausage), and full of bold, zesty, Cajun jambalaya flavors that everyone will love.

The BEST Jambalaya Recipe

I thought it was time we revisit an old favorite recipe of mine here on the blog today, which I love all the more because it always reminds me of two of my favorite people — John and Cate’s famous jambalaya recipe! ♡

John and Cate were two of the very first neighbors I met when I moved to downtown Kansas City five years ago. When I arrived in the neighborhood, I didn’t know a soul around. But a cute new coffee shop serendipitously also happened to be opening next door that very week. And as I began to stop by morning after morning to order my favorite iced pour-over, I noticed that another couple was doing the same. Eventually we all introduced ourselves, and one of my favorite friendships was born.

For years, the three of us crossed paths at the coffee shop nearly every morning — giving each other groggy pre-caffeinated hugs, catching up on the past day’s events, ruffling the heads of one another’s pups, talkin’ shop about all things small business, and finally settling in at nearby tables with our laptops to work for a few hours. Then morning hangs eventually extended to evenings, swinging by one another’s places for impromptu happy hours and dinners, sneaking up to the rooftops to watch the fireworks on the 4th of July, or rallying all of our neighbors together each Tuesday for our beloved “neighbor nights” dinners.

In a heartbeat, these two moved from being neighbors, to what we called “freighbors”, to what we now consider “framily.” And I miss them and our Tuesday nights something fierce now, being 4800 miles across the ocean.

But whenever I pull out the ingredients to whip up a batch of their famous homemade jambalaya recipe, I’m instantly transported back to their old loft, and those impromptu, hilarious, always-longer-than-planned hours we used to spend cooking up a storm together in the kitchen. And the jambalaya simmering on the stove, wine glasses being refilled left and right, random neighbors showing up when they heard we were cooking. And those easy, good, long nights shared around the table together as our little neighborhood family.

As Julia Child once said, “People who love to eat are always the best people.” And John and Cate are certainly two of my best.

So is their jambalaya. ♡

Alright, let’s talk about this jambalaya recipe! With parents from the South, John grew up on spicy Cajun and Creole food, and always liked to brag to us Midwesterners about all of the fresh Gulf shrimp his family used to pick up at the market specifically for their jambalaya. (Which sounds…dreamy.)  Still, though, he’s whipped this dish up for our neighbors time and time again right in the heart of Kansas, and proven that it can be a winner wherever in the world that it’s made. It’s full of great flavor, easily customizable with your favorite proteins (or you can make it vegetarian), and probably much simpler to make than you might think. It just requires lots of chopping, and a solid 45 minutes or so from start to finish.

So just grab a glass of wine, maybe invite some friends over to keep you company while you cook, John-and-Cate-style, and enjoy this one! Thanks for the recipe, you two! ♡

Easy Jambalaya Recipe | 1-Minute Video

Jambalaya Ingredients:

Alright, let’s talk ingredients. To make classic jambalaya, you will need:

  • The Cajun/Creole “holy trinity”: Celery, onion and green bell pepper (although for some extra color, I’ve also used red and yellow bell peppers).
  • Jalapeño and cayenne: For heat. Feel free to add more or less of either, depending on your heat preferences.
  • Garlic, Creole or Cajun seasoning, bay leaf, thyme: Some of my favorite seasonings.
  • Chicken, shrimp and Andouille sausage: Or whatever proteins you prefer. Feel free to choose one or two, or you can use all three like I do.
  • Chicken stock: If the rice needs more liquid as it cooks, feel free to add in more.
  • Crushed tomatoes: For flavor.
  • White rice: Long grain is traditional, but short grain white rice also works.
  • Okra: Fresh or frozen; we will use this to help thicken the jambalaya.
  • Salt and Black Pepper: Very important! Don’t forget to taste and season with salt and pepper to taste at the end.

Also, feel free to garnish with whatever you prefer! I like to use sliced green onions and a hint of chopped fresh parsley and lemon wedges.

How To Make Jambalaya:

Heads up! I’ve edited this method a bit since I first posted this recipe back in 2014. The ingredients are all the same — I just changed the order of things slightly.

Next, let’s talk about how to make jambalaya. Simply…

  1. Sauté the chicken and sausage. Sauté until the chicken is cooked through and the sausage is lightly browned. Then transfer to a clean plate and set aside.
  2. Sauté the veggies. Sauté the onion, bell pepper, celery, jalapeño and garlic until soft.
  3. Add rice, liquids and seasonings. Add in the uncooked rice, chicken stock, crushed tomatoes, Cajun/Creole seasoning, thyme, cayenne and bay leaf. Give everything a good stir.
  4. Cover and cook. Then cook for 25-30 minutes, being sure to stir the mixture every 5 minutes or so (to prevent burning) until the rice is nearly tender.
  5. Add the okra and shrimp.  And cook for a final 5 minutes or so, until the shrimp is pink and opaque. Add the chicken and sausage back in.
  6. Taste and season. Season the jambalaya with salt and pepper (and extra Cajun/Creole seasoning, if needed) to taste.
  7. Serve warm. Garnished with your desired toppings!

Options To Customize Your Jambalaya Recipe:

Want to mix things up? Feel free to:

  • Add more/less heat: If you’d like a milder jambalaya, I’d recommend nixing the jalapeño and just stirring in some cayenne at the end if you’d like. For a spicier jambalaya, use two jalapeños. And then you can always add more cayenne at the end if you’d like.
  • Pick your protein: Chicken, shrimp and Andouille sausage are all traditional options for jambalaya. But feel free to choose just one, two or use all three, depending on what proteins you like. Other options could include other kinds of seafood (i.e. cod, mussels, clams, crawfish, etc.), pork or firm tofu.
  • Make it vegetarian: Wanting to avoid the meat? No prob! I also love making a vegetarian version of this with veggie stock and lots of hearty veggies (such as carrots, squash, mushrooms, broccoli, etc). Some veggies can withstand the long cooking time with the rice. But if you use some softer veggies, feel free to set them aside after sautéing at the beginning, and then add them back in at the very end.
  • Use file powder: Not into okra? Feel free to sub in 1.5 teaspoons file powder instead.

What To Serve With Jambalaya:

Since this dish is already incredibly hearty, I would recommend serving it with anything light and fresh, such as:

Jambalaya

My original photo for this jambalaya recipe from 2014.

More Great Cajun Recipes:

Love this jambalaya recipe? Be sure to also check out these faves:

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Jambalaya

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 0 About 6-8 servings 1x

Description

Hands-down the best jambalaya recipe! It is surprisingly easy to make, customizable with your favorite proteins (I used chicken, shrimp and Andouille sausage), and full of bold, zesty, Cajun flavors that everyone will love.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 pound andouille sausage, thinly sliced into rounds
  • 3 small bell peppers, cored and diced (I used a yellow, red and green bell pepper)
  • 2 ribs celery, diced
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 (14-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 34 cups chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked long grain white rice
  • 2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning or Creole seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 pound raw large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 cup thinly-sliced okra*
  • Kosher salt and freshly-cracked black pepper
  • optional garnishes: chopped fresh parsley, thinly-sliced green onions, hot sauce

Instructions

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a stock pot (or a very large, deep sauté pan) over medium-high heat.  Add the chicken and sausage and sauté for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through and the sausage is lightly browned.  Transfer to a clean plate and set aside.
  2. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil to the stock pot.  Add bell peppers, celery, jalapeño, onion and garlic. Sauté for 6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are softened.
  3. Add the crushed tomatoes, chicken stock, rice, Cajun seasoning, thyme, cayenne, bay leaf, and stir to combine.  Continue cooking until the mixture reaches a simmer.  Then reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for about 25-30 minutes, or until the rice is nearly cooked through, stirring every 5 minutes or so along the way so that the rice does not burn.
  4. Add the shrimp, okra, and stir to combine. Continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the shrimp are cooked through and pink. Stir in the chicken and sausage, and remove and discard the bay leaf.
  5. Taste season the jambalaya with salt, pepper, and additional Cajun seasoning if needed.  (I typically add about 2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.)  Remove from heat.
  6. Serve warm with your desired garnishes.  Or refrigerate and store in a sealed container for up to 3 days.

Notes

*Feel free to use fresh or frozen okra.  If using frozen, make sure to thaw it before adding to the jambalaya.

If you like spicy jambalaya, I would recommend adding in 2 jalapeños.  If you would like it more mild, you can omit the jalapeño altogether.

This recipe was edited slightly in August 2018 — just the order of the steps, not the ingredients.

Chicken Jambalaya Recipe with Sausage and Andouille Sausage

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1,202 comments on “Jambalaya”

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  1. Everyone in our house LOVES this recipe! We make it at least once or twice a month. :)

  2. Making this tonight and it sounds delicious. The recipe says to add chicken and sausage back AFTER the rice has simmered, but the video shows meats being added before simmering. Can you clarify when the meats are to be put back in? Thanks!

    • Amazing. As someone who lives in UK I couldn’t find Andouille sausage so substituted it with some spicy sausage that I cooked first in oven then cut up and added after browning the chicken. Had to use frozen okra as couldn’t find fresh. Found I had to keep adding more water during cooking so the dish didn’t dry out
      I’ve always wanted to visit New Orleans and try the Cajun/ creole cuisine as every recipe I’ve cooked has been delicious.
      Thanks for a delicious recipe

    • I love making this recipe! I use chicken and hot Italian sausage and omit the okra and shrimp because I don’t like the taste of them.. but honestly I think this is the best recipe ever made, been using it for 2 years and have never looked for another jambalaya recipe

  3. Worst way to cook rice in a jambalaya pot.

  4. I forgot to pick up okra at the store but happen to have gumbo file. I know that you said to sub 1.5 teaspoons for the okra but when should I add it? I generally add spices when sautéing, but the bottle of file says that it should be added at the end… any thoughts? Thank you!

  5. My husband was not a fan of jambalaya, being that we’re from the northeast, but this recipe converted him. It is delicious! I am making some right now, sending some over for a friend of his.

  6. I just made 2 pots – one veggie for my son’s wonderful girlfriend, and one with meat. The veg version has plant based sausage and chicken and a very light hand with Tony Chachere’s Herb and Spices Creole seasoning. She’s from the Midwest and hasn’t caught up yet to our family’s fire eating habits. The carnivores’ pot has ham, andouille sausage, chunks of dark meat chicken with a very healthy amount of Tony Chachere’s Original and Bold Creole, more added after tasting. The veg is very good. The meat is simply delicious. Restaurant quality food.
    I didn’t use okra – after years living in the south and having this nasty food forced on me, the only way okra is slightly edible is dredged in cornmeal and deep fried. Even then I’d prefer a mediocre hushpuppy. Otherwise okra belongs in compost. Yeah, don’t tell me about its thickening properties. It’s just damn slimy and I don’t care that your granny cooked with it and it’s a tradition. I am NOT eating it unless I’m starving and maybe not then. Love jambalaya, hate okra.

    ..

  7. Decent and easy recipe, but it significantly underestimates the volume of stock required. I use 2 or more cups; otherwise, it dries out. Perhaps my gas stovetop is hotter than expected (even when simmering)?

    • Just reading the recipe I totally agree with you. There was no doubt it would need more liquid.

    • I simmered on level 2 and used 4 cups broth. It worked perfectly. I have an electric stovetop and stirred it every 5-6 minutes, but other than that I kept it covered, so it couldn’t evaporate.

  8. We love this jambalaya! My boyfriend dislikes spice so he tops his with a heap of sour cream to cut the spice.

  9. Bam! So much flavor. I’m in love!

    I’m an American living in England, so I had to sub andouille for chorizo. Other than that, I followed the recipe to a T and my husband and I are loving it. Takes me back to our New Orleans trip.

    I’ll make it again for sure, next time with less thyme.

  10. Tasty! Although the prep took me longer than the recipe states. Is the nutrition info available anywhere for this?

    • That was incredible. Yesterday my son mentioned he had not had Jambalaya in a long time. Today I headed out to find andouille sausage and okra, the rest of the ingredients I had at home. The recipe was easy to follow and I’m happy to say by my wife and kids reaction it was a total hit. As for the okra, I’m a fan.

  11. I made this recipe last night and it was delicious! My husband loves cajun food and he really enjoyed the meal!

    Thanks for a great recipe!

  12. This was super yum. My husband said it was one of the best things I ever made and went back for thirds. I omitted the shrimp and okra and instead added more sausage and bell pepper. Safe to say this recipe will be in rotation at our house!

  13. Second time making this – superb!! The first time I make it vegetarian for my son’s girlfriend. They both loved it. This time it’s andouille sausage, chicken, and sprimp with more heat. Also superb! I use Tony Chachere’s seasoning. My only issue is the prep time of 15 minutes. No way. I’m a very experienced cook and used a food processor for chopping the veggies but it took much longer.

  14. Excellent recipe. Nice balance of spices.very tasty and will make again.

    If you have a stove that runs hot, you will definitely need more stock/water to keep rice from burning on the bottom. Just keep an eye on it, stirring every 4-5 minutes, and adding liquid. I used a Le Creuset dutch oven. Ended up turning the temp down to low-medium and adding water once I ran out of stock.

  15. I am making this recipe now! I hope it comes out as good as everyone claims. I did not want to make changes. However, I did not have okra. Add to that, I mistakenly added the chicken and sausage to the vegetables without first simmering the vegetables in the liquids for 25-30 minutes. Lastly, many comments on Jambalaya recipes complain their rice isn’t completely cooked so to ward off that possibility, I cooked the rice separately until it was about 2/3rds done before adding it to the stock pot. Like I said, I had no intentions of changing the recipe, but given my missteps, I hope it still comes out great!!

  16. Can this be made with pasta instead of rice but in one pot

  17. I have made this recipe four times now – it is a winner! Easy to make and so tasty!

  18. This recipe is awesome!!! I have a quick question why is it when you want to 2x or 3x the recipe it won’t print the 2x or 3xs the recipe it only will print the 1x?
    It would be awesome if I could print the 2x or 3xs

  19. Made this for a cold Sunday late lunch for my family!! We seriously enjoyed it!! No okra because that sh!t is nasty to this northern girl….thanks you for an easy and enjoyable dinner!

  20. Super tasty recipe! Definitely will be making this one again.

    • I’m excited I was a chef retired now I love tweaking using this For a Packer game this Sunday thank you very much go Packers I’ll connect another time with you

  21. Made this tonight, but halved it to use up ingredients on hand. Only used 1 lb pre-cooked shrimp for protein & 1 can Rotel instead of tomatoes & creole seasoning. Pretty spicy, but we loved it & will make again!

  22. I changed it a bit because the rice I used wouldn’t be ready in the time allotted. I made mine on the spicy side. This recipe goes down I. The books for our family. Great job.

  23. We made this the day after Christmas, along with some buttermilk biscuits. Wow, this is a great recipe! We used andouille sausage, 2 chicken thighs, a pound of shrimp and a bunch of crawfish. Dee-lish!

  24. I want to make this with the rice on the side. How much broth should I add knowing this?

  25. Terrific! I’ve followed the recipe as is but perhaps a little heavy handed with the spices (deliberately so), and it’s exactly what I was looking for. Absolutely delicious and the rest of my family feels the same way! Thank you!

  26. Yummm. This is a keeper.

  27. DELICIOUS! I DONT LIKE OKRA SO I DID NOT ADD. VERY SAVORY OUTSTANDING DISH

  28. Best recipe going. Loved the flavours. Have to make extra for leftovers. My new go to dish. Thank you so much

  29. Because the andouille sausage I bought was precooked I gave the chicken a 5 minute head start. Could not source okra so did not use. Added the chicken and sausage at the same time as the rice, not at the end with the shrimp, because I wanted the flavors to meld. Followed the rest to a T and it turned out just perfect rice and all. Paired with from scratch skillet cornbread which made for a wonderful dinner party. Fantastic recipe! I will use again, as well as recommend. 😋

  30. followed it exactly as stated and it was a little too salty for us to enjoy.

  31. Awesome n very easy to make

  32. I LOVE this jumbalaya recipe. It really truly is THE BEST. I make it every year on Fat Tuesday for any of my friends or family that want to come over. During the last two years I have made it and given it to people to enjoy at home. This year I am happy to finally have people back into my house. I am making 3 batches! Thank you for sharing this recipe and thank you to John and Cate for the original.

  33. Amazingly delicious! Though I wish recipes were consistently posted with calories etc. 😍

  34. I omitted the okra and chicken because I was too lazy to go to the store but we didn’t miss it–delicious!! My only complaint is that I didn’t exactly follow the quantities listed while I was drinking a homemade hurricane and now my husband and I will be eating Jambalaya til Easter. Eh, things could be worse!

  35. This recipe is everything it claims to be! Hubby requested jambalaya, I’ve never had it, so recipe triangulation was employed to find the best one. This will be a staple recipe from now on. Thanks!

  36. This recipe is so incredibly good and easy to follow! Why have I waited so long to make Jambalaya? LOL I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs and used extra garlic cause that’s what my family likes. I should have doubled this! This is sooooo good.

  37. I made this for dinner tonight. The family thought this was so delicious. I’m gonna keep checking your website for more delicious ideas. Thank you Ali.

  38. The best Jambalaya recipe ever. It is no fail and delicious every single time. We make it at least once a month. I think my boyfriend would prefer it once a week ; )

  39. Tasty! Our go to recipe for the best Jambalaya. We tried many others but this is the best. Thank you for sharing!

  40. It’s a delicious recipe. I have made it several times now. I use half the rice so it’s still saucy, spicy sausage that we take out of the casing and crumble up and some extra types of peppers to suit our family. We follow the spices and is always so tasty.

  41. I cannot believe I have not made jambalaya before, as I really love it. I chose your recipe, and it is wonderful. No wonder so many love it as well. Being diabetic, the only change I made, and I have to say I am really excited it worked out, was to substitute brown rice for white. I knew that brown is better for diabetics, so decided to, I guess, parboil it, for about 1/2 the time. Then I strained it and added it to your recipe like I would white rice, and it was perfect. It makes a lot, and is not inexpensive with all the ingredients, so I cannot thank you enough for a great tasting dish that I can freeze part of, and enjoy many great tasting meals.

  42. I just moved to a city after getting out of college, just started cooking 3 years ago and I made this dish with ease. For how simple this was to do; it tasted amazing! My mom is begging me for leftovers 😂

  43. I omitted the jalepenos and the cayenne pepper AND only put 1 TBS Creole seasoning instead of 2 and it was STILL pretty spicy! So be careful if you don’t like spicy! Next time I will but 1/2 TBS Creole Seasoning. Also I would recommend saute’ing the shrimp and okra first before adding them, since they didn’t cook too well adding them at the end. Edible, but would prefer saute’ed first. Also when you use salt and pepper, only put 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp black pepper.