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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:


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:

This post contains affiliate links.



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


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.



  • 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 tablespoonCajun 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


  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.


*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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1,042 comments on “Jambalaya”

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  1. 5 stars
    Amazing flavor. We loved it!!!

  2. 5 stars
    It was delish! This is my second time making it! Thanks

  3. Pingback: Jambalaya

  4. What a wonderful easy to do recipe. Thanks a lot.
    Will do it for my housband tomorrow.

  5. 5 stars
    Amazing! This recipe is great for a week night or when you have family coming over. It’s always a hit!
    Thank you!

  6. 5 stars
    Excellent! Next time i’ll do it without okra… Makes it a bit too slimy for me.

  7. How many would this serve?

  8. 5 stars
    Wonderful, full-flavoured dish! Easy to make and tastes great the next day. Thank you for this gem!

  9. 5 stars
    Whoahhhh, this was/is amazzzzzinggg. I left out the okra (personal pref) and subbed chicken thighs for breasts and it was outrageously awesome!!! Thank you, thank you for such a homerun recipe!!!

  10. 5 stars
    Love this recipe! Have made it three times over the last 18 months and keep coming back to it. Thanks very much!

  11. Pingback: Jambalaya | Hangry Hansen

  12. 5 stars
    I have no idea why I suddenly decided to be ambitious for dinner today, but I was like, “what can I make for dinner that I can freeze and have next week too? Some kind of soup would be nice”, and ten minutes later I was reading this recipe and totally thought that I, who usually can manage a very basic stirfry, could make jambalaya.

    An hour and a half later, and, uh… it turns out I can make jambalaya. And it’s DELICIOUS. (which is good because this recipe is huge and I’m going to be eating it for the next sixty years and I have no clue why I didn’t halve it)

    A couple minor alterations I made: didn’t have cayenne pepper, so I subbed in chili powder. Also started from frozen peeled shrimp, but that worked out well–I let the shrimp thaw in a bowl of cold water while everything else cooked, and they were thawed when it was time to add them. I also loathe celery, so, sorry authentic Cajun cooking, but I left it out. In the end, it still tastes amazing! The balance of heat to flavor is stupendous (I did one mostly-seeded jalapeno, but both tablespoons of cajun spice), and the ratio of broth to meat and veggies is perfect–enough liquid to qualify as stew, but just barely.

    Soooo filling, so delicious. I may never get the ambition to make it ever again, but BOY is it good!

  13. Pingback: Jambalaya - The Weird Life of Us

  14. 5 stars
    My kitchen smells wonderful! I can hardly wait until it is done. Thanks for the recipe, super easy and I think it will be delicious if the smell is any indication!

  15. 5 stars
    Followed the instructions to a T and it was amazinggggg. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe, it was quite the crowd pleaser!

  16. 5 stars
    This WOULD have been amazing for me if I hadn’t gone balls-to-the-wall with the spices. I did two jalapeno peppers (fully seeded), both tablespoons of cajun seasoning, and I made my own cajun seasoning but messed it up and put in WAYYYY too much cayenne pepper. Like, all of the cayenne pepper. I’m basically going to have to re-make this as a second batch without any spices and merge with my first batch to get it to a semi-reasonable heat level. However, those were all my mistakes and wanted to share my learning experience, because all things considered this is a great recipe.

  17. 5 stars
    I’m just leaving a review now, but over the last 2 years this recipe has become a favorite and is in our mix of dinners. I cook the rice sausage and chicken all separate then just add at the end. Its just personal preference. The flavor is great and i can always adjust the spice based on who I have at the dinner table. My fiancé and brother always get so excited when I tell them I am making this for dinner and it’s great to make at night to have for lunches during the week.

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  20. 5 stars

  21. 5 stars
    Looks fabulous, I have not even tried it yet,

  22. Pingback: Jambalaya | Michelle's Gluten Free Kitchen

  23. 5 stars
    I stumbled upon is recipe one night when my husband couldn’t decide what protein he wanted for dinner…..now he requests THIS jambalaya at least twice a month. It’s SOOOOOO delicious!

  24. 4 stars
    Absolutely LOVE this recipe! Tonight was the first time I made it and it was BEYOND a hit!! I ended up coking the rice separately and then pouring the jambalaya on top in bowls (more gumbo like) but that’s how the family wanted it. As nervous as I was to not have it mixed it…YUMMO!😋

  25. 5 stars
    Most amazing thing I’ve ever cooked inside. I’d rather be on the grill but this will always bring me inside. It’s tough making it because this feeds one for many days! I normally don’t like spicy but this is right at my comfort zone with a glass of milk and a side of cottage cheese. I normally substitute the jalapeño for an extra bell orange bell pepper and use Creole instead of Cajun. Cheyenne stays the same and I used minute rice it’s what I had the first time making it. I always use 2 cups because I don’t like it as runny. I haven’t used the okra but plan too and normally don’t use the celery which I just found out was a main staple ingredient. Guess I’ll have to start including it back in the mix!

  26. 5 stars
    I hope this isn’t a ridiculous question, but when do I add the chicken and sausage back to the pan? Thanks!

  27. Hi – this sounds so yummy! When do you add the chicken & sausage back in? I’m not seeing it in the instructions, but could totally be misreading… thank you!

    • Whoops — typo! Thanks for catching that! :) You add it back in at the same time as the rice. I’ve added that in now. Enjoy!

  28. 5 stars
    I love this recipe! I have made it as is and in the oven, both with great results. I think I like it in the oven even more just because it becomes so handsoff! Once I add the uncooked rice, tomatoes and broth, I bring it up to a simmer, cover it, and pop it into a 350 oven for 35 minutes. Perfectly cooked every time and only about 15 minutes of tending to.

  29. What is andouille sausage? If I can’t find it what can I replace it with?This recipe sound extremely great.

  30. My husband has actually asked me to make jambalaya before, but I never had a good recipe. He would love this!! :)

  31. 5 stars
    I made this after my successful gumbo. I always preferred jambalaya so I was anxious to make this. WE ALL LOVED IT. I browned the chicken and sausage before I started the recipe. The only thing I can say is I didn’t make enough. We finished it in one sitting. Next time I’m going to double the recipe so I can have some for the next day

  32. Of course it’s wonderful – he’s a Buckeye! O-H!

  33. 5 stars
    My family loved it!!! Perfect blend of spices and the consistency was spot on. For sure making this again. Thanks for sharing!

  34. 5 stars
    Loved the recipe, great flavor. There was only one problem….. Can’t trust a man who likes OHIO STATE!!!! HA HA……GO WOLVERINES!!!!

  35. 5 stars
    It is looking very delicious and very easy to make as well , So I am definitely going to try this one at home. Please share updated posts with us. Thank You!

  36. 5 stars
    Excellent recipe! Left out the okra and jalapeno (personal preferences) and used diced instead of crushed tomatoes (misread the ingredients, oops!). Very flavourful and easy to make!

  37. When do you add back the chicken and sausage?

  38. 5 stars
    This was the BEST jambalaya EVER!!

  39. 5 stars
    This was so amazing! I made it for my boyfriend and roommate and they both had two big bowls the night I cooked it. We also had a bunch of leftovers that we all enjoyed the next day. It tastes authentic. I skipped the thyme (was out), okra (too sticky), cayenne, and jalapeno (my creole and cajun seasonings were spicy enough) though. Bravo, I gotta check out the other recipes on this site.

  40. Pingback: Jambalaya, Crawfish Pie and Filet Gumbo -helrätt i kräfttider -

  41. This jambalaya was great! So easy to make…I used all three proteins; chicken, shrimp and andouille!

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  43. 5 stars
    We love this dish! I’ve made it several times and we can eat it all week long, but do you know how many calories it is per serving?

  44. 4 stars
    I have been making this jamba for almost 2 years now and it is our go-to recipe. I wish I could give 4.5 stars – I would give 5 but I hate the update to the cooking directions.

  45. My picky 8 year old REQUESTS this for dinner. I think that says it all.

  46. 5 stars
    So Delicious

  47. Great recipe. Easy preparation. Good heat level. Family of 4 loved it. Plenty of leftovers. Would reduce amount of rice to 1 cup.

  48. Pingback: Jambalaya - Dish Tasty

  49. 5 stars
    This dish is absolutely wonderful! The flavors are outstanding! The only thing I had to do different was add one more cup of broth before adding in the okra and shrimp. I’m not sure if it’s an elevation issue but it all worked out in the end. I highly recommend this recipe!

  50. 5 stars
    I made it and also followed the directions for the Cajun spice. Delicious!!