Jambalaya

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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4.9 from 236 reviews

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.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 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

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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985 comments on “Jambalaya”

  1. 5 stars
    Just the absolute perfect heat just as is! first time I make a recipe I always follow it as is and then tweak it to make it like I like it. This one I don’t have to change a thing.
    Shelly

  2. 5 stars
    Made this dish a few times now and I love it. My family loves it as well and always looks forward to jambalaya night

  3. 4 stars
    Hi! I made this jambalaya for my family tonight and LOVE THE FLAVOR….I have one question regarding the consistency of the rice. I used the 1-1/2 cups of rice and the 2 cups of chicken broth as noted within the recipe and found the final result was mushy… Can you provide some guidance on what I can do the next time so I can achieve the same results as you get?

    Thanks so much! My family aboslutely loved this,so flavorful, now just need to figure out the texture!

    Best,

    Jeannine

  4. 5 stars
    First time making this dish and this recipe was the simpliest online. Had a blast making it and now it’s in my repertoire and can’t wait to make it again! Used imitation crab and shrimp…amazing

  5. 5 stars
    Making it now with louisiana hot links, my own Cajun spice mix (not bad from a guy from Hartlepool, England (now in Mission Viejo, SoCal) . Just tried the liquid as it came to the boil and wow it is going to kick like a donkey (mule to you guys) lol

  6. 5 stars
    The family loved it Sooooo Yummy!!!

  7. 4 stars
    Living in Montana, I’m always looking for new ways to cook game meat. We had two fresh grouse in our fridge and used all of the meat from both birds. I’m not a huge fan of shrimp so I left those out and doubled the okra because I love it.

    Done again, I’d definitely do the 4 cups of stock; I did 3 + 3 stock “pucks” I had in my freezer (pour homemade stock in muffin tins and freeze to keep on hand) and I would have liked more broth plus the rice could have used a little more liquid

    This recipe is awesome and I’m going to freeze a bunch for those cold winter months since it makes a lot. Looking forward to making it with elk sausage!

  8. 5 stars
    I made this for family dinner and it was fantastic, even though I left out the jalapeno and okra and didn’t have celery on hand. Recipe is a definite keeper!

  9. 5 stars
    I’m so happy I found this again, plus reading ur blog is fun and u 2 are adorable. ! Thanks, made this once and YUM!

  10. I made this in June 2018 and thought I left a comment. Guess I didn’t. My family loved it. It was so much easier than I thought. I had to make TWO POTS after my grandsons tasted it. One for my grandson in NY and one for my other grandson at UofDel. His Fraternity brothers look forward to the delivery. My daughter and son in law eat it til it’s gone. I cheat at the end the last 5 minutes before I serve it I add a cup of spicy V8 to get it wet. It blends perfectly.

  11. 5 stars
    Delicious! I tried some before I added the shrimp and it was just as delicious for the non-seafood lovers. We added more cayenne because we love spicy food.

  12. 5 stars
    Better than any in New Orleans

  13. 5 stars
    best jumbalya recipie! made it tonight, skipped the chicken though. also a really good cajun seasoning is “tony’s” which i added into it.

  14. 5 stars
    My boyfriend loves this. Now that’s Autumn I will be making this. Mine is done in the crock pot. It’s really good served over rice.

  15. 5 stars
    I have made this twice and my family loves it! My husband lived in New Orleans for 5 years and he says this is a great recipe. Thank you tremulously for helping me feed my picky eaters!

  16. 5 stars
    Taste tested this for our website! I added the link to our cajun seasoning. Thanks for the great easy to follow recipe and beautiful photos.

  17. 5 stars
    Omg. Easiest and best jambalaya ever!!!!!

  18. Just made this y’all….pretty exact aside no shrimp and I used diced fire roasted tomatoes as that was on hand.

    You know what, this is great stuff. I went a bit spicy as the Mrs prefers, following the directions and I’m in love…this will be in rotation especially given the dark season is upon us.

    Only screw up I did was not have the veg ready to sauté, but I love the amount of knife practice you get in…

    Fun, quick dish with all thumbs up here!

  19. 5 stars
    I made a double batch of this for a group of 14. Everyone loved it and most said it was the best jambalaya they have ever had. The only thing I changed was that I made the rice in a rice cooker versus adding it in with meal. This allowed me to cook both the main dish and rice at the same time and did not have to worry about hard rice.

  20. 5 stars
    So delicious!

  21. 5 stars
    It was perfect! I wish I could add a photo! Definitely will keep this recipe handy.

  22. 5 stars
    Made for friends minus the garlic and was still very tasty.

  23. 5 stars
    This is my go to recipe, love it!!

  24. 5 stars
    Made this tonight following the recipe. Came out amazing. Didnt use shrimp but added 1 jar of clam juice. Great dish for a cold night down here on long island. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  25. This is the absolute yummiest Jambalaya recipe ever. I have had many requests to share the recipe!

  26. 5 stars
    SO YUMMY. I’m a total beginner at cooking and the instructions were simple enough for me to follow – hard to believe that something this delicious wasn’t from a complicated recipe! Will absolutely be making this again.

  27. 5 stars
    Made this tonight November 2018, my hubby is a HUGE Cajun food fan and I have to say this is a HIT in my house. Both husband AND daughter (who is a chef) requested I save this recipe so I can make it again. I did make a few tweaks however as I didn’t have all the ingredients so I had to substitute. Used 4 cups of water and 4 boullion cubes in lieu of chicken stock (I didn’t have any), Added a TSP of red pepper flakes, added an extra stalk of celery and didn’t add the bell pepper (I didn’t have any).

    Again, by FAR the best Jambalaya we’ve EVER had!

  28. Sounds delicious. What is the nutritional info.

  29. Pingback: HEALTHY SHRIMP & SAUSAGE JAMBALAYA – No Excuses Nutrition

  30. 5 stars
    This recipe is delicious and makes lots of food! I used spicy Italian sausage instead and it was wonderful!

  31. 5 stars
    I made this recipe for company, the first time, always a scary proposition! But it turned out amazing and everyone loved it. Made it the very next weekend for different company, it was that good! And you know it’s a hit when your company asks for the recipe!

  32. 5 stars
    Fantastic recipe ! I use a flavourful chorizo sausage I get at Costco in Ontario. I packed the heat in!!

    THe teens like it too!!!!

  33. 5 stars
    It was the first time that I made this. Yummy!!!!

  34. I’ve tried different jambalaya recipes over the years and I have to say this was probably one if the best. Made it for the family and they loved it. Got two dinners out of it and even better second time around.

    I used a spicy andouille, took the advice of using a green/yellow/red bell pepper, I did make my own creole seasoning (follow the link), I used two cans of tomatoes as I like a little more tomato taste, and I cook the rice on the side then ladle the jambalaya over the top of rice. That way you can control the amount of rice in the dish. One jalapeño is a good for spicy and we like things hot.

    Great recipe! Will definitely make this again.

  35. 5 stars
    My first time making jambalaya and it was delicious!!! I’ve only tried it once in Disney land, in restaurant with the princess and the frog theme but this was WAY better! Thank you so much 😍 it was easy and straight forward to follow. Only thing I would change is to season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper first because it was abit bland compared to the rest of the dish. Also I microwaved the sliced okra for 2 mins before adding it to the dish because I was afraid it would take too long to soften and my rice would get over cooked.

    Also i was worried there was way too much liquid for the amount of rice so I added an extra half cup which turned out totally unnecessary (I should’ve trusted the recipe haha). But thanks guys, this is definitely a keeper of a recipe!!! =D

    Ps. I had a jar sauce for jambalaya which I also used to cook another batch, but your recipe beats it hands down.

  36. 4 stars
    Very easy recipe to make and deviate. Second time I have made it. I used Choriso sausage instead and the flavor was awesome. Between the the sausage and the creole seasoning(I used Konriko) there was plenty of salt so I did not add any added salt. Definitely one to keep

  37. Ali’s right: This may be the best Jambalaya recipe around, including those from New Orleans cookbooks.
    Served to a varied group of freezing Solstice celebrators, it was inhaled faster than anything else. Just received a note from one attendee saying he was off his (formerly) favorite Cajun recipe because this recipe outstrips the restaurant’s version. (He tongue in cheek said he’d never found so much shrimp in the competition’s dish.)
    I’m ambivalent about the okra — not sure it adds much, and would use the file option — but would be more likely to use green onions/scallions if the dish was headed directly to the table since they would add flavor and texture..

  38. 5 stars
    I have used your recipe many times. Last year I made a vegetarian version using tofu as a protein for a visitor. Now I make it with quinoa instead of rice.

    After a while I have memorized the recipe and just clean the refrigerator for the leftover protein and make a pot!

  39. 5 stars
    Hey! I made your recipe and I loved it! I didn’t find okra so I swapped it with eggplant, I hope it doesn’t change the taste a lot… But thank you! May I suggest a modification for your recipe? I don’t have a dishwasher and I like to use the less cookware possible, so if you could re-order the ingredients from the cleanest (veggies) to the dirtiest (chicken) to cut, that would help a lot :)

  40. I cook Jambalaya occasionally at our house. The only side I make is is yummy cornbread!!

  41. 5 stars
    Delicious and easy.

  42. 5 stars
    Outstanding!! And so easy…I used 4 1/2 cups chicken broth for extra creaminess – delish!

  43. 5 stars
    I substituted left over hickory ham and turkey pieces/fat, smoked paprika and hot pepper flakes and it was delicious. I’ll try it with the sausage and shrimp when the kids are not around, as they are not fans of seafood.!! Thanks for this wonderful recipe!

  44. 5 stars
    This was a great recipe. Everyone liked it. I did cut the Creole seasoning to 1 tablespoon for my husband. He does not like spicy. Otherwise it was tasty just like the recipe states.

  45. Actually I lived in Kansas City for thirteen years, many of those on the Kansas side. So yes, I know for certain that part of the KC metro is in KS. ;)

  46. 5 stars
    This Jambalya recipe is fantastic! I did not use chicken and doubled the shrimp (our favorite) and I omitted the cayenne pepper and the heat was perfect. Thank you for sharing, we will be eating this regularly!

  47. 5 stars
    Amazing! Only thing we did different added mushrooms, 1/2 cup prime rib, 1 cup chicken, 1/2 cup pork tenderloin, whole bag of shrimp and 3 original sausages. We also sautés the meats and the veggies as per above. However, we cooked this in the instant pot for 30 minutes. All spices where the same. We used hot sauce in the sauce and corn starch to make sure it was thick. Also finished it off with green onions and parsley.

  48. 4 stars
    Mild and a little wet but good. The wet might have been because I was not able to find fresh or frozen okra anywhere today. Next time I will increase the amount of cajun seasoning, salt, and jalapeno. Maybe double all the spices. My andouille sausage wasn’t cooked and do didn’t slice neatly into rounds. I ended up with the sausage looking like meatballs. Comforting one dish meal.

  49. 5 stars
    I’ve been a jambalaya and gumbo fan for many years. I have used the boxed jambalaya rice/seasoning kits and they worked well but I’ve always wanted to make it from scratch. A quick search turned up this 5-star review and its no wonder why it has all 5-stars… the jambalaya turned out great!

    A few caveats… The prep time was more like 30-40 minutes and it ended up making about 12 adult servings. We had so much extra, we gave some of the leftovers to the neighbors, too, which felt like the best way to have this recipe go full-circle. Definitely add some salt at the end. It punches up all the flavors.

  50. 5 stars
    This is the umpteenth time making this jambalaya. The only this we change is using hot Italian sausage instead of andouille as we like it spicy other than that everything is the same. This is a family and friend favorite it can’t be beat!!