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.
  6. Taste and season.  Add in 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 207 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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943 comments on “Jambalaya”


  1. Legit jambalaya recipe! Such a tasty treat when you cannot actually be in Nola! Just the right amount of heat too. Will make again…and again.


  2. Made the recipe many times! My family loves it! Would you mind sharing why the order of things was edited?


  3. Made this without the shrimp or okra. Only needed to use 3 cups of stock. Everything else according to recipe. My husband is the jambalaya cook in our house normally and he gave this a big thumbs up. Will definitely save and make again.


  4. Yummmmmm! Just made this last night and it was delicious. Thanks for this spectacular recipe!!!


  5. If I could give this ten stars I would. So easy and just delicious.


  6. I followed the recipe exactly as written and the rice turned out mushy. (I might try brown rice) I suggest aadding a tablespoon of creole seasoning to sauté the chicken. Oh – and my enormous sauté pan was too small to add back the sausage and chicken after cooking the shrimp! I will definitely make this again, but with some minor tweaks.


  7. Great stuff


  8. I made this dish tonight for a crowd. A coworker suggested I make jambalaya as it’s the perfect one pot dish for a cold spell. I have never made jambalaya before and have only had it 3 times though I live in Texas. This got such rave reviews! Followed the recipe…chicken shrimp and andouille sausage- oh yeah! It was so good it’ll be in my repertoire from now on for sure!

  9. I really enjoyed it! A little intensive for me to make because I’m not a cook! Thanks to my better half I got it done! A little more heat than I would have liked, but that I attribute to the andouille sausage I had! I will make it ajain! Yum!!!

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  11. Yummy I made this 🇬🇧 Just delicious 😋


  12. This was delicious! I just made it. My husband and I both loved it. Thanks for the recipe!


  13. Made this tonight and followed everything except we used rotisserie chicken, vegetable stock and no okra. It turned out so good!! It really is the best and so easy to make too!! Thanks for a wonderful recipe we will definitely make again!


  14. Seriously the best jambalaya recipe that I’ve followed so far! All the steps were easy to follow and the final product was better than I expected. I used a bit more broth than required so I added more rice since we (myself, husband, and two sons) love rice! I was worried that the rice was going to turn out mushy, however it was tender & perfectly cooked… just flat-out delicious! I did not add okra and used tomato sauce instead of crushed tomatoes since that’s all I had in the pantry. However with these modifications I did not seem to affect the dish at all. My husband actually introduced me to jambalaya, this was one of the first dishes he made for me when we were dating. So it was extra special to see how much he loved this dish! I will definitely make this again and again. Thank you for sharing this gem!

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  16. This would be creole style. Cajuns, typically, do not use tomatoes in jambalaya.


  17. Seriously great jambalaya


  18. This recipe is delish, definitely be making it again. I used double the cajun seasoning and 1L homemade chicken stock, red thai chillies and chorizo sausage instead of andouille. Also added a splash of Worcestershire sauce. Came out really well. Next time I might use half litre white wine and half litre stock for the liquid


  19. Excellent recipe! Definitely will be my go to from now on.

  20. Can this be frozen? I have to take a dish for a family gathering 400 miles away and would love to take this!

  21. Just recently made this and it was delicious plus easy! It makes quite a bit so I shared with my sister, brother-in-law and daddy who all thoroughly enjoyed it as well! Thanks for this one pot spectacular Cajun favorite!


  22. I made this recipe for my girlfriends one night and got the best compliments ever! This is an easy recipe to follow and so worth the wait. So glad I found it!

    Enjoy…..


  23. We are snowed in for the 4th day, so I made your delicious jambalaya recipe using whatever I had in the panty and fridge. So delicious and perfect comfort food for a snowy day like today. Thanks for the inspiration!


  24. The flavors were delicious! I skipped the okra however. My rice came out mushy, any suggestions? I followed the recipe step by step.
    Thank you!

    • I always rinse my rice to remove the starch which I have found keeps it from being mushy.

    • Try cooking your rice separate then add and just mix altogether, I cook everything separate then mix and cook for a bit and all good! I also add in old bay

  25. Just made this and the family loved it. Just plate the kids portions before adding shrimp and a quarter cup of hot sauce. Will make again!


  26. Made this tonight. I will be adding this one to the rotation. The only modifications I made was I didn’t add the chicken (because I suck at thawing meat), and I used two bay leaves. Perfect finished product, though. A lot of jambalaya recipes end up soupy but this was perfectly thick, just the right amount of moisture, rice held together, and just enough heat to clear the sinuses.


  27. This was absolutely amazing. I’m allergic to shrimp so we added pork and chorico in addition. A bit too much thyme and cajun spice for my families liking. Overall very good and we will be making this again. Super easy to follow.

  28. I made this tonight! My family went wild for it, everyone went back for seconds! The only modification I made was, I used brown rice instead of white rice! This recipe will definitely be on rotation!


  29. I made this tonight for dinner and it was amazing!! The only ingredient I didn’t use was the okra, as we’re not fans in my household. I followed the instructions exactly and it turned out very delicious!


  30. My husband is critical when I try a new recipe but we both absolutely loved this one! I used crawfish instead of shrimp and it was divine.


  31. This is definitely the best jambalaya recipe. I’ve tried a lot of different recipes. This one is a keeper! Thanks for sharing!!!!

  32. Can you use Italian Sausage instead of the Andouille Sausage? Any suggestions to make it mild?

    • I wouldn’t use Italian, try smoked sausage if you don’t like andouille and don’t use jalapeños if you don’t want spicy. Try old bay seasoning to add flavor instead of Cajun or cayenne if you like a more milder flavor


  33. Made it for dinner and my son had 3 helpings! We added extra chicken, tomato and bell pepper (family of 6) and it turned out beautifully.


  34. This was so amazing! Thank you for sharing! I will definitely make this again.

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  37. Mardi Gras and I set my relucatant-cook spouse loose on this recipe. WOW!!! FANTASTIC!!! The spice level was perfect – nice kick but not too hot for the kids – and the flavors blend fantastically. Keeping this one for next year!


  38. I made this for Fat Tuesday (in SC) & had a few friends over. Everyone loved it! I made a couple slight adjustments; added extra tomatoes & a little extra chicken stock, but this was very well received. I will make it again, not counting my husband & I having some left-overs this evening!

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  40. Takes loner than 55minutes. It is good receipe. We doubled recipe for leftovers and to bring to a housewarming!

  41. What is the best way to reheat this if I wanted to make it a day ahead of time and then serve it at a dinner party?


  42. Yummy. A bit hot next time I will leave out the cayenne pepper did not add the jalapeño. Used Canned green Chile’s instead. Used brown jasmine rice and turkey sausage. Thanks


  43. Turned out great – thanks for the recipe! I substituted fresh chopped tomatoes to use them up before they went bad and skipped the chicken b/c we were out, but it was a big hit with the family!


  44. My first attempt at Jambalaya and thanks to this recipe it was a slam dunk! The family loved it and it definitely got printed and a place in my recipe binder! Thanks for making me look like a pro. It was very easy to follow.


  45. I love this recipe! I’ve made it about 6 times now and it always turns out delicious. I usually make it with brown rice (which takes a bit longer but doesn’t turn out mushy) but tonight I used riced cauliflower. Little soupier but still awesome. I just thickened it a titch. Thanks for another great recipe.


  46. This. Was. Deeeelicious!!! My family and I LOVED it!! Thanks for such an easy to follow, amazing recipe!! Can’t beat these flavors!!


  47. My family loves this! I’ve made it twice and always receive great compliments. I left out the okra. I use chicken, shrimp and pork. I would highly recommend this dish.

  48. Awesome , but can i freeze this

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  50. This is so good! I live in AZ now but am a Southerner. Tastes like home!