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 228 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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969 comments on “Jambalaya”

  1. 5 stars
    Just had a huge spoonful, Yum, Yum,🤸🏾‍♂️🤸🏾‍♂️ first time I’ve made Jambalaya. I followed the recipe exactly, fabulous!!! Thank you for a great recipe. Love your site 🌺🇨🇦

  2. 5 stars
    OMG…so amazing….first time making jambalya and it was phenomenal.

  3. 5 stars
    Fantastic!!! My first time using this recipe, and I will definitely use it again. My family loved it. My son said “just the right amount of spicy” Not enough stars, so I’ll add my own :-) ☆☆☆☆☆

  4. Pingback: Michele

  5. 5 stars
    This recipe is outstanding. Very simple to follow.
    I only have one suggestion. Make it a day in advance. As good as it was when I made it, it was 10 times better two days later as the spices had time to really open up.

  6. 5 stars
    This turned out great! Wonderful flavor and I would have posted a picture but it was gone before I had a chance. I used chicken sausage and fresh tomatoes. Making again for sure.

  7. 5 stars
    The best jambalaya!!!! The lemon adds a great flavour too. I used scallops and shrimp with the chicken and sausage.

  8. 5 stars
    Amazing recipe! It’s one of my go-to crowd pleasers.. Love it😊

  9. Can I cook the rice separately and add after?

  10. 4 stars
    Excellent flavor! The family all loved it. Will definitely use this recipe next time! 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻 I’d like to know how to end up with more flaky rice. It was a bit wet.

  11. 5 stars
    Great recipe! Spiced it up with 2 jalapeños and 2 Serrano’s. Also used boneless skinless chicken thighs instead of breasts.

  12. You weren’t kidding…this is an AMAZING recipe! Made this last night for dinner and everyone raved about it. Including my parents, husband and – the kicker- our children (ages 2 and 3) loved it as well! At the end, I did end up adding about 1 cup of sour cream because I found it too spicy (I was the only one apparently), but it was delicious that way too. Thank you so much for sharing!

  13. 5 stars
    Would love to know if you’ve calculated the calories! This was terrific!

  14. 4 stars
    Love this recipe! Made it several times already. I use chicken thighs instead of chicken breast. I use bone-in and skin chicken thighs. I debone and skin the thighs and cook a Chicken broth for the recipe from the scraps.
    I add the chicken and the sausage back with the rice.
    Other than that i pretty much follow the recipe. Add more vegetables than what is asked for.
    Best Jambalaya recipe I ever had!

  15. 5 stars
    Delicious!!! I forwent the jalapeños and it was still plenty spicy and full of flavor!

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  17. Looks delicious, but thats not Jambalaya

  18. 5 stars
    I made this on the weekend. Oh man! It lived up to its billing. It will be a regular now for sure.

    Thank you!!

  19. 5 stars
    Love this recipe. I have used it twice far and my family loves it! I made a few changes to make the dish pescatarian friendly. I use vegetable broth instead of chicken, I use the Beyond Meat “Spicy Italian”” veggie sausages and shrimp. The veggie sausages I cook separately and add them to the dish when I put the shrimp in.

  20. 5 stars
    I’ve made this twice and I am making it again tonight! The first time I made it was with chicken and shrimp and we absolutely loved it! The second time was with just the andouille sausage. I prefer not to use the sausage again as it was much spicier then I could handle but my husband and daughter enjoyed the heat. I also think that the jalepeno that I used the second time was also much hotter than the first one. Anyway, this is a great recipe that I’ve added to my favs! Thank you! <3

  21. 5 stars
    Made this for supper tonight added a pound of scallops it was great

  22. 5 stars
    This is such a great recipe, my husband (from New Orleans) loves it!

  23. I was so excited to try this recipe. As an accomplished cook I can tell you this is way too spicy. My beloved husband managed to choke this down while I ate leftover cold pizza. Don’t waste your time.

  24. Could I make this using cauliflower rice instead?

  25. 5 stars
    First time ever making Jambalaya and it was amazing!! My husband loved it, and it was very easy to make. Thanks for sharing this bomb recipe 😉

  26. Fantastic. Easy to follow and taste was great. Didn’t have any jalapeños but it was plenty flavorful. Cut the proteins in half – used chic shrimp and andouille since we are only 2 but it was more than enough – excellent.

  27. 5 stars
    So delicious! I made this recipe on the weekend intending it to be a week night meal, we ended up eating it right away!!

  28. 5 stars
    I just want to say that I make this meal ALL the time. Like, constantly. It is delicious and amazing and a huge hit!

  29. 5 stars
    This was a very easy & tasty meal to make.

  30. 5 stars
    I made this over the weekend for Father’s Day and it was easy to follow. I didn’t use the andouille sausage, just chicken and shrimp. What I did change was that I added more celery and used a can of fire roasted crushed tomatoes, and I really liked the outcome.

  31. 5 stars
    This is an excellent recipe! I used chicken and a spicy turkey sausage a local grocer makes, and skipped the shrimp. The okra is a great addition for texture. I also made the cajun seasoning and now have it in the cupboard for the next time. Thank you for such a wonderful dinner idea.

  32. Pingback: Jambalaya. This is an easy recipe. use chicken instead of shrimp - Crockpot Recipe

  33. Can this recipe be done without the rice?? If so, any change to the preparations?

  34. Made this and it was so good until I added in the okra. It made the whole dish slimy. So disappointed. I have never cooked with okra before. Don’t use it. Waste of 50$. Pissed off

  35. 5 stars
    Oh and I also made a vegan version with carrots, green beans, butternut and mushrooms was delicious!!!

  36. 2 stars
    Oh no mine came out with the rice SUUUUPER mushy it almost looks like smashed potato jambalaya. I followed every direction to a T.

  37. 5 stars
    Good recipe. I seldom find one that actually comes out good.

  38. 5 stars
    I used the original version of the recipe instead of the updated one. I also left out the okra. It came out tasting amazing! Thank you so much for posting this. Also, learned the hard way not to handle jalapeño with my bare hands. Gonna be paying for that for awhile.

  39. 4 stars
    This recipe is delicious, but definitely far too spicy and that’s coming from a house not afraid of spice. I ended up only using one jalapeño, a tablespoon and only half of creole seasoning – no Cheyenne and even then I found its a bit too spicy and preferred to cut it with sour cream when serving

  40. Just curious if we make jambalaya in the crockpot can we leave it on to keep it warm enough through the whole party. Should it be high or low?

  41. 2 stars
    Jambalaya does not have tomatoes in it. Absolutely not.

  42. 5 stars
    This was easy and delicious! My whole family loved it!

  43. 5 stars
    This is the best jambalaya I’ve ever had! Pretty easy too, just a decent amount of prepping/cutting. My boyfriend and I love making this all the time, it usually last us quite a few days of lunches too. Yummy!

  44. 5 stars
    This is incredible, we make it even Sunday now. It is the best Jambalaya I have ever tasted. The only change I made was I like to get a char on the sausage and I like to ad yellow, orange and red peppers for colors. Thanks for sharing this gem!!

  45. 4 stars
    A really good recipe. I left out tomatoes because I’ve never put them in jambalaya or any other Cajun dish for that matter.

  46. 5 stars
    I’ve made this a few times. It is outstanding! For anyone who commented about mushy rice, the trick is to rinse it. I put it in a fine mesh strainer & run cool water over it until the liquid runs clear. Works every time!

  47. 5 stars
    AWESOME recipe! Made it for the first time by the directions and it was perfection. Easily customizable. If you are sensitive to spicy food, I’d recommend leaving out the jalapeño and/or cayenne. I may add even more vegetables next time because they were so delicious.

  48. 5 stars
    Made this tonight and it was everything I wanted. My family is on a highly limited salt intake, so I followed your homemade cajun seasoning recipe in the comments. The only salt was from the chicken broth and sausage. We also are limiting our carbs so I used 1 cup rice with 2 3/4 cups of broth. Cooked the rice perfectly. So glad I found your recipe because it worked beautifully.

  49. 5 stars
    Absolutely the best jambalaya recipe ever! Also recommend the Everyday Salad and the dressings! I love this recipe so much I make it year round!

  50. 5 stars
    Beat jambalaya I have ever made. I used ham and sausage (fresh from my favorite pig farmer) and shrimp! Home canned tomatoes as well. Thanks for sharing!