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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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Recipe rating

1,179 comments on “Jambalaya”

  1. Absolutely wonderful
    Cheers

  2. Delicious, with lots of flavor!

  3. I’ve used this recipe for years, total dime. We have a newly minted diabetic in my house and I’m happy to report that I substituted cauliflower rice for the regular rice and it was still delicious. Not identical, but the flavor was spot on and the rice wasn’t missed.

  4. We’ve made this recipe several times. It’s so good! It’s a little spicy for some of my family members, but I think it’s perfect :) and they usually just mix a little greek yogurt in and are fine. Good with or without the shrimp if you don’t have it on hand!

  5. The flavor is good but the rice definitely needs to be precooked. Otherwise I cooked it for 50 minutes and added six cups of broth just to make the rice edible and not crunchy. I should have precooked the rice as many suggested. May try again making those important modifications.

  6. I made the recipe using shrimp, chicken and andouille chicken sausage. It was very flavorful!!! I will certainly make it again.

  7. This is truly an amazing and tasty recipe! I made it for some family and they absolutely loved it. Since I am not one to cook very often, this recipe was a little difficult and confusing for me at first, but I got it and can always make adjustments the next time around! Will definitely be adding this to my dinner rotation! Thank you so much for sharing this great recipe.

  8. Incredible!!! Prepared with chicken andouille sausage and shrimp. Our new Favorite! Thank you

  9. I’m so confused. The video says to add Chicken and sausage with veggies and uncooked rice but the instructions say to leave it out till after the shrimp and okra are cooked. Which is it?

  10. Great recipe. The flavor is spot on.

    My wife and I don’t particularly like okra so we left that out. We also used chinese Jasmine rice since that’s what we have at home. Jasmine rice cooks down very easily so I just moderated the amount of liquid in the pan during the 30 min stewing period. I started with only 2 cups and added a little at a time every few minutes as needed to prevent the rice from getting too soft or soggy.

  11. Absolutely delicious recipe! Great one-pot meal prep that I will definitely make again. The Cajun seasoning recipe was also great and helpful to have linked.

    Made just a few alterations to make it slightly healthier: 1/2 pound shrimp and Andouille chicken sausage instead of a whole pound each, 6 Roma tomatoes instead of a can, extra bell peppers, and homemade vegetable broth instead of chicken broth. Still super flavorful!

  12. I make this recipe all the time and it is always a hit! Making it tonight on a cold Chicago night and I can’t wait until it’s ready! It’s always perfect!!

  13. I made this recipe today. I did it exactly as you said. The taste is amazing but the rice was a bit crunchy (undercooked?) I cooked it the full 30 minutes. I used 3 cups chicken broth. What the heck?

    • Next time try letting the rice sit Covered 20 minutes or so, just make sure there’s still some liquid in the pot.

    • Keep the lid on the pot and don’t open until the dish is finished cooking. Also make sure you cook it slow

  14. I made this today for the 1st time and it was great.. !! :)

    I made a few mods that made it easy. I used Goya Jambalaya rice which already has the cajun seasoning.. i added more of the list but it added up perfectly.. I used some Franks cayenne which added heat as well as flavor.. Definitely delish. Will make again. It’s so easy.. and filling..

    • I’m sure this dish tastes good, but it doesn’t even resemble jambalaya. You will never see jambalaya in Louisiana that looks even remotely like that. Seems to be just a compobulation of Cajun creole ingredients/techniques all thrown together completely randomly.
      It always bugs me when food bloggers show “the best ever recipe for………” and then it’s clear they’ve never actually tried anything close to an authentic version of whatever dish they’re writing about.

  15. Wow delicious! Followed directions and could have not been more happy with the results! Definitely a keeper recipe! Thanks for sharing!

  16. This was a great recipe!!! I beefed up the portions only because I had to feed several firefighters. I used 6 cups of chicken stock and 2 cups of rice, otherwise everything was the same. I couldn’t fresh okra from where I live, but the jambalaya had a great flavor. I will definitely be making this again.

    • Amazing! I did have to add 5 cups of Chicken stock for the rice to cook, but man ot was great. Not too spicy for me, nowy son on the other hand to add more heat. Will definitely make again!

  17. YYUUMMM! So delicious. I served this for an un-traditional Thanksgiving meal for three. It was easy and quick, but tasted as if I had worked for hours in the kitchen. After cooking everything, I left the lid on the dish to let it steam and soften the rice a bit more. That allowed the flavors to meld into the shrimp and okra. This also makes a huge amount, so we have plenty of leftovers, which I look forward to eating all weekend. :) Thank you.

  18. This was amazing! We subbed the chicken with leftover turkey. Also used old bay seasoning because we didn’t have Cajun spices. Will def make this again, thank you!

    • So good! Our house craves this a lot so I’m always making this. I tend to use 28 oz of tomatoes to give the rice a bit more liquid to soak up and skip on the shrimp if the budget is tight but overall it always tastes amazing! Definitely a step up from my previous dry uncle ben’s jumbalaya recipe.

  19. Very good Jambalaya! I did add a Tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce to deepen the flavor. The smoky notes along with the peppers and meats is fantastic. I added in some shrimp too. Thank you for the recipe! It’s a keeper!

  20. Awesome recipe! Great for a cold night in Georgia … 25 degrees tonight! I will make it again. Thanks so much!

  21. My husband, who loves Jambalaya and anything creole, said this is the best he has EVER had. That’s for making me look good in the kitchen with this fabulous delicious recipe! We had it for lunch and will have some more for dinner. A local restaurant has Shrimp Creole (not all the ingredients listed here) for $17.00/plate. My husband thinks I’m a great chef, but I just look for amazing recipes like yours. Thank you for sharing!

  22. We really like this! Followed the recipe exactly, except added almost 5 cups of chicken stock in order to cook the rice thoroughly.

  23. We are on a FODMAP diet, so I had to remove the onions and use garlic powder instead. Added a bit of Tex Mex seasoning for the onion. Didn’t use the jalapeno. Otherwise, no other adaptions. It was totally amazing!!

  24. I’ve made this recipe over and over and absolutely love it! I usually have frozen okra on hand so I just include it while rice is cooking. I have even printed and shared with a few as it has been requested! The biggest problem I have is finding the Andouille – seems it’s not always available at our regular grocery store but I’m persistent!!
    Thanks for the wonderful recipe!

    • Made a double batch of this tonight. One pot made as it was the recipe was written. My husband loved it! He said the flavor was great. The second pot I used vegetable broth instead of the chicken, omitted the meat and shrimp, and added a can of black beans. I’m a vegetarian and this dish was outstanding!!

  25. I made the recipe. It was out of the park delicious. Thanks so much. Scaled down Cajun Seasoning for just what was needed for this batch.

  26. Thanks for the tip on how to make Jambalaya. I will try it this week.

  27. The best jambalaya recipe! I make this at least once a month, it’s great for meal preps. I also often will swap out meat for a can of kidney beans, and it is still so delicious!

  28. I put too much cayenne in my Jambalaya (lst time cook). How can I tame the hot down?

  29. I sub zucchini for okra. Otherwise this is great.

  30. This recipe looks yummy, not sure total amount for 3 “small” peppers. The peppers i typically see are all fairly large.

  31. I am not a great cook, I have made this recipe a few times now and my husband keeps saying it is as good as the one at Boston Pizza! He loves it! No complaint! My husband is fussy but this recipe is a hit every time! It is easy to follow and it’s a smash every time!! Thank you so much!

  32. Consistently amazing every single time! I’ve made this at least 12 times and I get nothing but compliments everytime. We turn down the heat with only 1 tablespoon of Cajun seasoning and half a jalapeño pepper. Also I don’t use okra. Wear gloves when messing with the jalapeño cause it made my hands sting ugh never fun!

  33. You DO NOT put okra in jambalaya.

    • Now that you mentioned not putting Okra in Jambalaya,I’m going to double the dose of Okra when I make again.So good with that in it

    • Agreed. Okra and filé belong in gumbo, not jamabalaya. The texture they bring is not desirable in jambalaya. But otherwise, this is a solid recipe and very delicious.

  34. This recipe is SO GOOD. We loved every bite!

  35. It was so good! I used 4 cups of chicken stock, and stirred every 4 minutes to prevent the rice from burning on the bottom of my stock pot. I accidentally kept the chicken and sausage in th whole time, and that turned out to be alright. Added the shrimp
    At the end as well as the the extra salt, creole seasoning and the black pepper. My boyfriend loved it! Thanks!

  36. Mixing shellfish and meat of any kind is a big nono in Cajun cuisine :)

  37. I made this tonight. I did omit the okra because I didn’t have any. I thickened it with a corn starch slurry instead. It was really spicy and REALLY good

  38. I made this dish and it was the bomb. I’m from New Orleans and I impressed myself with the outcome. Very flavorful and satisfied all my Cajun tastebuds. I leave out the okra because I’m not a fan of it and used hot link sausage to add some kick. Very good instructions to help me get the right consistency I had in mine. My dish consists of chicken, hot link sausage and shrimp.

  39. This is a great recipe, added extra spice, yummo.
    Winner

  40. This was absolutely delicious and simple to make. Leftovers taste even better!!!

  41. Is this really YOUR recipe?
    I found it somewhere else, EXACTLY the same, practically down to the commas used, and dated 2015.

    • Yes, of course it is our recipe. If you scroll back through the comments, you can see that this one was originally published in 2014. The other version you saw must have been copying ours.

  42. My family LOVES this recipe! I include sausage, chicken and shrimp and triple it. Excellent instructions!

  43. I made this almost exactly as written with the exception of 2 jalapeños, a lot of polish kielbasa and 1.5lbs of shrimp. I cooked the chicken with the veggies and left it in the entire time. The chicken was tender and soaked with flavor. I see no reason to remove the meat and add it again later. I added the kielbasa with the shrimp since it’s pre-cooked.

  44. i have made this tons of times and i love it!! Can I freeze this recipe or would it be too watery? thanks!!

  45. Looks delicious! Does it freeze well?

  46. I made this just as written, but without the chicken —well, I did add twice as much cayenne pepper, but that’s to our taste. Really delicious! For guests, I would add cubed ham.

  47. I’ve been usimg this recipe since 2015 and have never left a review. Whether you call it cajun or creole, this is by FAR the BEST jambalaya recipe out there. Ive tried several restaurant versions to see of they can compare to a pot of “my jambalaya” and NOPE. They always fall short, and most dont even come close. Thanks for this keeper. Putting a pot on now b/c its snowing in Vegas today and i can’t wait to feel the heat?

  48. Newer instant pot. After 4 burn warnings (because the rice was burnt to the bottom) and 4 extra cups of water, I gave up. It never once got up to pressure. Fortunately, by that time it had spent so long trying to get up to pressure that the rice was cooked like it would have been on the stovetop. Flavor was good.

  49. Can you use Pasta instead of rice. If yes, what type of pasta would go well with this dish?