Gimme Some Oven

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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1,197 comments on “Jambalaya”

  1. Made this and loved it! Thank you do much for sharing! 

  2. made this tonight and even my picky 87 yr old Mom loved it. Thanks so much for sharing. 

  3. Thank you for this! Your pictures made this jambalaya look so incredible that I just had to try it immediately! I followed the recipe pretty closely because it looked so good, and I am normally a big improviser. (And I really liked John’s t-shirt!)

    Mine turned out delicious! I used brown rice, extra green pepper, omitted the red pepper and jalapeno, used a can of stewed tomatoes and a can of fire roasted diced tomatoes, and added a few chiles de arbol. I don’t think it was as gorgeous as the one shown here, but I can’t imagine it tasting any better! I will use the extra tomatoes next time, but cut back the chicken stock by a half cup. I always try to take the spirit of a recipe and make it work with what on hand, and this one is so good that it lends itself to improvisation.

    • Thanks for making it Sean! I’m so glad you liked it! And I love what you did with it. Being able to improvise is key — the mark of a good natural cook! : )

  4. Wow, this was delicious!  My son and I made this last night for dinner.  It  was a huge hit with most of us, 3 out of 4 can’t be wrong. : ) My middle son is not into spicy foods whereas the rest of us are.  I added extra rice and a big glass of milk for him to tolerate the spice the rest of us love; he survived but didn’t go back for seconds, sorry to say!  We will be making this again for sure!  Thanks for the great and simple recipe!

    Sadie 

  5. I followed the recipe pretty close I used one jalapeno seeded, four ribs of celery, 1LB of chorizo sausage (can’t find andouille in my area), the meat from one whole chicken, and didn’t add shrimp (personally I dislike shrimp), two tablespoons of Cajun (can’t find creole seasoning in the area), for rice I used basmati, did not add okra as either. The only thing I would change is using diced tomatoes over crushed tomatoes, very tasty though thank you so much for sharing.

  6. Oh my! Yum! I just made it! It’s a hit for sure. It’s definatly got a kick to it but I love spice so it’s all good :) thank you so much!!!

  7. Making this today smells yummy

  8. When do you add the okra?

  9. Me and my girlfriend made this for my family tonight. It was amazing! First time making jambalaya but i will be using this recipe again, but next time a little more spicy!

  10. I love this recipe!  I’ve made it twice now, one time in a dutch oven for Boy Scouts (I’m an asst scoutmaster) and it was a hit!  I add shrimp to this recipe.  One thing I like to do different is to cook the sausage and chicken in a separate pan and add some creole seasoning and cayenne to it, it really makes the sausage and chicken kick!  
    Keep up the good work!  I also saw that you posted a spaghetti sauce recipe that has no added sugar!

  11. Can I omit the okra? 

  12. I am making this tomorrow and was curious about the rice. You put it in uncooked? 

  13. I made this last night and it was soooooooooooooo YUMMY! a bit to spicy for my husband, but he loved it nonetheless!

  14. This is one of my favorite recipes out there!  I’ve been making a half batch of it monthly, and will probably switch to the full batch size soon, because I’m slowly finding the balance between my spice preference and my wife’s tolerance.  Thank you very much for sharing, Ali!

  15. Omg! All I can say is delicious and it was so easy! The depth of flavor was amazing! I will definitely be making this again in the near future! 

  16. Your recipe looks spot on! I can’t wait to make this for a crowd!

  17. Made this last night here in Manchester, UK.

    Still don’t get Cups as a measurement but this was a damn fine recipe. 

    I made with Wild Rice Mix which was a nice addition I thought.

    Thanks again!

  18. Wow,  just wow. I’m not really a jambalaya fan, but my husband requested it. Boy, did this change my mind! It was amazing!

  19. This is literally my favourite meal now, the spices and the taste of everything was phenomenal, I can’t thank you enough for this delicious bowl of heaven, it was absolutely luscious. This is so amazing, everybody in the world has to try it otherwise you haven’t lived. Jambalaya=<3 

  20. Making this tonight because it looks a lot like the Jambalaya I used to order at Boston Pizza when I was closer to one. We have yet to eat it but the ingredient list is very promising….and like a true dork…I had to play a little Hank Williams while I was making it… 
    “Jambalaya (On The Bayou)”
    Goodbye Joe me gotta go me oh my oh
    Me gotta go pole the pirogue down the bayou
    My Yvonne the sweetest one me oh my oh
    Son of a gun we’ll have big fun on the bayou
    Jambalaya and a crawfish pie and fillet gumbo
    Cause tonight I’m gonna see my ma cher amio
    Pick guitar fill fruit jar and be gay-o
    Son of a gun we’ll have big fun on the bayou

  21. I was looking for a jambalaya recipe and this one seemed just perfect to me. Just made it for our lunch today and we all loved it! My in-laws found it delicious and we all had a second serving! Many thanks for sharing, this recipe is a keeper.

  22. Made this tonight. We absolutely love it!! Marinated the chicken for about 5 hours in olive oil and the Cajun seasoning, and used two seeded jalapenos. Seasoning is perfect. Husband is in heaven.  

  23. Do you have a recipe for the spice blend? I live on the east coast of Canada and don’t think I’ve ever seen it on our shelves. 

  24. How do you think this would be if frozen and then re heated??

    • Hey Mary, unfortunately the shrimp doesn’t hold up well in this, if frozen. It will get very mushy.

  25. I made this and LOVED IT!!! It froze/reheated very well too!

    I am going to make this for a Memorial Day weekend getaway with a bunch of friends – I was wondering if anyone has tried doubling the recipe??

    Let me know, thanks!
    Lindsey

    • Thanks Lindsey! I haven’t tried doubling it, but should think it would still turn out great (just make sure you have a large enough pan)! : )

  26. I made this last night and it’s really good !!  Love the shrimp/chorizo/chicken combo ~~ Yes, it’s a keeper.

  27. Excellent! I would not recommend the brown rice as it takes forever to cook. I would however suggest doubling the white rice. This tastes even better the next day as the flavors perk.

  28. I multiply this recipe by six for a buffet restaurant I cook for.  Everyone loves it!!!!  I get ppl asking when I’m having it next!  I follow the recipe exactly except no okra, it doesn’t hold well on a buffet.  And I use diced tomatoes.  Absolutely amazing

  29. great flavor but when i used short grain brown rice it took too long to cook and the peppers were pretty mushy – next time I will use white or cook the rice in my rice cooker with the broth then add it in :) thanks for sharing

  30. Is andouille sausage available at local supermarkets?
    Can I use any other types of sausage?

    • Hey Julia! It should be! You could use any other spicy sausage you like, if you’re unable to find it though, but I wouldn’t use Italian.

  31. i made this last night and had our friends over dinner and everyone LOVED IT!!! This recipe is amazing and super easy. So much flavor. My husband is from Louisiana and was so impressed – he went for seconds. I used 2 tablespoons of creole seasoning and a large seeded jalapeño and it was pretty spicy just like my husband likes. Best.recipe.ever! 

  32. I love love love this recipe. Ive made it a few times for dinner. I have even had to double it because it goes so quick. Thank you ♡

  33. This recipe is so yummy! I pile it all in my crockpot  (yea for lazy cooking!) And add the rice for the last hour. Holy cow! Amazing! Thanks so much for sharing!!

    • Thank you, Liz! That’s awesome that you tried it in the crockpot! We’re so glad it worked out, and that you loved it. : D

  34. Made this and loved it!! Now I know why everyone loves Pinterest! Was the very first idea I ever tried off of the website.

  35. Just finished cooking and taste tested it…. AMAZING!!!!!!!!

  36. The dish looks amazing. Does it matter whether or not one uses long grain rice or minute rice? 

    • Thank you, Irenen! We’d recommend using long grain rice. We hope you enjoy!

  37. I’ve made this dish twice already. It is really delicious. I must say though, my dish does not look anything like your photos. It looks a bit mushy whenever I cook it. Other than that, it’s great

  38. Loved it! I’m allergic to shrimp,  so I omit that,  but even my not-quite-2-year-old liked it.  Trust me,  that means it’s good!  

  39. This looks delicious! I bought all the ingredients to make this for dinner tonight and just realized I don’t have any Cajun or Creole seasoning!! What do you suggest I use as a substitute or a homemade version ? Thanks a million :)

    • Oh no! We’d suggest mixing 1 tbsp. each of cumin and paprika with 2 tsp. each of garlic powder, onion powder and black pepper, and 1 tsp. each of dried thyme and sweet basil. If you want it spicier, you can always add cayenne pepper. We hope that helps — enjoy!

  40. Just made this, actually substituted the cajun season and white rice for Zatarain’s Jumbalaya rice mix and it came out awesome! i also for got to get raw shrimp and used cooked shrimp…not bad for my first try but the next time ill add okra and use raw shrimp.

    • That’s awesome Brandon, we’re so glad you liked it. Thanks for giving it a try!

  41. I just felt I had to leave a comment and compliment you on your blog and recipes! When I’m on Pinterest searching for something specific- and if I come across a version made my “Gimme Some Oven” I defiantly try your recipes over others!!!
    As for the Jambalaya recipe… OH MY GOSH!!! We have made this at least half a dozen times just this past spring/ summer!!! It’s a favourite and a family gathering favourite!! So thank you!! I do add a little extra broth, bc my rice has come out a little woody! My temp may be too high….
    Have you published a cool book?? 

  42. Oh wow this looks so yummy I will be trying this tomorrow but unfortunately i’ll have to go easy on the spice as my children don’t like their taste buds to tingle! :-( I’ll have to use chorizo too as I don’t think we get that sausage in the UK but  chorizo makes me happy especially when it’s playing with prawns…I can’t wait! 

  43. Thanks for the recipe – it was delicious!

  44. I just made this jambalaya for dinner and it is absolutely amazing!!! I don’t cook often either which makes me kind of a newbie in the kitchen and these step by step instructions made it super easy and super delicious!! I added more Tony’s (creole seasoning) and thyme that the recipe asked for but it was worth it. 

    • Thanks Shannon, we’re so happy to hear you liked it! Thanks for giving the recipe a try! :)

  45. This was so delicious! Thank you! I’ve always made the crock pot jambalaya, which was good, but this was fantastic. I made this last night and I asked my son to tell me which one he liked better, the crock pot recipe or this one. After dinner I asked him for the verdict, he said “THIS ONE! It’s MUCH BETTER than the other one”.  And I must agree! No more crock pot jambalaya for our family :) 
    I’ll be searching through your other recipes to find more great dinners.

  46. Awesome looking recipe, but I think you mean the reverse with the shrimp, don’t you want them to be pink when they’re done? Anywho, making this right now, can’t  wait to eat it!

  47. Can I use canned Chicken Broth to replace Chicken Stock? Is there any additional things I need to add to the canned Chicken Broth? Should I use more or less than 3 cups?

    • Hi Jennifer! Yes, you can use chicken broth instead, and canned is fine. You’ll use the same amount. We recommend low-sodium (you can always add more salt). We hope you enjoy the jambalaya!

  48. Thanks Ali and nice neighbours ! It’s a hit for lunch here today. Did note that 14oz. of tomatoes sounded scant so I used a 28oz. can and it turned out perfectly.

    • We’re so glad this was a hit, woohoo! And thanks for sharing about the tomatoes. :)

  49. Made this tonight for dinner. I am a wuss so i left out most of the spices, instead adding a little here and there as it cooked to taste. Super super yum!! 

  50. Thank you for this recipe, I’ve made this for my family 3 times now since I stumbled across it a couple of weeks ago. We really enjoy it and it will be one that I come back to time and time again. You should feel really proud that families all over are sitting down to tasty and nutritious home cooked meals together thanks to you. I will definitely be sharing this with my friends. Thanks again.

    • Thank you Cate, that’s so very sweet! We’re happy to hear that, so thank you for sharing! :)