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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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1,198 comments on “Jambalaya”

  1. This dish was delicious as well as simple. My kind of meal! One thing…I substituted crushed tomatoes with rotel  tomatoes. That added a little more spice. Thanks for sharing.

  2. First of all…Go Bucks!

    Second,
    I love this recipe. We’re doing smoked sausage instead of andouille. 
    Thanks!

  3. Hi, 
    I grew up my later teen years in Louisiana near New Orleans and loved the food there. I want to serve this Jambalaya to a dinner party with 8 adults this weekend.  Just curious how much this recipe makes and whether or not it will be enough for 8 adults.  The recipe sounds great and authentic Cajun style.  Any suggestions for an accompanying salad?  I was thinking about a grape with sour cream/cream cheese and nuts salad.  
    Thanks,
    Donald

    • Hi Donald! You can find the yield for all of the recipes on here right above the recipe title (top left), but this should make about 6-8 servings. For eight (hungry) adults, we’d suggest maybe doing 1 1/2 the recipe, just to make sure you have enough, especially if anybody wants seconds! :) We bet some mixed greens with some shaved fennel and a citrusy vinaigrette would be a lovely accompaniment to this! You could add goat cheese and toasted nuts to that as well. :) We hope you and your guests enjoy everything!

  4. I like to make this in the winter, and I include a smaller ring of hot Italian sausage in the beginning when you add your raw protein.  This then steeps during the rice cooking time and gives a nice zing to the dish.

  5. I made this last weekend and it was delicious! We had company over and I was nervous about burning the rice so I cooked it ahead of time. I added the same amount of stock the original recipe called for with 3 cups of cooked rice. I added it about 5 min before the shrimp and it turned out great! I liked not having to worry about stirring it as guest were arriving. Thanks for the great recipe!

  6. Made this for a family party and people went back for thirds!! I made a double batch but it wasn’t enough!!  Sooooo good!! 

  7. SO GOOD. This recipe was so easy to follow and a huge hit with my family!!! Thank you so much for posting!

  8. This is cooking in my kitchen now. It smells and looks amazing. I had most of the ingredients in my freezer and pantry so only a few substitutions made. Could have gone to the store but we just had 30 inches of snow in 2 days. This is the perfect dish for a day like this. Thank you 

    • Goodness, that’s a ton of snow, wowza! We hope you’re warm and that you enjoyed the jambalaya – thanks for giving it a try! :)

  9. I love this recipe and to my family too, l soon put a photo, the first time wanted to try now to enjoy jambalaya

  10. I am making this for lunch right now and it smells wonderful! I can’t wait to try it and I now I will not be disappointed! I can’t wait to check out more of your recipes! 

  11. This recipe is great! I made it last night and my boyfriend thinks it might be the best thing I have ever made. That is saying A LOT considering we have been together a little over 5 years and I am always trying out new recipes. This one is going in the recipe book for sure, thanks!!

    • Thanks for sharing with us Lindsey, we’re so happy you and your boyfriend enjoyed it! :D

  12. This looks soooo good! I can’;t wait to try it. My husband and I LOVE spicy food, as well as my 2 older children. Will it freeze well?

    • Thanks Briana, we hope you enjoy! Unfortunately though jambalaya doesn’t freeze well — the texture tends to get mushy.

  13. Hi planning on making this for a Fat Tuesday. Can Smoked Sausage be substituted for Andouille Sausage. Will not be adding Shrimp as a family member has an allergy. 
    Thanks, recipe looks awesome, I cannot wait to make it

    • Hi Michelle! Yes, we think smoked sausage would work just fine. We hope you all enjoy! :)

  14. I made this tonight. Delicious!!! I will make this again for sure. Since there is only two of us I will cut the recipe in half. Perfect for a cold day meal!! Thank you for posting.

  15. Thank you so much for such an easy, great tasting recipe! I used less “heat” and still had a kick and it tasted so good. I had to stop myself from eating too much to save room for our King Cake tonite!

    Michelle

  16. Excellent.  I chose your recipe because of the picture which looked like what I considered really good jambalaya and I liked the ingredients, I was not disappointed.  I usually take 3 or 4 recipies and glom together my own version.  I stuck pretty close to yours except used chicken thighs ( original recipes used rabbit, gator whatever; so thighs are closer to taste and texture) and I make my own cajun spice Store bought spice mix contain a lot, lot of salt, (why pay that price for salt) and I like to control the use of salt.  I also added smoked paprika and some chipotle as I wanted the additional smokiness and heat.  Only major issue was every one went back for 2nd and 3rds leaving almost no leftovers!
    great photos too

    • Thanks for giving this a try Bob! We’re so happy to year you enjoyed this, and that chipotle and the smoked paprika sound like lovely additions! :)

  17. Okra is very very rarely added to jambalaya; that’s an ingredient for gumbo. Otherwise, this recipe is quite good. Btw, I am from south Louisiana, with a mother New Orleans and a Creole grandmother. :-)

  18. Made this two days ago! Very very good! This is gonna sound a little weird, but after hearing it up today I added Doritos and omg crazy weird good

    • Thanks Ryan — we’re glad you enjoyed this, and we are intrigued by the Doritos! We just might have to try that ourselves! haha

  19. I made this tonight & it was amazing husband & mom loved it too will definitely make this again and didn’t have much left over this is a keeper thanks for sharing

  20. My husband and daughter always order this at the Cheesecake Factory . When I came across your recipe I thought let me give this a try ! Well needless to say this was a HIT !!!!  Perfection is all that they kept saying !! I knew it would be because your chicken stew is a favorite at our house too :))!! Thank you for new delicious meals .

  21. This review is long overdue. I found this jambalaya recipe sometimes last fall, and we’ve been loving it ever since. I don’t eat seafood, so ours is just andouille & chicken. It’s so wonderfully delicious, though. So easy, and so customizable for salt/spicy preferences. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe. It’s been in our regular rotation for a while, and one we will never look to replace.

  22. This is excellent! I also did not realize how much a single batch could make. My husband and I made a double batch of this and it filled the 7.5 quart stock pot. I will definately be making this again for a large crowd.

  23. I stumbled on your recipe from Pinterest.  And lo and behold it is my former nanny Cate!  Please tell her I said hello and LOVED the jambalaya. 

    Thanks.
    Lisa Schaefer

    • Hey Lisa! :) Somehow I totally missed this comment, but so glad that I just found it. I just forwarded your comment to Cate — so fun!

  24. I made this for my husband tonight and he loved it. I was out of tomatoes so I used tomatoe paste and added extra stock. When my husband gets this at a restaurant he usually complains there isn’t enough spice, I went with 2 jalapeños with the seeds and 2 tablespoons of spice. I am not allowed to lose this recipe!

  25.  Goodness -totally Good Eats  : ) This recipe was very easy! I used Chicken sausage, 3 Jalapeno’s  and Brown Rice, (took 45 min) .  One of the best things in this recipe imo, was to add the shrimp last few min. I used large fresh peeled deveined uncooked shrimp and they came out perfect.   Froze it and reheated tonight for dinner, added a little Chicken stock and red pepper flakes tonight to make it wet.  My husband loved it and I can’t wait to make it again for a crowd! 
      

  26. I just wanted to let you know that this Jambalaya recipe is amazing! This is by far my favorite recipe for jambalaya and my family loves it too. Needless to say ever since then we make this routinely. Thank you so much for posting!

    • Thank you DeVonn! That’s such a nice compliment — we’re thrilled that you and your family enjoyed this! :D

  27. Can I get the nutritional info?

    • Hi Steph! We’re sorry but we are unsure of the nutrition facts/amount of calories in this recipe. We currently are not publishing nutrition facts on the site, as the nutrition calculators available are not 100% accurate, and we never want to publish anything that might be misleading. However, a lot of our readers love the My Fitness Pal nutrition calculator, so feel free to try that for an estimate. We hope that helps!

  28. Thanks a lot for an good recipe with some family flavors in it.
    It’s not easy to find rural recipies of this dish but this one is one of the few.

    My american friends and coworkers here in Sweden love this one…

  29. Tomorrow will be my third go with this recipe and it’s been amazing so far.  All my people love it and the guest count keeps rising each time I make it. I have not added the okra and throw in some mussels for the heck of it. Tomorrow… Mo Heat!!
    Thanks

  30. It came out so good, I also doubled the amount to feed a family of five and added steak with the shrimp and chicken. Definitely a keeper I. My book.

  31. Fantastic. Just added 1/4 pound of lean cooked ham for the hell of it, but even without it, it would have been just as great.  

  32. This is SO GOOD that I’m about to copy it down on a real paper index card for the Official Recipe Box. LOVED it.

    But HOLY COW it makes a lot. I had to split it between two large skillets  just before I added the liquids and rice. Not a complaint, though: lots of leftovers is a good thing.

    • Thanks Joy — we’re so glad you loved it! And yes, lol it does make quite a bit. We think it’s definitely one of those dishes that improves over time though. :)

  33. I was scrolling through Pinterest looking for dinner ideas the other day and my boyfriend pointed this one out. It’s still cold outside up here in the Upper Peninsula and I instantly thought this would be great for a cold day. This recipe is GOLD. Thanks for sharing this! My first time having jambalaya and it definitely won’t be the last! Instantly one of my favorites. I added a bit more stock than it called for, but otherwise followed the recipe exactly. I was in heaven while eating this. Thanks again! 

    • Awww, that is so sweet of you Steph — we’re thrilled that you guys loved it! :D

  34. Phenomenal!  Easy and yummy.  I threw in some worcestershire sauce and used smoked paprika.  Served it with some thick french bread and my family thinks I part water now.

  35. Bought the ingredients to make this and can’t wait! I bought fresh in store made andouille sausage – I am guessing I cook this first, then slice it up? Any tips there would be appreciated! 

  36. So delicious.  I used rotel tomatoes instead of adding jalapeños and 1 tablespoon each of Cajun and Creole seasoning.  My daughter said my kitchen was like a Cajun restaurant!  Thanks so much for the recipe!!

  37. Hi,

    I would love to make this for my wife this week but she is a celiac and can’t eat gluten AT ALL.  Is there a way to put a gluten-free spin on this?

    • Hi Andy! White rice is naturally gluten-free. Just make sure your chicken stock and sausage are gluten-free, and you are good to go! :) We hope you both enjoy!

  38. I made this recipie today and followed it to the T. It turned out perfect with the right amount of kick. Served it with Mexican cornbread. 55 total minutes though? I must be a slow cook But I will make it again. Thanks a bunch. 

  39. Awesome dish, super fun to make and easy to make your own. I followed the recipe but made it my own at the same time and it came out wonderful. My wife couldn’t believe I made this on my own ! The parsley made the dish look so fancy, thanks for the awesome recipe!!

    • That’s awesome Nich — we’re so glad you and your wife enjoyed it! :)

  40. Super tasty but holy cow…I should have left it at 1 Tbsp of Cajun seasoning. Woo! My mouth is burning, and I’m not normally wimpy about spice.

  41. I will be trying this recipe tomorrow and am super excited. I only have chorizo sausage right now so I hope that’s a suitable substitution for the andouille, also I didn’t see in the recipe what you have for a garnish but it looks pretty. Is it scallions or parsley? 

    • That’s awesome Kathy — we hope you love it! We think kielbasa would probably be a better substitute for the andouille, but the chorizo should still work. For the garnish, we actually used both! :)

  42. Loved loved loved it. Thank you so much for sharing this amazing and super easy recipe. Even my husband loved it who normally is not a fan of rice dishes at all. Thank you!!!!!

  43. I have to say, since making this at home, I have never wanted jambalaya from a restaurant again! I follow the recipe exactly, but use dried chilis in place of jalepenos for convenience. Sometimes when my boyfriend and I are feeling especially naughty, we’ll bake this afterward with shredded cheese. Excellent!

    • Thanks for sharing Kelsey — we’re so happy to hear you and your boyfriend love the recipe! Also, cheese is always a good idea. :D

  44. I’ve made this recipe several times now and it’s by far one of the BEST in my house. It’s very easy and can be modified to what ever you’d like it to be. I usually don’t have andouille sausage, so I use linguica. This time I omitted the chicken breast (I didn’t have any on hand)…still very delicious. I also like it to get a little crispy on the bottom…but that’s just me ?. 

    Thank you for the amazing recipe! 

  45. Made this for a dinner party and we were all impressed. I had never made jambalaya before…I’m so glad I used your recipe. We served with sourdough bread, salad, and light bodied wine. We chose Cajun andouille sausage and fire roasted tomatoes cause we like it hot. The chicken came out slightly over but everything else was just perfect. Makes 8 servings easy. Def keeping this recipe!

  46. I made this recipe tonight. It is absolutely to die for!!! I used one tablespoon of Tony Chachere’s creole seasoning and the flavor was perfect. My fiance does not like shrimp, but he just picked it out of his. I will write this recipe down (because I don’t trust the Internet for all of infinity) and make this often for our family, for company, for potlucks. I will be sharing this recipe with everyone I know! Thanks for a keeper! 

    • We’re so happy to hear you loved it Jen — thanks for sharing with us! :D

  47. Would omitting ingredients like celery, okra or shrimp effect how long it takes for the rice to soak in the juices? The first time I made this, it was PERFECT (even with omitting the above) – but the second time the rice would not cook for the life of me and 2 hours later I gave up and we ate crunchy rice! Maybe it was the kind of rice I used? Do you recommend a certain brown rice? Maybe I don’t know what medium-low is on my stove? More towards medium or towards low? Sorry for the crazy questions! Thank you!

    • Hi Emily! Hmmm, we’re not sure — the celery and okra would have more moisture (the shrimp, not so much). Okra has a lot though. But if omitting all of those the first time yielded good results, then maybe it is the type of rice you used? What kind did you try? We like just a simple long grain white rice for this. And sure, every stove varies, so maybe the heat was up a bit too high the last time? We hope this is helpful!

  48. This is a great recipe. I have made jambalaya before and have always loved cajun cuisine, but this is the one. Will be making again.

  49. Thank you for the recipe. I made it today and my man loves it can’t believe I pulled it off.

  50. I just made this meal,& I’m loving it! Switched chicken for turkey,& used habanero peppers instead. Also used half the can of crushed tomatoes because I didn’t want it too red. 
    About to have lunch now,& my husband is already devouring his meal ?    
    Thanks for the really simple recipe

    • That’s awesome — we’re so glad you and your husband enjoyed it! :)