Jambalaya

This authentic jambalaya recipe is surprisingly easy to make, and full of bold Cajun flavors that everyone will love!

Some people make popcorn to celebrate the Academy awards.  Some might whip up a fancy cocktail or two. My neighbors John and Cate?  They invite the whole neighborhood over for a massive jambalaya feast.

NBD.

Actually though, it was a big deal because his jambalaya was freaking amazing.  I went back for thirds, in between cheering on Lupita and watching Brad Pitt hand out pizza.  It was an epic night all around. So I asked John if he would teach me his ways.  And like a good neighborrrr, John and Cate were therrrrre.

Here’s what I learned…

Jambalaya Recipe | gimmesomeoven.com

First of all, I learned that these two make a pretty darn cute team in the kitchen.  They’ll both be the first to admit that John is more of the cook in the family, whose specialty is usually anything Italian.  But his family is from Alabama and have been making jambalaya for decades, usually with fresh shrimp from the Gulf, they are quick to note.  (Something we Midwesterners just dream about…)

Jambalaya Recipe | gimmesomeoven.com

For some reason I had always associated jambalaya with gumbo, thinking that the process required oodles of cooking time trying to make the perfect roux.  But John assured me that the whole dish can be made in under an hour.  My kind of meal. So last week, he and Cate came by for an afternoon cooking sesh.  John manned the stove and Cate peeled shrimp, and I basically cheered them on and took notes and photos.  And then dove in and (again) had thirds once everything was cooked. Here’s the how to:

Jambalaya Recipe | gimmesomeoven.com

You basically begin with the “holy trinity” of Cajun/Creole cooking — bell peppers, celery and onion.  You all know that I’m a sucker for color in cooking, so I picked up three different colors of peppers for this version.  Oh, and I accidentally forgot fresh garlic, so cheated and went with the refrigerated stuff.  Judge away…I use it all the time.  :) Saute the veggies up until they’re nice and soft.

Jambalaya Recipe | gimmesomeoven.com

Then add in your meat.  We went with chicken and andouille sausage for this batch, and then added in shrimp at the very end.  Feel free to swap out whatever proteins you like for this recipe.

Jambalaya Recipe | gimmesomeoven.com

Saute those up until mostly cooked.  (The chicken should not be pink on the outside.)

Jambalaya Recipe | gimmesomeoven.com

Then pour in all of the crushed tomatoes, broth, seasonings, and rice, and give it a good stir.  Cover and let it simmer on medium-low for about 30 minutes, or until the rice is cooked, stirring occasionally so that the rice doesn’t burn on the bottom of the pan.

Jambalaya Recipe | gimmesomeoven.com

Once the rice is cooked, add in the shrimp and continue simmering until the shrimp are cooked through.  Season with additional salt and pepper and hot sauce, if needed. Then serve it topped with a little fresh parsley and scallions for garnish.

BAM.  So flipping good. And also, very easy to customize especially when it comes to heat.  I prefer jambalaya heavily seasoned and spicy, but if you like a milder version, just go easy on the Cajun seasoning and only use one seeded jalapeno.  If want to “kick it up a notch”, add lots of seasoning, pop in two jalapenos (with seeds), and maybe even add some hot sauce in at the end. John also likes to add in okra to the dish, which I love.  But if you’re anti-okra, hakuna matata, just leave it out.

Big thanks to John and Cate for Jambalaya 101.  I’ve already made the dish once more since our little lesson, so I think it’s safe to say I’m hooked.  ;)

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Jambalaya

This authentic jambalaya recipe is surprisingly easy to make, and full of bold Cajun flavors that everyone will love. 

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 3 small bell peppers, cored and diced (I used a yellow, red and green bell pepper)
  • 1-2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely chopped (*more/less to taste, see note below)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 pound andouille sausage, thinly sliced into rounds
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1 (14 ounces) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked short grain white rice (you can use brown if you prefer, but you’ll need to cook it separately if you do, otherwise it takes significantly longer to cook than white rice)!
  • 2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning (**more/less to taste, see note below)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoons thyme, crushed
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 pound raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • (optional) 1 cup thinly-sliced okra
  • salt and pepper
  • (optional garnishes: chopped fresh parsley, thinly-sliced green onions, hot sauce)

Directions:

  1. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a stock pot (or a very large/deep saute pan) over medium-high heat. Add celery, onion, bell peppers, jalapeno and garlic. Saute for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft and mostly cooked. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil, chicken and sausage, and stir to combine. Continue sauteing for an additional 5 minutes, or until the chicken is no longer pink and mostly cooked.
  2. Add the chicken stock, tomatoes, rice, Cajun seasoning, bay leaf, thyme, and cayenne, and stir to combine. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for about 25-30 minutes, or until the rice is cooked, stirring occasionally. (Don’t forget to stir, or the rice may burn on the bottom of the pan.)
  3. Once the rice is tender, add in the shrimp and okra and stir to combine. Let the mixture continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the shrimp are cooked and pink. Remove bay leaf and season the jambalaya with salt and pepper and hot sauce and additional Cajun seasoning if needed. Remove from heat.
  4. Serve warm with optional garnishes if desired.  Or refrigerate and store in a sealed container for up to 3 days.

*If you like spicy jambalaya, I recommend adding 2 jalapenos with their seeds in. If you like it mild, I’d go with just 1 seeded jalapeno. Or you can go somewhere in between, and always add extra hot sauce at the end if it’s too mild.

**I also like heavily seasoned jambalaya, so I go with a full 2 tablespoons of Cajun seasoning. If you think that might be too much, I recommend adding just 1 tablespoon and then taste-testing the rice before adding the shrimp. If you want to add more at that point, just stir some extra seasoning in when you add the shrimp.

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If you make this recipe, be sure to snap a photo and hashtag it #gimmesomeoven. I'd love to see what you cook!

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752 comments on “Jambalaya”

  1. WOW Ali & Hayley
    Thanks for the recipe.
    I made it today and sharing in my website :)

    • You’re very welcome, Sabrina — we hope you enjoy! :) Just so you know, this is Ali’s blog and recipe (I just help out with stuff). :)

  2. This was so good! I used this recipe as a guideline and customized the spice level and meats. Will definitely make again!

  3. We made this tonight for dinner with half of the cajun an d no okra. It was AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you!!!

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  6. My boyfriend spent part of his childhood in New Orleans and was very skeptical when I told him I would be making jambalaya. He really enjoyed it and has asked for it a few times since. He rarely asks for a specific dish, so that is high praise in and of itself.

  7. OMGOSH so easy and yummy!

  8. Made this yesterday as per, except I halved the jalepeno and cajun seasoning for a couple of the diners. It is great and although it takes some time to do all the chopping and cleaning of the shrimp, it was very tasty and all was eaten by the 4 of us.Maybe I should serve it in smaller bowls as you showed rather than the larger ones I used. Anyway, it was a success! Thanks.

  9. This looks so SO good, and I want to make it for dinner tonight!! :) I actually have everything on hand except the bay leaf…. probably a dumb question, but will that make a big difference in the flavor? Would you do without or make a run to the store?

    • Thanks, Karen — we hope you enjoy it! And no, you would be fine to skip the bay leaf if you don’t have it. :)

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  13. This looks amazing, just like what my mom made while growing up! If I can only find frozen okra should I still add it in the same time as the shrimp? Or earlier?

    Thanks so much!

    • Thanks, Alex — we hope you enjoy it! And yes, we would add the frozen okra in when you add the shrimp.

  14. I made this as close to per as I could based on what was already in my house and it was fantastic!! The only meat I used was smoked turkey sausage (thought I had shrimp and didn’t and forgot to thaw chicken). Had tomatoes to use up, so fresh pureed those in lieu of canned. Lots of veggies, lots of spice and so much yum.

    • We’re so happy you enjoyed it, Michelle, and we bet it was awesome with the fresh tomatoes you used!

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  16. Have you made this in a slow cooker?

    • We haven’t, but you’re welcome to give it a try, as we have seen some slow cooker jambalaya recipes out there!

  17. This recipe just rocks!! I’ve printed a hard copy for emergencies!! Has the perfect amount of heat. I’ve made it on several occasions and it comes out perfect every time.

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  19. Delicious, but one major omission: brown rice takes so much longer than white. I cooked this darned dish for hours with brown rice … rice still isn’t quite cooked and everything else is overcooked.  Next time, I’ll make the rice separately and mix it in. Otherwise, on point!

    • We appreciate your feedback, Polly — we’re sorry the rice took longer but if using brown, we do think cooking it separately will help next time! :)

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  21. Made this for dinner tonight and it was a huge hit with my family. Delicious! Will definitely make this again!

  22. Question,,, since I try to expand the use of basic components, I would like to know the constituents of a basic, generic Cajun spice. I suspect it has the variability of a “curry”but does it have a common backbone like the “holy trinity”?

    A suggestion; if someone has a herd time finding Andouille sausage. I’m pretty sure they’ll be able to find a decent Chorizo. Slice this in thin small pieces, about 4 oz worht and add it in the first stage, with the onions. Then you can use a less assertive and easily available sausage like a Farmers sausage. The small amount of Chorizo will infuse the smoky, rich wine flavours you are looking for.

  23. Made this tonight in place of my old jambalaya recipe and it was so good I am going to keep this one. Got the right amount of heat by using 2 tbsp of cajun seasoning, 1 seed-in jalapeno and skipping the 1/4 tsp of cayenne.

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  25. Can I keep the jambalaya longer than 3 days if I didn’t use shrimp? It’s just me, so I have a lot left over and don’t want to freeze it all just yet.

  26. This is a great recipe! I have made it twice now and everyone that has tried it loves it. Thanks for posting !

  27. I made this for my family of 7 and they loved it! I bookmarked the page for later reference. I absolutely L.O.V.E the pictures, they are amazing. Thanks for the recipe!!!

  28. Hi, do you use minute rice or regular non fast cooking rice? And you spout the rice in uncooked, right?
    Thanks!

    • Hi Meredith! We didn’t use Minute Rice, we used regular long grain white rice, and yes, you add the rice in uncooked. We hope you enjoy!

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  30. This was really good! One word of caution, if you make it with brown rice it takes a LONG time to cook. It took an hour before the rice was done through & I ended up having to add about 4 cups of water. 

    • Thanks for sharing, Sheila — we’re sorry the brown rice took so long, but we’re glad you enjoyed it!

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  32. Just wondering if you’ve ever frozen left overs? Do you think it would freeze OK? Thanks!

  33. I used brown rice, just like many others, and it did, infact, take longer to cook. However, after an hour of it cooking and not being done I added a 1.5 cups of water and turned the heat up. This helped a lot. Within the next 30 mins it was cooked! 

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  35. I had never tasted Jambalaya before this recipe (it’s not really a “thing” where I’m from) but I was eager to try, since all the ingredients sounded great. I love how all the flavours come together! I probably won’t have a chance at eating Jambalaya at a restaurant, but I’m perfectly content just making this recipe :)
    I’ve omitted the chicken breasts a few times and it still comes out great. The first time I made this it was a bit too spicy for my taste and I wasn’t able to finish it – oops! I’ve found a better balance of spiciness since then.

  36. Hey ya’ll, my son’s a type 1 diabetic so I’m wondering if you know the carb count on this recipe. I can figure it out, you’d just be saving me some time.

    Cheers

    • Hi Darrell! 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!

  37. Going to give this a try for visiting family.
    So—–wondering how to add to your list of ingredients in order to feed a thundering herd of 12.
    Thanks,
    Carl

    • Hi Carl! If you’re hoping to get about 12 servings out of this, we’d recommend just going ahead and doubling it (you may have a little more than you need, but that way you’ll guarantee you definitely have enough to serve 12). We hope you and your family enjoy! :)

  38. I made this tonight for FAT Tuesday & it was delicious!! I wouldn’t change a thing! We used one seeded jalapeño and added the okra. Amazing. Thanks for a delicious recipe. 

  39. I made this tonight in honor of Fat Tuesday and it was perfect. As someone who is not a great cook, the simplicity of this recipe was perfect! I used chicken and chicken andouille sausage which was great. The chef of our house (my bf) raved about it and went back for seconds! Thanks for helping this novice chef look like a pro!
    This will definitely be repeat at our house!

    • Thanks for sharing with us, Sarah — we’re so glad to hear you and your boyfriend loved it!

  40. Made this with no changes to the recipe, and I have to say this was some of the best Jambalaya I’ve ever had. Thanks for sharing the recipe, it was delicious!

  41. 1st time I fixed Jambalaya and it was a hit – that’s difficult in my house. The 3 men in the household are allergic to poultry, so I will just added more andouille sausage (or smoked sausage, as andouille is not easily found here) next time. Substituting beef stock just kept the broth earthy. One itty bitty jalopeno did it for us (it cost me a whopping PENNY, literally 1 cent on my grocery bill – the gloves probably cost me just as much). Pulled out half the batch before adding shrimp, hubby doesn’t like seafood. So even with my picky family, this was a HIT! Thanks so much for contributing to my meal plan.

    • Thank you for sharing with us, Christina, and for giving this a try! We’re so glad to hear it was a hit with your family! :)

  42. What brand of cajun seasoning do you use? I have Tony C’s and the first ingredient is salt. I think 2 tablespoons would make it super salty.

    • Hi Lorrie! We love “Slap Ya Mama!” :) We hope you enjoy the jambalaya!

  43. This is the best Jambalaya I’ve ever had!! It’s so delicious, full of flavor and colorful. Even my picky kids ate more than one serving! Ali, I love your blog and I have tried several of your recipes, and I’ve never been disappointed. Yesterday I tried the Zesty Lentil Spinach Salad. Incredibly yummy.

  44. Wow… I love your recipe.
    It looks so delicious
    Hope I will make it for next weekend.

  45. I’m so excited to make this recipe! It looks delicious! I can’t find Andouille sausage. Do you think spicy Italian sausage would be a good substitute?

    • Thanks, Nicole — we hope you love it! And we’re sorry you’re unable to find Andouille sausage. We think your next best bet would actually be a smoked sausage, like kielbasa. We hope this helps!

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  47. I really wished I would have read the comments ahead of time. I used brown rice and omg it’s taking forever to cook. If possible I think it would be nice if you put a little note about people using brown rice, maybe cooking it separate. I am very disappointed in this, really hoping it will cook to be tender enough to eat, it’s been cooking for about an hr and a half now. If I make again, I will cook the brown rice separate. 

    • We’re sorry about that Megan! We will make a note in the recipe about this!

  48. Wow! Just made this for my boyfriend and myself, he put down three servings! It’s delicious. I found that I needed to keep am eye on the pot and add a little extra chicken stock as it simmered away. Otherwise I followed the recipe to a T and it was perfect.

  49. Thanks for the recipe!! I made it tonight and it turned out great!!! 

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