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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752 comments on “Jambalaya”

  1. My son came home from university yesterday and asked if he could help me make his favourite meal, Jambalaya. I was tired of my old recipe not really hitting the spot, so decided to try this one and it’s now the only one I’ll ever use. The only real changes we made were that we used Chorizo instead of the sausage and put in more chicken as we’re not keen on shrimp. We went with 1 tbsp of Cajun seasoning, 1 hot jalapeno and the 1/4 tsp of cayenne. For my husband and I it was just the right amount of heat as we love spicy, but it was a touch too hot for my son. He did battle on bravely though, aided by many glasses of milk! Next time we’ll fiddle a bit with the spices, but other than that it’s job done.

    • Thanks for sharing with us, Judith! We’re so happy you and your family enjoyed this! And definitely feel free to adjust the heat level next time. :)

  2. Made this recipe and it came out excellent! I usually make gumbo with a roux, and this has similar flavors, and is somewhat “lighter” minus the flour and fat of the roux. Done in an hour! I used a combination of chicken andouille sausage and smoked sausage as I couldn’t get anything else without going to a meat store, but it still was great. 

  3. We love spicy food and my husband returned for thirds. Second time I’ve made this jambalaya. We love it. Thanks

    Rating: 5
    • Thanks for sharing with us, Tami — we’re so happy you enjoyed it!

  4. First let me say this is absolutely delicious. However,55 minutes, what are there cooking elves in your kitchen. Just dicing up the bell peppers, jalapeño and slicing the sausage and chicken takesover 30 minutes then washing the shrimp, making it cooking the dish and shopping for everything. Let’s say more like 3 1/2 hrs. I made southern green beans with this dish and they were unbelievable. Keep the recipes coming.

    Rating: 5
    • Hi Jim! We’re so glad you enjoyed the recipe — we’re sorry it took extra long with the prep!

  5. Unbelievable. But t it takes about 31/2 hrs with shopping and prep.

  6. I love spicy and grew up eating Jumbalya as hot as my Mom could make it. My husband can’t handle spicy so first time I made this to the recipie and I thought he was going to die! This time I added only 1/4 jalapeño pepper, 1tbsp of Cajun and no cyanne. He handled it much better!

    Rating: 5
    • Thanks for sharing, Sharlise — we’re happy to hear you and your husband enjoyed this and that you were able to adjust the heat the second time around! :)

  7. So delicious and amazingly addictive! I added some dried hot peppers that my Portugese neighbour grows as I didn’t feel like running to the store for a jalepeño – still good!

    Rating: 5
  8. This is a very versatile recipe that I can make now without looking at the recipe. I have made this recipe with a variety of proteins, but this is my weekend dish– whatever meat or beans left in the refrigerator, and sometime supplemented with Andouille sausage. The last time I prepared it, we ate it over roasted cauliflower, broccoli and carrots. It was very filling!

    Rating: 4
  9. Hello Ali,

    Tried your spicy and heavily seasoned version of Jambalaya. It’s not easy to obtain the andouille sausage in Canberra Australia, so used chorizo instead. The whole thing was delicious with the right amount of flavour and heat for us.

    Thanks for the great recipe.
    Ulrich

    Rating: 5
    • Hi Ulrich! Thank you for sharing, and for giving the recipe a try, we’re so happy you enjoyed it and that it came out nice with the chorizo! :)

  10. Tonight will be my third time making this dish since finding your recipe. We love it!! I do cook my rice separately because my husband doesn’t like it to get gummy, but otherwise follow exactly. Perfect- thank you!

    Rating: 5
    • Thank you for sharing, Gina, we’re so happy you’re a fan of the recipe! :)

  11. Delicious!! We skipped out on the chicken and it was still great!!!

    Rating: 5
  12. It was perfect. Did as suggested and used 1/2 c less broth.

    Rating: 5
  13. I’ve made this at least a half dozen times and my family and I love it each time! Would this freeze well? Any tips on freezer prep?

  14. This would’ve been great if my rice didn’t come out so mushy. I used long grain rice, and it took over an hour for the rice to fully cook. After the rice was done, I mixed it and it was one big sticky mush! What do you do to keep the rice from getting sticky and mushy??

    Thanks!

    • Hi Michele! Oh no, we’re sorry your rice came out mushy. :( Make sure you’re not rinsing your rice! Also, you can try toasting the rice just a little bit before cooking it. We hope this helps for next time!

  15. I was looking for the perfect jambalaya recipe and this is it! Having lived in the south most of my life and being familiar with good Cajun food, I can identify with this as being what true jambalaya is supposed to be like. The familiar smell and taste makes you crave more. Try it, you won’t be disappointed!

    Rating: 5
    • Thank you so much, Jeremy! We’re thrilled that you loved this, and we appreciate your kind rating!

  16. As a healthier alternative I substited the kielbasa (and chicken) with al fresco spicy jalapeño chicken sausage and used low sodium chicken broth. I added a little Chardonnay but forgot the Cajun spice but it still turned out delish! Will def be making it again! Awesome recipe.

    Rating: 5
  17. This stuffffffffffffffffffff.

    Ok so let me tell you what I did.

    I used 2 jalapenos- seeded.
    I used peppers and onions spicy chicken sausage.
    I used all the spices.
    I used homemade vegetable stock.
    We used no additional salt.

    It was amazing. Holy – CANNOLI. Made this for the first time yesterday (we prepped the night before so the cooking time was correct for us). My boyfriend loves spice, I cry if I have a spicy chicken wing, and somehow the spice in this dish was enjoyable for me! We really really loved this recipe thanks for sharing :)

    Rating: 5
  18. I’ve made this a number of times and it is always a hit with my family. Wonderful medley of colors and flavors! The spices can be easily adjusted to suit individual tastes. I sub out some of the Cajun seasoning with season-all and omit the cayenne to make it less spicy for my kids. I’ve also used smoked turkey and beef sausages in place of the andouille with great results. Thank you for this easy and delicious recipe!

    Rating: 5
  19. love this! the pictures looks so appetizing!

  20. Made jambalaya using this recipe last weekend at a Canada Day cottage weekend – it was a huge hit with my boyfriends family; super filling, spicy, and yielded about 6 servings! Took a lot longer than 55 mins to make however, I found we spent almost 120 mins all together to make it. Nevertheless, loved it!

    Rating: 5
  21. Should I drain the tomatoes?

  22. Used 32oz of chicken stock. For the jalapeno I used only a few seeds, it is definitely spicy. I used slap yo mama seasoning for the Cajun seasoning, 2 tbsp may have been too much. I only used sausage and I used instant rice after simmering for 25min I removed from heat added 2 cups of instant rice and covered.

  23. This recipe is the bomb.com!👌🏽😜

    Rating: 5
  24. Recipe sounds good but really? the whole neighborhood is 6- 8 servings. If you went back for thirds, it was a small party. I was looking for a large batch recipe. thanks anyway

  25. I made this, and the rice came out mushy. What do you do to keep your rice from getting mushy???

    • Oh no, we’re so sorry to hear that, Michele! Make sure you’re not rinsing your rice! Also, you can try toasting the rice just a little bit before cooking it. We hope this helps for next time!

  26. We had this tonight for dinner and it was incredible. The flavors we’re so deep but not overpowering I will be putting this into rotation for sure thank you

    Rating: 5
  27. This is one of my go-to recipes and some of the best jambalaya I’ve had! My husband goes nuts over it! Fun and easy to make.

    Rating: 5
  28. made this recipe but made it vegetarian! used red beans instead of meat/shirmp and i used vegetable stock instead of chicken stock and it came out great!

    Rating: 5
  29. Delicious! I made this for my teen son and our foreign exchange student who is also a teen. The boys didn’t think it was spicy enough. LOL It was great for me, but we will remake it without the shrimp.
    Thank you for sharing. This is a keeper.

    Rating: 4
  30. I made this last night and it was good!

    Rating: 5
  31. I just made this and tinkered with the spices, also added the okra. And.. omg! wow! Great recipe… thanks for sharing :) I did chicken apple sausage and the sweet and spicy balance were so tasty in this dish. Thanks for sharing!

    Rating: 5
  32. Outstanding ! For jambalaya fast and easy.

    Rating: 5
  33. I super duper love this recipe… I followed it to the letter, and it came out fantastic!!! Thank you for sharing!!!

    Rating: 5
  34. This is the first jambalaya from scratch recipe I’ve ever used, in the past it was pretty much always out of a box. 😵 This recipe is really good though! I’ve made it a few times now because it’s a hit, and so easy to follow. I added more chicken to substitute no shrimp, and ended up using more cayenne (maybe a full tsp? Or more…) and a couple extra jalapenos for a little bit of a kick. I don’t think the prep time was too long, but it goes faster with two people working on separate tasks. 💟💪😸 Thank you for sharing!!

    Rating: 5
  35. I’ve made this a few times, exactly as the recipe states and it’s perfect, thank you! Yesterday, I made it but had no time for most of the steps – you may hate or love this, but I put everything into a slow cooker all at once, high for 3 hours, then low for 3 more (except for the rice, shrimp and okra, which I added much later in the process). Certainly not as crispy and light, but heck of a lot better than no Jambalaya at all.

    Rating: 5
  36. I have cooked this many times and switched to a new phone. I wanted to make it again and it wasn’t in my bookmarks. I googled ‘neighbors jambalaya’ and thank God, I found this recipe again. It is really that good. Try it.

    Rating: 5
  37. Can you make this dish with out the jalapeno peppers? I understand that if you remove the seeds it would be less spicy. I have a family member that has an irritation whenever they eat spicy stuff.

    Thanks!

  38. Love this recipe, very easy

    Rating: 5
  39. This is fantastic. My family loved it so much they keep asking me to make it. Thank you for a delicious and uncomplicated recipe!

    Rating: 5
  40. Followed this recipe as is!! One word AMAZING! Made this Sunday for football with my parents and everyone loved it. Simple and so good!!!!

    Rating: 5
  41. My first attempt at jambalaya! Took about 1.5 hours prep to serve. Forgot the celery and purposely left out the jalapenos. It was still pretty spicy, coming from people who like spice, but we really enjoyed it and would make it again. Thanks for a great recipe!

    Rating: 4
  42. Made this today for a friend party was off the chain so delicious two thumbs up Yum Bridget in California

  43. This is by far the best jambalaya recipe I have found on the Internet, thank you! I don’t usually write recipes down, but this makes the cut!

    Rating: 5
  44. I’m making this tonight and can’t wait! I went to print it and the formatting is trying to print the video at the top, making it spill funny into two pages. Just FYI!

  45. I just made this and it’s amazing!! A new favorite for the man and me. If the kids were home I know they’d love it too. Thanks for sharing. 5 ⭐

    Rating: 5
  46. I like to use brown rice and it does take a lot longer to cook. If I cook the rice separately, how do you recommend constructing?

    Rating: 4
  47. This is my and my family’s all-time favorite Cajun recipe — one I have made at least a dozen times over the past few years, and the only recipe that has received a standing ovation in our home… I will be sharing it on my business Facebook page on Friday.

    Felicidades por tu mudanza a Barcelona. Que este capítulo de tu vida se llene de hermosos recuerdos.

    Rating: 5
  48. Wow this is such a great recipe!

    Made it twice now and its very delicious and not very hard to make! Just requires a bit of prep work like any other dish.

    Followed the recipe exactly minus the thyme since I never seem to have it and just forget to buy it.

    Thanks!

    Rating: 5
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