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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

1,216 comments on “Jambalaya”

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  1. Looks fabulous, I have not even tried it yet,

  2. I stumbled upon is recipe one night when my husband couldn’t decide what protein he wanted for dinner…..now he requests THIS jambalaya at least twice a month. It’s SOOOOOO delicious!

  3. Absolutely LOVE this recipe! Tonight was the first time I made it and it was BEYOND a hit!! I ended up coking the rice separately and then pouring the jambalaya on top in bowls (more gumbo like) but that’s how the family wanted it. As nervous as I was to not have it mixed it…YUMMO!?

  4. Most amazing thing I’ve ever cooked inside. I’d rather be on the grill but this will always bring me inside. It’s tough making it because this feeds one for many days! I normally don’t like spicy but this is right at my comfort zone with a glass of milk and a side of cottage cheese. I normally substitute the jalapeño for an extra bell orange bell pepper and use Creole instead of Cajun. Cheyenne stays the same and I used minute rice it’s what I had the first time making it. I always use 2 cups because I don’t like it as runny. I haven’t used the okra but plan too and normally don’t use the celery which I just found out was a main staple ingredient. Guess I’ll have to start including it back in the mix!

  5. I hope this isn’t a ridiculous question, but when do I add the chicken and sausage back to the pan? Thanks!

  6. Hi – this sounds so yummy! When do you add the chicken & sausage back in? I’m not seeing it in the instructions, but could totally be misreading… thank you!

    • Whoops — typo! Thanks for catching that! :) You add it back in at the same time as the rice. I’ve added that in now. Enjoy!

  7. I love this recipe! I have made it as is and in the oven, both with great results. I think I like it in the oven even more just because it becomes so handsoff! Once I add the uncooked rice, tomatoes and broth, I bring it up to a simmer, cover it, and pop it into a 350 oven for 35 minutes. Perfectly cooked every time and only about 15 minutes of tending to.

  8. What is andouille sausage? If I can’t find it what can I replace it with?This recipe sound extremely great.

  9. My husband has actually asked me to make jambalaya before, but I never had a good recipe. He would love this!! :)

  10. I made this after my successful gumbo. I always preferred jambalaya so I was anxious to make this. WE ALL LOVED IT. I browned the chicken and sausage before I started the recipe. The only thing I can say is I didn’t make enough. We finished it in one sitting. Next time I’m going to double the recipe so I can have some for the next day

  11. Of course it’s wonderful – he’s a Buckeye! O-H!

  12. My family loved it!!! Perfect blend of spices and the consistency was spot on. For sure making this again. Thanks for sharing!

  13. Loved the recipe, great flavor. There was only one problem….. Can’t trust a man who likes OHIO STATE!!!! HA HA……GO WOLVERINES!!!!

  14. It is looking very delicious and very easy to make as well , So I am definitely going to try this one at home. Please share updated posts with us. Thank You!

  15. Excellent recipe! Left out the okra and jalapeno (personal preferences) and used diced instead of crushed tomatoes (misread the ingredients, oops!). Very flavourful and easy to make!

  16. When do you add back the chicken and sausage?

  17. This was the BEST jambalaya EVER!!

  18. This was so amazing! I made it for my boyfriend and roommate and they both had two big bowls the night I cooked it. We also had a bunch of leftovers that we all enjoyed the next day. It tastes authentic. I skipped the thyme (was out), okra (too sticky), cayenne, and jalapeno (my creole and cajun seasonings were spicy enough) though. Bravo, I gotta check out the other recipes on this site.

  19. This jambalaya was great! So easy to make…I used all three proteins; chicken, shrimp and andouille!

  20. We love this dish! I’ve made it several times and we can eat it all week long, but do you know how many calories it is per serving?

  21. I have been making this jamba for almost 2 years now and it is our go-to recipe. I wish I could give 4.5 stars – I would give 5 but I hate the update to the cooking directions.

  22. My picky 8 year old REQUESTS this for dinner. I think that says it all.

  23. So Delicious

  24. Great recipe. Easy preparation. Good heat level. Family of 4 loved it. Plenty of leftovers. Would reduce amount of rice to 1 cup.

  25. This dish is absolutely wonderful! The flavors are outstanding! The only thing I had to do different was add one more cup of broth before adding in the okra and shrimp. I’m not sure if it’s an elevation issue but it all worked out in the end. I highly recommend this recipe!

  26. I made it and also followed the directions for the Cajun spice. Delicious!!

  27. Just the absolute perfect heat just as is! first time I make a recipe I always follow it as is and then tweak it to make it like I like it. This one I don’t have to change a thing.
    Shelly

  28. Made this dish a few times now and I love it. My family loves it as well and always looks forward to jambalaya night

  29. Hi! I made this jambalaya for my family tonight and LOVE THE FLAVOR….I have one question regarding the consistency of the rice. I used the 1-1/2 cups of rice and the 2 cups of chicken broth as noted within the recipe and found the final result was mushy… Can you provide some guidance on what I can do the next time so I can achieve the same results as you get?

    Thanks so much! My family aboslutely loved this,so flavorful, now just need to figure out the texture!

    Best,

    Jeannine

  30. First time making this dish and this recipe was the simpliest online. Had a blast making it and now it’s in my repertoire and can’t wait to make it again! Used imitation crab and shrimp…amazing

  31. Making it now with louisiana hot links, my own Cajun spice mix (not bad from a guy from Hartlepool, England (now in Mission Viejo, SoCal) . Just tried the liquid as it came to the boil and wow it is going to kick like a donkey (mule to you guys) lol

  32. The family loved it Sooooo Yummy!!!

  33. Living in Montana, I’m always looking for new ways to cook game meat. We had two fresh grouse in our fridge and used all of the meat from both birds. I’m not a huge fan of shrimp so I left those out and doubled the okra because I love it.

    Done again, I’d definitely do the 4 cups of stock; I did 3 + 3 stock “pucks” I had in my freezer (pour homemade stock in muffin tins and freeze to keep on hand) and I would have liked more broth plus the rice could have used a little more liquid

    This recipe is awesome and I’m going to freeze a bunch for those cold winter months since it makes a lot. Looking forward to making it with elk sausage!

  34. I made this for family dinner and it was fantastic, even though I left out the jalapeno and okra and didn’t have celery on hand. Recipe is a definite keeper!

  35. I’m so happy I found this again, plus reading ur blog is fun and u 2 are adorable. ! Thanks, made this once and YUM!

  36. I made this in June 2018 and thought I left a comment. Guess I didn’t. My family loved it. It was so much easier than I thought. I had to make TWO POTS after my grandsons tasted it. One for my grandson in NY and one for my other grandson at UofDel. His Fraternity brothers look forward to the delivery. My daughter and son in law eat it til it’s gone. I cheat at the end the last 5 minutes before I serve it I add a cup of spicy V8 to get it wet. It blends perfectly.

  37. Delicious! I tried some before I added the shrimp and it was just as delicious for the non-seafood lovers. We added more cayenne because we love spicy food.

  38. Better than any in New Orleans

  39. best jumbalya recipie! made it tonight, skipped the chicken though. also a really good cajun seasoning is “tony’s” which i added into it.

  40. My boyfriend loves this. Now that’s Autumn I will be making this. Mine is done in the crock pot. It’s really good served over rice.

  41. I have made this twice and my family loves it! My husband lived in New Orleans for 5 years and he says this is a great recipe. Thank you tremulously for helping me feed my picky eaters!

  42. Taste tested this for our website! I added the link to our cajun seasoning. Thanks for the great easy to follow recipe and beautiful photos.

  43. Omg. Easiest and best jambalaya ever!!!!!

  44. Just made this y’all….pretty exact aside no shrimp and I used diced fire roasted tomatoes as that was on hand.

    You know what, this is great stuff. I went a bit spicy as the Mrs prefers, following the directions and I’m in love…this will be in rotation especially given the dark season is upon us.

    Only screw up I did was not have the veg ready to sauté, but I love the amount of knife practice you get in…

    Fun, quick dish with all thumbs up here!

  45. I made a double batch of this for a group of 14. Everyone loved it and most said it was the best jambalaya they have ever had. The only thing I changed was that I made the rice in a rice cooker versus adding it in with meal. This allowed me to cook both the main dish and rice at the same time and did not have to worry about hard rice.

  46. So delicious!

  47. It was perfect! I wish I could add a photo! Definitely will keep this recipe handy.

  48. Made for friends minus the garlic and was still very tasty.

  49. This is my go to recipe, love it!!

  50. Made this tonight following the recipe. Came out amazing. Didnt use shrimp but added 1 jar of clam juice. Great dish for a cold night down here on long island. Thanks for sharing the recipe.