Jambalaya Recipe

4.81 from 94 votes
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This one-pot jambalaya recipe is easy, delicious, and satisfying, thanks to the addition of chicken, shrimp, and spicy andouille sausage. You’re 30 minutes away from a Mardi Gras dinner that the whole family will love!

If you’re a fan of Cajun flavors, make this rich and hearty Chicken and Sausage Gumbo, too! For a quick and easy meal, try my quick Sheet-Pan Andouille Sausage with Potatoes and Veggies.

Overhead view of Dutch oven with jambalaya


 

Jambalaya is my go-to winter stew! During the winter season, I make this jambalaya recipe about once a month. When the weather’s chilly, there’s nothing better than a hearty comfort food dinner with a little bit of heat to warm you up inside and out!

I first discovered this deliciousness during my college years on a trip to New Orleans. It was Mardi Gras, and the city was alive with music, parades, and incredible food, of course. That’s when I first heard of and tasted jambalaya, and I instantly fell in love with its bold flavors and comforting warmth and textures. It’s also when I first had red beans and rice, amazing beignets, and a lot of bloody Marys. Good times!

My jambalaya is a tribute to that first encounter, and it’s both flavorful and filling. It’s the perfect casserole for feeding a crowd. This versatile dish can be adjusted to suit your personal flavor preferences, making it an excellent recipe for those who like to try new things.

What Is Jambalaya

Jambalaya is a popular Creole and Cajun dish with African, Spanish, and French influences. Because it originated in Louisiana, it’s often associated with Mardi Gras, but there’s no reason you can’t eat it year-round. It is often prepared with chicken, shrimp or crawfish, andouille sausage, and rice, although many variations exist. The meat-and-rice combo is flavored with the Cajun holy trinity of onion, celery, and green pepper, along with herbs, spices, and diced tomatoes. In addition to being the ultimate comfort food, this recipe is also the ultimate one-pot dinner. You’ve got your veggies, your meat, and your starch all in one convenient pot. It’s a perfect weeknight dinner, friends!

Overhead view of ingredients for homemade jambalaya recipe

Ingredients You’ll Need

To make the best Jambalaya, we’ll use classic Cajun ingredients that are easily found at your local grocery store.

  • Yellow onion and celery ribs: The cornerstone of amazing Cajun cuisine is all about sautéing diced onions, bell peppers, and celery together. Their flavors meld beautifully, infusing the sauce with an irresistible taste.
  • Bell peppers: Green is the classic choice for a jambalaya recipe, but you can use red, orange, or yellow if you prefer.
  • Garlic: Please try to use fresh garlic, but if that’s not available, add 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon of garlic powder.
  • Boneless skinless chicken breasts: I like boneless skinless chicken breasts, but you can also use a different cut of chicken, such as chicken thighs.
    Sweet paprika: Sweet paprika is ideal, smoked paprika is delicious too, but avoid hot paprika unless you like your jambalaya spicier.
  • Oregano: I use about a teaspoon of dried oregano, but you can also use dried thyme in jambalaya or a crushed Bay leaf. Both herbs will add a slightly different yet still delicious flavor to the dish.
  • Andouille sausage: This smoked sausage is made with pork, onions, peppers, and other seasonings, and it is a staple in Creole cooking. Cut the sausage into 1/4-inch rounds.
  • Tomato paste: If you buy a can of tomato paste for this recipe, freeze the leftovers in 1-tablespoon portions. Just pop them into a freezer bag, and you’ll have ready-to-use tomato paste for the next time you need it without having to buy a new can.
  • Low-sodium fat free chicken broth: Chicken stock can also be used, but because stock is unseasoned, you’ll need to add more salt to the recipe.
  • Diced tomatoes: The tomatoes add a rich, tangy sweetness that complements the other ingredients and spices. Crushed tomatoes are also okay to use.
  • Long grain rice: Long grain rice cooks up fluffy and doesn’t clump together.
  • Cajun seasoning: Cajun seasoning can bring a lot of heat, so feel free to adjust to your liking.
  • Shrimp: Peel and devein the shrimp.

How to Make Jambalaya

  1. Prepare. Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven set over medium heat.
  2. Cook the trinity. Add the onions, celery, and bell peppers to the Dutch oven and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 4 minutes or until just softened. Stir in garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  3. Add the chicken. Stir in the diced chicken, sweet paprika, and oregano and cook for 5 minutes or until the chicken is nicely browned on all sides.
  4. Add the next several ingredients. Add the sausage and tomato paste; stir and cook for 1 minute, then add the chicken broth, crushed tomatoes, rice, and cajun seasoning. Bring the mixture to a boil.
  5. Simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cover the pot. Cook the rice for 20 minutes or until the rice is tender and most of the liquid is absorbed.
  6. Finish. Add the shrimp and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, or until it’s pink and cooked through. Remove from heat, garnish with sliced green onions and dried parsley, then serve.
Stirring homemade jambalaya with wooden spoon

Recipe Tips

  • Can’t find andouille sausage? You can use a different type of smoked sausages like kielbasa or chorizo. If you prefer, you can also use chicken sausages.
  • Keep an eye on the rice. After 10 minutes, lift the lid of the Dutch oven and take a peek. If it looks dry, add more chicken broth.
  • Don’t overcook it. Jambalaya isn’t a saucy dish, but it isn’t a dry rice dish either, so don’t wait for all of the liquid to absorb. As soon as the rice is tender, you can move onto the next step of the recipe.
  • Adjust it to your liking. Cajun food is known for being spicy, but you can always make this jambalaya recipe on the milder side and then let everyone adjust the heat for their own individual servings by adding Tabasco or extra Cajun seasoning.

Serving Suggestions

Jambalaya is a complete meal with protein, vegetables, and grains all in one pot. Serve it as-is, or top it with extra green onions, parsley, or hot sauce. If you’d like to add a side, serve jambalaya with coleslaw, tomato cucumber salad, and cornbread.

Storage

Leftover jambalaya can be stored in an airtight container and refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 3 months. Let it thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.

Reheat it in a saucepan over medium-low heat and gently stir until heated through – or just pop it in the microwave! Add water or broth if it’s too thick.

Overhead view of homemade jambalaya with spoon.

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4.81 from 94 votes

Jambalaya Recipe

Enjoy the vibrant flavors of this delicious one-pot Jambalaya packed with juicy chicken, zesty shrimp, tender rice, and fiery andouille sausage.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 6

Ingredients 

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 celery ribs, diced
  • 2 bell peppers, diced (you can use red, green, yellow, orange, etc.)
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed
  • ¼ teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 6 ounces andouille sausage, sliced into ¼-inch rounds
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 14.5 ounces canned diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup long grain rice
  • 1 teaspoon cajun seasoning, or to taste
  • 1 pound raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced, for garnish
  • chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
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Instructions 

  • In a large Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
  • Add onions, celery, and bell peppers, and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 4 minutes or until just tender. Stir in garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  • Stir in chicken and add sweet paprika and oregano. Cook for 5 minutes, or until chicken is browned on all sides. Stir in the sliced sausage and tomato paste; cook for 1 minute.
  • Add chicken broth, crushed tomatoes, rice, and cajun seasoning. Bring mixture to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low and cover the pot with a lid. Cook for 20 minutes or until rice is tender and most of the liquid is absorbed.
  • Add the shrimp and cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until the shrimp is pink and cooked through.
  • Remove from heat and garnish with sliced green onions and parsley.
  • Serve.

Notes

  • Chicken: I use boneless, skinless chicken breasts, but this tastes great with boneless, skinless chicken thighs, too.
  • Andouille Sausage: If you can’t find andouille sausage or want to try something different, you can use polish kielbasa or chorizo.
  • Rice: Long grain rice is the best choice for jambalaya as it cooks up fluffy and separate, creating a better texture.
  • Broth: Use a rich chicken (or seafood) broth to cook your jambalaya. This will add depth and more flavor to the dish.
  • Seasonings: Adjust the ingredients and seasonings to suit your tastes.

Nutrition

Calories: 365kcal | Carbohydrates: 35g | Protein: 27g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 73mg | Sodium: 498mg | Potassium: 839mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 1749IU | Vitamin C: 62mg | Calcium: 65mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.

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139 Comments

  1. Larry Linn Williamson says:

    Do I add raw rice or cooked rice? If raw, do I add additional broth?

    1. Katerina says:

      Hi!
      Yes, you should add a cup of uncooked long-grain rice – it’s under step #4 in the recipe card: “Add chicken broth, crushed tomatoes, rice, and cajun seasoning. Bring mixture to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low and cover the pot with a lid. Cook for 20 minutes or until rice is tender and most of the liquid is absorbed.”

  2. Shelly says:

    Love this easy dish to make. I never have all the ingredients needed but I follow this close, and let the Cajun in me take over with seasoning

    1. Katerina says:

      That’s fantastic! It’s great that you can adapt the recipe to work with what you have and add your own Cajun flair to the seasoning. I’m very glad you enjoyed it! Thank YOU! πŸ™‚

  3. Melanie says:

    So good! I added a bit more paprika, crushed red pepper and cayenne. We each had another scoop it was so good! This will be my go to recipe!

    1. Katerina says:

      Love the sound of those spicy additions! Thrilled it’s become your go-to recipe. Thank YOU! πŸ™‚

  4. James Zuleger says:

    Enjoyed by all!

    1. Katerina says:

      That’s great! I’m very glad everyone enjoyed it! Thank YOU! πŸ™‚

  5. Robin says:

    Very tasty! My family enjoyed it. I prepared it in a Dutch oven, without shrimp. This is my 2nd time cooking this πŸ˜‹.

    1. Katerina says:

      Wonderful to hear it was a hit with your family! Cooking it in a Dutch oven sounds like a great choice. Glad you enjoyed it enough for a second round. Keep enjoying the cooking! πŸ™‚