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Slow-Cooker Cajun Jambalaya Recipe

This Slow Cooker Cajun Jambalaya recipe is a total showstopper! Comforting, warming, and delicious, this combination of chicken, sausage, shrimp, and aromatics will blow your mind. It tastes like you spent all day in the kitchen! But, just between us, it’s actually a super-easy recipe that lets your slow-cooker do all the work!


I absolutely love Jambalaya! The complex tomato sauce is enriched with onion, bell pepper, celery, and garlic, plus an amazing blend of spices. And, by prepping this authentic recipe in your slow-cooker, most of the work is done for you, so all you have to do is sit back and enjoy.

Plus, while my jambalaya recipe calls for the traditional mix of chicken, sausage, and shrimp, you can definitely leave out the sausage, shrimp, or both, and substitute more chicken!


Gumbo and Jambalaya are both well-known staples of Cajun and Creole cooking. They are very similar dishes, but in general, gumbo is more of a stew, served with a side of hot white rice, while jambalaya is a thick casserole with the rice stirred into (and usually cooked in) the sauce itself.

Gumbo is also thickened with a roux and usually some okra, while jambalaya contains neither.

side shot of Jambalaya in a slow cooker studded with shrimp and garnished with green onions


Some would say that the tomatoes make this a Creole dish, and I’m not arguing there! It’s definitely a “red” jambalaya rather than a “brown” jambalaya, using both diced tomatoes and tomato paste. But, for most people, this Jambalaya recipe tastes Cajun because of its spices and herbs, savory sausage and shrimp, and the flavor-packed “holy trinity” of onion, celery, and bell pepper.

slow cooker insert filled with diced green peppers, diced red peppers, chopped chicken, and sliced sausages


  • Boneless, skinless chicken thighs: Cut these into 1-inch cubes.
  • Andouille sausage: Kielbasa makes a good substitute. Add a pinch of cayenne if you use kielbasa.
  • Canned Diced Tomatoes
  • Yellow Onion
  • Green and Red Bell Peppers
  • Celery
  • Fresh Garlic
  • Low-Sodium Chicken Broth
  • Tomato Paste
  • Oregano, Paprika, Cayenne, Thyme, Bay Leaf, and Cajun Seasoning
  • Frozen Shrimp
  • Rice: I like long-grain white rice, but you can also use Jasmine rice or whatever cooked rice you have on hand.
  • Parsley: Chop finely for garnish.

white rice served over seafood stew


This jambalaya recipe is super easy to prepare in your slow cooker or crockpot. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Prepare the Ingredients: Cube the chicken and slice the sausage into ½ inch rounds. Dice the onion, celery, and bell pepper. Finely chop the garlic or put it through a garlic press.
  2. Add Ingredients to the Slow Cooker: Add all of the ingredients, in the order listed on the recipe, to the slow cooker except rice and shrimp. Cover and cook on Low for 3 to 3 ½ hours, or until the chicken reaches and internal temperature of 165°F. Please use an Instant Read Food Thermometer.
  3. Add Shrimp and Prepare Rice: Add the frozen shrimp to the slow cooker and stir to combine. Cook for 20 to 30 minutes longer, until the shrimp are cooked through. In the meantime, prepare rice according to package directions.
  4. Stir rice in the Jambalaya. Serve and Enjoy!


  • Check your spices: Check the dates on all herbs and spices. Spices last for one year, while dried herbs last for up to three. If yours are getting old, replace them. Your jambalaya will taste much more flavorful.
  • Cut chicken evenly: Try to keep the sizes of your chicken cubes and sausage slices consistent so that they cook evenly and don’t dry out.
  • Use white wine if you like: Replace ½ a cup of the chicken broth with white wine for even more depth of flavor.


  • Jambalaya pairs really well with corn. Try sweet corn kernels seasoned with butter and salt, fresh corn on the cob, or even a side of skillet cornbread!
  • A refreshing salad makes a good contrast to the hearty, rich texture of jambalaya. Try a classic green salad like Caesar, or this refreshing Cucumber Salad.
  • Serve with cut veggies like cucumber slices gently tossed in homemade ranch dressing.

top view of cajun jambalaya in a slow cooker


This jambalaya recipe stores well in the refrigerator or freezer, and the leftovers taste amazing!

  • To store in the freezer: Place in a ziploc bag and push all excess air out before sealing. Vacuum-sealing the leftover jambalaya works even better. Watch out for freezer burn, however.
  • To store in the refrigerator: Place in a food storage bag or container and keep up to 3 days.
  • To reheat on the stovetop: Thaw frozen jambalaya in the refrigerator (if frozen). Reheat slowly over low heat, in a covered skillet, until just heated through.
  • To reheat in the microwave: Thaw frozen jambalaya in the refrigerator (if frozen). Place in a large microwave-safe dish and cover with a paper towel. Heat on medium for 1-2 minutes at a time, stirring the jambalaya between cooking times, until just heated through.

More Cajun Recipes


top view of slow cooker cajun jambalaya

Slow-Cooker Cajun Jambalaya Recipe

Katerina | Diethood
An authentic and easy slow-cooker version of the Cajun classic. Chicken, shrimp, and andouille sausage in a spicy, tomato-based Cajun sauce with rice.
4.93 from 14 votes
Servings : 8 people
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 30 minutes


  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch cubes (you can also use chicken breasts, but check for doneness a bit sooner)
  • 12 ounces andouille sausage, cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 celery ribs, diced
  • 1 small green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 small red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, (if you like your food spicier, use 1 teaspoon cayenne)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 pound raw frozen shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 4 cups cooked rice
  • chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
  • sliced green onions, for garnish


  • Add all ingredients, except shrimp and rice, to a slow cooker, in the order listed.
  • Stir to combine.
  • Cover and cook on LOW for 3 hours to 3 ½ hours, or until chicken is cooked through.
  • Remove cover and stir in the shrimp; continue to cook for 20 to 30 minutes, or until shrimp is cooked through.
  • Add cooked rice and stir through.
  • Remove bay leaf.
  • Garnish jambalaya with parsley and green onions.
  • Serve.


Calories: 421 kcal | Carbohydrates: 32 g | Protein: 36 g | Fat: 16 g | Saturated Fat: 5 g | Cholesterol: 232 mg | Sodium: 941 mg | Potassium: 794 mg | Fiber: 3 g | Sugar: 5 g | Vitamin A: 1929 IU | Vitamin C: 50 mg | Calcium: 134 mg | Iron: 3 mg | Net Carbs: 29 g

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.

Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American/Southern
Keyword: authentic jambalaya, best jambalaya recipe, chicken recipes, shrimp recipes, slow cooker
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44 comments on “Slow-Cooker Cajun Jambalaya Recipe”

  1. I’m rating it a 5 star even before I make it…sounds absolutely delicious! I see you left the shrimp tails on…would it matter if I remove them before adding them?

    1. Either method will work, but you should try the recipe as is and then see if you want less liquid. Also, manufacturers recommend adding liquid to a slow cooker before cooking, and liquids add flavor and keep ingredients from getting dry.

  2. Hello..this recipe looks great. Do you think it would work if I seared the meat and veggies before adding to slow cooker ? If so would you change the amount of chicken broth and/tomatoes?

    1. Yeah, go ahead and give them a sear; it will add to the overall flavor. You don’t have to change anything else, though.

  3. This is a great recipe! We really enjoyed it. Will be adding it into the rotation of dinners that are winners! Thanks so much!

  4. This recipe is amazing! My family devoured it. Thank you so much for all of your delicious and easy recipes.

  5. Avatar photo
    Patricia Holland

    I just made this recipe and OMG! So good! I made w zatarains jambalaya rice and it made the perfect additional seasoning!

  6. Flavor was great! I subbed out 2 cups of rice for two cups of cauli-rice and it was GREAT! A little liquid-y because of that, but still very tasty!

    1. Katerina - Diethood
      Katerina Petrovska

      I used/use raw shrimp. It needs around 20-ish minutes in the slow cooker to cook through.

        1. Katerina - Diethood
          Katerina Petrovska

          You can use frozen shrimp, as the recipe states. Shrimp don’t need that long to cook through.

      1. I just finished it and hubby says that there is something missing…but he says it’s good…I don’t eat shrimp or sausages

        1. Katerina - Diethood
          Katerina Petrovska

          That’s great! But, do let him know that I’d love to hear what it might be missing. I’m always tweaking this recipe. ☺️
          It’s a challenge to nail Jambalaya for everyone because it is a marriage of many flavors, but it might just need a little more salt. OR, does he like Jambalaya a bit spicier? In that case, he can add a little more cayenne.

  7. This was another great recipe for my slow cooker! So many aromas and flavors; can’t wait to enjoy leftover again this evening!

  8. Avatar photo
    Dorothy Reinhold

    That is a big bowl of goodness right there! It hit all the right notes. It’s even better that the slow cooker does all of the work.

    1. Looking forward to making this during our “up north “ trip for my entire family. I’m assuming it will taste even better the longer it sits? Say 6+ hours in the crock pot? Any advice on a longer cook time?

  9. This is such a hearty and filling meal. I thought it might be too spicy for the kids but I just add an extra scoop of rice to theirs and they loved it.

  10. The slow cooker really does make this dish so much easier to make! The family is already requesting it for next week too.

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