This jambalaya recipe is loaded with chicken, andouille sausage, and lots of shrimp with plenty of spices, so comforting and easy to make all in one pot.
Easy Jambalaya Recipe
If you like your jambalaya extra meaty, with plenty of chunky chicken, seasoned and seared shrimp, and smoky andouille sausage, then this recipe is going to make you happy. Are you a jambalaya fan? I love it so much.
I've had jambalaya all over the United States, especially in Louisiana where it was made famous, and this version is definitely my favorite.
The beauty of Cajun and Creole shrimp, chicken and andouille jambalaya is not only in the spices and awe-inspiring flavor, but also because it's an easy to make one-pot meal.
I made this recently for a gathering and let it sit covered on the stove while everyone else scrambled with their meals. I just kept mine warm and it was certainly a crowd pleaser.
If you've never enjoyed jambalaya before, let's discuss.
What is Jambalaya?
Jambalaya is a famous dish from Louisiana and south eastern United States typically made with a combination of meats, vegetables and rice.
The recipe and techniques vary from region to region, with meats ranging from seafood like crawfish, oysters and shrimp to smoked sausage, chicken, turkey, wild boar, duck and even alligator, among others.
Cajun Vs. Creole Jambalaya
Cajun and Creole versions differ somewhat, particularly in their use of tomatoes, seasonings and meats, but all together it is a highly popular and hearty rice dish.
Cajun jambalaya is most often brown in color, resulting from the caramelization of onions and sausage, and does not include tomato.
Creole jambalaya, on the other hand, which you'll find more often in cities like New Orleans, is usually red in color from the addition of tomatoes. You'll also find more variation and combinations of meats.
The one thing you'll always find, however, with jambalaya is "rice". It is always a rice dish, no matter where you encounter it. Comfort food at its finest.
I've enjoyed many different jambalayas around the U.S., especially on my trips to New Orleans, and love them all. The Cajun versions are outstanding, but there's something about Creole jambalaya that really gets me going.
My version is more of a Creole jambalaya, with tomato, lots of Cajun seasonings, both chicken and smoked andouille, as well as shrimp, and I'm tossing in extra peppers because I like mine bit spicy, though the extra peppers are optional.
I hope you love it as much as I do.
Let's talk about how to make jambalaya, shall we?
Jambalaya Ingredients Needed
- Olive Oil. For cooking.
- Cajun Holy Trinity. This includes onion, bell peppers, and celery, plus garlic. I'm also including jalapeno pepper and serrano pepper for extra heat and flavor. Chiliheads only!
- Chicken. Boneless, skinless. Use breast or thigh meat.
- Andouille Sausage. Smoky awesomeness right here.
- Spices. Cajun Seasonings, dried oregano and basil, salt and pepper. Garlic powder is good, too.
- Tomato Sauce.
- Chicken Stock. Vegetable stock is good, too or chicken broth.
- White Rice.
- Shrimp. Peeled and deveined.
- Parsley. For garnish.
- Hot Sauce! If desired. Yes, I desire. Red pepper flakes, too!
How to Make Jambalaya - the Recipe Method
STEP 1. The Vegetable Base. First, heat a large pan or Dutch oven to medium high heat. Add oil with onions, peppers and celery. Cook them down about 6-7 minutes, until they soften up.
STEP 2. Garlic, Chicken, and Andouille. Add garlic, chicken and andouille sausage. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring often, until the chicken is no longer pink and the sausage starts to cook through.
STEP 3. Tomatoes and Seasonings. Add tomatoes and stir to break apart. Crushed tomatoes or diced tomatoes are good here, too. Cook for 3 minutes.
Add Cajun seasonings, oregano, basil, salt and pepper, tomato sauce and chicken stock. Stir.
STEP 3b. Spice it Up! At this point, if you’re looking for an EXTRA SPICY version, add in a few teaspoons of your favorite hot sauce and extra Cajun spices.
If not, omit. I would add it!
STEP 4. The Rice. Stir in the white rice. Long grain white rice is good. Bring to a quick boil then reduce heat to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Cover and let simmer for 20 minutes, or cook the rice until it is cooked and tender, to your preference. It could take 25 minutes to 30 minutes.
Cooking time can vary, so keep an eye on it and test.
STEP 5. Cook the Shrimp. Heat a small pan to medium heat and add oil. For the shrimp, season with salt, black pepper and Cajun seasoning (or use Creole seasoning) and sauté a couple minutes each side, until cooked through.
Stir the cooked shrimp into the Jambalaya pot and remove from heat.
You can fold the uncooked shrimp into the rice 10-15 minutes before cooking is finished to allow them to cook through, though I find the texture is much better with the shrimp when I cook them separately.
STEP 6. Serve! Serve your amazing Jambalaya into bowls and garnish with parsley or chopped green onions. Add in extra hot sauce if you'd like. You can thicken it with file powder if needed.
Enjoy! This is such a great recipe, perfect every time.
Recipe Tips & Notes
Long grain rice is good, though you can use other grains. Stick with white rice for jambalaya, not brown rice.
As mentioned, this is a thick and meaty version. I only added a single cup of rice and a single cup of chicken stock, with a focus on the proteins. I wanted those to stand out with huge chunks, but if you want this meal to stretch a bit further, double the rice and stock. I've done it both ways.
If you add more rice, up your simmering time to 45 minutes or, until the rice has properly cooked through. The rice will absorb all those flavors and fill up the pan, and it will still satisfy.
The Chili Peppers
With Cajun and Creole cuisine, green bell pepper is traditional. The regional food isn't meant to be HOT, but is filled with wonderful spices and flavors. However, if you're looking to spice things up a little, you can either swap the bells for hotter peppers, or just toss in those hotter peppers. Jalapeno peppers are always a great addition. Nice bit of heat, excellent flavor. Serrano peppers are also quite nice. Try a combination! You can always add in a bit of extra cayenne pepper for heat as well.
Gumbo Vs. Jambalaya
People often ask what's the difference between gumbo and jambalaya? Both are classic dishes from Louisiana, but gumbo is more of a soup-stew often served with rice, while jambalaya is made with rice. The rice is the biggest difference.
What to Serve with Jambalaya
Jambalaya is meant to be a one pot meal, so you can serve it on it's own with simple additions, like crusty bread or tasty corn bread. Give me a nice lager or IPA on the side and I'm happy.
This is a big meal and will serve a small group.
Storage and Leftovers
Store any leftover jambalaya in the refrigerator in sealed containers for up to 5 days. You can easily reheat it on the stove top or in the microwave to enjoy again.
You can also freeze jambalaya in vacuum sealed containers or freezer containers for 3 months or longer.
I am amazed at how fast Mike put this meal together. And, I have to say this publicly, I wish he would make it more!
I'm excited that one of our favorite local grocery stores known for their deli makes their own andouille sausage.
I love the flavor in this dish. If you can find a high quality andouille, that can make a huge difference in the final meal.
Check Out Some of Our Other Popular Cajun and Creole Dishes
- Crockpot Jambalaya
- Cajun Chicken and Sausage Gumbo
- Cajun Pasta with Shrimp and Smoked Sausage
- Shrimp Creole
- Creole Chicken and Sausage Gumbo
- Mike’s Spicy Gumbo
- Cajun Maque Choux
- Cajun Red Beans and Rice
- Gumbo Vs. Jambalaya: What's the Difference?
If you love rice dishes like this, also try my Spanish paella recipe - so good!
If you enjoy this recipe, I hope you'll leave a comment with some STARS. Also, please share it on social media. Don't forget to tag us at #ChiliPepperMadness. I'll be sure to share! Thanks! -- Mike H.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 small onions chopped
- 1 red bell pepper chopped
- 2-3 jalapeno peppers chopped (optional, for spicy - use serranos for extra spicy)
- 2 stalks celery chopped
- 6 cloves garlic chopped
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast chopped
- ½ pound andouille sausage chopped – if you want to get REALLY meaty, add a whole pound!
- 3-4 tomatoes chopped – about a pound
- 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning (or more to taste)
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano I love Mexican oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 8 ounces tomato sauce
- 1 cups chicken stock
- 1 cup white rice I used a long grain - I only used 1 cup here, but you can fit 2 if you want the meal to feed more. If you do, add 2 cups stock.
- ½ pound shrimp peeled and deveined
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- Chopped parsley for garnish
- Your favorite hot sauce for serving
- Heat a large pan to medium heat. Add oil with onions, peppers and celery. Cook for 6-7 minutes, until softened. Add garlic, chicken and andouille sausage. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring often, until chicken is no longer pink and the sausage starts to cook through.
- Add tomatoes and stir to break apart. Cook for 3 minutes. Add Cajun seasonings, oregano, basil, salt and pepper, tomato sauce and chicken stock. Stir.
- At this point, if you’re looking for an EXTRA SPICY version, add in a few teaspoons of your favorite hot sauce. If not, omit. I would add it!
- Stir in the white rice. Bring to a quick boil then reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and let simmer for 25-30 minutes, or until the rice is cooked and tender, to your preference.
- Heat a small pan to medium heat and add oil. Season shrimp with salt, pepper and Cajun seasoning and saute a couple minutes each site, until cooked through. Stir them into the Jambalaya pot.
- Serve Jambalaya into bowls and garnish with parsley. Add in extra hot sauce. Enjoy!
NOTE: This recipe was updated on 5/17/23 to include new information, photos and video. It was originally published on 11/30/15.