Easy Jambalaya Recipe

8 Servings
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 1 hour

Easy Jambalaya with Chicken, Shrimp, and Andouille Sausage ready in under an hour. A New Orleans-style meal fit for the family. Check it out!

This savory and rich Jambalaya is a classic comfort food that contains chicken, sausage, and shrimp cooked with the holy trinity of New Orleans flavors, celery, onion, and bell peppers! Cajun seasoning and other spices are added to flavor the dish while rice – traditionally cooked with the rest of the ingredients – is served alongside it.

Try eating the recipe this way and once you’ve tried it, you’ll love it. And leftovers are a breeze because there’s still liquid in the pot! This classic version is a great addition to the similar Cajun Jambalaya Pasta y’all love so much! They’re both hearty, just like Irish Lamb Stew.

Sabrina’s Easy Jambalaya Recipe

I tested cooking Jambalaya the traditional way as well as without rice in the pot, and I love this version significantly more. You can make the rice buttery and slightly salted before pouring this over, and just give it a few minutes to marry the flavors together. I’m not adding any cloves garlic but you could if you love the extra garlicky flavor!

Yes, this Louisiana rice dish is traditionally made with white rice in the pot, but here’s the thing, nobody likes mushy rice or dry rice. This is a giant pot of food. Unless you are serving 8 people tonight for dinner, you’re going to have leftovers. And do you know what that rice is going to do to that delicious jambalaya? It will dry it out. So, this recipe makes the rice on the side. You can use long-grain rice (Basmati rice) or short-grain white rice in your dish. Be sure to garnish with green onion for a pop of color!

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Ingredients

  • 2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil: This provides a non-intrusive base that carries the flavors of the other ingredients well. It’s perfect for frying at high heat without overshadowing the natural tastes of the meats and vegetables. Can substitute with canola or sunflower oil if you prefer.
  • 2 Chicken Breasts: Chicken is a great source of lean protein that absorbs the Cajun spices beautifully, making it tender and flavorful in the dish. Boneless, skinless chicken breasts can be substituted or combined with boneless, skinless chicken thighs.
  • 1 Pound Shrimp, 13-15 Count: Shrimp adds a sweet, seafood flavor that contrasts nicely with the smoky sausage. Make sure to peel and devein them before cooking. For a different seafood twist, scallops or chunks of firm white fish can be used as a substitute.
  • 1 Pound Andouille Sausage: Andouille pork sausage is a staple in Cajun cooking, known for its robust flavor and smoky notes. It’s what gives the Jambalaya its signature depth. Chorizo or smoked sausage can be used if andouille is not available.
  • 1 Large Onion: Onions are needed to build the foundational flavor of Jambalaya. Onions soften and sweeten upon cooking. Any type of yellow onion or white onion works here.
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper: This adds a mild and sweet contrast and deeper red color to the dish. Feel free to use green bell peppers or yellow peppers for a variation.
  • 2 Stalks Celery: Celery ribs give a slight crunch and earthy flavor. Celery is a classic ingredient in many Cajun dishes for its aromatic quality.
  • 1 Can (28 Ounces) Tomatoes: Tomatoes bring acidity and break down during cooking to form a rich base for the sauce. Fresh chopped tomatoes can be used as well but will require additional cooking time. Add a small can of tomato paste to make it thicker and more flavorful.
  • 2 Cups Chicken Broth: The broth acts as the simmering liquid that helps cook the rice and vegetables, infusing them with more flavor as it reduces. Low-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth can be a good substitute for a lighter taste.
  • 1 Tablespoon Cajun Seasoning: This spice mix is critical for achieving the authentic Jambalaya flavor. It typically includes paprika, cayenne, garlic powder, pepper, and oregano. See the recipe below for a homemade version you can use in other Cajun recipes.
  • ½ Teaspoon Dried Thyme: Thyme has a nice earthy flavor that is needed in addition to that found in Cajun seasoning.
  • 2 Teaspoons Dried Oregano: Oregano brings a slight bitterness and sharpness, which balances the sweetness of the tomatoes and bell pepper.
  • ½ Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper: This provides the spicy heat. Cayenne pepper is potent and should be used sparingly but is vital for adding that characteristic spicy kick to the Jambalaya. Adjust based on your heat tolerance.
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Kitchen Tools & Equipment

  • Dutch Oven: A cast iron Dutch oven is needed for cooking jambalaya as it allows for even heat distribution and retains heat well. Look for one with a tight-fitting lid to trap steam and flavors inside during the cooking process.
  • Chef’s Knife: A high-quality chef’s knife is necessary for chopping vegetables, meat, and seafood for your jambalaya. Opt for a knife with a sharp blade and a comfortable handle for precise and efficient cutting.
  • Wooden spoon: A sturdy wooden spoon is ideal for stirring and combining the ingredients in your jambalaya without damaging the pot’s surface. Wooden spoons are less likely to scratch nonstick surfaces compared to metal utensils.
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How to Make Jambalaya

Time needed: 1 hour.

  1. Step 1: Prepare the Sausage

    Heat oil in a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Add the sliced sausage and fry until crisp and browned. Remove the sausage from the pot and set it aside on a plate, leaving the oil in the pot for the next step.ladle of cooked sausage over Dutch oven

  2. Step 2: Sauté Vegetables

    In the remaining oil (add a tablespoon of oil if none remains), sauté the onion, red or green pepper, and celery until the onions are translucent and the vegetables start to soften – about 5 minutes. (If adding optional minced garlic cloves, do so now.)Dutch oven with diced veggies being sauted and stirred with wood spoon

  3. Step 3: Add Chicken and Tomatoes

    Lower the heat to medium and add the chicken pieces to the pot along with the diced tomatoes, 2 cups chicken stock, and all the spices (Cajun seasoning, thyme, oregano, and cayenne pepper). Stir well to combine and dissolve any flavorful bits stuck to the bottom of the pot.raw chicken in bowl being poured into sauteed veggies in Dutch oven

  4. Step 4: Simmer the Jambalaya

    Cover the pot and let the mixture simmer for 20 minutes. The chicken should cook through and the flavors will meld together. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking and to ensure even cooking.Putting the lid on the Dutch oven

  5. Step 5: Incorporate Shrimp and Sausage

    Add the previously cooked sausage and the raw shrimp to the pot. Cook for an additional 3-5 minutes, uncovered, just until the shrimp are pink and fully cooked. Stir well to make sure everything is heated through evenly.adding raw shrimp and cooked sausage to the Dutch oven

  6. Step 6: Final Seasoning and Serve

    Taste the Jambalaya and adjust the seasoning and season with salt if necessary. Serve hot with white rice or brown rice, directly from the pot. Garnish with chopped green onion and enjoy!Ladle of cooked Jambalaya over Dutch oven

Easy Jambalaya in bowl
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Can This Be Made Ahead?

Absolutely! Jambalaya tastes even better when made ahead as the flavors have more time to meld. Simply cool it down, store it in the fridge for up to 3 days, and reheat it on the stove. It’s perfect to freeze for meal prep or to enjoy later. Just remember to avoid microwaving the shrimp so it’s not rubbery. 

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Nutritional Facts

Nutrition Facts
Easy Jambalaya Recipe
Amount Per Serving (1 g)
Calories 165 Calories from Fat 54
% Daily Value*
Fat 6g9%
Cholesterol 179mg60%
Sodium 730mg32%
Potassium 385mg11%
Carbohydrates 2g1%
Fiber 1g4%
Protein 24g48%
Vitamin A 1020IU20%
Vitamin C 26.4mg32%
Calcium 103mg10%
Iron 2.1mg12%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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How to Store Jambalaya

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Storing

Do not leave Jambalaya at room temperature longer than 2 hours before refrigerating. Refrigerate Jambalaya in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

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Reheating Tips

If cooked without rice, scoop some rice into your bowl. Ladle the jambalaya over the rice, removing the shrimp from the bowl and setting it aside. Cover with a wet paper towel and microwave until very hot (for us this is 3-4 minutes). Lift the paper towel, add the shrimp into the bowl, recover it, and let it sit for 3-4 minutes. Alternatively, reheat the shrimp in a skillet over medium heat. The shrimp will be hot but not rubbery as it would be if you were to cook it a second time in the microwave.

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Freezing

Jambalaya will freeze for up to 3 months in a freezer-safe container or plastic bag. Defrost in the refrigerator before reheating.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between a gumbo and jambalaya?

Gumbo is a traditional stew-type dish made with a roux to thicken the sauce. Jambalaya is a traditional rice-based recipe made with chicken, sausage and shrimp in one pot.

How do you make Cajun seasoning?

½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper or white pepper
½ teaspoon onion powder
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoons dried thyme

1. Mix all the ingredients together and store in a covered container for up to three months

Is this Jambalaya spicy?

This recipe is not designed to be too spicy at all. If you enjoy spicy food just add your favorite hot sauce or some crushed pepper flakes to your dish according to your heat preference!

How much rice should I make on the side?

2 cups uncooked rice makes about 6 cups cooked rice which should work perfectly for the family.

What sides should I serve with Jambalaya?

Traditionally jambalaya is served with rice and a side of Southern Cornbread. Sometimes Creamed Corn is served, and if served with creamed corn try spicing it up with some jalapeños!

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Recipe Card

Easy Jambalaya Recipe

Easy Jambalaya with Chicken, Shrimp, and Andouille Sausage ready in under an hour. A New Orleans-style meal fit for the family. Check it out!
Yield 8 Servings
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Author Sabrina Snyder

Ingredients
 

  • 2 chicken breasts , skinless, boneless, cut into chunks
  • 1 pound shrimp , 13-15 count
  • 1 pound andouille sausage links , sliced
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion , chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper , finely chopped
  • 2 ribs celery , thinly sliced
  • 1 can (28 ounces) tomatoes , diced
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

Instructions

  • Add vegetable oil to your Dutch oven on medium-high heat.
  • Add the sausage to the pan and cook until crisp and browned.
  • Remove the sausage and add in the onion, bell pepper and celery.
  • Cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring every few minutes.
  • Reduce the heat and add the chicken, tomatoes, broth, thyme, oregano, cajun seasoning and cayenne and cook, covered, for 15-20 minutes.
  • Add the shrimp and sausage, stir and cook for 3-5 minutes, uncovered, before serving.

Notes

  • Click on the yield amount to slide and change the number of servings and the recipe will automatically update!
  • Click on times in the instructions to start a kitchen timer while cooking.
  • To convert measurements to grams, click on the Metric option next to Ingredients in the recipe card.    

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 165kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 179mg | Sodium: 730mg | Potassium: 385mg | Fiber: 1g | Vitamin A: 1020IU | Vitamin C: 26.4mg | Calcium: 103mg | Iron: 2.1mg

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About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the cookbook Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients, published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

Dinner, then Dessert, Inc. owns the copyright on all images and text and does not allow for its original recipes and pictures to be reproduced anywhere other than at this site unless authorization is given. If you enjoyed the recipe and would like to publish it on your own site, please re-write it in your own words, and link back to my site and recipe page. Read my disclosure and copyright policy. This post may contain affiliate links.

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Comments

  1. I followed the recipe exactly and cooked the rice separately. As suggested I added a little butter to the rice and also a little Cajun seasoning. My guests and husband raved over it, and all had a second helping. Great recipe to keep. Thanks.

  2. All of your recipes have been rated A++. I live in Southern , Ca and they have a restaurant called Ramona’s. By any chance, have you heard of them? If you have, do you have a recipe for their red and green chili. I cannot come close to duplicating their recipe. Thank You in advance.

  3. I love the idea of leaving the rice out so it doesn’t absorb all the broth, but won’t the shrimp get rubbery?

  4. I made this last night for me and my husband. He was helping in the kitchen and remarked at one point, “Which army do you plan to invite to dinner?” It makes a lot, but we froze over half of it, and it’s always great to have meals prepared. I used suggestions in the comments to add 2 cups of rice, upping the chicken broth accordingly, and used about a pound each of spicy grilled sausage and raw chicken chunks, and added raw shrimp at after the rice was done. The jasmine rice I used was done after 40 minutes of simmering and stirring. I had a large can of crushed tomatoes, so that’s what went in. As for the spices, I feared the oregano was going to dominate, but it had faded into the background by the time it was done. The spices were lovely and the jambalaya had a wonderful aroma and flavor. I had planned to add a cup or two of our garden okra from the freezer but I forgot! It adds a freshness and wonderful smell and taste, and I recommend using it if you have it. It should go in just before the shrimp. This dish was fairly quick and uncomplicated, and it’s the kind of thing you can play around with and customize to your liking. (I added a couple of tablespoons of bacon grease but don’t tell anybody. Definitely a plus.) This is one I will keep on the menu. Thanks, chef.

  5. Super easy and even though I had to substitute turkey kielbasa for the sausage it had plenty of flavor.

  6. I’ve made this for Fat Tuesday for the past 3 or 4 years. It is delicious. I cook the rice separately and serve the Jambalaya over the rice. I’ve made Jambalaya with the rice in the pot and the rice gets mushy.

  7. I have never made jambalaya but this was so easy and delicious ? My husband loved it! I will definitely make this again and share with my daughters. Thank you for a great recipe!

  8. While I have found your recipes to be very tasty, I gotta stop you here with this Yankee version of Jambalaya. Don’t get me wrong, the lion’s share of the recipe is great. The issue I have is this bit about Cajun Seasoning and Oregano. I live in Lafayette, La so let me give you a better version of seasoning: 2 teas. Salt, 2 teas. Cayenne ( not red pepper, its not the same), 1 1/2 teas White pepper, 1 teas. Black pepper, 2 teas Thyme and 2 Bay Leaves. Oh and have some type of citrus juice to drink. Citrus kills the burning effect of Cayenne on contact. I hope this helps.

  9. Super easy! I hate when recipes day easy and they are not. I didn’t have Cajun seasoning but i had everything minus the onion powder. I also didn’t have andouille sausage so i used Johnsonville Firecracker sausage. The dish was amazing even with the alterations. My fiancee absolutely loved it!! 6/5 stars