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Jambalaya: the delicious recipe for the one-pot main dish from New Orleans

Total time: 60 Min
Difficulty: Low
Serves: 8 people
By Cookist

Jambalaya is a popular one-dish meal that hails all the way from New Orleans, Louisiana. An authentic jambalaya is Cajun or Creole, which means it’s spicy, zesty, and smoky. The chicken, sausage, and shrimp is juicy and full of flavor!

To make it, you’ll need chicken, andouille sausage, shrimp, tomato, and rice. Of course, you can’t make any New Orleans dish without the Holy Trinity vegetable mixture made up of celery, onion, and green bell pepper. This is an easy jambalaya recipe that you can whip up in no time and you can even make it in a slow cooker or instant pot!

What Is Jambalaya?

Jambalaya is an American Creole and Cajun rice dish of French, African, and Spanish influence, which has its origin in New Orleans. It’s a dish, similar to Spanish paella, consisting mainly of meat and vegetables mixed with rice. But where the difference comes in, is that jambalaya is hotter in spice, whereas the paella is spiced with saffron.

Jambalaya vs Gumbo

Both jambalaya and gumbo come from New Orleans. They have similar ingredients, but with gumbo, the meat mixture is served separately from the rice. In jambalaya, the rice is cooked with the meat mixture.

Cajun vs Creole Jambalaya

There is a difference in terms of moisture. A Cajun Jambalaya is mostly dry, and somewhat browned. The creole version contains more tomatoes and is wetter. Because of the tomatoes, it’s often referred to as a red jambalaya.


Authentic Jambalaya Ingredients

Olive oil – used to sauté the vegetables; you can also use vegetable oil.

Vegetables – to make this jambalaya, you will need onion, bell pepper, and celery.

Cajun seasoning – you can make your own blend, or use a well-known brand like Slap Ya Mama.

Andouille sausage – used to add smoked flavor in the dish.

Chicken – for more flavor, use chicken thighs, but the chicken breast will also work.

Shrimp – you can use shrimp or small prawns.

Garlic – added for flavor2 tbsp olive oil.

Flavoring – used Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce to add flavor.

File powder – file powder is used in this recipe, but you can also use one cup of sliced okra instead of 1 tsp file powder.

Rice – use plain medium grain rice.

Chicken broth – this liquid will be soaked up by the rice.

Can You Replace Andouille Sausage?

Andouille sausage is a type of smoked pork sausage. If you can’t find it in a store near you, you can also use chorizo.

How To Make Jambalaya

Start by cooking the sausage and chicken in a bit of oil, then set aside. Cook the vegetables in the same pot, they will pick up flavor from the meats. Add the remaining ingredients except the shrimp, and then add the sausage and chicken back to the pot. There’s no need to rinse or cook the rice beforehand, it will cook with the rest of the ingredients.

Continue to cook for 25-30 minutes until the rice is cooked and all the liquid has absorbed. If the rice is still uncooked after half an hour, and a small amount of liquid and continue cooking until the rice is cooked. If the rice is cooked, but there is still some liquid left, uncover and cook until all the liquid has evaporated.

Stir the shrimp (or prawns, if using) through the mixture and cover. Cook for about 5 minutes or longer if you’re using larger prawns. The shrimp should be cooked until it’s opaque pink in color.

Season to taste before serving!


What To Serve With Jambalaya

Jambalaya is a dish that can stand on its own, but if you want, you can serve it with fresh French bread to mop up all the juices or a fresh salad.

Jambalaya Variations

To make it vegetarian or vegan, omit the chicken, shrimp, and andouille. Use plant-based chicken and sausage instead.

If you can’t make it in-store, you can make your own Cajun/Creole seasoning. Simply mix together 1 tsp each paprika, salt, black pepper, and oregano. Add ½ tsp dried thyme, ½ each garlic powder and ½ onion powder, and ½ tsp cayenne pepper.

If you want, you can also use brown rice, you might need to increase the cooking time.

Use chopped crawfish tails instead of shrimp or prawns.

Tips For making Easy Jambalaya

Make it keto by omitting the rice.

To make it in a slow cooker, add all the ingredients (except the shrimp, rice, and chicken broth) to the slow cooker. Cook on high for 3-4 hours, or low for 6 hours. Add the shrimp 20 minutes before cooking time is over. Cook the rice separately and serve with the jambalaya.

To make it in an instant pot, sauté the vegetables, sausage, and chicken, and then cook on high pressure for 8 minutes. Add the shrimp and cook another 5 minutes.

How To Store Jambalaya

Store leftovers in an airtight container, in the fridge, for up to 3 days.

Can You Freeze Jambalaya?

You can also store jambalaya in the freezer for up to 3 months. Just make sure to pack it in an airtight container.

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Olive oil
2 tbsp
Cajun seasoning
1 tbsp
andouille sausage, sliced
1/2 pound
chicken fillets
1/2 pound
1/2 pound
white onion, diced
green bell pepper, seeded and diced
celery, diced
1 stalk
garlic, crushed
4 cloves
Crushed tomatoes
1 14-oz can
File powder
salt and pepper to taste
hot pepper sauce
1/2 tsp
Worcestershire Sauce
2 tsp
white rice, uncooked
1 cup
Chicken broth
3 cups


Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat.

Use the Cajun seasoning to season the chicken.

Fry with the andouille sausage until the sausage is golden. Remove and set aside. If the pan is dry, add a bit more oil.

Cook the chicken until is slightly browned, then set aside.

Sauté the onion, bell pepper, and celery until the onion is translucent. Add the crushed garlic and cook until fragrant for about 30 seconds otherwise it will burn.

Add the tomato, Worcestershire sauce.

Add in the remaining Cajun seasoning.

Pour the hot sauce and stir in file powder (or okra if you don’t have file powder).

Add the sausage back to the pot.

Stir in the cooked chicken too.

Cook for a few minutes before adding the chicken broth.

Add the rice.

Continue to cook for 25-30 minutes until the rice is cooked and all the liquid has absorbed.

Now stir the shrimp (or prawns, if using) through the mixture and cover.

Cook for about 5 minutes (longer if you’re using larger prawns).

Season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve.


The andouille sausage adds a lot of flavor to the dish, so make sure to choose a high-quality sausage.

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