Learn how to make jambalaya in a just few simple steps. Try this recipe tonight for a flavorful meal of meat, seafood, vegetables, and rice!
WHAT IS JAMBALAYA?
Simply put, it’s a dish made from a blend of meats, vegetables, and rice that are all cooked in the same pot.
Different regions in Spain, France, and West Africa have their own interpretation, but this recipe is specifically for Cajun jambalaya.
What makes it Cajun, aside from the seasoning, is the “holy trinity” of vegetables used – onion, celery, and bell pepper.
Difference between jambalaya and gumbo
Both Louisiana dishes are similar and often confused with each other.
The main difference is that gumbo is a stew that is served over cooked rice. With jambalaya, the rice is cooked with the rest of the ingredients.
Gumbo also uses okra and a spice called filé powder, but the rest of the ingredients are basically the same.
How to make jambalaya
This dish is easier to make then you might think!
Simply sauté the ingredients and let them simmer together with the rice until everything thickens. This easy jambalaya recipe comes together in about an hour!
- Protein – shrimp, boneless chicken breasts, andouille sausage
- Roux – vegetable oil, flour
- Veggies – onion, green bell pepper, celery, green onions, crushed tomatoes
- Seasoning – garlic cloves, Cajun seasoning, dried thyme, dried crushed oregano, salt and pepper
- Chicken stock
- Chicken: You can also use boneless dark meat, such as chicken thighs.
- Sausage: If you can’t find andouille, replace with a spicy sausage or any other kind you prefer.
- Veggies: Any color bell pepper can be substituted. Add or swap out other vegetables like carrots, corn, and chile peppers.
- Stock: Replace with water, chicken broth, or vegetable stock as needed.
Prep the ingredients
Cut the sausage into coins, then dice the chicken and the vegetables.
If needed, clean and devein the shrimp. Remove the shells and run a paring knife along the back without removing the tails. Then, pull out the thin gray vein, rinse the shrimp, and pat dry.
Start the Cajun jambalaya
First, brown the sausage on both sides, then remove and set aside.
Next, make a roux by heating some oil in the pan and stirring in flour until bubbly and browned.
Add the garlic and vegetables and cook for a few minutes. Stir in the sausage and chicken, then add the tomatoes and spices.
Bring everything to a boil before mixing in the rice and broth.
Simmer and serve
Simmer everything for about 35 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the shrimp during the last 10 minutes so they can cook.
When it’s done, the shrimp should be pink and the rice should be tender.
Spoon into bowls and add more green onion on top if you’d like.
More recipes to try
For more southern Louisiana flavor, try my Cajun Shrimp and Grits. Or check out one of these other recipes that mix protein with rice:
Watch how to make this easy jambalaya recipe below!
- 1 lb shrimp tail on
- 1 lb boneless chicken breasts diced (See Note 1)
- 1/2 lb andouille sausage (See Note 2)
- 3 tbsp vegetable oil
- 3 tbsp flour
- 1 cup onion diced
- 1 cup green bell pepper diced
- 1 cup celery diced
- 1 cup green onions diced
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 16 oz can crushed tomatoes
- 2 tsp Cajun or Creole seasoning
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp dried crushed oregano
- 1 cup uncooked long grain rice
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper optional
- 4 cups chicken stock or water or more if needed for desired consistency
- 1/2 cup green onions for garnish optional
- Sear the sliced sausage in a stock pot or large saucepan. Brown on both sides and remove from pan. Set aside.
- Make a light brown roux. Heat the oil in the stock pot or large saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour, and cook, stirring constantly, until lightly browned.
- Add the onion, green bell pepper, celery, green onions and garlic. Cook, stirring for several minutes.
- Add sausage and chicken and stir. Add the tomatoes, Cajun/Creole seasoning, thyme, oregano and bring to a boil. Stir in the uncooked rice and season with salt, pepper and add the broth or water.
- Reduce heat to low, and simmer, uncovered, about 25 minutes. Stir occasionally. Add the shrimp and stir. Simmer another 10 minutes longer until shrimp are pink and sauce has thickened, but is still slightly soupy.
- Serve in bowls and garnish with chopped green onions.
- Feel free to use boneless dark meat if you prefer.
- Cut sausage into 1/4" slices. If you can't find andouille sausage use a spicy kielbasa or sausage of choice.