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Easy One-Pot Jambalaya

Easy One-Pot Jambalaya with chicken, andouille sausage, shrimp, and rice stewed in a tomato based sauce and spiced to perfection with Cajun seasoning. This easy take on classic Creole Jambalaya feeds a crowd!

Large green pot of finished Jambalaya with a blue striped napkin to the side

If you’ve never tried making Jambalaya at home, I hope this post will answer any questions to inspire and encourage you to try this fabulous dish, which is really quite simple!

When I was growing up, I assumed Jambalaya was one of those meals that required the entire day to perfect. 

This can definitely be true for those who have made this Cajun classic one of their family traditions, but it doesn’t have to be an all day event unless you want it to be.

In fact, from start to finish, this meal takes just over an hour to prepare, and it feeds 6 comfortably, making it well worth the effort.

Comfort food at its finest, this easy jambalaya recipe tastes even better the next day,

What is Jambalaya?:

Jambalaya is a one-pot meal originating from Louisiana consisting of chicken, andouille sausage, shrimp (or crawfish) and rice stewed in a flavorful, generously spiced sauce. You will see this hearty rice dish all over New Orleans year-round, and is a very popular dish during Mardi Gras.

There are two main types of Jambalaya: Creole Jambalaya and Cajun Jambalaya. The main difference between the two is there are fresh or diced tomatoes in the Creole version, whereas the Cajun version does not include tomatoes and uses less Cajun spices.

An authentic Jambalaya recipe is prepared in a large pot on the stove top, but it is also possible to make it in the slow cooker or Instant Pot.

The ingredients used in Jambalaya is remarkably similar to those used in Gumbo, but Gumbo is more of a thick stew without rice and Jambalaya is served as a rice dish with much of the sauce and liquid having been absorbed into the rice.

While there are many similarities between classic Seafood Paella and Jambalaya, the spices used to season the dishes are different.

The flavors in paella are subtle with saffron being the main spice to create that delicious yellow rice, whereas Jambalaya uses Cajun seasoning (a combination of dried chilis, cayenne, onion powder, garlic powder, black pepper, etc.) for big, bold flavors.

In addition, paella often includes a wider variety of seafoods, such as clams or mussels, where shrimp or crawfish are typically the only shellfish used in Jambalaya.

Top down photo of two bowls of jambalaya with a blue striped napkin to the side

Main Ingredients for Jambalaya:

Traditional ingredients included in Creole Jambalaya are olive oil, chicken, andouille sausage, shrimp (or crawfish), Cajun seasoning (either store-bought or homemade), bell peppers, celery, onion, garlic, white rice, diced tomatoes, and chicken broth. 

Some people add okra, bay leaves, Worcestershire sauce, red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, or hot sauce to generate more heat.

I leave out the okra (you can add 1 cup of chopped okra at the same time you add the sausage if you’d like), and I keep my version fairly mild. To spice it up, simply add ½ teaspoon to 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes, or 1 to 3 teaspoons of your favorite hot pepper sauce.

You can use white or brown rice for Jambalaya. I use brown rice, which has a longer cook time than white. You can also use boneless skinless chicken thighs instead of breasts.

Tomato sauce and tomato paste can be used in place of diced tomatoes, and any pork sausage or Kielbasa can be used in place of the spicy andouille sausage.

Horizontal image of Dutch oven filled with finished Jambalaya

How to Make Jambalaya:

Heat the avocado oil over medium-high heat in a large thick-bottomed pot such as a Dutch oven and add the onion. Sauté, stirring frequently, until the onion has softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the green bell pepper, garlic, and celery, and continue cooking for another 2 minutes.

Add the chopped raw chicken and Cajun seasoning (and red pepper flakes and hot pepper sauce if adding) and stir well. Allow the chicken to brown for a minute or two before adding the chopped andouille sausage, brown rice, chicken broth, and diced tomatoes. Stir well, cover, and bring everything to a full boil.

Reduce the heat to a simmer and continue cooking, covered, for 40 to 50 minutes, or until the rice is soft. There will still be a decent amount of unabsorbed liquid in the pot. Add in the peeled shrimp, and cook at a full boil uncovered for another 10 to 15 minutes, until much of the excess liquid has evaporated. 

Serve, and enjoy!

Note that the longer the jambalaya sits, the more the liquid will absorb into the rice so if it seems excessively liquidy, no worries. If you want much liquid to be fully absorbed before serving the dish, I recommend making it at least 2 hours before you plan to serve it.

Top down photo of two white bowls of jambalaya with a blue striped napkin and a gold spoon in one of the bowls

Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days.

That’s it! Everything you need to know to make mouth-watering Jambalaya to impress your guests!

If you’re looking for side dishes to serve with Jambalaya, I suggest my Gluten-Free Cornbread, or my Arugula Strawberry Salad with Pickled Red Onions and Strawberry Vinaigrette.

Enjoy!

Large green pot of finished Jambalaya with a blue striped napkin to the side

Jambalaya

Yield: 6 Servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

Easy one-pot Jambalaya is incredibly comforting and loaded with authentic flavor. A Louisiana classic with chicken, sausage, shrimp and rice!

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or avocado oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 large stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, chopped
  • 1 to 2 Tbsp Cajun seasoning, to taste*
  • 12 ounces cooked andouille sausage, sliced**
  • 1 cup uncooked brown rice
  • 1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • ½ pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • Sea salt to taste

Instructions

1. Heat the oil over medium-high heat and add the onion. Sauté, stirring frequently, until the onion has softened, about 5 minutes.

Onion sautéing in the Dutch oven

2. Stir in the green bell pepper, garlic, and celery, and continue cooking for another 2 minutes.

Onion, garlic and green bell pepper sautéing in a Dutch oven

3. Add the chopped raw chicken and Cajun seasoning (and red pepper flakes and hot pepper sauce if adding) and stir well.

Process shot of making jambalaya with sautéed vegetables, chicken, sausage and rice in a large pot with seasonings

4. Allow the chicken to brown for a minute or two before adding the chopped andouille sausage, brown rice, chicken broth, and diced tomatoes.

Jambalaya ingredients cooking in a Dutch oven

5. Stir well, cover, and bring everything to a full boil.

Chicken broth being poured into the pot of Jambalaya ingredients

6. Reduce the heat to a simmer and continue cooking, covered, for 40 to 50 minutes, or until the rice is soft. There will still be a decent amount of unabsorbed liquid in the pot. Add in the peeled shrimp, and cook at a full boil uncovered for another 10 to 15 minutes, until much of the excess liquid has evaporated. 

Horizontal image of Dutch oven filled with finished Jambalaya

7. Serve, and enjoy!

Note that the longer the jambalaya sits, the more the liquid will absorb into the rice so if it seems excessively liquidy, no worries. If you want the liquid to be fully absorbed before serving the dish, I recommend making it at least 2 hours before you plan to serve it.

Notes

*For spicy jambalaya, add 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes and 1 to 3 teaspoons of your favorite hot chili sauce or cayenne pepper.

**I use pre-cooked chicken andouille sausage. You can also use Kielbasa, chorizo, or Italian sausage.

Nutrition Information
Yield 6 Serving Size 1 Serving
Amount Per Serving Calories 469Total Fat 15gUnsaturated Fat 0gCarbohydrates 31gFiber 3gSugar 5gProtein 50g
Pinterest collage for Jambalaya

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brian

Friday 31st of October 2014

Just found this from the Le Creuset facebook page. What a great tasting and easy to make meal this was. I made this and a pan of cornbread all for under $30.

Francesca

Sunday 4th of May 2014

ahh I love the blue in your Le Cruset.

I remember one year my mom made jambalaya for Christmas and it was so spicy, no one could eat it - that was the year we had pizza for dinner ;) Yours looks manageable (and delicious : D )

Joanne

Thursday 1st of May 2014

The idea of passing along the dutch oven is so cool!! It's almost like a game of telephone but instead of a random sentence at the end, we get all these recipes. Jambalaya just warms my heart. And my taste buds.

Stefanie @ Sarcastic Cooking

Wednesday 30th of April 2014

I love Jambalaya! Every time I think of it I have to say it like Newman from Seinfeld.

Kelly @ The Pretty Bee: Cooking + Creating

Tuesday 29th of April 2014

So this probably sounds ridiculous, but I have never had jamabalya! I don't know why, it sounds so good! And that shade of blue is so pretty! Love it.

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