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This easy-to-make Jambalaya recipe is a one-pot, mild or spicy chicken and rice dish with andouille sausage, vegetables, and Cajun seasonings you will absolutely love.
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Whether you’re looking for a flavorful weeknight dinner, or something special for Mardi Gras, you’ll love this simple-to-make, utterly delicious regional specialty.
Jambalaya makes regular appearances at our table. Often requested for holidays and special events (like birthdays), it’s almost always in the mix for Mardi Gras. If I need to get it on the table in a hurry, I’ll make equally delicious Instant Pot Jambalaya.
What Is Jambalaya?
Jambalaya is a one-pot dish that’s made with rice, and various types of meats and may contain seafood too. Much like Spanish paella, it’s a meal with deep roots and utterly delicious flavor.
Originating in 18th century south Louisiana, it is a recipe passed down through families with endless variations. The name “jambalaya” likely comes from the Provençal word “jambalaia,” which means “mishmash.”
Common Ingredients for Jambalaya
As I mentioned, there are countless recipe variations for jambalaya from regional influences to passed-down family recipes.
But most jambalaya recipes contain rice as well as an evolution of the French mirepoix consisting of onion, celery, and bell pepper. From there, recipes vary widely.
Most jambalayas will have some form of sausage from a basic smoked pork sausage to the more heavily spiced andouille (which I’m using here). Recipes also contain chicken but may also include pork, shrimp, and even crabmeat.
In New Orleans, your jambalaya is likely to have a reddish tint from tomato, whereas it’ll be browner in color throughout Cajun Country.
These are the ingredients you’ll need to make the most flavorful, delicious, yet simple jambalaya:
- Oil for sauteing. Both the chicken and andouille sausage will be sautéed in oil. Use your favorite cooking oil, I’m using olive oil here as the heat isn’t too intense.
- Sausage: As noted above, use your favorite sausage (from mild to spicy). This can include anything from smoked pork sausages to the more traditional andouille sausage.
- Chicken: I’m using boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces, but you can also use chicken thighs if preferred.
- Spices and seasonings: This chicken and sausage jambalaya is flavored with Cajun seasoning, fresh garlic, dried thyme, bay leaves, red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper.
- Vegetables: We’re using the classic mirepoix of an onion, green bell pepper, and celery.
- Rice: I’m using long grain white rice for this jambalaya recipe.
- Broth: You’ll need chicken broth for this recipe.
How to Make Jambalaya
While the step-by-step instructions are in the recipe below– here is a brief overview of how easy it is to make this chicken and sausage jambalaya:
1. Sauté the sausage and chicken: Begin by sauteing the sausage in cooking oil until browned. Remove from the pot and set aside. Then toss the chicken with Cajun seasoning and sauté until lightly browned on all sides. Remove from the pot and set aside.
2. Sauté the vegetables: In the same pot, sauté the onion, celery, bell pepper, and garlic until tender. Stir in the crushed tomatoes, seasonings, sausage, and chicken; cook for 10 minutes.
3. Add the rice and broth: Stir in the rice and chicken broth, bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer and cook until the liquid is absorbed.
What Kitchen Equipment do I Need?
One of the beauties of this one-pot chicken and rice dish is you don’t need any special kitchen equipment other than a large pot and a good knife to chop the vegetables.
I’m using a 6-quart Dutch oven. When the dish has cooked, it fills 2/3 or 3/4 of the pot.
Jambalaya Questions and Tips
Allow the jambalaya to cool completely, then transfer it to an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator for three to four days. Reheat on the microwave or stove. If you’re worried about the jambalaya drying out as it reheats, add a bit of broth to keep it moist.
Yes, you can freeze jambalaya for up to three months. Ladle it (in serving-size portions) into zip-top freezer bags. Wrap each bag in foil and freeze flat.
While they contain similar ingredients, jambalaya is primarily a rice dish that’s cooked with other ingredients. And while served with rice, gumbo is more like soup, and étouffée is more like a stew.
Yes! It’s perfect for Mardi Gras, along with beignets, gumbo, shrimp po’ boys, beignets, and King Cake.
Jambalaya is only as spicy as the ingredients used. You can eliminate hot sauce and use mild peppers to make the dish less spicy. The best tip is to consider using more mild sausages.
Most any rice works with jambalaya. It’s common to use long-grain rice, but jasmine rice, Arborio rice, or even brown rice can be used too. If using brown rice, be sure to adjust the amount of liquid and the cooking time.
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- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 10 ounces andouille sausage, sliced
- 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
- 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-size pieces
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
- 3 stalks celery, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 (15-oz) can diced crushed tomatoes, undrained
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- pinch of red pepper flakes
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 ½ cups long-grain white rice, uncooked
- 3 cups chicken stock
- Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large heavy Dutch oven over medium heat. Season the sausage and chicken pieces with Cajun seasoning. Then sauté sausage until browned. Remove with a slotted spoon, and set aside.
- Add 1 tablespoon to the pot and sauté chicken until lightly browned on all sides. Remove and set aside.
- In the same pot, add the onion, pepper, celery, and garlic. Sauté until tender.
- Stir in crushed tomatoes, salt, thyme, bay leaves, and red pepper flakes (if using). Then add the chicken and sausage; cook for 10 minutes.
- Stir in the rice and chicken broth; ring to a boil. Reduce and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed.
- fresh parsley, shopped
- thinly sliced green onions
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 310Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 73mgSodium: 1198mgCarbohydrates: 17gFiber: 1gSugar: 4gProtein: 26g
31Daily.com occasionally offers nutritional information for recipes contained on this site. This information is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate only. This information comes from online calculators. Although 31Daily.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.