Jambalaya

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Get a taste of classic New Orleans comfort food right in your kitchen with this easy jambalaya recipe! It’s a hearty blend of chicken, sausage, shrimp, veggies, and rice — brimming with spiced Cajun and Creole flavors.

Jambalaya in a big white pot
Photo: Gayle McLeod

A fresh pot of jambalaya always reminds me of my trip to New Orleans. The amount of seafood I tried was incredible, and dishes like gumbo and jambalaya (i.e. classic Louisiana feel-good meals) are forever imprinted in my brain.

If you’ve never made jambalaya before, it may seem intimidating or difficult to make, given the number of ingredients. But it’s actually quite the opposite. It’s an easy one-pot meal! Plus, I’ve got a homemade Cajun seasoning that adds a hefty amount of flavor and really brings this recipe to life.

And if you’ve got any leftover homemade Cajun seasoning from making this jambalaya recipe, you can make creamy Cajun chicken – another great weeknight meal!

Ingredients for jambalaya on a table

Jambalaya Ingredients

  • Meats: While you can choose from chicken, beef, or pork, the one ingredient you should always try to include is andouille sausage. It’s a jambalaya classic, plus it tastes so good. If you can’t find andouille sausage you can use chorizo.
  • Seafood: Similar to meat, there’s quite a few seafood options to choose from such as jumbo shrimp, oysters, crawfish, or mussels. But for this recipe, I’m using shrimp that’s been peeled and deveined.
  • Vegetables: The mix of onion, bell peppers, and celery is called the Cajun Holy Trinity. Think of this as a Cajun version of a French mirepoix vegetable blend!
  • Rice: Use a long grain white rice for this recipe (I’m using basmati). Brown rice and other types of rice will alter the cook time. And make sure to read the tips in the following section on how to prevent mushy rice!
  • Cajun Seasoning & Spices: While you can buy Cajun seasoning, I suggest making my homemade Cajun seasoning to match the flavors and colors happening in this recipe (I talk more about this below). You’ll also need fresh garlic, red pepper flakes and a bay leaf.
  • Broth: The base of this recipe uses lots of chicken broth and a can of crushed tomatoes to cook the rice.

Helpful tip: Jambalaya is naturally spicy. But my version isn’t overly spicy (at least I don’t think so). If you’re concerned about the level of spice, you can reduce or omit the red pepper flakes.

Find the printable recipe with measurements below

Cajun vs Creole Jambalaya

While the differences are subtle, you can usually tell by the color. Creole jambalaya includes tomatoes, so it’s more reddish in color. Cajun jambalaya is more brown. So this recipe leans towards Creole given the crushed tomatoes (and is similar to what I personally ate in New Orleans).

But just to confuse the matter, I’m using my homemade Cajun seasoning (that has a Creole bent with thyme and oregano), so it’s honestly a delicious blend of both. If you use store-bought Cajun seasoning like Slap Ya Mama that doesn’t include herbs, you can always add a teaspoon of thyme and oregano to the dish, when you add the minced garlic.

How To Prevent Mushy Rice

One of the biggest complaints when making jambalaya is that the rice ends up mushy. And there’s two main culprits of this – choosing the wrong type of rice and over-stirring.

For this recipe, you want long-grain white rice, like basmati or jasmine. Don’t use short-grain rice. And remember that every time you stir rice it releases more starch and breaks down, which can make the end result softer and mushier.

Lastly, if you want to be extra cautious, you can use parboiled rice (or converted rice) which maintains its structure and “fluffiness” when cooked longer and slower. If you opt for parboiled rice, just make sure to read the package for the proper cook time. And you may need to add more broth or water.

How To Make Jambalaya

Season and cook the chicken. In a medium mixing bowl toss together the diced chicken with 1 tablespoon of Cajun seasoning, until evenly coated. Then saute the chicken until lightly golden and cooked through. Remove the chicken to a plate.

Cooking chicken in a pot for jambalaya

Cook the sausage. Saute the sausage with the remaining oil, until lightly browned on both sides. Then move the sausage to the plate with the chicken.

Cooking sausage in a pot for jambalaya

Saute the veggies. Saute the onion, bell pepper, and celery for 4 to 5 minutes, until the veggies have softened. Then add the minced garlic, remaining Cajun seasoning, and red pepper flakes to the pan. Stir together for 30 seconds.

Cooking veggies in a pot for jambalaya

Add the rice and liquid. Stir in the rice, then add the bay leaf, tomatoes, and broth. Bring everything to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low and cover. Cook for about 7 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally just to make sure the rice isn’t sticking to the bottom of the pot, until the rice is al dente. 

Mixing jambalaya ingredients in a pot

Add the shrimp. Remove the bay leaf, add the shrimp to the pan along with the sausage and chicken, gently stir, cover, and turn off the heat. The shrimp will cook through in about 4 to 5 minutes, and all of the liquid should be absorbed by the rice!

Helpful tip: The seafood should always be added at the end so that it’s not overcooked. No one wants rubbery shrimp.

Cooking shrimp in a pot of jambalaya

Garnish. Before serving, garnish with sliced green onions and chopped parsley.

Jambalaya with shrimp

Storage Tips

  • Enjoy throughout the week: Trust me when I say this will last you for a good few days! Just store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 4 to 5 days.
  • Freeze for later: Like most of my one-pot recipes, jambalaya is great for a future frozen meal. It will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months. Let it thaw in the fridge the night before, then pop it in the microwave for a minute or so to heat it back up.

More Comforting One Pot Meals

I hope you enjoy this cozy jambalaya recipe as much as I do! If you make it, let me know how it turned out in the comment box below.

A white pot of jambalaya

Jambalaya (No Mushy Rice!)

4.98 from 38 votes
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 50 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Author: Lisa Bryan

Description

Get a taste of New Orleans comfort food with this jambalaya recipe. It's a mix of chicken, sausage, shrimp, veggies, and rice — brimming with Cajun and Creole flavors. Watch the video below to see how I make it in my kitchen!

Video

Ingredients 
 

Instructions 

  • Season the chicken. In a medium mixing bowl toss together the diced chicken with 1 tablespoon of Cajun seasoning, until evenly coated.
    Seasoning chicken for jambalaya
  • Cook the chicken. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large Dutch oven or wide-bottomed (and preferably deep) pot over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and saute until lightly golden and cooked through. Remove the chicken to a plate.
    Sauteing chicken in a pot for jambalaya
  • Cook the sausage. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil along with the sausage to the same pan and saute for a couple of minutes, until lightly browned on both sides. Remove the sausage to the plate with the chicken.
    Sauteing sausage in a pot for jambalaya
  • Saute the veggies. Add the onion, bell pepper, and celery, and saute for 4 to 5 minutes, until the veggies have softened. If you need to add a splash more oil feel free to do so.
    Adding veggies in a pot for jambalaya
  • Add the garlic and spices. Add the minced garlic, the remaining 1 tablespoon of Cajun seasoning, and the red pepper flakes to the pan. Stir together for 30 seconds.
    Sauteing veggies in a pot for jambalaya
  • Add the rice and liquid. Add the rice and toast with the veggies and spices by stirring for a minute. Then add the bay leaf, tomatoes, and broth. Give it a stir, bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low, and cover. Cook for about 7 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally just to make sure the rice isn't sticking to the bottom of the pot, until the rice is al dente. *see notes on rice below
    Mixing broth in a pot for jambalaya
  • Add the shrimp. Remove the bay leaf, add the shrimp to the pan along with the sausage and chicken, gently stir, cover, and turn off the heat. The shrimp will cook through in about 4 to 5 minutes, and all of the liquid should be absorbed by the rice. Taste the jambalaya and season with extra salt and pepper if you'd like.
    Adding shrimp into a pot of jambalaya
  • Garnish. Before serving, garnish with sliced green onions and chopped parsley.
    A big pot of jambalaya next to herbs

Lisa’s Tips

  • The variety of rice you use, along with the type of pot and stovetop temperature really impacts the cooking time and whether the rice goes soft and mushy, or if the grains stay fluffy. Basmati and jasmine rice can cook quickly, so I’d recommend checking on the texture at around 7 to 8 minutes. It’s best to stop when it’s al dente, as it will keep cooking when you add the shrimp and let it sit. If using parboiled rice or long-grain brown rice, you will need to cook the rice longer and add additional broth or water. 
  • Make sure to use a large Dutch oven or stock pot. This recipe makes a good amount, and it’s easier to stir in a large pot. 

Nutrition

Calories: 458kcal | Carbohydrates: 38g | Protein: 32g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 159mg | Sodium: 793mg | Potassium: 731mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 1261IU | Vitamin C: 30mg | Calcium: 84mg | Iron: 3mg
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Cajun
Keyword: Jambalaya, Jambalaya Recipe
Did you make this recipe?Mention @downshiftology or tag #downshiftology!

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About the author

Lisa Bryan

Lisa is a bestselling cookbook author, recipe developer, and YouTuber (with over 2.5 million subscribers) living in sunny Southern California. She started Downshiftology in 2014, and is passionate about making healthy food with fresh, simple and seasonal ingredients.

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Recipe Rating




77 Comments

  1. Man, this is some good stuff!! The recipe is very easy. Once you get all the prep done (which takes the most time), it goes real quick. I used diced tomatoes instead of crushed, and basmati rice (8 minutes did it) and it was fine. My spice-loving husband is in heaven. I’m not a fan of super-spicy, and while this was about as much spice as I can manage, I actually thought it was great. If you have spice-averse people, it may be worth cutting down on the cajun spice and/or the red pepper flakes. Or maybe have some sour cream on hand. But if you like Jambalaya New Orleans style, this is deliciousness!! Another winner, Lisa!

  2. I made this Jambalaya last night and my husband and I loved it. I cut it in half since there are just two of us. I used 3/4 cup Jasmine rice, and a whole can of low sodium chicken broth (1-2/3 cups), about half a can of fire roasted chopped tomatoes (didn’t have crushed). With these changes the texture and absorption were still perfect. I also substituted garlic chicken sausage for the andouille for lower fat, and increased the pepper flakes a little. I made Lisa’s Cajun seasoning — good stuff. I loved how you put the shrimp in last and turn it off. Will definitely make this again!5 stars

  3. I’m giving it a 5-star even though I haven’t made it yet, if need be I can rate again afterwards. I love jambalaya so what’s not to like??? Anyway, I’m making it tomorrow and going to share it with a neighbor, I already have your cookbook (just received ita few weeks ago) I’m looking forward to making it.5 stars

  4. This recipe was so much fun to make because you provide wonderful directions with pictures. The outcome was a delicious success. Thank you so much for making your site interesting and easy!5 stars

  5. For the rice I use a texmati, white, longrain mix. If you fry the rice in a little bit of olive oil until the white rice browns then you can add it to the mix and it won’t soften.

    Also under cook all of the meat and throw everything in a crockpot. Once the chicken is cooked through add the shrimp, the latent heat should cook it if you are in a hurry, and the rice will stay good for longer than people will let the pot have anything in it.

    This is best done if it is allowed to cook overnight so that the flavors properly blend.5 stars

  6. made this dish tonight..if you follow her insturctions it works out great the best jambalaya i had so full of favor thank you for the recipe5 stars

  7. I made this tonight for dinner and followed the recipe exactly. It was delicious. I made your Cajun spice blend as well. Served with cornbread. It was seasoned perfectly. This will be my jambalaya recipe from now on. Thank you for sharing your recipe.5 stars

  8. Amazing dish! My husband went for thirds lol I used Jazmine rice instead of the long rice listed and it still turned out great. The spice/heat level is perfect. Thank you Lisa for another wonderful recipe 🦐👍🏼5 stars

    1. Wonderful! I’m happy both you and your husband loved it. Going back for thirds is always a good sign, ha! ;)

  9. Great if you like raw shrimps, otherwise stir fry them just a little bit before adding them to the pot, especially if they’re not small.

  10. This is a fantastic recipe, and really easy to make – I would give it 10 stars, if I could! In addition to being a hit with my dinner guests, it was just as good the next day or two, as my work lunch.5 stars

  11. I think it fair to say my cooking skills are lacking in every department! This dish is so simple even I couldn’t mess it up, my girlfriend loves it, so am going to make it again tonight and as she likes Ocra (lady fingers) and going against my better judgement will be adding them🤢too
    Wish me luck!!!😂5 stars

  12. I made this recipe thinking my husband would love it, not so much for myself. It turned out that I loved it too! It was delicious on the same day and when reheated. It makes plenty with the perfect amount of seasoning/heat. I did use the Cajun Seasoning recipe Lisa provided.5 stars

    1. Wonderful! I’m so happy you both loved the jambalaya, Norma! And yes, it’s great when reheated as well. :)

      1. First time making Jambalaya came out Great, I’m feeling very good about it. Family tasted it, and loved it. Side of green beans and butter corn bread.5 stars

  13. great recipe, easy to follow and it came out great. Also love how your website allows you to shift serving size5 stars

  14. Made this for the first time. I was making it for my husband, thinking it is more of his taste than mine but I loved it just as much as him. The spices were right on: enough heat but not overpowering. It made for plenty of delicious leftovers for the 2 of us to enjoy. I used white basmati rice but had to simmer it 10 minutes longer than the recipe called for to get it al dente. A new favourite in our household!5 stars

  15. I made this yesterday and we ate on it for lunch and supper, then the same today. We absolutely love the creole seasoning! I had no idea what I was missing!
    I have an aversion to tomatoes with rice so I left the rice out (childhood trauma I guess, Spanish rice, even the thought makes me want to gag) I’ve always loved the idea of jambalaya until I see it has rice. Well, I’ve come to trust Lisa’s recipes so I dove in with no intention of adding rice. It was so delicious! I ended up today adding chopped kale to fill the rice void and it was amazing! This is going to be a favorite of ours!5 stars

  16. My 98 year old father in law said ”I like that one bite you get shrimp, the next bite maybe sausage, or chicken”. It was just the right seasoning without the red pepper flakes. Made it again for my husband with the red pepper flakes, perfect fit again!5 stars

    1. My husband and I really liked this. Next time, for our taste, I’ll reduce the red pepper flakes. I used Tony Chachere’s Creole seasoning. Will freeze half of what remains.4 stars

      1. I made this for my family today and we loved it!! We followed the recipe to a T for ours, and then we made another pot with just shrimp for our pescatarian daughter and it was great too! We will definitely be making this one again!5 stars

  17. I have never had jambalaya before making this recipe, I’m in love now! It was delicious. I had to use the chorizo sausage as my grocery store didn’t carry the andouille sausage, and I went with the parboiled rice. I also messed up and used diced tomatoes instead of crushed. I’m so excited to eat this for dinner again. I think this will be one of those dishes that’s better the next day as the flavour absorb into the food even more. 10/10 will be making his recipe again! Thank you for providing alternatives for some products so I could still make an amazing dish. I hope the next time I make this I can find the andouille sausage and use the proper tomato’s 5 stars

    1. I’m so thrilled you loved the recipe, Sam! Thanks for giving it a try. And yes, the flavor does taste even better the next day. Enjoy!

  18. Wow, thanks for sharing this recipe. My sister, who lived in US for a while told me about this dish and now I am really happy that I found the recipe. It looks amazing!

  19. This recipe came out delicious and was pretty easy to make. So flavorful and satisfying! Thanks for another home run Lisa. 5 stars

  20. Very tasty one pot meal! The spices are perfect, just enough heat. We did need to let the shrimp cook for a bit longer than the recipe says, but I may not have had the pot hot enough. This makes a ton, but it tastes even better the next day!5 stars

  21. delish! we had couple bowls and plenty of leftovers. I didn’t add the chicken and used fire roasted crushed tomatoes. ran out with regular paprika, sub it with some smoked paprika, chili powder in the blend and still turned out great. thanks!5 stars

  22. OMG…..this is so delicious!! I added only Shrimp in the Jambalaya as it’s Lent. Can’t wait to try with chicken and sausage as well. Thank you Lisa for another amazing recipe!! 💜

  23. I made this tonight. I had seconds and my husband had thirds. It was delicious. We have leftovers for several days. Super glad I made this for Fat Tuesday. 5 stars

    1. That makes me so happy to hear! You gotta know a recipe is good when you return for seconds and thirds, haha. Enjoy those leftovers Ash!

  24. Hi Lisa, I made this tonight for Fat Tuesday celebrations! The flavor is amazing. Next time I’ll adjust the rice/broth ratio just a bit, but my main question is…when do you add the chicken and the sausage?? At the very end, on the top with the shrimp? I read the recipe over and over and I’m missing that step. Thank you for another winner! 5 stars

    1. Yay, I’m so happy you loved the recipe Anita! And apologies for that confusion, it’s in step 7 and has now been fixed. :)

  25. Hi, Lisa-
    Just wanted to point out that the recipe for print does not include when to add the cooked chicken and sausage back to the pan. I reviewed the video and the website instructions to find the info (add with the shrimp). Making dinner now and hope it’s a winner! Thanks. I have really enjoyed your recipes!5 stars

    1. Hi Maureen – Sorry about that! It was fixed but caching prevented it from showing. Glad you found the answer on the video and website! And so happy you loved the jambalaya!

  26. Delicious!  We did have leftovers, but only because  as the recipe says it makes a lot.  I prepared all the ingredients before starting and the recipe came together nicely.5 stars

  27. Hello,
    I tried the jambalaya today. The aromas were amazing but when the time was done, it still had a lot of liquid. I used basmati rice. I have an induction stovetop. Does it have to cook longer? I tried to simmer a bit longer on low and then left it longer with the lid on once i turned it off but it still was very watery.

    1. Hi Andrea – did you use white basmati or brown basmati? What does the cook time say on the back of the package?

  28. Omg, this recipe was so good! My husband and I both went back for seconds. Thanks, Lisa for sharing it. And PS – the video really helped this first-timer to make it!5 stars

    1. I think it would be best to make the cauliflower rice separately (as per my recipe for that), and then stir it into the jambalaya at the end.

  29. Oddly, I make jambalaya every year after Thanksgiving to use up turkey leftovers. I basically make the same recipe as this but substitute the shredded turkey for the chicken. Not as traditional, but it is tasty!