Homemade Jambalaya is one of my all-time favorite dishes and the ultimate comfort food!

Simple ingredients including chicken thighs, andouille sausage, and shrimp are combined with rice and lots of seasoning for a beautiful dish. While the ingredients seem simple, the flavor of this dish is anything but!

plated Cajun Jambalaya with a bowl full beside it

What is Jambalaya?

When I travel I always take cooking classes and go on food tours to learn the culture of the foods from the region. I learned to make Jambalaya in New Orleans and along with gumbo, they’re two of my absolute favorites.

Jambalaya is a dish made with rice, sautéed vegetables, meat, and seafood. It can be cooked for an ordinary supper but is typically a celebratory meal or a dish prepared for large groups of people. As this is a cajun jambalaya it contains no tomatoes.

Cajun Jambalaya in a pot

Jambalya vs. Gumbo

Jambalaya and gumbo are totally different dishes.

Gumbo is a broth-based soup made with a roux and is thickened with okra (or file). It is often served over rice (and sometimes with a scoop of potato salad).

Jambalaya is a rice-based dish jam-packed with flavor from sauteed meats (in this case, chicken & sausage), a beautiful fond (brown bits in the pan) and great seasoning.

What’s in Jambalaya?

SEASONING A great seasoning is really important when making Jambalaya! You can use a premade seasoning or homemade Cajun Seasoning. I’m partial to Andy Roos seasonings because they pack a huge flavor punch without being overly salty. Depending on where you live, you might need to order them but I can assure you it’s worth it!

PROTEIN This recipe has chicken thighs, andouille sausage, and shrimp. The chicken and sausage are browned in oil to great tons of flavor in this dish. The shrimp is added at the very end and cooks from the steam from the rice to become perfectly tender.

VEGGIES Just like in our etouffee recipe, the veggies in this recipe are celery/onion/green pepper (aka the holy trinity).

How to Make Jambalaya

Jambalaya cooks the best right in a large skillet or Dutch oven, so it’s easy to make the whole dish in just one pot.

  1. Cook chicken & sausage until brown with a deep crust, this adds flavor! Avoid stirring until it’s deeply browned.
  2. Add onion, celery, & bell pepper and scrape up any brown bits.

close up of ingredients in pot to make Cajun Jambalaya

  1. Add garlic, seasonings, rice, & stir. Add broth, bay leaf, cover, & bake. Don’t be shy with the seasonings!

adding spices and rice to Cajun Jambalaya

  1. Add raw shrimp, green onions, & parsley to the hot cooked rice. Cover and rest (per recipe below- the shrimp will cook from the heat of the rice).

adding shrimp and green onions to Cajun Jambalaya

  1. Discard bay leaf & serve warm.


  • Keep Jambalaya covered in the refrigerator and it will keep about 4 days. Stir it well and reheat on the stove or in the microwave.
  • Freeze Jambalaya in zippered bags with the date written on the outside and it will keep about 2 months.

Cajun Jambalaya with a fork and bowl full of Cajun Jambalaya beside it


More Southern Favorites

Did your family love this Jambalaya? Be sure to leave a rating and a comment below! 

close up of plated Cajun Jambalaya
5 from 29 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
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Cajun Jambalaya

Loaded with seasoned shrimp, chicken, sausage, rice, & veggies, this Cajun Jambalaya is loved by all!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Rest Time 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Servings 6 servings
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  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 3 boneless chicken thighs cubed
  • ½ pound andouille sausage or smoked sausage, chopped
  • ½ small onion diced
  • 1 rib celery chopped
  • ½ green bell pepper chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon low sodium cajun seasoning I prefer homemade
  • 1 cup parboiled rice
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ pound raw shrimp peeled and deveined
  • 2 green onions sliced
  • 1 tablespoons parsley chopped


  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Heat vegetable oil over medium-high heat in a dutch oven or large oven-proof pot with a lid. Add chicken and sausage. Cook until you get a deep crust. Do not stir too much.
  • Add onion, celery and bell pepper. Cook 5 minutes scraping up any brown bits in the bottom of the pan.
  • Add garlic, seasoning, and rice and mix very well to ensure the rice is seasoned.
  • Add broth and bay leaves. Cover and bake 1 hour.
  • Remove from the oven, add raw shrimp, green onions, and parsley. Stir well, cover, and rest 15 minutes.
  • Discard bay leaves. Serve with french bread.
5 from 29 votes

Nutrition Information

Calories: 438 | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 27g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 182mg | Sodium: 972mg | Potassium: 444mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 801IU | Vitamin C: 18mg | Calcium: 91mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Chicken, Dinner, Entree, Main Course, Seafood
Cuisine American
close up of a plate of Jambalaya with a title
pot full of Jambalaya with writing
plated Jambalaya with a title
Jambalaya in the pot and plated with a title


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Holly Nilsson is the creator of Spend With Pennies, where she creates easy, comforting recipes made for real life. With a passion for nostalgic flavors and simplified techniques, Holly helps busy home cooks create delicious meals that always work. She is also the author of “Everyday Comfort,” which promises to inspire even more hearty, home-cooked meals.
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5 from 29 votes (25 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating


    1. If you enjoy okra I hardly think it would ruin the recipe, but I have not tried is in this recipe so I can’t say for sure.

    1. I have only tried the recipe as written Angie so I can’t say for sure how it would turn out. You could try leaving it on the stove at a simmer. If you try it I would love to hear how it turns out!

    1. I haven’t tried it so I can’t say for sure Angela, but that should be just fine. I would cook them on the side and add them in at the end. If you try it I would love to hear how it turns out!

  1. This has become my go-to Jambalaya recipe (after having tried several different recipes); the ingredients are easy to find, the flavour is exceptional, the texture is perfect (as in, the rice doesn’t get mushy),and it’s such a nice change to my repertoire!5 stars

  2. I just made this for dinner.. delicious! Everyone loved it and wanted the recipe Thank you for another great recipe :)5 stars

  3. I have tried many Jambalaya recipes; this is by far the most flavourful and easy to follow recipe! It will be my go-to Jambalaya recipe always.5 stars

  4. This Cajun Jambalaya recipe is delicious! Just had for dinner tonight and my husband said that it’s a keeper!5 stars

  5. This Jambalaya recipe is definitely a keeper! So easy to make and a hit with my husband. In place of chicken thighs, I used about 3 cups of cubed leftover rotisserie chicken, but other than that followed the recipe. Thanks for sharing this!

    1. Hi Joe, the first instruction is to preheat your oven to 350°F. Hope that is what you were looking for! Enjoy the recipe!

      1. So, put the raw shrimp in after its baked for an hour? No further cooking needed for the shrimp? Thanks

      2. Correct. The shrimp will cook from the heat of the rice while the dish rests. Enjoy Travis!