Authentic Jambalaya

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This is easily one of our all-time favorite NOLA dishes.

Even if it’s not Mardi Gras when you’re reading this, when you make this recipe, you’ll feel like you’re down in the French Quarter having this amazing bowl of pure goodness! It’s so good and is even better the next day! 

A large oval blue Dutch oven filled with jambalaya with a wooden spoon inserted into the mixture.

How To Make Jambalaya at Home

There are just so many things to love about this classic dish.

And don’t worry, if you don’t like shrimp then leave it out! Same with the sausage or chicken!

All of the components do come together to make a dish that is really authentic in taste and texture, and not hard to make at all!

 

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The Difference Between Cajun and Creole Jambalaya

This dish is very popular in Louisiana and you’ll find different family recipes all across the state.  There really are two major categories, however. Cajun vs. Creole.

Cajun typically has a smokier taste and does not usually include tomatoes. Often, the proteins are cooked first, and then on the Cajun holy trinity of vegetables: Onion, green bell pepper, and celery.

Our version includes three types of protein: Chicken, sausage, and shrimp, which is common in the Creole version. Creole also usually includes tomatoes, which our includes, as well.

It’s similar to the mix of culture and tastes down Louisiana way…so vibrant and diverse and just so much flavor. The history of jambalaya is as fully textured and colorful as the dish itself.  Just incredible!

EXPERT TIP: We love using uncooked Andouille sausage links for our recipe. If you can’t find raw andouille sausage, you can usually find smoked sausage in most well-stocked supermarkets. The smoked sausage is already cooked so all you need to do is brown the slices in your pot. For raw, you’ll need to cook the sausage first, either on the grill or in a hot skillet.

Sear the chicken, remove it, and then give the cooked sausage a quick brown in the pot. The shrimp goes in right at the end of the cooking process.

A large oval blue Dutch oven sitting on a stovetop with seared chicken thighs in it and then the same pot with seared slices of Andouille sausage in it.

For the shrimp, we like large, extra-large, or even jumbo.

We don’t recommend leaving the tails on because they can get in the way when guests dig into a serving, but that’s a matter of personal taste. 

If you can find gulf shrimp, go for it! Authentic and so delicious.

You’ll stir in the shrimp during the final 15 minutes of cooking the jambalaya.

A person pouring uncooked shrimp in a blue Dutch oven that is filled with cooked rice, tomatoes, and seasonings.

How To Serve and Store

This recipe will easily feed 8 to 12 people, depending on how hungry they are and what else you are serving. It’s great for a Mardi Gras party, watching the big game, or a delicious Sunday night dinner.

We serve it right out of the pot with some warm crusty bread and lots of Louisiana-style hot sauce.  A cold beer is certainly a nice addition, too. 

EXPERT TIP: As mentioned, the dish is even better served the next day. Store in an air-tight container in the fridge and then heat it up on the stove, adding another ½ cup or so of chicken broth to loosen it up.

A white bowl filled with Louisiana jambalaya with a fork sitting on the side of the dish.

Other Classic Louisiana Dishes

Some of these dishes are Creole, some are Cajun, some are famous in New Orleans, but all of them are downright delicious.

In the meantime, aren’t you craving some made-from-scratch jambalaya? Woo hoo!

A blue Dutch oven filled with jambalaya with shrimp, sausage, and chicken.

Folks, you may not be able to make it down to Mardi Gras or the Big Easy anytime soon, but that doesn’t mean you can’t bring it home to your kitchen.

This dish is always a crowd favorite and sure to get lots of cheers of joy when you serve it to friends and family.

There is just something magical about this incredible Louisiana classic dish.

Only thing better? A little Louisiana hot sauce drizzled on top of the steaming bowl of yumminess!

A person pouring hot sauce from a bottle onto a helping of jambalaya in a white bowl next to pieces of French bread.

Ready to make the best dish this side of the bayou? Go for it!

And when you do, be sure to take a photo of it, post it on Instagram, and tag @HowToFeedaLoon and hashtag #HowToFeedaLoon!

A white dinner bowl filled with shrimp and sausage jambalaya next to a bottle of Louisiana hot sauce and a mug of beer.

Authentic Jambalaya

Well, it doesn't get much better than this amazing jambalaya recipe! Classic Louisiana flavor. We love using chicken, andouille sausage and shrimp. Along with the other spices and aromatics that make this an-all favorite dish. So good!
4.92 from 12 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Entree
Cuisine: Cajun, Creole, Louisiana
Keyword: authentic jambalaya recipe, how to make jambalaya, New Orleans cuisine
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Searing chicken and sausage: 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories: 552kcal

Equipment

  • Large pot, such as an 8 qt Dutch oven

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb chicken thighs boneless, skinless
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 lb andouille sausage fully cooked and sliced into rounds (SEE NOTES)
  • 1 yellow onion chopped
  • 1 large green bell pepper cored, seeded and chopped
  • 3 celery ribs chopped
  • 1 jalapeno cored, seeded, and chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp hot sauce i.e., Louisiana, Tobacco, Crystals
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme chopped (or 1 teaspoon, dried)
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 28 oz. can whole tomatoes crushed with your hands, liquid reserved
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • cups long-grain rice we use white
  • 1 lb shrimp peeled and deveined
  • 2 tbsp parsley fresh, chopped, for garnish (optional)

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees°F.
  • Season chicken with salt and pepper.
  • In a large heavy pot, preferably a Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat.
  • Add the chicken pieces and sauté until browned, about 5 minutes. Remove from pot and cut into bite-size pieces. Set aside.
  • Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in the pan over medium-high heat.
  • Add the cooked sausage and cook until starting to brown, about 4 minutes.
  • Add all remaining ingredients, except for the shrimp and cooked chicken. Add 2 tsp of salt and 1 tsp black pepper. Stir to fully combine.
  • Cover and cook in the oven until the rice is nice and tender, about 1 hour.
  • Remove from oven and stir in the shrimp and cooked chicken. Return to the oven (covered) for 15 minutes. The shrimp should be nice and pink, if it doesn't look fully cooked, return to the oven for another 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Stir with a wooden spoon and garnish with fresh parsley, if desired. Serve at once with additional hot sauce.

Notes

See the video near the top of the blog post for visual guidance.  If you liked the video, please subscribe to our YouTube channel
We recommend not adding super cold chicken stock to the mixture, this will take longer to heat through.  Either gently heat the stock/broth on the stove, or add room temperature stock/broth.  If you do add cold stock/broth, you will probably need to increase the bake time by another 15 to 20 minutes to fully cook the rice.  Do a taste test on the rice to determine this. 
We love to make this recipe with raw andouille sausage that is in links.  You can find this easily in the Southern U.S. states and in many well-stocked supermarkets or meat markets.  You'll need to cook the sausage before starting this recipe.  We love to grill ours, or cook it in a hot skillet with a little water.   If you can't find fresh (raw) andouille sausage, you can usually find it already smoked (and fully cooked) in the refrigerated area of your market near other smoked sausages and hot dogs. No need to cook smoked sausage, just slice it and then brown it as instructed in the recipe. 
Reheat leftovers in a pot on the stove with the addition of a half to 1 cup of broth or water. 
Leftovers will keep covered in the fridge for up to 1 week and it freezes nicely for up to 2 months. 

Nutrition

Calories: 552kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 16g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 107mg | Sodium: 791mg | Potassium: 572mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 618IU | Vitamin C: 25mg | Calcium: 41mg | Iron: 2mg
Tried this recipe? Take a Picture!Mention @HowToFeedALoon or tag #HowToFeedALoon!

POST UPDATE: This recipe was originally published in February 2015, but was updated with improved tweaks to the recipe with new tips and photography and a fabulous new video in February, 2022!

38 Comments

  • 5 stars
    This was amazing. I was trying to cook quickly and noticed it needed an hour. I added the rice and cooked at a simmer for 20 minutes then added shrimp for extra 5 minutes. Came out perfect. Also added 1 T of Worcestershire sauce. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe. My family loved it 🙂

    • Hi Brandon! Sounds like you prepared this perfectly! The addition of Worcestershire sounds fantastic! Thank you so much for sharing and for the great review. This means the world to us! All the best, Kris & Wesley

  • 5 stars
    Holy Jambalaya! This was fabulous. The flavor was excellent packed with a little heat. After some of the comments I was concerned that maybe it would take a little longer for the rice to cook. But the time was perfect for my oven. I had forgotten to get the andouille sausage. All I had was a few links of chorizo. It actually was good! This makes a huge batch of jambalaya so we will have left overs. I got the idea for this dinner on my weekly meal ideas from your premium access site. Some great inspirations there for dinners for me. I was getting tired of cooking the same things. Thank you for another great recipe! My husband is loving the Loon recipes. He just doesn’t know my secret yet LOL.

    • Hi Diane!! Woo hoo for Jambalaya!! We are so so happy you had such great success with the recipe! And chorizo sounds wonderful! We’ll try that next time!! Thank you so much for sharing and for the wonderful review. That means the world to us!! Kris & Wesley

  • 5 stars
    Thank you for sharing this delicious recipe. This is the best jambalaya I’ve ever had! Easy to prepare and love the flavor and heat will make this one of my favorites.

    • Hi there!! This makes us SO HAPPY! We love making jambalaya and it thrills us so much when friends make this recipe and love it, too!! Thanks for letting us know and for the wonderful review. That means the world to us!!! Stay in touch! Kris & Wesley

    • Hi Lise, you could pre-cook the rice before cooking, but we’d recommend reducing the liquid by a cup of two. We’ve adjusted the timing a bit and increase the amount of stock, which will ensure the rice is cooked perfectly! Let us know if you make the jambalaya and how it turns out! Thanks!! Kris & Wesley

  • 5 stars
    Today is Mardi Gras so sadly as I won’t be on Bourbon Street this year I tried this recipe and WOW. I’ve tried tons of jambalaya recipes and they’ve always missed the mark but wow all the flavors are definitely here. The rice could have stood to be cooked a few minutes longer but that may be my oven. I used bacon fat instead of olive oil because I was feeling extra “Gras” and that took it to another level. This is my new go to.

    • Hi Dee! So sorry for the delayed response! We’ve been dealing with the arctic blast issues here in Texas!! We are so thrilled you loved the jambalaya so much!! And couldn’t be happier that it allowed you to celebrate Mardi Gras in some form!! And your modifications sound great!! Thanks so much for letting us know and for the wonderful review…that means the world to us!! All the best, Kris & Wesley

  • I couldn’t find any Tobacco hot sauce, so I crumbled in half a Marlboro light. Tasted a bit sweet somehow? I got a bit lightheaded after my second serving (sometimes spicy food does that to me), but I couldn’t stop eating it! Probably going to make it again tomorrow. Excellent recipe!

    • Hi Natasha! That is SO AWESOME to hear that you had success with our Jambalaya recipe. Woo hoo! Hope you had a wonderful Mardi Gras and THANK YOU SO MUCH for the great review! Please stay in touch! All the best, Kris & Wesley

  • 5 stars
    Best jambalaya recipe I have yet to make! I got the andoulli sausage from butcher at the local grocery store here in California. I have never been to New Orleans but this recipe makes me want to make the trip. One thing I didn’t notice the recipe mention was when to add smoked paprika so I assumed it’s with the other spices. Overall saving this recipe for sure.

  • Sounds great but one question.Is the shrimp raw or already cooked? I don’t want overcooked shrimp. Thanks so much.

    • Hi April! We put the shrimp (uncooked) into the pot, and mix it up with the jambalaya, in the last 5 to 10 minutes of cooking. Be sure to cover, and place back in the oven for 5 to 10 minutes. Remove and let sit for 15 minutes. This will cook the shrimp perfectly without overcooking them. We definitely recommend checking to make sure the shrimp is fully cooked before serving. If you’re using extra-large shrimp, it may need to stay in the oven a tad longer. Hope this helps, and let us know if you make it. We LOVE this jambalaya!

  • I made this exactly as the recipe read but after an hour and 15 minutes the rice was still crunchy. I had to keep adding stock so I’m wondering if the 2 cups of stock was just not enough. I did use white rice as well. The flavors were amazing but the crunchy rice not so much.

    • Hi Glenda! Oh no!!! We are so sorry to hear you had an issue with the rice. Long grain white rice should have been okay. We’ll re-visit and re-test! Thank you for letting us know! All the best, Kris & Wesley

    • Nina!! You just made us more happy than you’ll ever know!! That’s awesome and we are so happy you and the family love it!! Huge WIN!!! Thanks again and stay in touch!! Best, Kris & Wesley

  • 5 stars
    This recipe is soooo good. Could tell from the rich color, reminded me of the time I had it New Orleans. Will be making again and inviting more people over to share the wonderful dish.

      • Hi Greg, best way would be to re-heat in an oven set at 300°F. You might add a few splashes of stock before you put it into the oven, just to keep it nice and moist. In a pinch, the microwave works, too!!

    • That’s awesome to hear, Greg! We are so glad you liked our jambalaya recipe! It’s one of our favorite dishes and perfect for Mardi Gras! And thank you so very much for letting us know. That really means the world to us. Please stay in touch! Best, Kris & Wesley

  • Great recipe that allows lots of room to riff off of it! Have made it twice with some variations, partly because we are on vacation and didn’t have all of the ingredients. Keep the good flavors coming lads.

    • Hi Geoff!! Thanks so much for letting us know and we are so happy that you are having success with the recipe. We LOVE jambalaya so much!! Stay in touch, lots more to come!! All the best, Kris & Wesley

  • 5 stars
    I am a researcher that spends hours looking at recipes to find the BEST! And hands down, this was the best! I made your recipe as written with the exception of replacing the red wine vinegar with wine and it was exceptional! Your site is FUN and your recipes are wonderful, I plan on making more of them.

    • Connie!! You have no idea how happy that makes to hear! We are THRILLED you had great success with our Jambalaya recipe! We just love good jambalaya, especially when you make it at home! And thank you so much for your kind message, it means the world to us. Please stay in touch!!! All the best, Kris & Wesley

  • 5 stars
    THIS looks AMAZING! I have searched so many of these online and they do not include jalapeno. Why wouldn’t jalapeno be included?? It’s a spicy dish! This seems like the perfect Jambalaya recipe! Cannot wait to try it and I will update my review!!! Thanks so much! Cheers to you both!

    • Thank you so much!! We absolutely LOVE Jambalaya, and we really thank you will like this recipe, too! It does have a bit of a kick to it, and you’re right…It’s jambalaya for goodness sake…it needs some heat! Cheers to you and please let us know how it turns out!! All the best, Kris & Wesley

  • This was delicious! Very easy to make. I made it the day before I was wanting to serve it, to allow all of the flavors to combine. I added 2 additional cups of chicken broth, and baked it until hot. The 2 of us have enjoyed it, it’s better every day!

    • Hey Sara!! Thank you so much! Yes! Shrimp, of course, is a wonderful addition, and very common. Have you tried any other kind of fish in jambalaya? We’d be interested to know. Thanks again, and please stay in touch! Best, Kris & Wesley

  • 5 stars
    Delicious! Had to cook on the stove for a while after taking it out of the oven — the rice didn’t cook in the oven. Also found that it came out quite spicy for us – We used a pretty spicy andouille so that probably added to the heat! Next time I’d cut the cayenne in half or maybe even eliminate it. I will definitely use this recipe again!

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