Take a trip down the bayou with the best Jambalaya recipe for busy cooks! This smoky, meaty entrée will conjure warm evenings with a zydeco beat.

Jambalaya topped with chopped parsley on a plate

My chicken and sausage Jambalaya recipe is a Jambalaya Emeril would be proud of! Replete with four different kinds of meat, the Cajun “holy trinity,” and a handcrafted spice blend, this dish will certainly mix up your regular meal rotation.

Jambalaya is interesting enough to serve for dinner parties, especially when paired appropriately with okra and a baguette, and is down to earth enough for regular weekday dinners. To me, the meal calls to mind human resilience and innovation in the face of hard times, and the sometimes surprising rewards of creativity in the kitchen! (I’ve included a link below that gives more detail about the dish’s fascinating backstory.) I hope you too find some culinary inspiration from this recipe and share the results with good company!

If your family gets hooked on this fragrant Southern favorite, you might like my Easy Creole Sauce (which is delicious as an accompaniment served over this Jambalaya! **See Picture Below**) or my quick and easy Blackened Chicken recipe. Start a new tradition – Southern Sundays, Creole Christmas, or Single Pot Saturdays! And of course, let me know how it goes!

A pot of Creole Sauce and a plate of jambalaya


  • The Yummy mix of amazing authentic Southern flavors!
  • One pot Jambalaya makes for less cleanup <3
  • This simple Jambalaya recipe easy is enough for a weeknight and special enough for company.




What Is Jambalaya?

A rice, meat, and vegetable dish with French, Spanish, African, and Native American influences, the Jambalaya origin can be traced to New Orleans, Louisiana. It comes in two varieties, Creole and Cajun, which will be discussed in greater depth below. In brief, the Cajun Jambalaya recipe is made without tomatoes.

Spoonful of Jambalaya with a pot of jambalaya

What Ingredients Do You Need To Make Jambalaya?

“What’s in Jambalaya?” is the first question on many cooks’ minds as they scan their pantry! Jambalaya ingredients include butter, sliced Andouille sausage, cubed Tasso ham, cubed boneless chicken, yellow onion, a green bell pepper, diced celery, minced garlic, tomato sauce, chicken stock, converted rice, and canned tomatoes.

The smoky seasoning for this easy jambalaya recipe is made using dried sage, salt, black pepper, white pepper, cayenne pepper, bay leaves, dried thyme leaves, and chopped fresh parsley. If you recently tried my Chicken Lazone, you will have many of these spices on hand.

How Do You Make Jambalaya?

“How to make Jambalaya” is the next thing you need to know to plan for a successful cooking experience. My authentic Jambalaya recipe is completed in three steps.

First, you brown your meats, starting with the sausage and ham, adding the chicken after a couple of minutes, and finishing with the shrimp. Next, you cook the veggies for several minutes. Finally, the Jambalaya rice, tomatoes, and seasoning are boiled and simmered until any excess water is gone. All that’s left to do is garnish and serve!

Jambalaya topped with chopped parsley on a plate


A very special thanks goes out to Daddy LeDoux for all his help, consultation and generosity with this recipe.

Jambalaya topped with chopped parsley on a plate
5 from 2 votes

Jambalaya Recipe

Take a trip down the bayou with the best Jambalaya recipe for busy cooks! This smoky, meaty entrée will conjure warm evenings with a zydeco beat.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 -6
Calories 882 kcal
Author Kathleen


  • 3 Tablespoons Butter
  • 1/2 Pound Andouille Sausage, Sliced
  • 1/2 Pound Tasso Ham, Cubed into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 3/4 Pound Boneless Chicken, Cubed into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1/2 Pound Raw Shrimp, Peeled and Deveined
  • 1 1/2 Cup Yellow Onion
  • 1 Cup Green Bell Pepper Chopped
  • 1 Cup Celery Diced
  • 1 Tablespoon Garlic Minced
  • 1/4 Cup Tomato Sauce
  • 1 3/4 Cup Chicken Stock
  • 1 28 Ounce Can Whole Tomatoes, Including Juice
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Dried Sage
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 1/2 Teaspoon White Pepper
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 1 Teaspoon Dried Thyme Leaves
  • 1 1/2 Cup Converted Rice
  • 1-2 Tablespoons Fresh Parsley Chopped


  1. Melt the butter in a large, heavy bottom saucepan over high heat. Add the sausage and ham and brown, stirring constantly, about 3 minutes. Add chicken continuing to stir constantly and brown, scraping the bottom of the pan well, about 3 minutes. Be careful not to burn the meats; adjust heat as necessary. Add the shrimp stirring constantly, and cook 1-2 minutes, or just until the shrimp turn pink.
  2. Add the onion, green pepper, celery, and garlic. Sautee on medium heat until vegetables are soft about 8 minutes. Add the tomato sauce and continue to cook on medium, stirring often, for 1 minute.
  3. Stir in the chicken broth and whole tomatoes (breaking them up as you add them), sage, salt, black pepper, white pepper, cayenne pepper, thyme and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and cover pan with a tight-fitting lid, simmer until rice is tender and the liquid is absorbed about 20 minutes. Sprinkle top with parsley for garnish and Serve.

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Nutritional Information

Nutrition information will vary based on the specific products. To be safe, check the nutrition facts labels of your products. Optional object listed above have been left out of nutritional data.

Nutrition Facts
Jambalaya Recipe
Amount Per Serving (1 /4 of the recipe)
Calories 882 Calories from Fat 351
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 39g 60%
Saturated Fat 15g 75%
Cholesterol 157mg 52%
Sodium 2728mg 114%
Potassium 1389mg 40%
Total Carbohydrates 79g 26%
Dietary Fiber 5g 20%
Sugars 11g
Protein 48g 96%
Vitamin A 16.8%
Vitamin C 49.2%
Calcium 6.8%
Iron 13.7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Recipe Notes For Jambalaya:

Jambalaya Seasoning: Jambalaya spices provide the dish with its classic smoky flavor. Garlic, onion, bay leaves, sage, cayenne, and thyme infuse the rice with that characteristic Southern charm. For best results, blend the spices thoroughly in a separate bowl before sprinkling evenly over the ingredients in your saucepan.

Best Rice for Jambalaya: Converted rice is made from soaked, steamed, dried and milled brown rice. It is typically fluffier and drier. Here’s why we use converted rice in Jambalaya: the result is more firm and less sticky! Other rice varieties can yield a sloppy mess if you are not careful.

The Cajun Holy Trinity: This trinity will have you reaching for the utility knife instead of the holy water! Green bell pepper, onions, and celery make up the Cajun “holy trinity.” The omnipresence of these three staples – used in the base of many Louisiana-style dishes, from Jambalaya to Gumbo to Fricassee – rivals that of another famous Trinity! (Just kidding, friends.) Where NOLA Eats has a nice video tutorial on slicing and dicing the Cajun trinity.  Bless those fingers!

Tasso Ham: Tasso ham is a fatty and flavorful cut of hog shoulder. It might be difficult to locate at your local grocery store, but you can find it online or from a Cajun grocer. Regular ham, Canadian bacon, and Chorizo sausage are common substitutes.

How to Reheat Jambalaya: Reheat in an oven set to 300 degrees. Use an oven safe dish, sprinkle your with a couple teaspoons of chicken stock or water (too little and the rice will dry out; too much and the rice will become soggy), cover with aluminum foil, and cook for around 20 minutes. To reheat on the stove, set the heat to medium, add a couple teaspoons of chicken stock to a large saucepan, and stir occasionally. Simmer the mixture for a few minutes, until it is warmed all the way through.

Andouille Sausage: Andouille is a smoked pork sausage that originated in France. Like Tasso, it can be tricky to come by at your regular grocery. What is a good substitute for Andouille Sausage? Mexican chorizo, German bratwurst, and Polish kielbasa are the three typical alternatives.

A pot of Jambalaya topped with chopped parsley

Can You Make Jambalaya Ahead Of Time?

You can make Jambalaya a few days but not a few months in advance. This meal will keep for about four days in the fridge. Reheat the dish either on the stove or in the oven with a little-added chicken stock.

Can You Freeze Jambalaya?

The rice, shrimp, and vegetables will not fare too well in the freezer, so I do not recommend it. You could brown the sausage, ham, and chicken in advance, then take up the recipe at the end of step one when you are closer to serving time! The sausage, ham, and chicken will be okay in the freezer for a couple months. Remember to cool the meat before placing it in the freezer in order to avoid heating surrounding containers.

Scooping Jambalaya from a pot

What To Serve With Jambalaya:

What goes with Jambalaya is a matter of some debate. Some argue that this chicken and sausage Jambalaya is best served on its own! Others think that okra, a fresh spring or kale salad, a French baguette, or some candied carrots make a nice supplement to the spicy entrée.

Cajun Vs Creole Jambalaya:

An authentic Cajun Jambalaya recipe places more emphasis on heavy spice and animal fat, and typically comes in darker tones from the browned meat. (This is the version more likely to contain bits of deer, boar, crayfish, oyster, rabbit, or alligator!) Cajun dishes are commonly associated with country cooking.

Creole Jambalaya, in contrast, is more associated with city cooking and focuses instead on cream and butter. The Creole version also uses tomatoes, which give it a marked red tint. According to the New World Encyclopedia, Creole Jambalaya is the “original and more common” variety of this dish.

What Is The Difference Between Gumbo And Jambalaya?

Gumbo vs Jambalaya: these two dishes are commonly and easily confused! While Jambalaya is a rice-based meal, perhaps originally an imitation of paella, Gumbo is more of a stew served with rice. Gumbo’s rice is not cooked in the same pot with the rest of the ingredients. Both dishes do come in Cajun and Creole varieties, though!

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Adapted from: Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Louisiana Kitchen