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Bold and full of Cajun flavor, make your own Mardi Gras at home. My whole family loves this jambalaya recipe. I love making it on weekends when we want to have something spicy and fun to enjoy. It’s easier than you think to make this wonderful dish!

Best Jambalaya Recipe

What makes the best jambalaya recipe? I’d say fresh shrimp, andouille sausage, okra, Cajun spice, and the holy trinity (green bell peppers, onions, and celery). And this recipe has them all. It only takes 20 minutes to prep and the rest is patient waiting on your part until this meal is ready. That’s the hardest part too since your house will smell so good you’ll be drooling!

Easy Jambalaya Recipe

This is an easy jambalaya recipe with sausage and shrimp that even a beginner can make. However, it does require time and patience. I’d say it wouldn’t be ideal to make on a busy weeknight because it takes 20 minutes just to prep and a full hour from start to finish. And while the ingredient list is lengthy, you’ve likely got most of it in your kitchen right now.

Jambalaya Ingredients

  • Rice – the base of jambalaya, which should be long grain white rice.
  • Andouille sausage – spicy and delightful, it is essential for sausage jambalaya.
  • The holy trinity – you can’t call it “jambalaya” without green bell peppers, celery, and onions!
  • Canned crushed tomatoes – adds that signature red hue.
  • Cajun seasoning – so you get that spicy, Cajun jambalaya recipe flavor.
  • Shrimp – adds another dimension of flavor from the sea and necessary for any shrimp jambalaya recipe. Seafood jambalaya is the traditional way of making the dish and is delicious!
  • Okra – perhaps the most perfect veggie for jambalaya.
  • Jalapenos – gives it more spice.
  • Jambalaya seasoning – thyme, bay leaves, and crushed red pepper bring out all the flavors of jambalaya.

How do you Make Jambalaya from Scratch

First you’ll brown the sausage. After that, you’ll remove it from the pan and then add the bell peppers, celery, onion, jalapeno, and garlic to sauté. Then add the crushed tomatoes, chicken stock, rice, and seasonings. You’ll let it simmer, then cover it until the rice is mostly cooked through. That’s when you’ll add the shrimp and okra. Finally, you’ll add the sausage back and serve while hot.


Expert Tips and Tricks for the Perfect Jambalaya Every Time

  • Don’t just dump everything in at once. I know it’s tempting, but jambalaya isn’t like that. You need a layering of flavors. To achieve that, sausage is browned first and then removed. Then the aromatics. Then the liquids and rice. And finally the shrimp and okra.
  • Gently scrape the bottom when browning. With the sausage and the aromatics, you’re building up layers of flavor. Then when you add the liquids, it will all come together, coming off the bottom and making for an amazing taste.
  • Stir it enough but not too much. About every 5 minutes, come back and stir your jambalaya so the rice doesn’t stick when it cooks.

How to Cook Jambalaya

Want to make an authentic jambalaya recipe? Easy, here is how you do it. You’ll brown the rice, add the aromatics, add the liquids, add the rice, and then finish it off with shrimp and okra. It couldn’t be easier to hop this train to Flavor-town!

What is usually in jambalaya?

Andouille sausage, bell peppers, celery, onion, long grain white rice, shrimp, chicken stock, crushed tomatoes, and Cajun seasoning are some of the main ingredients that are often used to make jambalaya.

What is the primary ingredient in jambalaya?

There are many ingredients in jambalaya, but rice is the main one. It is a rice-based dish that has other flavor enhancers added in. 

What type of rice is best for jambalaya?

Long grain white rice is the best rice to use for a jambalaya rice recipe. If you have basmati rice, that will work too. Avoid anything that is short grain for it will become mushy.

Do you cook rice before adding to jambalaya?

No, the rice cooks in the liquids you add to the jambalaya. It soaks up all the flavors from the spices and aromatics.

Does authentic jambalaya have tomatoes?

The Creole version of jambalaya tends to have tomatoes. This is what gives it that nice, red color to a Louisiana jambalaya recipe.

What type of meat is used for jambalaya?

While there are many recipes for jambalaya out there where you can add chicken and other options, andouille sausage is the standard. Additionally, this recipe adds fresh shrimp to round out the seafood jambalaya recipe. However, a chicken jambalaya or chicken and sausage jambalaya recipe is equally as delicious and always a crowd favorite.

Does jambalaya use a roux?

No, you do not make a roux for jambalaya. That would be gumbo!

What is the difference between gumbo and jambalaya?

When it comes to gumbo vs jambalaya, both are delightful Cajun dishes, however the difference is in where the rice is. With gumbo, rice is cooked separately and the gumbo is served in a bowl with a scoop of rice in the center. With jambalaya, the rice is cooked in the same pot.

What is the difference between Cajun and Creole jambalaya?

The difference comes down to the hue you see. When it has a reddish appearance, it’s considered Creole. A brown hue denotes a Cajun style of jambalaya.

Should jambalaya be wet or dry?

Unlike gumbo, jambalaya should be more dry. It shouldn’t be like dust though, but it’s not supposed to look like soup.

Is jambalaya supposed to be soupy?

No, it should be more like a saucy rice. If yours comes out with a soupy texture, make sure you’re adding enough rice.

How do you keep jambalaya rice from getting mushy?

You should make sure you use long grain rice to keep it from turning to mush. Also, your jambalaya should follow the measurements in this recipe so that you use the right amount of liquid.

What goes well with Jambalaya

Jambalaya is a one-pot meal of epic proportions. Still, you’ll want to serve something with it. Cornbread, corn on the cob, sauteed green veggies, or even a garden salad will all complement your jambalaya well.

How to Store Jambalaya

Jambalaya needs to be kept in an airtight container in the fridge. Allow it to cool first before packaging it up.

How Long Does Jambalaya Last?

In your fridge, you’ve got up to 4 days to make use of that jambalaya. If you can’t finish it all, you may want to turn to your freezer.

Can You Freeze Jambalaya?

Yes, you can surely freeze jambalaya, however, it will not taste as good as it did when it was fresh. Make sure you remove all excess air before freezing.

How to Reheat Jambalaya?

From your freezer, you’ll want to let it thaw in the fridge overnight. Then heat it on the stovetop, adding just a little broth or water to keep it from drying out.

Watch How To Make Jambalaya (Video)

Classic Jambalaya Recipe

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 10 servings
Calories 578
This homemade jambalaya recipe is my new favorite recipe to make for potlucks and events! I've perfected this easy recipe with my family and its packed with unique bold Cajun flavors that will have your family raving!


  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lb andouille sausage (sliced into rounds)
  • 3 bell peppers (diced)
  • 2 celery stalks (diced)
  • 2 jalapenos (seeded and minced)
  • 1 white onion (diced)
  • 6 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 15oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup uncooked long grain white rice
  • 2 1/2 tbsp cajun seasoning
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 lb raw large shrimp
  • 1 1/2 cup okra (sliced)
  • green onion (garnish)
  • salt (to taste)
  • pepper (to taste)


  • Over medium high heat in a large pan, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil and sauté the sausage for about 5 minutes, occasionally stirring. Once the sausage becomes lightly browned, transfer to plate a set aside.
  • Next, add the remaining olive oil to the pan and add the bell peppers, celery, jalapeño, onion, and garlic, sautéing for 6 minutes or until softened. Once the onions are softened, add in the crushed tomatoes, chicken stock, rice, cajun seasoning, thyme, crushed red pepper, and bay leaf and stir to combine. Cook the mixture until it reaches a simmer, then cover the pan and simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the rice is cooked through. Be sure to stir every 4-5 minutes or so, so that the rice does not burn.
  • When the rice is nearly cooked through, add the shrimp and okra, stirring occasionally until the shrimp or cooked. Discard the bay leaf and remove from heat. Garnish with green onion and serve hot.
Calories: 578kcal
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American


Calories: 578kcal | Carbohydrates: 69g | Protein: 33g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 155mg | Sodium: 1717mg | Potassium: 2294mg | Fiber: 14g | Sugar: 31g | Vitamin A: 3504IU | Vitamin C: 113mg | Calcium: 318mg | Iron: 11mg

More jambalaya recipes:

There are several misspellings of jambalaya, but the correct way to spell it is “Jambalaya”.

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Author Megan Miller

I’m a mom of two, food and wine lover, and recipe creation enthusiast. Good food brings families together. Which is why I’m devoted to sharing my best recipes that are simple enough for even the beginner cook that your family will love!

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