Easy, authentic Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya is a family favorite. Ready in 40 minutes! Boneless, skinless chicken thighs and smoked sausage are simmered with onion, bell pepper, and celery (trinity), rice, and lots of Cajun flavors. Perfect for any meal, this fantastic one pot dish is spicy, savory, and downright delicious!
Quick Notes: This post was originally published in May 2018. I updated the post with fabulous new pictures in January 2021. This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure statement for details. Thank you.
Welcome to My Kitchen Serenity! I'm very proud to share with you my cajun jambalaya recipe. This authentic chicken and sausage jambalaya is a family tradition.
Have you tried Blackeyed Pea Jambalaya? Also known as Hoppin John, this one-pot wonder is another staple recipe that's served any time of the year!
TIP: If you're looking for a great recipe with andouille sausage, then use it in this jambalaya recipe, or use it for my quick and easy red beans and rice!
Why I Love Making Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya from Scratch
My family loves it when I make this jambalaya! They say it's the best jambalaya recipe. I'm honestly not one to argue with that sentiment. This made-from-scratch recipe tastes superior to any boxed version, and it is ready for eating in under one hour!
I also love that this jambalaya recipe is completely packed with flavor and has all of the elements of a complete dish in a single, scoopable meal. I can make a batch at the beginning of week and be set with microwavable lunches or dinners all week long!
Made in just one pot, this Cajun recipe requires just a few simple ingredients, a little bit of prep and almost no clean up. This jambalaya is an easy weeknight dinner, potluck, office party, tailgate, or holiday meal.
TIP: If you're a fan of one-pot, one-pan meals, check out my Sheet Pan Cajun Chicken and Potatoes. It's very easy to put together and has lots of Cajun flavor.
History of Jambalaya
If you are familiar with Spanish cuisine, you might think that jambalaya is reminiscent of paella, and you'd be right! According to McCormick's, "Necessity was the mother of invention, and jambalaya was the result of attempts to make a variation of paella using ingredients available locally."
Since saffron wasn't available in Louisiana in the 1700s, settlers came up with a recipe that had some of the signature elements of paella - rice and animal protein - but used other ingredients that were specific to the region. The result, which we now know as Jambalaya, was a "jumble" of Spanish, French, West African, and Cajun influences.
"Like so many other great things, jambalaya is also the result of a collision of cultures. A single bowl reflects many of the numerous diverse cultures that planted roots in and around New Orleans in the 18th century."
While recipes for this popular rice and meat dish are as various as leaves on trees, this jambalaya recipe is based on my Dad's version. However, I tweaked the recipe a little, to make it my own version and to suit me and my family's taste preferences. We receive so many requests for this one!
Ingredients for Cajun Jambalaya
please scroll down to the printable recipe card for the full ingredient list
- Boneless, skinless chicken thighs - I highly recommend going with dark meat in this recipe. Thighs don't dry out as much as breasts do, and they are basically impossible to overcook.
- Spicy smoked sausage - I recommend Conecuh or Andouille sausage where possible. If you do not eat pork, feel free to substitute a beef or chicken sausage instead.
- Diced* trinity (onion, bell pepper, and celery) - I personally don't like chunky vegetables in my jambalaya, so I prefer smaller "diced" vegetables over the larger "chopped" vegetables. But if you prefer chunky, then chop on! You can also opt to use the frozen onion, bell pepper, and celery "seasoning blend" to get dinner on the table even faster. The frozen seasoning blend is a great shortcut that I often choose when needed.
- Canned diced tomatoes - If possible, get the kind with garlic, basil, and oregano already added. One less step for you! If you only have regular diced tomatoes available, add an extra ½ teaspoon each of dried garlic, basil, and oregano.
- Chicken broth - I use canned broth for convenience, but feel free to use homemade instead!
- Extra-long grain rice - Do NOT use instant rice, or you'll end up with a mushy mess. "Extra Long Grain" is best since it won't get sticky, but you can also use other popular kinds of long grain rice like jasmine or basmati instead.
- Cajun Seasoning - I prefer Tony Chachere's or Slap ya mama brands. You could use plain ole cayenne pepper, if you prefer.
- Parsley - I use dried parsley since I literally always have it in the pantry. You can substitute 3 tablespoons of fresh if you prefer.
- Basil - Like parsley, I always keep dried basil on hand. If using fresh, sub in 1 tablespoon for the dried.
- Remaining pantry ingredients: olive oil, garlic powder, salt, and pepper are pretty self explanatory.
How to Make Cajun Jambalaya with Chicken and Sausage
Be sure to follow the actual recipe card below while making this recipe as there are many tips and helpful information.
As with most recipes, getting the ingredients laid out and prepped before you begin cooking makes it simpler. And, if you have a helper, then it's even easier! My husband usually does all the chopping. 🙂
STEP 1: Add oil to a heavy 5-quart sauté pan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Sprinkle chicken pieces with some extra Cajun seasoning to taste. Brown the cut-up chicken that has been seasoned for 3-5 minutes. Do not cook the chicken through. Remove chicken from pot and set aside.
STEP 2: Add the sliced sausage to the pot and brown for 5 minutes. Then add the onion, bell pepper, and celery. Mix well and scrape bottom of pan to remove and incorporate any browned pieces of chicken and sausage. Cover and simmer on medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking.
STEP 3: Add the tomatoes, broth, and seasonings. Mix well and taste for seasoning. Adjust salt as necessary, then return the chicken back to the pot.
TIP: Since you haven't yet added the rice, you want the broth to taste a little salty. The grains will soak up the flavor!
STEP 4: Add raw rice and mix well. Bring mixture to a boil, cover, and lower heat to medium-low. Simmer for 10 minutes and then stir mixture to bring rice to the top.
STEP 5: Cover and lower heat (very gentle simmer) and cook another 30 minutes or until rice is done.
TIP: Do not lift the lid while the jambalaya is cooking, as the rice needs to absorb all the liquid!
Serve this chicken and sausage jambalaya with buttered, toasted french bread and you've got yourself a winning plate of authentic Cajun bliss. Enjoy!
Alternative Method: Recipe can be doubled and baked in the oven at 350 for 1 hour. The pan needs to be covered tightly with heavy duty aluminum foil.
Looking for a little something different? Try my black-eyed pea jambalaya! Made with ham, sausage, and canned black-eyed peas for a super easy one-pot, one-pan "Hoppin John." A must-have food for New Year's Day!
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you make Jambalaya the day before?
Yes! In fact, some say jambalaya tastes even better the next day! This recipe will keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
How do you keep Jambalaya rice from getting mushy?
Mushy rice is the worst! The key to avoiding mushy rice in your jambalaya is using Extra Long Grain Rice or Long Grain Rice. It remains separate and firm even after absorbing the liquids. I use Riceland Extra Long Grain Rice. I've also used Zatarain's Long Grain Rice with great results. Both available now on Amazon.
Can I use frozen veggies?
Absolutely! I'm all for time saving tricks, and that's one of the easiest ones around. Check your freezer aisle for frozen chopped trinity (also marketed as "seasoning blend") and get dinner on the table in a flash.
What's the difference between gumbo and jambalaya?
While there are some similarities in the ingredients, the main takeaway is that gumbo is more of a stew that is often served over rice, and jambalaya is a rice based dish. Gumbo also calls for the making of a roux, which we don't require for jambalaya. It also often uses filé powder and okra, both of which are omitted from jambalaya.
Need more dinner inspiration? Check out these other tasty recipes:
If you tried this Cajun Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya recipe, please rate and review it below so I know how it turned out. If you’d like more recipe inspiration delivered straight to your inbox, you can sign up for my email newsletter below.
Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya
- Sharp kitchen knife
- Cutting board
- heavy, 5-qt pan with lid
- measuring cup(s)
- measuring spoons
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1" chunks
- 1 pound smoked, spicy sausage (such as conecuh or andouille), cut into 1" discs
- 1 cup diced onion (see recipe Note for time-saving step)
- 1 cup diced bell pepper (see recipe Note for time-saving step)
- ½ cup diced celery (see recipe Note for time-saving step)
- 1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes with basil, garlic & oregano
- 1 14.5-ounce can chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon dried parsley
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon cajun seasoning (Tony Chachere's or Slap Ya Mama)
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups uncooked, extra long grain rice (or long grain) do NOT use instant rice
- In a heavy 5 qt saute pan over medium-high heat, add olive oil and brown the cut up chicken that has been seasoned with Tony's (NOTE: this is not the amount in the ingredient list; simply sprinkle the cut-up chicken with a little [or a lot] Tony's) for 3-5 minutes. Do not cook the chicken through. Remove chicken from pot.
- Add the sliced sausage to the pot and brown for 5 minutes. Then add the onion, bell pepper, and celery. Mix well and scrape bottom of pan to remove and incorporate any browned pieces of chicken and sausage. Simmer covered on medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking.
- Return chicken to pot and add the tomatoes, broth, and seasonings above. Mix well and taste for flavor. Add raw rice and mix well. Bring mixture to a boil, cover, and lower heat to medium-low. Simmer for 10 minutes and then stir mixture to bring rice to the top.
- Cover and lower heat (very gentle simmer) and cook another 30 minutes or until rice is done. Do not lift the lid while the jambalaya is cooking.
- Alternative Method. Recipe can be doubled and baked in the oven at 350 for 1 hour. The pan needs to be covered tightly with heavy duty aluminum foil.