Instant Pot Jambalaya is a faster and easier way to cook up this Cajun favorite at home. Made with chicken, andouille sausage, and rice, you can have a flavorful meal on your table in just 40 minutes. This is a fantastic pressure cooker recipe to add to your weekly rotation or to serve up for Mardi Gras.

A bowl of traditional Instant Pot Jambalaya is served in a white bowl with a spoon.

Instant Pot Jambalaya Recipe

Cajun and Creole food isn’t just for Louisiana natives. This spicy and flavorful Instant Pot Jambalaya recipe is so satisfying and surprisingly easy to make.

The chicken and sausage come out juicy and tender in a fraction of the time. The rice cooks up SUPER quickly since it is pressure-cooked instead of simmered on the stovetop. (It’s quite a bit faster than this traditional Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya!)

Not to mention all of those incredible Creole and Cajun flavors! The holy trinity of bell peppers, onion, and celery are the base for a spicy and herbaceous tomato-based broth reminiscent of an authentic New Orleans-style dish.

If you close your eyes and take a bite, you just might find yourself transported to bustling Bourbon Street with jazz playing on every corner.

Since this recipe makes enough to feed a crowd, it’s perfect for meal prepping and freezing leftovers for later. Or, you can always host a Mardi Gras party and share it with friends!

Chicken thighs, sausage, onions, peppers, celery, broth, rice, tomatoes, seasonings are the ingredients in this recipe.

Ingredients

  • Chicken. For moist and flavorful meat, opt for boneless, skinless chicken thighs. Skinless chicken breasts will work, but ensure they are cut the same size so they cook evenly. Also, breasts will turn out drier and not as tender as thighs.
  • Sausage. To get that authentic Cajun kick, opt for spicy andouille sausage. However, if too much spice is an issue, regular sausage slices will work, but you will miss out on some traditional flavor from the spicy sausage. The Aidell’s brand sausage is my go-to! 
  • Rice. For a traditional jambalaya, stick with white, long grain rice. Other types of rice, like basmati or jasmine rice, have an aromatic flavor that will overwhelm the Cajun flavors. Steer clear of short or medium grain white rice or the jambalaya will end up mushy. And don’t forget to rinse the rice well before cooking! If you sub brown rice for the long-grain white, be sure to adjust the amount of liquid and time accordingly. Cauliflower rice will get quite mushy.
  • Holy Trinity. In Louisiana, the holy trinity is the combination of onions, celery, and green bell pepper in a dish. Don’t leave any of these out!
  • Canned Tomatoes. Just about any variety will work—diced, regular, or fire-roasted. Go for the fire-roasted for the most flavor.
  • Cajun Seasoning. Any brand from the grocery store, or homemade Cajun seasoning, will work. You might see Creole seasoning. Vary amount used to the desired spiciness. Blackened Seasoning will do if you want flavor with less spice.
  • Herbs. A mix of dried herbs enhances the flavor of the dish. Traditionally, bay leaves, basil, and oregano work best. However, parsley or thyme can be substituted. 
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How to Make Instant Pot Jambalaya

Please see the recipe card below for more detailed ingredient amounts.

1. Cut and Cook Sausage

Add one tablespoon of oil to a 6-Quart Instant Pot and set to sauté. While oil heats, cut sausage links into bite-size slices.

Carefully place raw sausage into the pot (beware of popping oil) and cook the sausage for about five minutes, or until it is browned on both sides. Remove from the pot and let the sausage drain on a paper towel-lined plate.

2. Cut and Cook Chicken

Leave the Instant Pot on the sauté setting and add another tablespoon of oil. Cut chicken into uniform, bite-sized pieces. Smaller chunks of chicken will cook more evenly.

Add the chicken to the oil and cook for about three minutes, rotating the chicken so it is cooked on all sides. Searing the chicken will lock in juices and ensure tender meat. Remove the chicken from the pot and place the pieces on a paper towel-lined plate.

3. Sauté and Deglaze

Finely chop one small sweet onion, one bell pepper, and three stalks of celery. Add vegetables to the oil and sauté for two minutes. When onions become translucent, add garlic to the mix and continue to sauté for one more minute.

Pour chicken broth into the pot and thoroughly scrape the bottom. Those crispy bits are full of flavor so you want to incorporate them into the dish. Also, anything stuck to the bottom of the Instant Pot could set off the dreaded “burn error,” so make sure to avoid this!

4. Add Ingredients

Be sure to rinse your rice well, then pour it into the pot with the garlic and vegetables. Toss in the sausage, chicken, canned tomatoes, Cajun seasoning, herbs, salt, and pepper. Mix everything together. If subbing brown rice, ensure enough liquid is present.

Seasonings, rice, sausage, chicken, and bay leaf are added to the pressure cooker.

5. Pressure Cook in Instant Pot

Place the lid on and ensure the pressure valve is turned to the sealing position. Set the Instant Pot to cook for five minutes, then allow a natural pressure release of five minutes. Open the pressure valve and continue with a quick pressure release.

6. Serve and Enjoy!

Dish the jambalaya up, top with fresh parsley, and enjoy! If you don’t have fresh parsley, that is fine, the jambalaya is full of flavor already.

FAQs

What is the difference between Cajun and Creole jambalaya?

While Cajun and Creole food are similar, there are subtle differences. Typically, if the jambalaya is brown, it’s Cajun, and if it’s reddish-orange, it’s Creole. Historically, Creole food is from New Orleans while Cajun is from Southwest Louisiana.

Does jambalaya always have rice?

Yes, jambalaya always has rice—it is essential to the dish. It’s often confused with gumbo, where rice is optional as a side.

What is typically in jambalaya?

Jambalaya is most commonly a rice dish served with sausage (usually andouille), chicken or pork, and sometimes seafood—commonly shrimp or crawfish.

Recipe Tips

  • Rinse until clear. Run the rice under water until it is clear to get light and fluffy grains instead of a clumpy mess.
  • Good sear. Ensure the oil is hot before adding the sausage and chicken so the meat gets a good sear. This will lock in the juices and keep the meat tender.
  • Scrape to release. Removing the stuck-on pieces from the bottom will prevent a burn message.
  • Mix just enough. Make sure the ingredients are mixed together, but keep the tomatoes from the bottom of the pot. If the tomatoes rest on the bottom, the jambalaya will be too thick and you might get a burn error.
  • Adjust the spice. This recipe is easily adjustable! For those that want extra spice, add in more Cajun seasoning. If serving to kids or those that don’t want spicy dishes, limit or omit the Cajun seasoning and use Blackened instead.
A white bowl is filled with Cajun Jambalaya made in the instant pot.

What to Serve with Jambalaya?

While one of the perks of jambalaya is that it can be a one-bowl meal, there are some side dishes that would go great.

Add some veggies with Roasted Asparagus (or Air Fryer Asparagus), Air Fryer Broccoli, or Sautéed Green Beans.

You don’t want to miss some Honey Jalapeño Cornbread, either.

Other Classic Cajun Recipes

If you can’t get enough Cajun flavors, whip up any of these dishes next.

Tap stars to rate!

5 from 2 votes

Instant Pot Jambalaya Recipe

Instant Pot Jambalaya is a faster and easier way to cook up this Cajun favorite at home. Made with chicken, andouille sausage, and rice, this flavorful meal is on your table in just 40 minutes.
Yield 8 servings
Prep 25 minutes
Cook 20 minutes
Total 45 minutes

Ingredients 

  • 2 Tbsp. oil divided
  • 12 oz. andouille sausage cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 lb. chicken thighs cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 green bell pepper finely chopped
  • 1 small sweet onion finely chopped
  • 3 stalks celery finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves finely minced
  • 1 ¾ cups broth chicken
  • 1 ½ cups long grain white rice rinsed and drained
  • 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes regular or fire roasted
  • 2 tsp. Cajun seasoning to taste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ¾ tsp. basil dried
  • ¾ tsp. oregano dried
  • 1-1 ¼ tsp. salt to taste
  • ½ tsp. black pepper to taste

Instructions 

  • Sear the Sausage: Add 1 tablespoon of oil to a 6-quart Instant Pot set to the sauté function along with the cut sausage. Sauté for 4-5 minutes, or until browned. Remove from the pot and let drain on a paper towel-lined plate.
    12 oz. andouille sausage, 2 Tbsp. oil
  • Sear the Chicken: Add another tablespoon of oil to the pot along with the cubed chicken and sauté for 2-3 minutes, or until browned on both sides. Remove from the pot and let drain on a paper towel-lined plate.
    2 Tbsp. oil, 1 lb. chicken thighs
  • Sauté the Veggies: Add bell pepper, onion, and celery. Sauté for 2 minutes. Add garlic and continue sautéing for another minute.
    1 green bell pepper, 1 small sweet onion, 3 stalks celery, 4 garlic cloves
  • Add Everything to the Pot: Pour in broth and scrape the bottom of the pot to ensure there are no bits or pieces stuck. Stir in the sausage, chicken, white rice, diced tomatoes, Cajun seasoning, basil, oregano, salt, black pepper, and bay leaf.
    1 ¾ cups broth, 1 ½ cups long grain white rice, 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes, 2 tsp. Cajun seasoning, 2 bay leaves, ¾ tsp. basil, ¾ tsp. oregano, 1-1 ¼ tsp. salt, ½ tsp. black pepper
  • Pressure Cook: Close the lid and make sure the pressure release valve is in the sealed position. Set the Instant Pot to high pressure for 5 minutes. Allow a 5 minute natural pressure release before opening the pressure valve.
  • Serve the jambalaya with a sprinkle of finely chopped fresh parsley and enjoy!

Tap stars to rate!

5 from 2 votes

Video

Notes

Prep-Ahead Instructions:

Chop the vegetables up to 2 days in advance. Cut the meat into bite-size pieces no more than 1 day in advance.

Storage Directions:

Place jambalaya in an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to 3-5 days. To freeze, seal in an airtight, freezer-safe container. Place in the freezer for up to 3-4 months. To reheat, allow jambalaya to thaw in the fridge, then warm in a skillet with a bit of oil at medium heat for the best results.
Recipe Tips
  • Rinse until clear. Run the rice under water until it is clear to get light and fluffy grains instead of a clumpy mess.
  • Good sear. Ensure the oil is hot before adding the sausage and chicken so the meat gets a good sear. This will lock in the juices and keep the meat tender.
  • Scrape to release. Removing the stuck-on pieces from the bottom will prevent a burn message.
  • Mix just enough. Make sure the ingredients are mixed together, but keep the tomatoes from the bottom of the pot. If the tomatoes rest on the bottom, the jambalaya will be too thick and you might get a burn error.
  • Adjust the spice. This recipe is easily adjustable! For those that want extra spice, add in more Cajun seasoning. If serving to kids or those that don’t want spicy dishes, limit or omit the Cajun seasoning and use Blackened instead.

Nutrition

Calories: 401kcal, Carbohydrates: 35g, Protein: 23g, Fat: 19g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 9g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 90mg, Sodium: 1025mg, Potassium: 531mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin A: 966IU, Vitamin C: 19mg, Calcium: 62mg, Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Made this recipe?Leave a comment below!

5 Secrets to Healthier Family Dinners
Tips & recipes for getting yummy — and healthy — meals on the table.

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