This Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya recipe is a family favorite! It’s an authentic Louisiana recipe but is secretly so easy to make at home. Full of andouille sausage, seared chicken, the holy trinity, and tons of Cajun and Creole seasoning, it’s the perfect one-pot meal for any weeknight and makes an amazing Mardi Gras recipe.

A Dutch oven full of a sausage Jambalaya recipe for a Cajun Mardi Gras party.

Cajun Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya Recipe

Even though I’m a native Texan, Cajun blood runs deep within my veins.

My feet start tapping when a song I know comes on, the dance floor always calls my name, and I am a HUGE fan of Dirty Riceblackened shrimpjambalaya, and sausage gumbo.

Every year we visit my Mom’s side of the family who lives outside of New Orleans for Christmas. And every Christmas we “Texas-folk” get to experience authentic Cajun cooking.

My Nanny will order in catering from this incredible restaurant down the street and we will all pig out on crawfish etouffée and chicken and sausage jambalaya.  

And that’s exactly how this recipe was created—after decades of tasting what TRUE and AUTHENTIC Cajun jambalaya tastes like, and dozens of rounds of recipe testing.

This is a jambalaya recipe that’s made with a good bit of spice from the andouille sausage and Creole seasoning, has some tomato flavor, and tender grains without being too mushy.

It’s by far the best I’ve found—and yes, even better than Creole Jambalaya from New Orleans’ most famous restaurants!

What is Jambalaya?

Jambalaya is a rice dish with different types of meat, usually lean chicken and smoky sausage, along with veggies and seasoned with Cajun or blackened spices. It is a staple in Creole cooking in Louisiana, specifically in favorite restaurants in the New Orleans area. Different types of jambalaya will have a variety of ingredients, but the result is always a flavorful and spicy rice dish, somewhat reminiscent of Spanish paella.

Chicken, sausage, celery, onion, bell pepper, garlic, broth, rice, and Cajun spices are the main ingredients for this dish.

Ingredients

  • Chicken. One pound of skinless chicken thighs are cut into ½-inch cubes. You can sub in boneless skinless chicken breasts if preferred.
  • Sausage. Bite-sized pieces of andouille sausage add a spicy kick. You can leave the chicken and sausage out and replace with tofu for a vegetarian option.
  • White Rice. Make sure you use a long grain rice that is white and not brown. Brown rice requires more liquid and will not fully cook.
  • Holy Trinity. A combination of celery, onion, and green bell pepper are sautéed together to give this jambalaya its base of flavor.
  • Seasonings. Fresh garlic, dried basil, thyme, and cayenne pepper make up an authentic Cajun seasoning mix. You’ll also want bay leaves, oregano, kosher salt, and black pepper.
  • Broth. Regular sodium chicken broth was tested in this recipe. If you are watching your sodium intake you can use reduced sodium broth and adjust the salt to taste. Stick with vegetable broth for a vegetarian jambalaya.
  • Tomatoes. You’ll need a combination of canned diced tomatoes and tomato paste to give additional umami flavor.
5 Secrets to Healthier Family Dinners
Tips & recipes for getting yummy — and healthy — meals on the table.

How to Make Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya

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

1. Cook the Sausage

Add one tablespoon of olive oil to a large Dutch oven or pot over medium heat. Then, carefully place the sausage in the pot in a single layer. A few overlapping is okay, but avoid this as much as possible for a crispy edge.

Cook the sausage for 3 to 4 minutes, just until browned. Flip, and cook another 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the sausage from the pot with a slotted spoon.

Sausage is cooked in a Dutch oven.

2. Cook the Chicken

Add the last tablespoon of oil to the pot. Then, place the cubed chicken in. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes WITHOUT flipping or moving. This gives the chicken a nice sear.

Flip the chicken and continue cooking for a total of 5 to 6 minutes. The chicken needs to be browned on all sides, but it’s okay if it’s not cooked all the way through.

Remove the chicken from the pot to the plate with the sausage.

Chicken is cooked in a Dutch oven.

3. Sauté the Veggies

Place the bell pepper, onion, and celery in the pot and sauté for 2 minutes. Stir in the garlic. Sauté for one more minute.

The holy trinity of onion, bell pepper, and celery is cooked in a Dutch oven.

4. Add the Ingredients and Simmer

Pour the broth into the pot, being careful of splashing. Use a spatula or wooden spoon to scrape the bottom of the pan to remove any stuck brown bits or pieces.

Add the white rice, diced tomatoes, Cajun seasoning, basil, oregano, salt, black pepper, and bay leaf. Return the chicken and sausage to the pan. Give everything a good stir.

Turn the heat to high and let everything come to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the pot with a lid, and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes.

Recipe Tip

Make sure you rinse the rice thoroughly under running water for 1 minute before using. This helps to prevent it from clumping together.

All of the ingredients are added back into the Dutch oven.

5. Serve the Jambalaya

Remove the lid from the pot and let the jambalaya rest for another 5 to 10 minutes. Carefully remove the bay leaves and stir the mixture.

Top with some fresh parsley when ready to serve.

Jambalaya is filled with rice, chicken, and sausage and seasoned with Cajun spices.

FAQs

What is the difference between gumbo and jambalaya? 

Both gumbo and jambalaya are Louisiana favorites with very similar flavors and ingredients. However, the main difference is that gumbo is made from a roux and has more of a stew texture while jambalaya is a rice dish, similar to Spanish paella.

Can you freeze jambalaya? 

While you can freeze jambalaya, note the texture will change upon thawing. Often, the rice will end up mushy while the veggies will get soggy. However, it is definitely safe to freeze it if needed.

Is jambalaya healthy? Spicy? 

While jambalaya isn’t necessarily a low-calorie dish, it’s still relatively healthy because it contains veggies and lean meats. Jambalaya can be quite spicy, depending on the ingredients and spices used.

Recipe Tips

  • Join the dark side. Chicken thighs are best in this recipe for their extra flavor.
  • DIY. Make your own homemade Cajun seasoning so you can customize the spice level.
  • Leave it alone. Be sure to let the jambalaya rest for 5 to 10 minutes after cooking so the rice can soak up all the extra juices.
  • Find it. Don’t forget to remove the bay leaf before serving!
Chicken and sausage jambalaya is served in a white bowl.

What to Serve with Jambalaya?

Jambalaya is hearty enough that it can absolutely be a meal on its own. However, if you’d like a few more vegetables, here are some side dish ideas to try.

Keep it easy with Air Fryer BroccoliAir Fryer Carrots, or Air Fryer Zucchini.

You can also choose a salad, like Massaged Kale Salad with Avocado or Lemon Arugula Salad.

Roasted Cauliflower or an Air Fryer Baked Potato are delicious, too.

More Classic Cajun Recipes

Want a few other easy recipes for Creole food? You might also enjoy these authentic dishes.

Tap stars to rate!

5 from 6 votes

Cajun Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya

This Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya recipe is a family favorite! It's an authentic Louisiana recipe but is secretly so easy to make at home.
A Dutch oven full of a sausage Jambalaya recipe for a Cajun Mardi Gras party.
Yield 8 servings
Prep 30 minutes
Cook 30 minutes
Total 1 hour

Ingredients 

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

Instructions 

  • Cook the Sausage: Add 1 tablespoon of oil to a large Dutch oven or pot over medium heat. Once heated, add the sausage in as close to single layer as possible. Cook for 3-4 minutes, or until browned, flip, and then brown the other side for an additional 3-4 minutes. Remove the browned sausage from the pot and let drain on a paper towel-lined plate.
    2 Tbsp. oil, 12 oz. andouille sausage
  • Cook the Chicken: Add the remaining tablespoon of oil. Once heated, carefully add the cubed chicken. Cook for 2-3 minutes, undisturbed, in order to get a crusty sear. Flip over and continue cooking for a total of 5-6 minutes, or until browned on all sides. Remove from the pot and let drain on the paper towel-lined plate with the sausage.
    2 Tbsp. oil, 1 lb. chicken thighs
  • Sauté the Veggies: Add the 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 the Rice, Seasonings, and Tomato: Pour in the broth and scrape the bottom of the pot to ensure there are no bits or pieces stuck. Stir in the white rice, diced tomatoes, Cajun seasoning, basil, oregano, salt, black pepper, and bay leaf. Carefully add the chicken and sausage and stir to combine.
    1 ¾ – 2 cups chicken broth, 1 ½ cups long grain white rice, 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes, 2 Tbsp. tomato paste, 2 tsp. Cajun seasoning, 2 bay leaves, 1 tsp. basil, 1 tsp. oregano, 1 ¼ tsp. salt, ½ tsp. black pepper
  • Bring to Boil then Simmer: Turn the heat to high and bring everything to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium-low, cover the pot with a lid, and cook for 20-25 minutes.
  • Serve the Jambalaya: Remove the lid and let rest, uncovered, for another 5-10 minutes. Remove the bay leaves, give everything a good stir, and serve with additional chopped fresh parsley. Enjoy!

Tap stars to rate!

5 from 6 votes

Video

Notes

*This recipe was updated January 8th, 2024.
**If you prefer firmer rice, use less broth. If you like softer grains, use more.
Prep-Ahead Instructions
You can cut the veggies and chicken a day early; simply keep tightly wrapped in the fridge until you’re ready to cook.
Storage Directions
Leftover jambalaya will last for up to 3-4 days if stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator or up to 4-6 months in the freezer. Reheating rice dishes can be a bit tricky. The best way to warm up leftover jambalaya is to add it to a large pot or skillet with a bit of oil and a touch of water. Warm it up slowly over medium-low heat until it is heated through. You can also warm up it up in the microwave in a microwave-safe dish.
Recipe Tips
  • Join the dark side. Chicken thighs are best in this recipe.
  • DIY. Make your own homemade Cajun seasoning so you can customize the spice level.
  • Leave it alone. Be sure to let the jambalaya rest for 5 to 10 minutes after cooking so the rice can soak up all the extra juices.
  • Find it. Don’t forget to remove the bay leaf before serving!

Nutrition

Calories: 399kcal, Carbohydrates: 36g, Protein: 23g, Fat: 18g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g, Monounsaturated Fat: 8g, Trans Fat: 0.1g, Cholesterol: 91mg, Sodium: 1005mg, Potassium: 601mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 4g, Vitamin A: 924IU, Vitamin C: 20mg, Calcium: 67mg, Iron: 3mg

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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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I love this recipe but noticed it’s been updated. I would like the previous version or listing if available please.

    1. Hi Jose! Only a few small adjustments were made to the amount of liquid and spices so it should taste very similar!

  2. Hello, the previous version of the recipe was so good! Could you please provide the old listing of ingredient and their amounts please?

    1. This recipe is being updated with only minor ingredient amount changes to hopefully give you a dish where the rice isn’t so smushy!

  3. 5 stars
    My husband is from Louisiana and he raved about this recipe. It’s only the two of us so I reduced everything by half except the seasoning. He is already asking me to make it to take to work. Thank you for a great recipe!

    1. Yay! So happy to hear you enjoyed the recipe, Traci! That’s so awesome to hear a native of LA loved it. Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment and rating!

  4. This recipe says the salt and pepper are “divided”, yet the instructions do not call out the two places that the salt and pepper should be added. It only calls out one place, when all the seasonings are added. Should ALL the salt and pepper be added at that point? Please clarify.

    1. Yay! So happy to hear you enjoyed the recipe! I love the smell, too. Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment and rating!

      1. I use chicken sausage no salt chicken stock no worvhchesticher sauce and it cut the sodium level way down used my other no salt spices and it was healthier and very very delicious!!!

  5. 5 stars
    WOW to this Jambalaya I am a firehouse cook and this received thumbs up from all firefighters. We will enjoy this dish often the only change made was we added about 1 1/2 pounds of shrimp at the very end and slightly more spice “But we like it hot”

    1. Yay, Ruby!! I’m so happy to hear that you and the gang enjoyed it so much. I bet the extra spice really gave it some good flavor. Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment and rating! 🙂

  6. Made this tonight. I seasoned the thighs and breasts with Tony’s and Garlic powder, then fried the thigh skins just to add more flavor, I removed them, then followed the recipe, sort of. I was out of tomato paste, so I used tomato sauce, and I added a bay leaf. I also used Venison and Pork smoked sausage from Rabbideaux’s in Louisiana. Topped with green onions. It was delicious!

    1. Oh man that sounds incredible, Dawn! I bet the sausage was incredible in there. Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment!

  7. 5 stars
    I have made this twice and it is going into the regular dinner rotation. The second time we cooked the rice separately and it was just as delicious and would work as a low/no carb variation.

    1. That’s such a great idea, Beth!! So happy you’ve enjoyed the recipe so much that it made your dinner rotation. Thanks for your comment and rating 🙂

    1. Yay, Tori!! So happy you enjoyed the recipe. Thanks so much for your comment and rating 🙂