Shortcut Chicken and Andouille Jambalaya / Katie Workman / / Photo by Cheyenne Cohen

What is Jambalaya?

One of the most classic dishes of Louisiana, and of New Orleans, Jambalaya is a wonderful, irrepressible medley of rice, sausage, chicken, sometimes pork or seafood, and vegetables (including the “trinity” – onions, green peppers, and celery). It is one of the most loved dishes of the region and for very good reason.

Easy Jambalaya Recipe / Katie Workman / / Photo by Cheyenne Cohen

A Brief History of Jambalaya

The folks at Zatarain’s, who know a thing or two about all things Creole and Cajun food, explain the history of jambalaya: Saffron was virtually impossible to come by in New Orleans in the 1780s, which meant Spanish colonists were unable to make their beloved paella. A mix of local seasonings was created, Andouille sausage evolved from sausages introduced to South Louisiana by German immigrants, chickens and seafood abounded, and so, jambalaya was created.

What is the Difference Between Jambalaya and Gumbo?

Jambalaya has rice mixed right into the dish, whereas Gumbo is served over rice. Both dishes might include sausage, chicken, and/or shrimp, not to mention a base of onions, peppers and celery. There are as many similarities as there are differences, and this — like all regional dishes with deep and varied roots — is but one take on jambalaya. And admittedly a shortcut take by a Northerner — but boy, it’s good.

Is Jambalaya Creole or Cajun?

Jambalaya can be either Creole or Cajun in its roots, and sometimes the lines get blurred. This one is a bit more Creole, with its reddish color coming from crushed tomatoes, and other Creole jambalayas often feature shrimp. Cajun versions of jambalaya trend to be browner in appearance, with no tomatoes.

Jambalaya Ingredients and Recipe / Katie Workman / / Photo by Cheyenne Cohen

The name comes from the Provencal word “jambalaia” meaning a mix or mashup, and reflects its unique blend of flavors. Creole seasoning and a healthy dose of cayenne pepper make this a dish that sits up front and center in your mouth, but you can tone down the seasonings as you wish.

Authentic Jambalaya Recipe / Katie Workman / / Photo by Cheyenne Cohen

Easy Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya

Chicken and sausage are very classic meats used to make jambalaya. Sometimes the meats are browned and then removed from the pan, and added back into the mix later after the vegetables are sautéed and the rice and liquid have been added. This is a nice step when you have the time, but in this shortcut version we skip it, and no one will be the wiser.

Jambalaya Rice / Katie Workman / / Photo by Cheyenne Cohen

Shortcut Chicken and Andouille Jambalaya: The classic Louisiana dish, but simple enough to make on a weeknight.

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Andouille Sausage in Jambalaya

Andouille sausage is the classic sausage used to make jambalaya. Even though the sausage is cooked, it still get browned in the pan.  This helps release it’s flavors into the pan, and therefore flavor the entire dish more fully.  Some andouille sausages are quite spicy so know your audience as you make your selection, and adjust the amount of Creole seasoning and cayenne accordingly.

Cajun Jambalaya Recipe / Katie Workman / / Photo by Cheyenne Cohen

What to Serve with Jamabalaya:

You can absolutely serve the Jambalaya on its own – it’s good protein, vegetables and starch all built right in, but these side dishes would pair up perfectly.

More One Dish Recipes:

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Shortcut Chicken and Andouille Jambalaya

The classic Louisiana dish, but simple enough to make on a weeknight.
Yield: 10 People
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour


  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 ½ pounds Zatarain's Andouille Smoked Sausage cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1 ½ pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 onions chopped
  • 2 green peppers cored, seeded and diced
  • 4 ribs celery diced
  • ½ cup sliced scallions or green onions, white and green parts
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 2 ½ cups long grain rice
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons Zatarain’s Creole Seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper or to taste (start with less if you are not into hot!)
  • 1 14-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 3 ½ cups chicken broth


  • Heat the oil in a very large deep saucepan over medium high heat. Cook the sausage for about 5 minutes until browned. Add the chicken and continue to cook until the chicken is lightly browned, but not cooked through, about 5 more minutes. Add the onions, peppers, celery, scallions, and garlic and sauté for another 5 minutes, until the vegetables have started to soften.
  • Stir in the rice,
    , and cayenne pepper and stir until the rice is well coated with the mixture. Add the crushed tomatoes and broth and stir well. Bring the mixture to a simmer, then lower the heat to low, cover the pan, and keep at a gentle simmer for about 25 minutes until the rice is tender and the liquid has been absorbed.
  • Stir well and serve hot.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 537.87kcal | Carbohydrates: 44.67g | Protein: 33.48g | Fat: 24.23g | Saturated Fat: 8.39g | Cholesterol: 100.02mg | Sodium: 1002.15mg | Potassium: 797.99mg | Fiber: 2.49g | Sugar: 3.53g | Vitamin A: 507.98IU | Vitamin C: 32.47mg | Calcium: 57.56mg | Iron: 2.61mg

The nutrition values are provided as an estimate. It is not intended as a substitute for the advice of a qualified healthcare professional.

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