Chicken Jambalaya

Try this tasty recipe for hearty chicken jambalaya. Chicken, spicy andouille sausage and vegetables are slowly simmered with tomatoes, rice and broth.

A serving dish and two bowls of chicken jambalaya with crust bread broken on the side

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One pot meals are among some of my favorites. The fewer dishes I have to wash, the more time I have in the evening to spend curled up under a blanket with a good book. Chicken jambalaya is one such meal. Dump everything into a big stock pot and 15 minutes later … voila! A delicious dinner with a New Orleans flair.

What’s the difference between jambalaya and gumbo?

Jambalaya and gumbo are both traditional Louisiana dishes. They often contain similar ingredients such as chicken, sausage, seafood and rice. Gumbo is a thick stew that uses a roux as its base, is slowly simmered for a couple hours and is served over rice. Jambalaya, on the other hand, does not require a roux. It’s a rice dish, similar to a Spanish paella, in which the rice is cooked in the same pot along with the rest of the jambalaya ingredients.

Ingredients and tools needed to make chicken jambalaya

The great thing about a jambalaya is that it’s easily adaptable to your preference. I’ve seen jambalaya recipes that include pork, shrimp and even crawfish. These are the basic ingredients I used to make this simple chicken jambalaya recipe.

  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1-pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs cut into cubes
  • 1 pound sliced smoked or andouille sausage
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 cup diced green bell pepper
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 28 ounces diced tomatoes – Many years ago, I attended a food bloggers conference in New Orleans where I learned the biggest distinction between Cajun and Creole food was the addition of tomatoes. Creoles used tomatoes in their cooking. Cajuns could not afford them. If you don’t like tomatoes, it’s okay to leave them out.
  • 2 cups long grain white rice
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 ½ teaspoons sugar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • A large stockpot or Dutch oven
collage of ingredients needed to make chicken jambalaya

Brown the chicken and sausage

I prefer to cook my chicken thighs and sausage in a little cooking oil beforehand to draw out the fats and develop the flavor of the meat and vegetables. Combine the chicken and sausage in a large stockpot and cook over medium heat until the chicken pieces are cooked through. Using a slotted spoon, remove the chicken and sausage from the pan and set aside, but leave behind the grease.

cooked diced chicken and smoked sausage in a stockpot.

Sauté the vegetables

Louisiana dishes frequently include a vegetable mixture known as “the trinity.” Similar to a mirepoix in French cooking, the trinity includes diced onion, celery and green bell pepper. Add these ingredients to the reserved fat left over from cooking the sausage and chicken. Continue to sauté for 5-7 minutes until the vegetables are tender. Add two teaspoons of minced garlic and cook for an additional 30 seconds.

diced onions, celery and bell pepper after being sauteed.

Add the rice and remaining ingredients

Return the chicken and sausage to the pot with the vegetables, along with the diced tomatoes, rice, thyme, Worcestershire sauce, chicken broth, and sugar. Bring the broth to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover the pot and simmer for 15-20 minutes until the rice is tender. Remove the pot from the heat and allow it to sit for 10 minutes. Then fluff the rice with a fork before serving. My husband likes to add a little hot sauce to his jambalaya for added heat.

Storage, Freezing and Reheating

Storage. Allow any leftover jambalaya to cool completely. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator within two hours. Consume within four days.

Freezing. It is safe to freeze leftover jambalaya. However, I don’t recommend it. The rice will take on a mushy, gummy texture once it’s thawed. If you absolutely insist on freezing it, allow the jambalaya to cool completely, then store in an airtight container or freezer bag. Consume within three months. Thaw completely before reheating.

Reheating. The easiest way to reheat chicken jambalaya is in the microwave. Cover the dish and heat at two-minute intervals, stirring in between, until the rice is heated through. You could also reheat in a saucepan on the stove at very low heat, as the rice will want to stick to the pan. If you reheat this way, stir frequently. Finally, jambalaya can be reheated in the oven by placing it in a covered casserole dish and reheating at 250 degrees for 30 minutes to one hour.

Frequently asked questions

Can I use a different type of sausage?


I love using spicy andouille sausage in any Cajun or Creole dish. But if may be harder to find in your area if you live outside the South. Smoked sausage is a perfectly acceptable substitute. Turkey sausage links can also be used.


Can I use chicken breasts instead of chicken thighs?


I prefer chicken thighs because I feel like they have more flavor. However, you can also use chicken breasts.


Can I use quick cooking or minute rice instead of long grain?


No. Quick cooking or minute rice here will not hold up to the long cooking time needed for this recipe.


Can I make this in a slow cooker?


Yes, with some modifications. Add all the ingredients except the rice to the slow cooker and cook on low for 4-5 hours or on high for three hours. In the meantime, cook the rice separately and add it to the slow cooker during the last 15-20 minutes of cook time.

white bowl of chicken jambalaya with a pan, hot sauce and crusty bread in the background

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white bowl of chicken jambalaya with a pan, hot sauce and crusty bread in the background
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5 from 8 votes

Chicken Jambalaya

Try this tasty recipe for hearty chicken jambalaya. Chicken, spicy andouille sausage and vegetables are slowly simmered with tomatoes, rice and broth.
Course Entree, Main Course
Cuisine American, Cajun, Creole
Cook Time 15 minutes
Resting time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 8 people
Calories 392kcal
Author Lisa B.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs cubed
  • 1 pound smoked or andouille sausage sliced
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 cup diced green bell pepper
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 28 ounces diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups long grain white rice
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 ½ teaspoons sugar
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Heat the oil in a large stockpot over medium heat.
  • Add the chicken thighs and sausage to the pot and cook until the chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes. Remove the chicken and sausage from the pot and set aside. Reserve any remaining grease in the pot.
  • Add the onion, green bell pepper and celery. Sauté until the vegetables are tender, about 5-7 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds.
  • Return the chicken and sausage to the pot.
  • Add the tomatoes, rice, thyme, Worcestershire sauce, chicken broth and sugar. Bring the broth to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover the pot and simmer for 15-20 minutes until the rice is tender.
  • Remove the pot from the heat and fluff the rice. Allow the jambalaya to sit for 10 minutes.
  • Season with salt and pepper before serving.

Video

Notes

Storage, Freezing and Reheating
Storage. Allow any leftover jambalaya to cool completely. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator within two hours. Consume within four days.
Freezing. It is safe to freeze leftover jambalaya. However, I don’t recommend it. The rice will take on a mushy, gummy texture once it’s thawed. If you absolutely insist on freezing it, allow the jambalaya to cool completely, then store in an airtight container or freezer bag. Consume within three months. Thaw completely before reheating.
Reheating. The easiest way to reheat chicken jambalaya is in the microwave. Cover the dish and heat at two-minute intervals, stirring in between, until the rice is heated through. You could also reheat in a saucepan on the stove at very low heat, as the rice will want to stick to the pan. If you reheat this way, stir frequently. Finally, jambalaya can be reheated in the oven by placing it in a covered casserole dish and reheating at 250 degrees for 30 minutes to one hour.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 392kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 97mg | Sodium: 488mg | Potassium: 412mg | Fiber: 1.2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin C: 7.6mg | Calcium: 46mg | Iron: 2.9mg

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12 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I made this for dinner last night and it was the bomb! Got rave reviews from the family!

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