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Creole Jambalaya Recipe

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This hearty Creole jambalaya brings the bold flavors of the South right to your table! Tender chicken thighs, spicy andouille sausage, and succulent shrimp are cooked with bell peppers, diced tomatoes and long grain rice to create a one-pot meal with your favorite Louisianna flavors. 

An authentic jambalaya recipe in a skillet.

This chicken, shrimp and sausage jambalaya is like a Mardi Gras party in your mouth!

Smoky sausage and meaty shrimp along with the celery, onion, and bell peppers– the vegetable medley known as the “holy trinity” of Cajun cooking– combine with tender rice for an epic meal that will wow in both flavor and texture. 

With a similar flavor profile as our Louisiana creole gumbo, our version combines classic Creole cooking ingredients for a hearty meal with robust flavors. 

Creole Jambalaya vs. Cajun Jambalaya

Both Cajun and Creole foods have French and Spanish influences, and both versions start out the same. But the main difference between the two comes down to the ingredient list.

Creole jambalaya usually adds seafood elements and fresh tomatoes to the one pot meal. Because of the addition of tomatoes, you can usually distinguish this version as a red jambalaya.

Meanwhile, a Cajun recipe results in a version that’s noticeably brown thanks to a dark roux that most recipes typically call for. 

Traditionally, it is cooked in a huge pot or large Dutch oven in a layered form– first the meat at the bottom of the pan, then the vegetables and other flavor add-ins, and lastly, the rice. It might remind you of a Spanish paella, but with a slightly different flavor profile.

It’s definitely one of those one-pot recipes that’s a must-try when visiting the New Orleans area, but you can easily bring those flavors to your very own kitchen with this easy recipe. It’s appropriate any time of the year, Mardi Gras or not!

A creole seafood jambalaya in a bowl with a fork.

Why This Recipe Works

This is a one-skillet wonder that will fill you up and satisfy your taste buds.  

If you’re into spicy foods, turn up the heat! And if you prefer things more mild, you can easily adjust the spice to your own liking by adding a little bit more seasoning.

Here’s why you’ll love it:

  • It’s an easy main course for a cozy family dinner or casual entertaining. 
  • It’s a breeze to make comes together in one large skillet. 
  • The flavor profile is bold, zesty and extraordinary. 
  • Each serving is packed with protein and vegetables for a healthy, homemade meal that everyone will look forward to.

Main Ingredients

Here’s a look at the recipe’s starring ingredients, but be sure to check out the full list in the printable recipe card at the bottom of the page:

  • Proteins. ​Boneless skinless chicken thighs, smoked andouille sausage, and shrimp create a delicious protein trio.
  • Vegetables. Diced yellow onion, celery, and a mix of red, yellow and green bell peppers to this recipe, the “holy trinity” of southern cooking. You’ll also need diced tomatoes and sliced green onions.
  • Rice. ​You’ll need long-grain white rice (uncooked). 
  • Spices and herbs. Creole seasoning, smoked paprika, bay leaves, and fresh thyme add big flavor.
  • Broth. Chicken broth or chicken stock adds enough liquid to the mixture for the rice to cook in.
Ingredients used to make Creole jambalaya.

The Recipe

Here’s a look at the process but be sure to check out the recipe card at the bottom of the post for all of the details:

Four photos showing how to make an authentic cajun jambalaya recipe.
  1. In a large skillet set over medium-high heat, cook the sausage and chicken until browned, then set it on a plate. 
  2. Add the onion, celery and bell peppers and sauté.
  3. Add the garlic, rice and spices.
  4. Stir and cook until the garlic is fragrant, then add the tomatoes and chicken broth. 
  5. Stir in the bay leaves and thyme.
  6. Return the chicken and sausage to the skillet. Bring the mixture to a boil, cover and transfer to the oven. Cook for 15-20 minutes.
  7. Remove from the oven and add the shrimp. Cover the skillet and bake until the shrimp are cooked. 
  8. Discard the bay leaf and thyme. Stir with a fork to fluff the rice. Sprinkle with the chopped green onions. 
Four photos showing how to make Louisiana jambalaya.

Recipe Tips for Success

  • Finishing it up in the oven will maintain an even heat and prevents over stirring and sticking to the skillet bottom.
  • If you like a spicy kick, add ¼ to ½ teaspoon of red pepper flakes or a dash of cayenne pepper when adding the spices.
  • Long-grain rice such as basmati works well.
  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to seven days. 

A classic jambalaya recipe in a white bowl.

Some Other Recipes We Are Sure You Will Love:

Just like this jambalaya, our shrimp and crab po’ boy offers another delicious way to enjoy the richness of Southern cooking. Both dishes encapsulate the vibrant culinary spirit of Louisiana.

Our Cajun dry rub is as an excellent all-around seasoning. It delivers a moderate spice with just enough heat and rounds off with a subtly sweet, smoky taste. 

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A traditional jambalaya recipe in a skillet.

Creole Jambalaya

This hearty jambalaya brings the bold flavors of the South right to your kitchen with a combination of chicken thighs, andouille sausage, and shrimp. It's a one-skillet wonder that promises a deliciously satisfying meal, with options to adjust the heat to your liking. This jambalaya is a true celebration of Creole cooking, perfect for a cozy dinner or a festive gathering.
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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 33 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 471kcal
Author: Pat Nyswonger

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil divided
  • 1 pound chicken thighs skinless, boneless
  • 10 ounces andouille smoked sausage cut in ½-inch rounds
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 2 celery ribs cut in ½-inch slices
  • ½ red bell pepper cut in 1-inch pieces
  • ½ green bell pepper cut in 1-inch pieces
  • ½ yellow bell pepper cut in 1-inch pieces
  • 4 garlic cloves finely minced
  • 1-¼ cups long-grain white rice uncooked
  • 2 tablespoons Creole seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon smoky paprika
  • 1 (15 oz. can) diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 sprig of fresh thyme
  • 1 pound medium shrimp peeled and deveined
  • ½ cup sliced green onions

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet set over medium-high heat.
  • Add the chicken and sausage, sauté until browned then remove and reserve on a plate.
  • In the same skillet, heat the remaining oil. Add the onion, celery and the bell peppers. Sauté for 3-4 minutes until barely tender, add the garlic, rice and spices. Stir until the oil has coated the rice grains and the garlic is fragrant, about 2-3 minutes. Pour in the tomatoes and the chicken broth.
  • Add the bay leaves and thyme sprig and stir well to combine. Return the chicken and sausage to the skillet.
  • Bring the skillet to a boil, cover and transfer to the preheated oven. Cook for 15-20 minutes, until all the liquid has been absorbed.
  • Remove from the oven and add the shrimp to the top of the mixture. Cover the skillet and and return it to the oven and bake until the shrimp are cooked through and turn pink, about 5 minutes.
  • Remove and discard the bay leaves and the thyme sprig. With a fork, stir the jambalaya to fluff the rice and sprinkle with the chopped green onions.

Notes

  • Finishing the jambalaya in the oven will maintain an even heat and prevents over stirring and sticking to the skillet bottom.
  • If you like a spicy kick to your jambalaya add ¼ to ½ teaspoon of red pepper flakes when adding the spices.
  • Long-grain rice such as basmati works well in this dish.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 471kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 27g | Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 13g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 159mg | Sodium: 876mg | Potassium: 468mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 1155IU | Vitamin C: 33mg | Calcium: 65mg | Iron: 2mg

Pat Nyswonger

Pat is a wife, mom of four adult children, and grandmother to seventeen beautiful children. She is a self-taught home cook and loves creating delicious meals for her family and friends. Her kitchen is the hub of activity in her home, and she loves to entertain.

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