Classic Chicken Gumbo Recipe

chicken gumbo
Diana Rattray
  • Total: 85 mins
  • Prep: 25 mins
  • Cook: 60 mins
  • Yield: 4 servings
Ratings (15)

This hearty soup is a basic Creole-style chicken gumbo made with tomatoes and the essential "holy trinity" of Cajun and Creole cooking: onions, bell peppers, and celery. The gumbo is flavorful and satisfying, and an excellent option if you're looking for an authentic yet uncomplicated Louisiana-style soup. 

Spicy sausage is an ingredient in many gumbos. Feel free to add about 1/2 pound of sliced andouille sausage to the soup along with the okra and seasonings. Or, if you like shrimp in gumbo, add about 8 ounces of peeled and deveined shrimp. 

The okra is the thickener for a good Creole gumbo, but if you like filé powder, offer it at the table. Gumbo can become unpleasantly stringy if the filé is added to the soup while it is still on the heat (or when reheated). It is best sprinkled over individual servings.

What You'll Need

  • 2 onions (about 1 1/2 cups chopped)
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 3 ribs celery (about 1/2 cup chopped)
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable shortening (or oil)
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups chicken stock (unsalted or low sodium)
  • 1  (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes (with juice)
  • 1 1/2 cups okra (sliced, fresh or frozen)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt (or to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper (or to taste)
  • teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or to taste)
  • 1  bay leaf
  • 1 cup long-grain rice
  • 1 1/4 pounds boneless chicken breasts (or boneless thighs)
  • Optional: fresh chopped parsley, for garnish
  • Optional: fresh chopped green onions, for garnish

How to Make It

  1. Peel and chop the onions. Cut the bell pepper in half lengthwise; remove the seeds and stem. Cut the pepper into 1/4-inch dice. Chop the celery. Set the vegetables aside.
  2. For the roux, melt the shortening in a large Dutch oven,  over low heat; add the flour and cook, stirring, until medium brown, or about 10 to 15 minutes. Stir the roux constantly to avoid burning. If it burns, you will have to start over.
  1. Add the chopped vegetables to the roux and continue to cook, constantly stirring, until the onion is translucent.
  2. Slowly add the chicken stock and bring it to a boil, stirring constantly.
  3. Add the diced tomatoes, okra, salt, pepper, thyme, oregano, and bay leaf; bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, cook the rice following the package directions. Set aside and keep warm.
  6. Cut the chicken into bite-size pieces; add the chicken to the soup and cook, covered, for 6 to 8 minutes longer, or until the chicken is thoroughly cooked. Taste the soup and adjust the seasonings with more salt and pepper, as needed.
  7. To serve, scoop a mound of rice into the center of each of four large, shallow bowls. Ladle the soup around the rice. Sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley or green onion tops, if desired.

Kitchen Notes

Serve steaming bowls of gumbo and rice with crusty French bread or garlic bread.

Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
467 Calories
20g Fat
42g Carbs
31g Protein
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)