Easy Jambalaya Recipe

Jambalaya with sausage, chicken, and shrimp in a bowl

Joff Lee Photolibrary / Getty Images

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 35 mins
Total: 50 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
448 Calories
25g Fat
25g Carbs
30g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 448
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 25g 33%
Saturated Fat 9g 46%
Cholesterol 134mg 45%
Sodium 1785mg 78%
Total Carbohydrate 25g 9%
Dietary Fiber 3g 12%
Total Sugars 9g
Protein 30g
Vitamin C 34mg 170%
Calcium 117mg 9%
Iron 3mg 19%
Potassium 845mg 18%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Jambalaya is a dish that's native to the Southeast United States but is most clearly and immediately identified with Louisiana. It typically consists of rice, meat, and vegetables and has been a favorite dish for generations because it is cost-efficient and is easily adaptable, based on the ingredients you have on hand. It is also delicious.

There are Cajun and Creole versions of jambalaya, which vary depending on whether you're using tomatoes; Creole jambalaya typically includes them, whereas Cajun versions do not. This mild jambalaya recipe can be made as spicy as you like. Just adjust the amount of Cajun seasoning and cumin, or add some cayenne pepper. Although this jambalaya recipe takes some time to cook, once everything is in the pot, you don't have to do too much. That's the rewarding part. Serve this jambalaya with cornbread.


  • 5 slices bacon

  • 1/2 cup onion, diced

  • 1/2 cup red pepper, diced

  • 1/2 cup celery, diced

  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic

  • 1 pound mild Italian sausage, or Italian turkey sausage, sliced

  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes

  • 14 ounces chicken broth, canned or homemade

  • 1 cup long grain rice

  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin

  • 1/4 to 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning, or more as needed

  • 1/2 pound extra large raw shrimp, peeled and deveined

  • 1/4 cup chopped spring onions, for garnish

Steps to Make It

  1. Fry bacon in a large, heavy Dutch oven until crisp. Remove to paper towels to drain.​

  2. Add onions, peppers, celery, and garlic to bacon drippings. Cook until onions and peppers are soft, stirring occasionally, 4 to 5 minutes.​

  3. Add sausage. Brown on all sides. Add crushed tomatoes, chicken broth, rice, cumin, and cajun seasoning. Let jambalaya come to a boil, then turn the heat down to medium-low, and let jambalaya simmer 20 minutes or until rice is al dente (tender, but not mushy). Taste, and adjust seasonings.​

  4. Add shrimp. Cook 5 more minutes or until shrimp is cooked through. Crumble bacon in jambalaya. Stir. Top with chopped spring onions, and serve.


Jambalaya is endlessly adaptable to the ingredients you have on hand. Here are some variations.

  • You can use diced leftover ham or ham steak (not sliced deli ham, as it will fall apart)
  • Andouille sausage and kielbasa are also popular; skip the Italian sausage in this case
  • Add some cayenne powder, to taste
  • Seed (or not) and slice a jalapeno pepper for some heat
  • Add a bay leaf and discard before serving
  • Ground thyme, garlic powder and/or mincd garlic

What's the Difference Between Gumbo and Jambalaya?

These two are often confused, but the easiest distinguishing factor is the rice. With gumbo, it's served with rice that's cooked separately, whereas rice is cooked along with everything else in the jambalaya pot. People often liken gumbo to a stew, and jambalaya to a rice dish.

One other difference is that gumbo includes filé powder or okra, ingredients that are not typically found in jambalaya. 

How to Store and Freeze Jambalaya

This is one of those dishes that tastes better if it sits for a couple of days. Jambalaya will keep in the refrigerator in an airtight container for 3 to 4 days. Reheat in a saucepan over medium-low heat, adding a little broth or liquid if needed to break it up. (If you microwave it, the shrimp may become rubbery upon reheating that way).

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