Best Homemade Jambalaya
Easy Jambalaya Recipe
Lt. Dan and I have been making Jambalaya our entire marriage. 20+ years.
I can’t exactly say where our first Jambalaya recipe came from… Probably an old southern cookbook.
However, I can tell you we spent many evenings standing at the counter together slowly learning how to properly chop onions, celery, and peppers, while simultaneously babysitting the sausage browning on the stovetop.
Good times. Good memories. And a great dinner!
Today’s recipe is very similar to the classic Jambalaya recipe we learned to make so long ago. This southern rice recipe is ultra comforting and easy to make.
If you’ve never made Jambalaya before, this is the perfect place to start!
Gumbo vs Jambalaya
If you are wondering if Jambalaya is just a fancy name for Gumbo, we need to clear a few things up.
What’s the difference between Gumbo and Jambalaya?
First of all, think of Gumbo as a stew, while Jambalaya is most definitely a rice dish.
Gumbo is made by creating a dark roux from slowly cooked fat and flour. The roux is the thickening agent for the stew, yet also delivers the rich dark underlying flavor that all good gumbos possess.
Gumbo always includes the New Orleans “Holy Trinity” of onion, bell peppers, and celery. The most iconic versions usually contain seafood and okra. Gumbo can be served on its own or over white rice. Yet unlike Jambalaya, the rice is always cooked separately.
What’s The Difference Between Gumbo and Jambalaya?
Jambalaya, however, is the “American melting-pot” low country version of Spanish Paella. It was introduced to the Americas by Spanish colonists and was adapted with the resources and flavors available to them at the time.
Like Gumbo, Jambalaya always contains the “Holy Trinity” of veggies. However, it does not usually contain okra.
It is traditionally made with chicken and sausage cooked with rice. However, seafood with sausage (or ham) is also a very popular classic combination.
Side note, there are many types of Gumbo and Jambalaya, so this description certainly does not cover all the bases.
Most people that consider themselves Creole or Cajun (also distinctly different) have an old family recipe for one or both of these dishes, and of course, they swear their recipe is the right way to make it!
We like ours… It’s bold and zesty, with ample bits of vegetables and protein in each and every bite!
Garlic Shrimp Jambalaya Recipe
Personally I love the shrimp and sausage duo!
The sausage provides spice and rustic essence, while the shrimp brings in the flavor of the sea, without having to hunt down fresh crawfish or southern crabs.
To lighten the dish a little, we use chicken andouille sausage in this recipe, because you don’t actually need full-fat pork sausage to achieve the best flavor.
Tastefully Simple is a company dedicated to providing amazing foods with high-quality ingredients, so they can easily fit into your gluten-free, paleo, ketogenic, or vegan diet.
Tastefully Simple makes:
- Fabulous spice blends
- Superior cooking oils
- Fun Drink mixers
- Sweet and savory baking mixes
And even meal kits to help you serve your family unique healthy meals throughout the week.
These are wonderful products to keep as pantry staples, because they are clean, healthy, and perfect for adding flavor to your fast midweek meals!
No more worrying about what’s really in your pantry foods. The TS EatWell line offers ingredients free of: artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, preservatives, and hydrogenated fats!
Best Jambalaya Recipe Ingredients
Want to make the very best Jambalaya? Here’s what you’ll need…
- Tastefully Simple® Roasted Garlic Infused Oil – This provides the fat needed to saute the sausage and vegetables, while introducing amazing garlic flavor!
- Andouille-style chicken sausages – Andouille sausages bring in low country flavor and spice. We use chicken “andouille” sausages to cut out unnecessary fat and calories.
- Sweet onion – Vidalias if you can find them!
- Tastefully Simple® Garlic Garlic Seasoning – This zesty seasoning removes the need for extra chopping. It offers a bold garlic flavor you can sprinkle out of a jar.
- Bell pepper – Green is traditional.
- Celery – Also green. *wink*
- Plum tomatoes – Buy them canned in their juices. Do not throw out the juice; you can use it in the Jambalaya.
- Thyme leaves – Fresh or dried.
- Cayenne pepper – Jambalaya should have a little heat. However, if you are sensitive to spice, feel free to leave it out. The andouille sausages are usually a bit spicy!
- Long-grain rice – The base of the recipe.
- Chicken broth – You could also use seafood stock!
- Raw shrimp – Well cleaned. You can leave the tails on, or take them off.
- Fresh chopped parsley – For color and a pop of freshness.
- Lemon zest – To balance the heavy flavors.
- Salt and pepper – Always.
How To Make Jambalaya
- Brown the Sausage. Set a large Dutch oven on the stovetop. Add the Tastefully Simple® Garlic Infused Oil and the sliced sausages. Caramelize the sausages on all sides.
- Add the Vegetables. Once the sausages are brown, add the chopped onion and Tastefully Simple® Garlic Garlic Seasoning. Soften for a few minutes, then stir in the chopped bell pepper and celery.
- Dump and Stir. Pour the tomatoes and juices into the pot. Stir in the thyme, cayenne pepper, long-grain rice, chicken broth, and seasoning.
- Cover and Cook. Cover the pot with a heavy lid. Bring to a boil. Then lower the heat to simmer until the rice is cooked through.
- Shrimp It Up! Once the rice is cooked, stir in the shrimp. Cook for another few minutes, and add the fresh parsley and lemon zest.
Get the Full (Printable) Best Homemade Jambalaya Recipe Below. Enjoy!
Crock Pot Jambalaya Recipe
Want to make a slow cooker Jambalaya variation? We actually posted a recipe for that some time ago!
Please Note: If your crockpot is temperamental, or you don’t use your crockpot often, it’s best to make Jambalaya on the stovetop.
Why? Some people struggle to cook rice evenly in a slow cooker. Sometimes the rice at the bottom turns to mush, before the rice on the top is fully cooked… So I’ve heard.
If you have a good crockpot, and you know its habits like an old friend, it’s totally possible to cook perfect rice in the slow cooker.
However, if you hardly ever use your slow cooker, I would not chance it. It takes less than one hour, and no extra work, to make perfect Jambalaya in a Dutch oven or heavy saucepot!
Healthy Jambalaya Recipe Swaps
Want to put your own spin on this recipe? Awesome! Here are some tips…
This shrimp jambalaya is spicy, primarily because andouille sausages are spicy. I did add a little bit of cayenne pepper.
However, if you have a sensitive palate you can remove the cayenne pepper, or substitute the andouille sausage for a milder sausage variety. You could also use ham instead of sausage.
Not a fan of pork? No problem! We used chicken sausages in this recipe.
If you do not eat seafood, you can add bite-size chicken pieces to the recipe (in place of the shrimp) when you add the rice and broth.
Yes, but… guys, it’s just not my favorite. So much of the rich flavor comes from the sausage and shrimp, the taste seems off if you leave them out completely. My suggestion is to substitute some sort of tofu sausage in the recipe.
More Jambalaya Swaps
The N’awlins Holy Trinity of onions, peppers, and celery is a must in this recipe. However, you can use any color of bell pepper you like.
You can also add extra spice by mixing in a jalapeno or serrano chile!
We used two delicious products from Tastefully Simple to give this recipe a double-dose of garlic flavor! They are great items to keep on hand for quick pantry cooking and to reduce chopping and prep time.
However, if you live out of the states and can’t get your hands on Tastefully Simple, you can certainly use fresh garlic cloves in this recipe.
Why yes, you can swap brown long-grain rice for the white rice in this Jambalaya recipe! Just be aware, it does change the overall texture a bit, making it slightly denser.
What To Serve With Jambalaya
This jambalaya recipe is a one-pot sensation on its own! I’d serve it as-is with a glass of wine.
However, if you like to have multiple options on the table, consider serving it with:
- Apple Chopped Salad with Herb Vinaigrette
- Harvest Oven Roasted Vegetables
- Honey Cinnamon Cornbread
- Rosemary Old Fashioned
- Fresh Plum Cake
More Low Country Recipe You Will Love
- Cajun Chicken and Rice Casserole
- Crispy Creole Roasted Zucchini
- Southern Squash Casserole
- Damn Good Corn Pudding
- Southern Shrimp and Grits
- Slow Cooker Pulled Pork
- Southern Orangeade
- Tomato Pie
- Southern Comeback Sauce
- Hummingbird Blondies
Best Homemade Jambalaya Recipe
- 2 tablespoons Tastefully Simple® Roasted Garlic Infused Oil
- 1 pound andouille-style chicken sausages, sliced
- 1 large sweet onion, peeled and chopped
- 1 tablespoon Tastefully Simple® Garlic Garlic Seasoning
- 1 large bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 2-3 stalks celery, sliced
- 15 ounce plum tomatoes, canned in juices
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves (1 tsp dried)
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper optional
- 1 1/4 cups long-grain rice
- 2 1/2 cups chicken broth
- 1 pound medium raw shrimp, cleaned
- 1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest
- Salt and pepper
- Set a large 6-8 quart Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the Tastefully Simple Garlic Infused Oil and the sliced sausages. Use a wooden spoon to move the sausage around the pot, browning on all sides.
- Once the sausages are caramelized, move the pieces to the sides of the pot. Add the chopped onion and Garlic Garlic Seasoning in the middle. Saute the onions for 5 minutes, stirring every minute, until the onions are soft. Then stir in the chopped bell pepper and celery. Saute another 1-2 minutes.
- Pour the tomato juices into the pot. Squash the tomatoes in your hands to break them into uneven pieces. Then place the pieces in the pot. Stir in the thyme, cayenne pepper, long-grain rice, chicken broth, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper.
- Cover the pot with a heavy lid. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower the heat to simmer. Stir well. Then cover and simmer for 18-20 minutes, undisturbed.
- Once the rice has cooked through, Stir in the shrimp. Cook another 2-3 minutes, until the shrimp are pink. Then stir in the fresh parsley and lemon zest. Taste, then salt and pepper as needed.
Making this recipe? Follow us on Instagram and tag @ASpicyPerspective so we can share what you’re cooking!
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Tastefully Simple. All opinions are my own.