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Chicken Jambalaya Recipe – How to Make it in 17 Simple Steps

Jambalaya is a Louisiana dish that features meat, rice, veggies and seasonings. Two main versions exist, Cajun and Creole. This recipe for a Creole Jambalaya includes delicious tomatoes, smoked, meat, peppers, celery, and chicken along with fragrant spices. It will provide a hearty dinner that the whole family will love.

A bowl of freshly-cooked chicken jambalaya.

A New Orleans favorite that features several different kinds of meat, delicious seasonings, and tangy tomatoes, Jambalaya is a meal that visitors to this city must try. While this dish may seem as if it will take plenty of time and effort, it is surprisingly simple to make. In fact, most of the preparation time will involve chopping your vegetables.

There are as many variations of Jambalaya as there are cooks in Louisiana. Some people prefer to use ham rather than smoked sausage, and others like to add a little seafood twist by stirring in some shrimp.

A bowl of freshly-cooked chicken jambalaya.

Chicken Jambalaya Recipe

April Freeman
No matter what, Jambalaya often includes the tangy flavor of tomatoes, the richness of smoked meat, and the flavors of herbs and peppers. This recipe can be easily adapted for whatever herbs and seasonings you have on hand. If you like a little heat in your Jambalaya, add a quarter teaspoon of crushed red pepper.

Video Version

Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Cuisine American
Servings 8 Servings


  • Large Frying Pan
  • Large Pot
  • Spatula


  • 3 pcs Chicken Thighs
  • Pepper
  • 4 tbsp Cooking Oil
  • 1 package Smoked Sausage cut into rounds
  • 1 pc Onion cut into rounds
  • 1 pc Bell Pepper seeded and chopped fine
  • 1 stalk Celery chopped fine with leaves included
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Minced Garlic
  • 1 cup Uncooked Rice
  • 16 ounces Tomato Sauce
  • 15 ounces Diced Tomatoes from the can
  • 1/2 cup Chopped Fresh Parsley or 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 4 pcs Beef Bullion Cubes 2 teaspoons dried beef broth base; alternately, 4 cups beef broth
  • 3/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 tbsp Fresh Thyme


  • Salt and pepper the chicken thighs all over.
  • Put the cooking oil in a large frying pan and heat it over medium heat.
  • Cook the chicken, turning it regularly until the chicken thighs are browned all over. This should take ten to fifteen minutes.
    The seasoned chicken thighs are cooked on a pan until brown all over.
  • Remove the chicken and set it in a large Dutch oven.
  • In the same cooking oil, cook the smoked sausage until it is browned all over as well. If you prefer, you can use chopped ham instead.
  • Place the smoked sausage in the pot with the chicken.
  • Add the chopped onion, bell pepper, and celery to the hot oil, adding additional oil if needed.
    The pepper and onion are cooked with the chicken's oil.
  • Sautee, stirring frequently until the vegetables are lightly browned and soft. This should take five to ten minutes.
  • Add the minced garlic and cook an additional two or three minutes until the garlic is golden brown and fragrant.
    The ingredients are sauteed properly.
  • Scrape the cooked vegetables into the pot and add the tomatoes, tomato sauce, parsley, beef broth, salt, and thyme.
  • Add the beef broth or the beef bouillon cubes and 4 cups of water.
    The rest of the ingredients are added.
  • Stir in the rice and bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat.
  • Reduce the heat to low and cover the pot with a tightly fitting lid.
  • Simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes until much of the water is absorbed, the rice is cooked, and the chicken is falling off of the bones.
  • Scoop out the chicken and set it on a plate to cool for a few minutes.
  • Remove the skin, gristle, and bones from the meat, returning the meat to the pot.
  • Stir it all together and serve in large bowls.
    A fresh bowl of chicken jambalaya.


Did you know that there are two versions of authentic Louisiana Jambalaya? The two versions are called Creole Jambalaya and Cajun Jambalaya. The main difference is that the Creole Jambalaya, which originated in and around New Orleans, includes tomatoes. The Cajun version of Jambalaya, coming from Louisiana’s “swamp country” does not include tomatoes, and it may include a wider variety of meats.
Historically, the Cajuns might add turkey, alligator, or other unusual meats to their Jambalaya, depending on what was available. The Cajun version of this dish has a more smoky flavor than the New Orleans style dish. Our recipe would be considered Creole Jambalaya because it includes tomatoes and tomato sauce. There are countless versions of this recipe, but no matter what you end up throwing in the pot, an authentic Jambalaya includes meat, rice, vegetables, and spices.
Jambalaya was invented by Spanish people who lived in New Orleans in the 1700s. They were attempting to recreate paella in the French Quarter of the city. Of course, many of the authentically Spanish ingredients were unavailable, and like good cooks everywhere, they simply made substitutions with locally available ingredients. These substitutions ended up creating a whole new dish, one that reflected the unique taste and culture of the “Big Easy.”
Keyword Chicken Jambalaya, Main Course, Recipe

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