Perfect for tailgating or feeding a crowd, Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya is a delicious Cajun meal! This well-loved, authentic jambalaya recipe is an easy one-pot dinner that is great for any occasion. Makes 8-10 servings.
Being a Tennessee girl, I’d never heard of, let alone eaten, jambalaya until I was 18.
At a tailgate my freshman year, I tried my first bite and promptly fell in love.
I got my jambalaya fix throughout college, as well as the year when we lived in Baton Rouge after school. But when we moved to Texas, we no longer had a jambalaya supplier.
Needless to say, I was a bit terrified to make jambalaya because rice dishes always seem precarious to me.
Turns out, it’s not that complicated.
Why I love this recipe:
For our wedding, we were gifted a cookbook from the Junior League of Lafayette, La.. This book served as my jumping off point for developing an authentic jambalaya recipe.
However, the jambalaya recipe in this cookbook makes enough for 18 people, so I started by paring it down and have transformed it over the years into what we like best.
This Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya recipe has a bit of heat, fluffy rice and tons of veggie goodness. (Though, please note: This jambalaya does not have crushed tomatoes or any type of tomatoes in it because it is a Cajun recipe.)
It’s great for entertaining, whether you’re tailgating and homegating, because it serves a crowd easily.
It also works nicely as a one-pot meal for a weeknight or weekend dinner.
Tools you’ll need for Classic Jambalaya
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- Dutch Oven
- A wooden spoon
- A sharp knife and a cutting board
- Fine Mesh Strainer for rinsing the rice
In addition to these tools, you’re going to need some ingredients to make this jambalaya recipe, too:
- Andouille sausage—this classic pork sausage brings flavor and heat to the dish. If you can’t find it, we’ve found that hot Italian sausage works in a pinch.
- Chicken tenderloins—you may also use chicken breasts or chicken thighs if you prefer those here.
- Oil—we’re using this to sear the vegetables. Olive oil and avocado oil are my preferred oils, but you can use whatever you have on hand.
- Onions—yellow onions are my go-to for a Louisiana jambalaya recipe, but you could also use white onions in a pinch.
- Green bell peppers—another must-have. These add flavor and color. There is no substitution for them.
- Garlic—you can use the pre-minced stuff from the store or mince your own. I prefer to mince my own if I have the time, but I understand that you might like the time-saving tip.
- Unsalted chicken broth—or regular chicken broth. If you’re using broth that has been salted, go light on the salt so that your dish does not become too salty.
- Kosher salt—I like a fine grain kosher salt here. You could also use the same amount of a fine grain sea salt, too.
- Cayenne pepper—this ground red pepper adds heat. If you or your people are sensitive to spice, go light on this. You could also replace it with Cajun seasoning for some flavor without the heat.
- Worcestershire sauce—this gives some umami and flavorful undertones to the jambalaya.
- Long-grain white rice—this rice cooks in the pot with the rest of the ingredients! Make sure it’s long-grain. Otherwise, the cook time could be different.
Substitutions that work for this authentic jambalaya recipe:
- If you, your family and/or your guests are sensitive to heat, do not add the cayenne. Also, taste the andouille after it cooks and before adding any other spices because I’ve had some recently that just about lit my tastebuds on fire.
- If you’re skipping the cayenne pepper and the andouille sausage isn’t too spicy on its own, add salt-free Creole seasoning because it will add some extra flavor without the spice of the cayenne.
- Can’t find pork andouille sausage? Use chicken andouille instead OR hot Italian sausage if you can’t find any type of andouille.
- Chicken substitutions: This recipe calls for chicken tenderloins, but I’ve also used the same amount of boneless, skinless chicken thighs and chicken breasts in it, too.
How to Make Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya
First and foremost, CHOP all the veggies. This is one of the more time-consuming parts, so I like to do it on the front end so I’m not frantically chopping as the meats cook.
When your ingredients are ready, heat a large Dutch oven or stockpot over medium-high heat.
Cook the Meats
Add the sausage to the bottom of the pan—without any oil—and brown on all sides. When the sausage’s skin is crisp and browned, remove from the pan, and set aside.
In that same Dutch oven/stockpot, add the oil. When hot, place the unseasoned chicken tenders into the pan. Cook on both sides until browned and (mostly, if not completely) cooked through. Remove the chicken once it’s done.
Using a sharp knife, slice the sausage into thin rounds. Shred the chicken tenderloins, too, and set aside.
Cook the Veggies
Lower the heat of the pan to medium, add the onions, bell pepper and garlic and sauté them until tender.
Stir them occasionally around the pan so none stick to the bottom of the pan, and also so they pick up the browned bits left over from the chicken and sausage. (Don’t forget that those browned bits are FLAVOR, so try to get as much of ’em as possible!)
When the veggies are soft, add back in the sausage and chicken. If any juices came out of the meats when you chopped/shredded them, pour them into the pan, too, and cook for another 5-10 minutes.
Cook the Jambalaya
Pour in the chicken broth and season with the salt, cayenne and Worcestershire sauce. Bring all the ingredients to a boil, and the add the rice.
Once the rice is in, simply cover the pan, and reduce the heat to LOW.
For the rice to cook, you need to leave the cover on so that it will steam. Set a timer for 45 minutes, and walk away until it rings, then open the Dutch oven to check if it needs more time.
Serve warm, and enjoy!
Erin’s Easy Entertaining Tips
Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya is a scrumptious dish for entertaining because it serves a crowd!
You also do all of the work on the front-end of the recipe, so if you have the time (and wherewithal) before hosting friends/family, you can absolutely make this dish.
Make ahead tips and tricks to make entertaining with jambalaya even easier:
- Chop all those veggies 1-2 days in advance (or the morning of) and store them in food-safe containers in the fridge. Makes sure the container holding the onions is sealed well because you don’t want your entire fridge to smell of onion.
- Wash the rice. It sounds like such a silly recommendation, but this saves you from potentially splattering water all over yourself as you’re trying to get this cooking.
Frequently Asked Questions
Andouille is a spicy pork sausage that originates from South Louisiana, and it is incredibly flavorful. You can use fresh or smoked andouille in this recipe.
Additionally, you can purchase chicken andouille sausage at some groceries, and it’s equally delicious and a little less fatty. We’ve used both in this recipe, and both work.
You can put so many different types of meats and seafood in jambalaya, but this recipe calls for chicken tenders and pork andouille sausage.
Rinsing the rice gets rid of any dirt and extra starches. It will cook better, too, because unrinsed rice can become clump as it cooks.
The consistency is what differentiates these dishes because they have a lot in common. Gumbo is a soup, served over rice. On the other hand, jambalaya is a rice-based dish that has meats and veggies studded throughout it.
Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya is perfect for tailgating and includes a spicy combination of chicken and sausage, mixed in with onions, bell peppers, garlic and a ton of rice. This well-loved dish feeds a crowd easily.
- 1 lb. andouille or hot pork sausage (smoked or fresh are OK!)
- 1 lb. chicken tenderloins
- 1 tablespoon avocado oil
- 3 large yellow onions, roughly diced (~5 cups)
- 2 green bell peppers, roughly diced (~2 ½ cups)
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 1/3 cups unsalted chicken broth
- 2 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 cups white rice, long grain, rinsed and uncooked
- First and foremost, chop all the veggies.
- Measure out the rest of the ingredients, too, before you start cooking.
- Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Place the sausage in the pan, without oil. Cook, turning occasionally as the sides brown. Once all the sides have browned, remove from the pan, and set aside.
- In the same pan, add the oil. When the oil is hot, place the chicken tenderloins into the pan. Cook the chicken on both sides until cooked through, then remove from the pan.
- Using a sharp knife, slice the sausage into thin rounds. Shred the chicken tenderloins. Set them both aside for later.
- Lower the heat to medium, and add the onions, bell peppers and garlic to the Dutch oven. Sauté until tender, about 5-8 minutes. Stir the veggies occasionally because they will begin to pull the browned bits from the bottom of the pan, which is great for flavor, and we want to ensure they do not burn.
- Add the sausage and chicken to the vegetables, and cook for an additional 5-10 minutes until everything comes together.
- Pour in the chicken broth, salt, cayenne and Worcestershire sauce. Bring to a boil.
- Stir in the rice, then reduce the heat to low and cover the Dutch oven. Cook for 45 minutes to an hour. Do not stir or lift the lid off until the 40 minute mark to confirm the rice is tender and all the liquid has evaporated.
- Serve warm, and enjoy immediately!
Adapted from from Something to Talk About: Occasions We Celebrate in South Louisiana.
Make ahead tips and tricks to make entertaining with jambalaya even easier:
- Chop all those veggies. You can do this 1-2 days in advance, too, and store them in food-safe containers in the fridge. The only negative of this is that if the container holding the onions isn't sealed well, your entire fridge will smell of onion.
- Wash the rice. It sounds like such a silly recommendation, but this saves you from potentially splattering water all over yourself as you're trying to get this cooking. After washing, let it air dry.
Substitutions that work for my homemade jambalaya recipe:
- Add salt-free Creole seasoning if you're skipping the cayenne pepper and the andouille sausage isn't too spicy on its own.
- Can't find pork andouille sausage? Use chicken andouille instead OR hot Italian sausage if you can't find any type of andouille.
- Chicken substitutions: This recipe calls for chicken tenderloins, but I've also used the same amount of chicken breasts in it. Boneless, skinless chicken thighs would be delicious, too.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 394Total Fat: 22gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 90mgSodium: 989mgCarbohydrates: 20gFiber: 1gSugar: 4gProtein: 28g
Nutrition facts are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate.
This Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya was originally published on October 24, 2014. The photographs, along with the text of this blog post, were updated on October 28, 2019.