Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya

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.

Love Louisiana flavors? Don’t miss out on this Instant Pot Red Beans and Rice, Chicken and Sausage Gumbo and Shrimp and Grits!

Close up of a bowl of authentic Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya recipe

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.

Other Louisiana recipes we adore: Instant Pot GumboTurkey Jambalaya Stuffed Bell PeppersGround Beef Meat PiesTurkey Sausage JambalayaCrawfish Etouffee

Looking for other dishes that are great for sharing while watching football? Check out my Football Food recipe collection.

Collage of ingredients for an authentic jambalaya recipe, including a close up of the meat

Tools you’ll need for Classic Jambalaya

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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.
Collage of three images showing the cooking process

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.

Collage of two images showing the adding of chicken stock and rice to the pot

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!

Collage of three images showing the pot with the rice, before cooking and after

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.
Overhead of two bowls of Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya, ready for eating

Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of sausage is best for jambalaya?

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.

What kind of meat do you put in jambalaya?

You can put so many different types of meats and seafood in jambalaya, but this recipe calls for chicken tenders and pork andouille sausage.

Why do you rinse rice for jambalaya?

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. 

What is the difference between jambalaya and gumbo?

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.

A fork holds a bite of authentic jambalaya recipe over a bowl
Close up of a bowl of Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya, with a fork
Yield: 8 servings

Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 50 minutes

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.

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  1. First and foremost, chop all the veggies.
  2. Measure out the rest of the ingredients, too, before you start cooking.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Using a sharp knife, slice the sausage into thin rounds. Shred the chicken tenderloins. Set them both aside for later.
  6. 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.
  7. Add the sausage and chicken to the vegetables, and cook for an additional 5-10 minutes until everything comes together.
  8. Pour in the chicken broth, salt, cayenne and Worcestershire sauce. Bring to a boil.
  9. 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.
  10. Serve warm, and enjoy immediately!

Notes

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:

  • If you, your family and/or your guests have sensitive palates and do not like heat, don't add 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. 
    • 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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    Nutrition Information:

    Yield:

    8

    Serving Size:

    1

    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.

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    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.

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    17 Comments

      1. It’s really wonderful comfort food, and it’s oh-so-easy to make, too! The spiciness makes me so happy, and it keeps you warm, too! What’s not to love?

    1. This looks delicious. I’m going to try it!
      I’m not sure how easy hot pork sausages would be to find here and I’m pretty sure Mr Bubble ‘n Squeak won’t eat them – he’s not a fan of hot food. I wonder if chorizo would work?
      And can you tell me what kosher salt is? I keep seeing it in American recipes but I don’t know how it differs to normal salt.

      1. Hey Sam! Thanks so much!

        Hmm… can you find Italian sausage there? I’ve used hot Italian sausage for this recipe, and it’s been wonderful. I don’t know if chorizo would give the same effect, sadly, but I’d be interested to hear how it turned out if you did use that.

        Yes! Kosher salt is my salt of choice, though I’m sure other salts would work just fine here, too. Basically, kosher salt has a larger grain than table salt and typically contains no additives. (You can read more about kosher salt here.) I hope that helps!

    2. Hi Erin,

      I was talking to my neighbour and he loves jambalaya. His mum makes it a lot and apparently she includes seafood. Ht thought it is always a seafood dish. Is that usual? And apparently she has used chorizo in it and he said it was good. Can probably get hot Italian sausage here – but Mr BnS won’t eat anything too hot so I might start mild and see how I go.
      And thanks for the clarification on kosher salt. We don’t call it that here. It is generally referred to as rock salt or something similar.
      I’m planning on making it this weekend. πŸ™‚

      1. Hey Sam! Sorry it’s taken me so long to respond! That’s awesome that your neighbor loves jambalaya and his mother makes it a lot. I’ve never thought of it as a seafood dish, though I suppose that could work, too!

        How’d this turn out for you? Did it translate well to the ingredients you were able to get your hands on?

    3. Hey Erin,

      Oops! I just saw the notification of your reply. No, mine was a disaster. The rice went all gluggy, and probably too much meat and not enough veggies for me. Not sure if it would have worked better if I had the exact meats you had or if the rice wrecked it anyway πŸ™
      Was good to try something new though.

    4. Jambalaya is one of those fun dishes that you can really make your own and I love what you’ve done with it! Totally craving this now!

      1. Awesome, Jack! I love that you’re a jambalaya fan, too. We’ve never made ours with shrimp, but you’re inspiring me to give that a shot!

    5. I never made a gumbo in under 6 hours, I was craving a jambalaya so I gave your recipe a try 1:45 mins later WOW AMAZING!! It’s not my jambalaya but it will hold me over until Thanksgiving.. thank you for sharing.

      1. SO happy this worked out for you, Pamela, and that you enjoyed this jambalaya! We’ve never made a gumbo fast, either, so I feel you on wanting to make jambalaya instead. Happy Thanksgiving to you!

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