Cajun Jambalaya Recipe

This amazingly delicious Cajun jambalaya recipe delivers that New Orleans flavor that brings Bourbon Street to you!

Cajun jambalaya in a white serving bowl with a loaf of bread in the background.

One of the quintessential recipes of Louisiana cuisine is Cajun Jambalaya. A deceptively simple yet flavor-complex rice dish with various types of meats (seafood, sausage, etc) depending on the person preparing the dish.

The Search For A Delicious Cajun Jambalaya

We’ve made it time and time again over the 20+ years we have been married. While we always made a pretty good pot of it, it was usually fast and loose without much rhyme or reason to it.

Up the road from us is one of our favorite restaurants. We hit it at least twice a month, usually ordering the exact same thing. While the entree is always delicious it is the cajun jambalaya that I look forward to. And every single time it tastes the same and is amazing in its execution.

So, of course, as a recipe blog without a jambalaya recipe, it was time to get to work.

We started trying other restaurants’ recipes, most were creole but all left us a little disappointed. Most ranged from “yeah, that’s ok” to “meh … boring”. Some were relying on blasting the heat and some tasted like Spanish rice.

None of them impressed us. Since the one place we fawned over wasn’t giving up their recipe (yeah, I asked) we got to work. Leigh and I cooked Jambalaya over and over again until we found the flavor we were looking for.

And we did, and are very happy to share it. No lie, the last time we cooked it I had some leftover from the restaurant and tossed it in lieu of what we had come up with. We exceeded our expectations with this recipe.

What’s the difference between Cajun and Creole?

In a nutshell, Creole food typically contains tomatoes and Cajun does not. This is why you will see different coloring in various jambalayas from restaurant to restaurant, recipe to recipe.

One is not in any way better than the other, it just depends on a person’s particular tastes.

With that said, I prefer the cajun style of cooking, especially when it comes to Jambalaya. Its taste cannot be confused by anything and screams Louisiana. And this is what I am looking for in ‘cajun’ comfort food.

Why You’ll Love This

What we really enjoy about this recipe is that the dish is not as ‘soupy’ as some other jambalayas. You can eat it with a fork. If you need a spoon to clean your bowl of jambalaya … well. Not a fan.

Our jambalaya uses a mix of andouille sausage and pork. You can, of course, use other types of meat. Some people like shrimp or chicken as well. This is up to you.

Cajun jambalaya in a white serving bowl with a loaf of sourdough bread in the background.

Key Ingredients

We decided to keep it authentic (pork and sausage) because we find that it has the flavor and textures of an incredibly good jambalaya. I say keep it pure if you’re just starting out and then explore if you’re so inclined.

  • Meat – Andouille sausage and dice pork.
  • Vegetables – Onion, celery, and bell pepper.
  • Liquids – Chicken stock or chicken broth. Homemade stock is the best!
  • Rice – This recipe for jambalaya uses long grain white rice.
  • Seasonings – Tomato paste, kitchen bouquet, seasoning salt, garlic, dried oregano, thyme, and Old Bay Seasoning.

How To Make Cajun Jambalaya

The best way to prepare the cajun jambalaya is to do the prep work upfront. Once you have this in place, the dish comes together pretty darn quick, and pretty darn easy.

Dice the onion, celery, and green bell pepper into very small pieces: the smaller the better. You want these vegetables to basically become part of the flavoring of the dish.

Cutting them small will allow them to break down better and avoid large chunks in your finished dish.

Diced celery, bell pepper, and onions in one bowl, and in another bowl is the diced pork and sausage.

Cut the andouille sausage into thin rounds. Cut the pork into small pieces as well, removing any large pieces of fat and connective tissue. When you’re taking a bite of the jambalaya, you want to be able to get a bit of everything, not just one giant piece of meat.

In a small bowl combine the garlic powder, onion powder, kosher salt, and black pepper. Sprinkle the seasoning over the pork butt pieces and toss to coat evenly.

Using a pot or dutch oven over medium high heat, add the olive oil and allow to heat.

Add the seasoned pork, and sear until brown on all sides. When browning allow it to sit for a bit to get some caramelization on the meat. After browning, approximately 7 minutes, remove and set aside.

Browned pork and sausage in a white bowl.

Add sausage to the pot and brown, for approximately 5 minutes. Remove and set aside.

Add onions, celery, and bell pepper (holy trinity) to the pot and reduce the heat to medium. Allow to cook for approximately 7 minutes, wilting and softening up the vegetables. Stir occasionally, scraping the bits of pork and sausage free from the bottom of the pan. That’s some of the good flavors there.

Add the garlic and tomato paste and allow to cook for about 2 more minutes, stirring occasionally.

Diced vegetables cooking in a large dutch oven.

When ready, the vegetables should be soft and the color should be darker from the bits and juice from the pork and sausage.

Add the pork and sausage, chicken stock, Kitchen Bouquet, seasoning salt, thyme, oregano, and Old Bay to the pot and bring to a boil.

Add the rice and return to a boil. Cover and reduce to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes.

Remove the cover and quickly turn the rice. Cover and cook for an additional 15 to 20 minutes until the rice is tender and the chicken stock has absorbed.

A note on the rice. This recipe calls for white rice. If you want to use brown rice please note that this will take longer to cook and will need more liquid.

Cajun jambalaya in a white oval serving bowl with a loaf of sourdough bread behind it.

Remove from the heat and serve. Garnish with green onion or parsley.

Conclusion

We love this recipe!! The truth of it is we set out to get as close to the best tasting jambalaya we’ve ever had and actually surpassed it. We tried so many and really put this recipe to the test.

If you want to go full-out Bourbon Street, offer up some dessert with this killer Bread Pudding with Bourbon Sauce. Another New Orleans classic. This thing, again, is one we attacked with vigor and knocked out of the park!

A note about ingredients. We did learn that the overall flavor is really ruled by what kind of sausage you use. We tried smoked sausage, we tried various andouilles, and we even tried a butcher shop’s sausage. We were amazed at how much the flavor changed from sausage to sausage.

So, if there is a favorite sausage you like, go with that. If you’re not sure which to use, we recommend the following:

Package of store-bought cajun sytle andouille.

We are not getting paid or in any other way getting something from this, we’re just sharing what we have found. I am sure there are some that are better, and some are worse. Using a smoked sausage wouldn’t be a bad thing either. But this treated us just fine.

We hope that you try this recipe and we’re fairly confident that it will blow your socks off. As for us, when we go back to our favorite restaurant, I can get their gumbo now instead of the jambalaya. It’s good.

This authentic and amazingly delicious Cajun jambalaya recipe delivers that New Orleans flavor that brings Bourbon Street to you! #jambalaya #cajun #food #recipes
Storing Leftovers

Let the jambalaya cool to room temperature, place in an air-tight container, and refrigerate for up to 4 days.

Can you freeze jambalaya?

Yes, This jambalaya recipe does not contain shrimp. But keep in mind that the rice might become mushy. Let cool to room temperature, place in a freezer-safe container or bag, and freeze for up to 2 months. When reheating you may need to add a little stock.

More Delicious Recipes

Cajun jambalaya in a white serving bowl with a loaf of bread in the background.

Cajun Jambalaya Recipe

This amazingly delicious Cajun jambalaya recipe delivers that New Orleans flavor that brings Bourbon Street to you!
4.67 from 33 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main, Side Dish
Cuisine: Cajun
Keyword: cajun, Jambalaya, pork, rice, sausage, tailgate
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories: 594kcal
Author: Brad Harris

Ingredients
 

The Holy Trinity – Equal parts Bell Pepper, Onion, and Celery (standard base for most cajun and creole cooking)

  • 1 Bell Pepper Finely diced
  • 1 Large Onion Finely diced
  • 4 Celery stalks Finely diced

Protiens

  • 1 lb Andouille sausage sliced
  • 1 lb Pork diced into small pieces

Seasonings for pork

  • 1/2 tsp Garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp Onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp Black pepper

Spices and other ingredients needed

  • 2 cups Long Grain White Rice
  • 3.5 cups Chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp Olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp Kitchen Bouquet
  • 1 tbsp Tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp Seasoning salt
  • 3 Garlic cloves finely diced, approximately 2 tsp.
  • 1/2 tsp Dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp Dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp Old Bay seasoning

Garnish

  • 1/2 cup Green onions chopped, optional
  • 1/4 cup Parsley chopped, optional

Instructions

Prep

  • Dice onions, celery, and bell pepper into small pieces. Set aside.
  • Cut andouille into thin rounds. Set aside.
  • Cut pork into very small pieces, removing fat and any connective tissue. Set aside.
  • In a small bowl combine the garlic powder, onion powder, kosher salt, and black pepper.
    1/2 tsp Garlic powder, 1/2 tsp Onion powder, 1/2 tsp Kosher salt, 1/2 tsp Black pepper

Cook

  • Heat oil in large pot or dutch oven.
    2 tbsp Olive oil
  • Sprinkle the pork seasoning over the meat and toss to coat evenly.
  • Add the pork and brown for approximetly 7 minutes. Set aside
    1 lb Pork
  • Add andouille sausage to pot and brown for approximately 5 minutes. Set aside.
    1 lb Andouille sausage
  • Add onions, celery, and bell pepper to pot. Reduce heat to medium and cook for approximately 7 minutes, stirring and scraping bottom of pan to release bits of pork and sausage from bottom of pot.
    1 Large Onion, 4 Celery stalks, 1 Bell Pepper
  • Add the chopped garlic and tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
    3 Garlic cloves, 1 tbsp Tomato paste
  • Add the pork and sausage, chicken stock, Kitchen Bouquet, seasoning salt, thyme, oregano, and Old Bay to the pot and bring to a boil.
    3.5 cups Chicken stock, 1 tbsp Kitchen Bouquet, 1 tbsp Seasoning salt, 1/2 tsp Dried oregano, 1/2 tsp Dried thyme, 1/2 tsp Old Bay seasoning
  • Add the rice and return to a boil.
    2 cups Long Grain White Rice
  • Cover and reduce to a simmer and cook 10 minutes.
  • Remove cover and quickly turn the rice.
  • Cover and cook for an additional 15 to 20 minutes until the rice is tender and the chicken stock has absorbed.
  • Remove from the heat and serve.
  • Garnish with green onion or parsley (optional).
    1/2 cup Green onions, 1/4 cup Parsley

Notes

Caramelizing the meat and vegetables is what truly develops flavor in this dish. So don’t rush this process.
A heavy cast iron dutch oven works best but you can use a large pot with a well-fitting lid.
Storing – Cool it completely, place it in an airtight container, and refrigerate for up to 4 days.
Freezing – In our opinion rice doesn’t really do well in the freezer. But you can freeze this dish in a freezer-safe container for up to 2 months for the best quality. When reheating you may want to add more chicken stock.

Nutrition

Calories: 594kcal | Carbohydrates: 44g | Protein: 27g | Fat: 33g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 92mg | Sodium: 1874mg | Potassium: 587mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 591IU | Vitamin C: 23mg | Calcium: 39mg | Iron: 2mg

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13 Comments

  1. I followed your Cajun jambalaya recipe to the “t” but I had one big issue. The long grain rice took over an hour to absorb the liquids and even then it was a little crunchy. I used Kroger long grain brown rice and on the back it takes 45- 50 min to cook. Did I use the wrong rice ? Perhaps you can recommend a solution. The jambalaya was very tasty but my wife gave me an earful about the rice situation. Thanks in advance for your reply.

    1. Hey Andy. Sorry about the rice. Yes, brown rice takes longer to cook and requires more liquid. I should have specified that. In the future, I would stick with white rice. I am going to amend the recipe to address this. I hope you try it again, we love it!

  2. What a great recipe that is easily adaptable! We are on a no carb kick and instead of rice, I used cauliflower rice. I also had a hard smoky chorizo that I added along with the andouille (I did’t have pork). Obviously, it didn’t need to cook long since I wasn’t using rice, but the flavors were amazing and tasted like it had been soaking the flavors for way longer. Definitely a keeper!5 stars

    1. Very cool, Rachael! Thanks so much! Might have to try what you did as I dabble in the low-carb game (not as often as I should).

  3. This is the best jambalaya I’ve ever had! I made this exactly as written, including making my own Creole spice mix. It was fantastic, much better than any Jambalaya.5 stars

  4. This recipe is excellent! I love quality Cajun food and this is it. Excellent flavor. Only thing I added was chopped up chicken thighs because I had some leftover (it wouldn’t properly fit) from the homemade chicken stock I made in my Instant Pot for this dish. Thank you!5 stars

  5. This is the one I have been looking for!! I have tried numerous recipes looking for the jambalaya I remembered growing up. This is it! I didn’t have pork on hand so I used chicken thighs, but when I make it again I will be sure and have the pork ready! Thank you so much for sharing this!!5 stars

  6. Made this today and it’s pretty darn good! I like more spice to it so next time I will add. Thanks for the recipe.

  7. Turned out PERFECTLY! It was a huge hit, my husband is from Louisiana and even said it was “really, really good!”5 stars

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