Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya

I have a feeling that jambalaya is a very, very personal thing. If you asked 100 jambalaya-lovers how they make/like their jambalaya, you just may get 100 different answers.

But if I could encourage you to try one version and one version only, it would be this one. Sent to me by Bliss P., this is a direct recipe from her grandmother’s recipe cards, and let me tell you, there is no wonder it has been handed down from generation to generation. Not having ever made jambalaya myself (shocking, I know!) and definitely not being a jambalaya expert, I adapted the recipe a bit for my liking. Those said variations may be against the Almighty Jambalaya Code, but even so, it is perhaps one of the most delicious meals to hit our table.

I was craving this jambalaya again the night after I made it and still, I can’t get it out of my mind. Here’s the beauty – it’s simple, fairly quick and if you use lean sausage, it ain’t too bad for you either. Keep an eye out for the type of Rotel tomatoes suited for your spicebuds – obviously I chose mild for my kidlets – but choose the heat that will satisfy your jambalaya-loving tummy. This is seriously good stuff, people. Thanks, Bliss, for a recipe that I will be making over and over and over!

Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya

What To ServeCornbread Muffins or Cornbread and Fluffy Honey Butter
Fresh, seasonal fruit
Steamed veggie

Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya

Yield: Serves 6

Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya

Note: for the smoked sausage, if you choose a leaner sausage, like turkey or chicken, you may need to add one tablespoon of olive oil to the pot in the first step when cooking the chicken and sausage together since the lean sausage won’t render as much fat.


  • 1 pound smoked sausage, cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1 pound chicken (about 2 average-sized boneless skinless chicken breasts or the equivalent of another kind of cut, like thighs), cut into bite-size pieces
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 3 ribs celery, chopped
  • 1 medium bell pepper (red or green), chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon Creole or Cajun seasoning (use a light hand with this if you don’t want it overly spicy)
  • 1 can (10-ounces) Rotel tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups hot, steamed rice


  1. Just a tip: start cooking the rice while you prepare the rest of the jambalaya so it is ready to add in during the last step.
  2. In a 4-6 quart pot, cook sausage and poultry over medium heat. Drain the grease (you may only need to do this if you aren’t using a lean sausage), scrape the meat onto a plate and set aside. Melt the butter in the same pot. Stir in the flour and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, for one minute. Add the vegetables, basil and Creole (or Cajun) seasoning, and the Rotel tomatoes and sugar. Stir well. Simmer the mixture over low or medium-low heat for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are mostly tender (they’ll continue to cook a few minutes longer in the next step). Add the sausage and chicken back to the pot, and cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the chicken broth and simmer 5 minutes longer. Stir in the hot, steamed rice until you achieve your desired consistency.

Recipe Source: adapted from Bliss P.

51 Responses to Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya

  1. JennyP says:

    It’s been a while since I commented on your recipes, yet it seems like I refer to your site for dinner at least 2 times a week! Anyway, made this tonight with a few changes – added about 3/4 (14oz) can of fire roasted tomatoes instead of Rotel (didn’t have Rotel on hand), used habanero chicken sausage, and added about 1lb of shrimp. It was great! I thought it would be a little spicier (used almost 1/2 tsp of Cajun Seasoning), but it was pretty mild, which is good since my husband fears anything spicy. Served with chopped fresh pineapple and it was a great, well rounded meal for a chilly winter night. Thanks for another great one as always, Mel!

  2. Amanda Z says:

    This was so good, very flavorful! My husband and I like spice, so I added a heaping teaspoon of the cajun seasoning. Needless to say, both of our noses were running when we were done eating, but we loved it!!!

  3. Cindy says:

    This is delicious!! Just made it! Thanks!!

  4. Josey says:

    Mel I cannot thank you enough for being such an inspiration to so many people. I live in Canada and was elated to find your site.Sometimes we get into a rut and continually make the same old boring…. But not anymore lol .Since I have found your site I am excited to make dinner once again! Thank you for all of your hard work you truly are a fabulous cook. Your baby is beautiful every time I look at her I smile!

  5. Nadya says:

    Loved the taste of this! we used Andouille pork sausage but my only complaint is it was a bit soupy for me. Even after letting it simmer down for like 15 minutes. I wonder if you cooked the rice in the broth maybe it would eliminate some of the mushy/soupiness? I guess I’ll play around with it. Thanks for the recipe. This is the first time I didn’t think something was perfect and I cook and refer to your blog often!

  6. Jana says:

    I made this tonight – great recipe! It’s one of many of yours that I’ve made – I just tell my family that my friend Mel gave me a new recipe to try! 🙂 My mom was Cajun so I couldn’t make something called Jambalaya without okra! I had some in the freezer to throw in and loved the added veggie (my kids and husband picked around it but I get credit for trying, right?) Any thoughts on how this might adapt to the slow cooker?

    • Mel says:

      Jana – I’ve never adapted this to the slow cooker so you’d probably have to play around with it and see. I’m not sure it’s really calling to me as a perfect slow cooker recipe since I think you’d have to do a fair amount of work to get it ready for the slow cooker, but again, I haven’t tried it. And yes you do get bonus points for the okra – I love the addition!

  7. […] seafood, making non-seafood versions at home is usually my best bet. This recipe comes from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe. It starts with some traditional Cajun ingredients – celery, bell peppers, onion, and garlic, […]

  8. Bliss says:

    When we make Jambalaya, I usually double it, so it freezes (and reheats) well. I take the frozen Jambalaya out the day before, let it thaw in the fridge, and then throw it into a pot of boiling water to get it warmed up. (still in the freezer bag of course!) Depending on how well you cook your rice initially (whether it’s soft or still a bit hard) your rice may be a TAD bit softer if you cook the heck out of it when you reheat it, but it’s even more amazing the second time around!

  9. Mel says:

    Hi Megan – I’ve never frozen this so I’m not really sure. I’m guessing it would probably be ok although the texture might be slightly different upon thawing and reheating.

  10. Megan H. says:

    Just made this! It. Is. Awesome. I ate a ton! my husband kept staring as I went back for more…I am pregnant so I was starving and this hit the spot. 🙂 thanks

    ps. probably silly question, it made a LOT for my family of 3(even with my ravenous appetite)…how would this freeze?

  11. Nita says:

    Hi Mel, thank you for all of your fantastic recipes! This jambalaya rice was superb! I stumbled across your site last November. I was pregnant with my 4th child and really craving ribs. I made your Oven Baked Ribs and my whole family like them, even my picky children.Since then I’ve tried over 25 of your recipes and even got the courage to try making fresh yeast bread. This week I used only recipes from your site for my weekly menu. So far, I’ve made the Smothered Pork Chops, BBQ Chicken Quesadilla and the Jambalaya Rice was tonight’s dinner. I’ve gotten rave reviews from my friends and family on everything I’ve made. I really love that your site has great recipes for families and that most of them are doable with things I normally have on hand or that I can easily find at the supermarket. I also really like your Snap Shot Saturdays, your children are beautiful. So, thanks again for great recipes and a great blog!

  12. Jamie says:

    Thanks for sharing, this is fantastic!! My husband likes to have it a couple times a month and I get requests when his friends come over for supper – awesome! So easy peasy and always turns out great! (I ususally add shrimp at the end as well, which goes over very well also)

  13. Mel says:

    Lois – I’m not quite sure what you mean by the herbs and spices. Do you mean the ones listed in the recipe? If you can’t find rotel tomatoes, you might just season the jambalaya to taste with additional red pepper flakes and spices as needed (like oregano or basil).

    • Leah S says:

      In Canada, Rotel tomatoes are not sold. I am also wondering what a good substitution would be. Google search tells me diced tomatoes with canned green chiles may do it, but I’m guessing that is still far from what rotel tomatoes are.

      • Mel says:

        That’s pretty close. Rotel tomatoes are smaller diced than the tomatoes in regular cans of diced tomatoes and sometimes there are seasonings and green chiles in there, too.

  14. lois says:

    always wanted the jambalaya recipe…. will try this. I cannot get these tomotoes in this area can I use the herbs and spices instead?

  15. Helen says:

    This came out really good! Husband loves it! I think I may use the mild rotel next time. Just because I can’t handle too much heat. Other than that, Perfecto! Will be adding to my recipe book. Thank you!

  16. Kim says:

    Made this tonight for the family and boy was it delish. Used andouille sausage which provided some heat to the dish. Also used regular diced tomatoes since that’s what I had in the pantry and just a pinch of Creole seasoning since we don’t like our food too spicey. Also added some shrimp at the end and let them cook until done. Very good!

  17. Susannah says:

    Oooo, I made this for lunch today, and it was really good! My husband came home for lunch and couldn’t wait to try it. My daughter came home from school and immediately wanted to know what I had been cooking. The house smelled so good! She loved it. Thanks for this wonderful recipe! I will definitely be making this again! I’ve never had jambalaya as I’m not a fan of sausage, but this was a hit!

  18. sofaia says:

    Mel- never knew mild rotel existed since i like it hot. Used your suggestion, my hubby and i loved this dish! We finished it over the long weekend and I’m already planning on making it again. By the way, my tummy thanks you.

  19. Kerri says:

    This dish was so easy to make and so delicious! I made this on a rainy, cold evening and it sure did warm us up! This recipe will be filed for another night for sure! Thank you! I love your website! 🙂

  20. Jolie says:

    Wow! This recipe was amazing! My husband and I loved it! I love finding new recipes and this received two thumbs up!
    Thanks for helping me impress my husband 🙂

  21. sofaia says:

    How could I turn down the heat if making this for someone who tolerates zero to a wee bit of heat without sacrificing the creole/cajun taste?

    • Mel says:

      Sofaia – the heat in this dish is in the Cajun/Creole spice and in the Rotel tomatoes. I’d suggest buying mild Rotel tomatoes and using just a pinch of the Creole seasoning. If you want to eliminate it altogether, throw in a pinch of paprika in its place.

  22. Christy says:

    Fantastic!!! Love this recipe. We are having a major snow/ice storm here in the Pacific NW & I was scrambling to get this made before we lost power. Done, whew!! And what’s more, 4 picky kids are busy scarfing down a load of healthy (and tasty!) veggies. Major victory! My only can of rotel had cilantro & lime in it, so we just worked with that & used pineapple juice in lieu of sugar. MMMmmm! Thank you!!

  23. Tara says:

    This was a GREAT recipe, so flavorful! The instructions were so easy to follow, gotta love that! Thanks!

  24. Mel says:

    Callie – right now I have the Spice Islands brand of Cajun seasoning in my pantry. I like it!

  25. Callie says:

    I was just wondering if you use a specific Cajun seasoning? I have discovered that not all are created equal and hate wasting money on one that just isn’t great.

  26. Jami says:

    I’ve made many of your recipes and loved most of them. THIS was AMAZING! I’m already trying to figure out when I can make it again. Next week isn’t too soon. Husband and picky kids loved it too. I used 1/4 teaspoon of the cajun seasoning and it was a little too spicy for the kids. Might cut it down to 1/8. Thanks for the recipe!!!

  27. Tara says:

    I made this last night and I think it may be the tastiest thing I have ever created in the kitchen. SOOOO good!! We are absolutely putting this in regular rotation in our meal plan. Thanks for the great recipe!!

  28. Karey says:

    I made this Jambalaya last night for my family, and I was so proud that it wasn’t out of a box!!! My husband loved it and took the leftovers for lunch today. Thanks for the yummy recipe!

  29. Deb says:

    This was really satisfying on a cold, windy November night (it started snowing today – how rude! It’s not Thanksgiving yet people!) I found this Texmati brown rice I’ve been wanting to use in something and this was the lucky winner – I think it was perfect. Absolutely will make this again. Thanks!

  30. Brinestone says:

    Not too far from the recipe I’ve used and loved for years, except mine starts out with four slices of bacon, crisped and removed from the pan, so that you stir fry your vegetables and rice in the grease for five minutes before proceeding. SOOO not healthy, which I’m sure will make it a no-go for you, but definitely tasty. Hahaha. I also add some hickory barbecue sauce for the smoky flavor, but liquid smoke would probably do that too if you don’t like pre-processed. We LOVE jambalaya at our house.

  31. Rebekah says:

    My family loved this….except for my picky 3 year old who said it was too spicy. My husband raved….thanks for the great recipe!

  32. Becky says:

    When you say ‘pot’ what do you mean? I cooked it on the stove in a deep pan. Pot makes me think of boiling your meat in water… I’m just a little confused.

    • Mel says:

      Becky – um, I’m not entirely sure I know what you are asking, but I’m thinking what you call a pan is what I call a pot. Basically just a 4-6 quart stockpot – the same I use for boiling noodles and things like that.

  33. Sheila says:

    Loved this, especially when combined with some of the OUr Best Bites steps. I found alligator sausage and used it (lean and delicious). As suggested by the other site ladies, I chopped up half of the meat in the food processor (my chicken was already cooked and cubed) and added 8 ounces of tomato sauce to give the rice a red, tomato look and taste.
    Thanks for the inspiration. My husband has asked for it again!

  34. grace says:

    it’s as if you made this just for me, mel! i’ve always shied away from jambalaya because it almost always involved shrimp or crawfish, but this version is perfect. jambalaya code? pfff. 🙂

  35. Jennifer says:

    Mel- As always Great recipe! Extremely Delicious!

    Darin- You can also try boneless pork chop. Just cut as you would the chicken. I always use pork, chicken, and sausage.

  36. Darin says:

    This sounds great, but was just wondering what a good substitution would be for the sausage, as my wife doesn’t like sausage. Should I just add more chicken?

    • Mel says:

      Darin – yes, subbing more chicken would work just fine. You’ll probably have to play around with the oil amounts in the first step to have enough to cook up the chicken but it should still taste great.

  37. Martha says:

    Hi Mel,
    Made this for dinner last night, it is going on the do over list. My son gave it the big thumbs up. He even had some for breakfast. Thanks for sharing.

  38. This sounds incredible, we enjoy any Cajun inspired food. Love your blog, always has great recipes, photos and just really good personality! Thanks!

  39. alex says:

    I’m trying this tonight! Looks amazing! I have been craving a good sausage recipe.

  40. Lisa says:

    Hi Mel,
    Can’t wait to try this – I am a jambalaya/gumbo lover and so is my husband! I sometimes add shrimp as well! I am definitely making soon! Thanks as always for the wonderful recipes!

  41. Colleen says:

    This recipe/method is very far from the traditional jambalaya made here in Louisiana but sounds like a quick, easy way to get a tasty meal on the table.

  42. Bliss says:

    Glad to hear that you guys enjoyed it! It’s usually a weekly staple here in our house.

  43. Kim in MD says:

    YUM! I have never made jambalaya either-not sure why as my hubby loves it! I will have to make this recipe for him…it looks and sounds amazing! If you say it is, then I know it is! 🙂

  44. StephenC says:

    Sounds good to me!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *