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How to Make Chicken Jambalaya

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Try our easy chicken jambalaya recipe for a taste of New Orleans! Made with grilled chicken and andouille sausage, and classic Creole flavors, it’s a crowd-pleaser for any occasion.

Hey y’all! Today, we’re sharing our easy chicken jambalaya recipe that’s perfect for bringing a taste of the Big Easy right into your own kitchen.

Now, if you’re new to Creole cooking, let me introduce you to the holy trinity of Cajun and Creole cuisine: onions, bell peppers, and celery. These three ingredients form the flavor foundation of many Southern dishes, including this chicken jambalaya, crawfish étouffée, and red beans and rice. They add a wonderful depth of flavor and aroma that just doesn’t miss.

This chicken jambalaya recipe is a classic rice dish that’s packed with flavor but not too spicy, making it perfect for everyone at your table. What makes this recipe special is that we’re using grilled chicken and grilled andouille sausage to give it extra flavor. But hey, if you don’t have a grill handy, don’t worry! You can easily sear the meats in the Dutch oven or even a large skillet. It’s all about making this recipe work for you.

Whether you’re celebrating Mardi Gras or just craving some down-home Southern comfort food, this Creole chicken jambalaya is the perfect dish. So go ahead, grab a bowl, and enjoy a taste of Louisiana right in your own home!

What you’ll love about this recipe:


  • SEASONINGS – The combo of soul food seasoning and Cajun seasoning adds depth and richness to the dish, enhancing the flavor of the chicken and sausage jambalaya.
  • GRILLED MEATS – Grilling the chicken and sausage before incorporating them into the jambalaya adds a smoky flavor and caramelization, contributing to a more complex taste profile.
  • EASY PREPARATION – This recipe is straightforward and easy to follow, making it a great option for both beginner and experienced cooks.

What is the Difference Between Creole and Cajun-Style Jambalaya?

Creole and Cajun-style jambalaya, while both iconic Louisiana dishes, have distinct differences in their preparation and flavor profiles. Creole jambalaya, originating from New Orleans, incorporates tomatoes as a key ingredient. It typically features a variety of proteins such as chicken, sausage, shrimp, and sometimes ham or seafood like crawfish. The cooking process often involves sautéing the meats and vegetables separately before combining them with rice and broth.

Cajun-style jambalaya on the other hand hails from rural Louisiana and tends to be spicier and darker in color due to the caramelization of the meats and spices during cooking. Cajun jambalaya typically does not include tomatoes, and the cooking technique involves simmering all the ingredients together in one pot, allowing the flavors to meld as the dish cooks.

These culinary traditions reflect the diverse cultural influences found in Louisiana, with Creole food drawing from French, African, Native American, and Spanish influences, while Cajun cuisine is rooted in French Acadian heritage. 

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into chunks
  • 1-2 tablespoons soul food seasoning  
  • 2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning (or Creole seasoning)
  • ¼ cup cooking oil
  • 13 ounces andouille smoked sausage, sliced into rounds
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 stalk celery, diced
  • 1 large green bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 3 clove garlic, minced (about 1½ tablespoons)
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • 1½ cups of rice, uncooked (preferably Jasmine or basmati)
  • 1 14.5-ounce can fire roasted tomatoes 
  • 3 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1-2 teaspoon jalapeño pepper puree 
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • fresh sliced green onions, to garnish

Recipe Variations

  • Chicken Thighs: Substitute with boneless skinless chicken breast, turkey, or even pork if preferred. Adjust cooking times accordingly based on the protein used.
  • Sausage: We think the best sausage is andouille, but you can also substitute it with another type of smoked sausage, such as kielbasa, chorizo, or smoked turkey sausage. Look for options with similar flavor profiles for the best results.
  • Garlic: Use garlic powder or garlic paste as a substitute for fresh garlic cloves. Adjust the quantity based on your preference.
  • Bay Leaves: If you don’t have bay leaves, you can omit them or substitute with a small amount of dried thyme or oregano for added flavor.
  • Long Grain Rice: Substitute with medium grain rice, jasmine rice, basmati rice, or even brown rice for variations in texture and flavor. Adjust cooking times and liquid ratios accordingly.
  • Fire Roasted Tomatoes: Substitute with crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce for a similar flavor profile. You can also use fresh tomatoes, but adjust cooking times accordingly to allow them to break down and release their juices.
  • Jalapeño Pepper Puree: Substitute with diced fresh jalapeños, canned diced green chiles, your favorite hot sauce, or even red pepper flakes to adjust the spice level according to your preference.
  • Seafood Jambalaya: Add shrimp, crawfish, or a combination of seafood for a classic seafood twist. Adjust cooking times to ensure seafood is cooked through but not overcooked.
  • One-Pot Meal: Instead of grilling the meats separately, cook everything in one pot for a simpler and more streamlined cooking process. Sear the chicken and sausage in the pot before adding the vegetables and rice.

Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya Recipe

  1. First up, fire up your grill to cook the chicken and sausage. Alternatively, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. 
  2. While the grill is heating, slice your sausage down the middle. This allows it to caramelize and char on the inside. Note: If using a skillet, cut the sausage into half moons.
  3. Then, grab the chicken and sprinkle on some soul food seasoning and Cajun seasoning to give it that delicious flavor. Again, if you are using a skillet, cut the chicken into bite-size pieces.
  4. Grill the sausage and whole chicken thighs for about 5 minutes on each side. When they’re done, take them off the grill. 
  5. Cut the grilled sausage into half rounds. Let the grilled chicken rest at room temperature for a few minutes before cutting it into bite-sized chunks. 
  6. Heat a little oil (olive oil, vegetable oil, etc.) in a Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over medium to medium high heat.
  7. Add in your holy trinity (diced onions, green peppers, and celery), and let them cook down until they’re nice and soft, which should take about 7-8 minutes.
  8. Once the veggies are softened, add in the garlic and let it sauté for 2-3 minutes until it’s nice and fragrant.
  9. Toss in those bay leaves and let everything cook together for another 4-5 minutes.
  10. Now, stir in the fire-roasted tomatoes and uncooked rice, followed by the chicken broth, Creole seasoning, jalapeño pepper puree, Worcestershire sauce, and soul food seasoning.
  11. Add the chicken pieces and the sausage into the pot and give everything a good stir.
  12. Bring everything to a boil, then reduce the heat to barely a simmer. Cover the pot and let it cook for about 25 to 30 minutes, or until the rice is cooked through and all the flavors have had a chance to meld.
  13. Once it’s done, take it off the heat and stir with a slotted spoon. Sprinkle some fresh sliced green onions on top for that final touch of freshness.

Recipe Tips & Tricks

  • Taste and Adjust Seasonings: Before serving, taste the chicken jambalaya and adjust the seasoning as needed. You can add more Cajun seasoning for extra spice, salt for seasoning, or a dash of hot sauce for additional heat.
  • Fresh Ingredients: Whenever possible, use fresh ingredients for the best flavor. Freshly chopped onions, bell peppers, and garlic will enhance the overall taste of the dish.
  • Don’t Overcook the Rice: Keep an eye on the rice while it’s simmering to ensure it doesn’t overcook and become mushy. You want the rice to be tender but still have a slight bite to it.
  • Let it Rest: Allow jambalaya to rest for a few minutes after cooking. This helps the flavors to meld together and allows any excess moisture to be absorbed, resulting in a more cohesive dish.
  • Garnish with Fresh Herbs: Adding fresh herbs like chopped parsley or cilantro just before serving adds a burst of freshness and color to the dish.

How to Reheat Chicken Jambalaya

Reheating leftover chicken jambalaya is easy and can be done using either the stovetop or microwave. Here’s the best way to do it:

Stovetop Method

  1. Place jambalaya in a pot or skillet.
  2. Add a splash of broth to the pot to prevent the rice from drying out.
  3. Heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until it is heated through. This usually takes about 5-10 minutes.
  4. Once heated through, serve and enjoy!

Microwave

  1. Transfer the desired portion of the chicken jambalaya to a microwave-safe dish.
  2. Cover with a microwave-safe lid or microwave-safe plastic wrap, leaving a small vent to allow steam to escape.
  3. Microwave on high power in 1-minute intervals, stirring in between, until it is heated through. The time required will depend on the portion size and the power of your microwave.
  4. Once heated through, allow it to sit for a minute or two before serving.

FAQ

How do I know when chicken jambalaya is done cooking?

The most reliable way to determine if jambalaya is done is by checking the texture of the rice. The rice should be tender but still slightly firm to the bite. You want the rice to absorb most of the liquid but not become dry or mushy. 

How long can I store leftovers in the refrigerator?

Leftover jambalaya can typically be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days.

Can I freeze jambalaya?

Yes, you can freeze jambalaya for longer-term storage. Freezing is a great option if you have leftover jambalaya that you won’t be able to consume within a few days or if you want to make a batch ahead of time for future meals. 

Can I make this recipe ahead of time for a party or gathering?

Absolutely! Making this chicken jambalaya recipe ahead of time for a party or gathering is a great idea. Grill the chicken and sausage and chop the onions, celery, bell peppers, and garlic the night before. Allow them to cool, then store them in the refrigerator in separate airtight containers.

Summary

This easy chicken jambalaya recipe brings the flavors of the Big Easy to your kitchen with grilled chicken, andouille sausage, and a blend of Creole seasonings. Perfect for Mardi Gras celebrations or a cozy weeknight dinner!

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How to Make Chicken Jambalaya

  • Author: cooks with soul
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 68 servings 1x
  • Category: main course, dinner
  • Method: stovetop
  • Cuisine: creole, american, southern

Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into chunks
  • 12 tablespoons soul food seasoning  
  • 2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning (or Creole seasoning)
  • ¼ cup cooking oil
  • 13 ounces andouille smoked sausage, sliced into rounds
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 stalk celery, diced
  • 1 large green bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 3 clove garlic, minced (about 1½ tablespoons)
  • 23 bay leaves
  • 1½ cups of rice, uncooked (preferably Jasmine or basmati)
  • 1 14.5-ounce can fire roasted tomatoes 
  • 3 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 12 teaspoon jalapeño pepper puree 
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • fresh sliced green onions, to garnish

Instructions

  1. Preheat grill or heat large skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Slice sausage down the middle for grilling. Alternatively, if using a skillet, cut sausage into half moons.
  3. Season chicken thighs with soul food seasoning and Cajun seasoning. If using a skillet, cut chicken into bite-size pieces.
  4. Grill sausage and chicken thighs for 5 minutes on each side until cooked through.
  5. Let sausage rest, then cut into half rounds. Cut grilled chicken into bite-sized chunks.
  6. Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium to medium-high heat.
  7. Add diced onions, green peppers, and celery. Cook until softened, about 7-8 minutes.
  8. Add minced garlic and sauté for 2-3 minutes.
  9. Stir in bay leaves and cook for an additional 4-5 minutes.
  10. Add fire-roasted tomatoes, uncooked rice, chicken broth, Creole seasoning, jalapeño pepper puree, Worcestershire sauce, and soul food seasoning.
  11. Add chicken and sausage to the pot and stir.
  12. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and cook for 25-30 minutes until rice is cooked.
  13. Remove from heat and stir. Garnish with fresh sliced green onions before serving.

Keywords: how to make chicken jambalaya, chicken jambalaya, cajun jambalaya

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