Shrimp and Sausage Jambalaya
This Shrimp and Sausage Jambalaya is flavor city! Each bite is comforting and bursting with flavor, thanks to the Cajun holy trinity of onions, peppers, and celery, plus fire roasted tomatoes, smoked Andouille sausage, and more. It’s a hearty one-pot meal that makes for great leftovers!
Typical, but I fell in love with Jambalaya on a trip to New Orleans over a decade ago, and then proceeded to make numerous batches of different kinds of jambalaya, in order to come up with a staple recipe I’d want to make again and again.
This is that recipe.
It’s one of those dishes where there are so many bold flavors going on that it’s impossible not to love (I’d say the same about Fried Rice), but making it is pretty simple. The flavor profile of this Southern classic is truly out of this world.
What’s Great about This Recipe:
Made in one pot – There’s pretty minimal mess-making for this one-pot recipe. Everything is cooked in one large dutch oven or skillet, in stages.
Big batch and can feed a crowd – One batch of this recipe feeds 8. I pretty much always have leftovers.
Leftovers keep beautifully – In my opinion, leftovers are nearly as good as the freshly cooked meal. It’s really easy to reheat in the microwave or in a pan.
Easy – Basically you’re sautéing and stirring ingredients in a pot. There are a lot of ingredients, but nothing about the recipe is hard.
Customizable – There are so many variations for how to make jambalaya, and it’s a dish that you can tweak to your tastes. I love shrimp here, but you can also do chicken or your favorite seafood.
If you customize the recipe, make sure you retain the important elements for jambalaya, as follows:
Keep the andouille sausage, the holy trinity vegetables, and either a true Cajun seasoning or a trio of spices that mostly capture those flavors. This will give you the classic cajun cuisine flavor you want.
Instead of the shrimp, feel free to add chicken (white or dark meat) or other kinds of your favorite seafood to the jambalaya. This is a dish that takes well to making it your own.
Step by Step Overview:
In a large and wide pan (I used a 5-qt braiser – affiliate, but you can also use a large soup pot), soften the Cajun “holy trinity,” which is a combination of onion, bell pepper, and celery, with some oil, salt, and black pepper:
I prefer to use green bell pepper, as I find its flavor best, but you may also use sweet red bell pepper instead of green pepper.
For the cooking fat, you may use any type you prefer, but try to use a more neutral-tasting oil. I like butter, tallow, or olive oil (not extra virgin).
Cook for 7-8 minutes over medium heat until slightly softened.
Then add smoked andouille sausage, paprika, oregano, and cayenne pepper:
If you wish, you may use 1.5 teaspoons of creole seasoning or Cajun Seasoning in place of the paprika, oregano, and cayenne.
What’s Special about Andouille Sausage?
There’s a smoky, spicy, full flavor to andouille sausage that is unlike anything else. It is a key ingredient for the best jambalaya recipe. You can find it in the prepared pork sausages section of the store, usually grouped with the hot dogs.
If you’re outside of the US and can’t find it, the next best option would be a smoked Polish sausage.
Try to use pork sausage over chicken sausage. Chicken sausage is usually a lot leaner, and won’t have the same flavor.
Keep cooking for another 5 minutes, until the sausage renders its fat and flavor, and continues to cook the vegetables even more.
Add minced garlic cloves to the pan:
Stir that around for 30 seconds or so, then it’s time to add rice.
What’s the Best Rice to Use?
The best jambalaya rice is a plain long-grain white rice, and I recommend using organic, if you can. Try to stay away from varieties like Jasmine rice and Basmati, as they have a very distinct aroma and flavor. Their profiles will influence this dish a bit too much.
In a pinch, you may also try medium and short grain white rice, but do not use brown rice. The cooking will be off significantly, as will the flavor and texture.
Rinse the long grain rice in the sink for about a minute until the water runs clear, then add it to the pot:
Rinsing gets rid of some of the starch and prevents the jambalaya from clumping up. It also helps give the grains a fluffy texture.
Stir that around for about 3 minutes, to toast the rice.
Then, add chicken stock (or chicken broth), a little water, and fire roasted tomatoes:
Throw a bay leaf on top, then the rice is ready to cook with the lid on.
Simmer on low for about 15-20 minutes, until the liquid is almost all gone, and the rice is nearly tender.
Then add a pound of shrimp and sliced scallions:
The Trick for Not Overcooking the Shrimp
At this point I stir in the shrimp and green onions, put the lid on, and actually turn off the heat entirely, letting the residual heat cook the shrimp very gently.
After 5 minutes, the shrimp should be perfectly cooked through and not rubbery, and the entire rice dish can be served right in the pan, with extra scallions on top.
And that’s how to make jambalaya! Many ingredients, but not complicated, at all. I consider it fairly little effort for how much food you get. It’s such a hearty meal, too.
What to Serve with This Dish
It is perfectly accepting to serve this shrimp sausage jambalaya recipe as the entire meal. But if you want to add a few sides, I suggest a side of Homemade Cornbread or a simple Kale Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette. You don’t want to serve anything distracting because the jambalaya is so flavorful.
Recipe FAQ and Tips:
Be really careful not to overcook the shrimp, and either reheat in the microwave or on the stove, making sure to pull the food as soon as it’s warm. You may even want to take out the shrimp and reheat separately so the shrimp doesn’t get rubbery.
Yes, in an airtight container for up to 2 months.
Yes, and leftovers will keep for 5 days.
Shrimp and Andouille Sausage Jambalaya
- 2 tbsp neutral cooking oil
- 2 cups chopped yellow onion*
- 1 cup chopped bell pepper*
- 1/2 cup chopped celery*
- freshly ground black pepper
- 12 ounces smoked andouille sausage sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper **
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- 2 cups long-grain white rice rinsed for about 1 minute until the water runs clear
- 4 cups chicken stock + 1 cup water rinsed from the carton***
- 14.5 oz can fire roasted tomatoes
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 lb large raw shrimp ****
- 1/2 cup chopped scallions
- In a large wide pot (I used a 5-qt braiser, but you can also use a big soup pot), heat the oil over medium to medium high heat. Add the onions, peppers, and celery, and season with 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. Cook for 7-8 minutes, until slightly softened.
- Add the sausage, paprika, cayenne, and oregano, and continue cooking for 5 minutes, until the fat and flavor from the sausage have rendered out and further softened the vegetables.
- Add the garlic and stir for 30 seconds, then add the rice. Stir continuously for 3 minutes to toast the rice.
- Add the chicken stock, 1 cup of water, tomatoes, and bay leaf, bring the liquid to a boil, then reduce to a simmer over low heat.
- Cover the pan with a lid and simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally so the rice doesn’t settle and burn on the bottom.
- When the liquid is mostly absorbed and the rice is nearly tender, stir in the shrimp and scallions, cover with a lid, and turn the heat off. Let the pan sit on the stove for another 5 minutes, to gently cook the shrimp. The jambalaya is now ready to be served and enjoyed!
Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.
Post updated in September 2020. Originally published April 2011.