Jambalaya is Southern comfort food at its best and is a true taste of Louisiana cooking. The rice dish is a hearty one-pot meal that’s loaded with all sorts of good things, depending on the variation. Creole versions are filled with shrimp, smoked sausage and sometimes ham or chicken and feature tomatoes. On the other hand, Cajun versions skip the tomatoes and often the shrimp, too. No matter the style, though, the “trinity” of onion, celery and green bell pepper are essential for providing plenty of aromatic flavor.
No matter how you make jambalaya, this smoky, spicy dish is a hearty and satisfying meal. While it’s traditionally made on the stovetop, it’s especially well-suited for a slow cooker. The long simmer time gives the flavors of each individual ingredient time to mix, mingle and meld. Preparing jambalaya in a slow cooker also means it’s mostly a hands-off process for the cook. The hardest part about this Creole-inspired recipe is the amount of chopping you’ll need to do.
Allow the slow cooker to preheat while you chop chicken, sausage, onion, green bell pepper, celery, garlic and scallions. Toss all of these ingredients into the slow cooker along with Cajun seasoning, salt, bay leaves, a can of diced tomatoes, broth and a bit of hot sauce then cover and for about four hours. Stir in peeled shrimp and long-grain white rice, cover and cook for 30 minutes more and dinner is ready. The rice will continue to absorb liquid as it sits, so it's best to serve it from the slow cooker right away!
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- 1 pound chicken thighs, cut into 2-inch pieces
- 1 12-ounce package smoked sausage, sliced into rounds
- 1 large yellow or Vidalia onion, diced
- 1 large green bell pepper, diced
- 4 celery stalks, sliced
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- 3 scallions, sliced into rounds
- 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 whole bay leaves
- 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
- 2½ cups chicken or beef broth
- 1 tablespoon hot sauce, such as Tabasco
- 24 medium to large shrimp, peeled and deveined (and thawed if previously frozen)
- 1 cup long-grain white rice
- fresh parsley, for garnish
Preheat the slow cooker on low for 30 minutes while chopping the vegetables.2.
Add the chicken, sausage, onion, bell pepper, celery, garlic, scallions, Cajun seasoning, salt, bay leaves, tomatoes, broth, and Tabasco and stir to combine. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours.3.
Remove the lid and quickly stir in the shrimp and rice. Cook for an additional 30 minutes.4.
Garnish with parsley, if desired, and serve immediately, as the rice will continue to absorb the liquid in the slow cooker as it sits.