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Easy Chicken & Sausage Jambalaya

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Easy Chicken & Sausage Jambalaya – a quick, easy, healthier, not-so-spicy version of jambalaya. It has so much flavor, you’re going to love it! Simple stovetop or Instant Pot instructions!

I wasn’t sure how this meal would go over with my family, some like it hot and spicy and some (me!) not so much. WINNER, winner chicken and sausage for dinner!

I you are like me and want to spend more time with your family and less time cooking, try these other family favorites: Instant Pot Whole Roasted Chicken, Slow Cooker Beans and Rice, and Easy 30 minute Chicken Parmesan

Pinterest image of white bowl of sausage and chicken jambalaya with a spoon in background.

This Chicken & Sausage Jambalaya was a huge hit with everyone – I have made it numerous times at the request of my kids, requesting seconds every time, but be warned, now I need to add extra chicken and especially sausage because everyone picks out the sausage!

Perfect for Mardi Gras or anytime you are looking for a healthy, delicious meal!

white bowl filled with jambalaya, spoon in background on wooden charger with parsley laid on top.

True confessions, I have never had jambalaya before, not the real deal at least; then I stumbled upon this recipe using chicken and sausage and played with the spices so it wasn’t too spicy, but was chock-full of flavor! 

What Is Jambalaya?

From what I have gleaned, jambalaya originates from the French Quarter in New Orleans, it was apparently an attempt by the Spanish to make paella in the New World, where saffron wasn’t readily available and tomatoes became the substitute. But do not quote me!

Creole or Cajun??

Although every family has its own recipe for jambalaya, there are two main categories: Cajun and Creole.

The difference lies in the order in which the ingredients are cooked and the use of tomatoes. Creole jambalaya, which is also sometimes known as “red jambalaya,” includes tomatoes. (Source) So, I suppose this version would be considered Creole.

But does it really matter when it nourishes your soul, is healthy, filling and packed with flavor? I don’t think so!

Spoonful of jambalaya with bowl in background

What kind of meat do you put in jambalaya?

In my research, it seems like with many regional recipes; there have been many adaptations throughout history.

I am not here to debate what is authentic or traditional, just what has been used in this famous dish.

  • Smoked sausage is typical; most commonly, andouille sausage, though I usually use kielbasa
  • Smoked ham
  • Shrimp
  • Chicken

It is a “clean out your leftovers” kind of meal! So be creative! I have used andouille sausage, ham, chicken and kielbasa. I am allergic to shrimp (to my husband’s dismay), but if you are not, toss some in at the very end!

What kind of sausage is best for jambalaya?

Smoked sausage is best with the flavors in this dish (like kielbasa, andouille or even chorizo), but hey, if all you have is polish sausage or quality beef hot dogs, try it!

How long does Jambalaya take to cook?

  • INSTANT POT less than 30 minutes!
  • STOVETOP about 45-60 minutes! Either way a great meal!
Process image shots, left to right, 1. sauteeing onions, peppers and celery in instant pot. 2. quickly browning chicken and sausage in cast iron pan, 3. adding cajun seasoning. 4. pouring in chicken broth.

Instant Pot Instructions

  • Press Saute to preheat the Instant Pot Insert (this is the InstantPot I love and recommend).
  • When “HOT” is displayed, add olive oil.
  • Saute onions, bell pepper, celery in HOT Instant Pot, stirring occasionally about 4-5 minutes until golden and translucent (add a small teaspoon of butter or dab of oil if needed)
  • While veggies are caramelizing, heat a separate skillet over medium-high heat, adding a couple teaspoons of olive oil.
  • Add sausage to skillet, stirring to quickly brown both sides, 2 minutes per side, remove to plate
  • Add chicken to skillet, browning on both sides, about 2 minutes per side, remove to plate.
  • Add garlic, cajun/creole seasoning, sea salt and Italian seasoning, stirring until fragrant
  • Pour in chicken stock, scraping bottom of pan to release any brown bits
  • Press CANCEL on panel to turn off IP
  • Add browned chicken and sausage back to Instant Pot
  • Pour uncooked white rice evenly over the top of the meat
  • Pour can of tomatoes over the top, pressing gently to cover the rice.
  • Secure lid, steam vent in locked position. Press PRESSURE COOK (Manual), adjust timer to 5-6 minutes (sea level) or 6-8 minutes (altitude), at high pressure.
  • Carefully, and immediately release the steam!
  • Remove lid, stir gently, serve with chopped parsley if desired. If the rice isn’t quite done, simply return the lid to the IP and place on warm for another 10 minutes while you set the table!
  • If adding shrimp | Add 12 oz medium cooked shrimp and immediately reseal the Instant Pot lid and allow the Jambalaya to warm for 5 minutes in the residual heat (Alert: the Instant Pot is on Warm). Borrowed these instructions from Boulder Locavore
  • Tastes great leftover, refrigerate up to 1 week or freeze up to 3 months

TFC NOTES & CHANGES

  • When browning or searing meat in the IP, I notice when it’s a decent amount of meat it’s better to do it in batches so the meat browns vs. boils. I prefer to brown my meat in a separate pan (my favorite pan) on the stovetop. Saves time since you brown the meat and saute your veggies at the same time.
  • The first few times I made this recipe, the rice stuck to the bottom of the pan, almost burning, but by adding the rice AFTER the meat, but BEFORE the tomatoes the problem was solved. Could very well be due to altitude.
Process shots, from left to right. 5. pouring in browned chicken and sausage. 6. pouring in long grain white rice. 7. Pouring in diced tomatoes. 8. Instant Pot with time on 6 minutes.

STOVETOP INSTRUCTIONS

Jambalaya for a Crowd | Easily doubles or Triples

I made this on a ski trip and was feeding 10 people, which I knew it would not work in the Instant Pot, as I was doubling the recipe.

  • Heat a large skillet (or pot) over medium-high heat, adding a couple teaspoons of olive oil
  • Add sausage to skillet, stirring to quickly brown both sides, 2 minutes per side, remove to plate
  • Add chicken to skillet, browning on both sides, about 2 minutes per side, remove to plate.
  • Saute onions, bell pepper, celery, adding another teaspoon or two of oil or butter if needed. Stirring occasionally about 4-5 minutes until golden and translucent
  • Add garlic, cajun or creole seasoning, sea salt and Italian seasoning, stirring until fragrant.
  • Pour chicken stock, scraping bottom of pan to release any brown bits
  • Add chicken and sausage back to pan
  • Pour uncooked white rice evenly over the top of the meat
  • Pour tomatoes over the top, stirring to combine
  • Cover, reduce to simmer and cook for 25-30 minutes, being sure to stir the mixture every 5 minutes or so (to prevent burning) until the rice is tender, add a little more chicken broth if gets too dry.
  • Adding shrimp | Add 1 pound raw large shrimp, peeled and deveined during last 5 minutes or so of cooking, stirring occasionally until shrimp is cooked (opaque and pink).

There you have it, a quick and easy Chicken & Sausage Jambalaya recipe for your Instant Pot or Stovetop! This recipe easily doubles!

Ingredients and Substitutions

  • Celery, Onion and Bell Pepper (traditionally it would be green pepper, but I like red, orange or yellow). Substitute a jar of roasted red peppers, this is also delicious!
  • Add Cayenne for heat, from a sprinkle up to ½ a teaspoon.
  • Garlic, Creole or Cajun seasoning, Italian Seasoning. Substitutes | I have used all Italian Seasoning as well as Garam Masala seasoning in place of Cajun/Creole seasoning, all tasted great.
  • Chicken and Kielbasa Sausage | Choose your proteins! I have used kielbasa, andouille sausage, and chicken; substitute or add in ham chunks and/or shrimp*.
  • Chicken stock (stovetop method, may need more liquid) Substitute | Vegetarian Jambalaya omit meat and sub in vegetable stock.
  • Diced Fire Roasted Tomatoes. Substitute regular diced tomatoes.
  • White Rice | Long grain is traditional, short grain white rice also works.
  • Sea Salt and Black Pepper | Always taste before serving, adding additional seasonings if needed.
Close up shot of chicken and sausage jambalaya, with sausage slice and dirty looking rice from teh tomatoes, and a sprinkling of bright green parsley!

Serve Jambalaya with…

This recipe was adapted from The Big Book of Instant Pot Recipes by The Wicked Noodle

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Yield: 6 servings

Easy Instant Pot Chicken & Sausage Jambalaya

Easy Instant Pot Chicken & Sausage Jambalaya

Instant Pot Chicken & Sausage Jambalaya – a quick, easy, healthier, not-so-spicy version of jambalaya. It has so much flavor, you’re going to love it! No Instant Pot? No problem, I provide easy instructions for making on the stovetop!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Saute Time 5 minutes
Under Pressure Time 7 minutes
Total Time 22 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 - 4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil (a little butter may be substituted for some oil)
  • 1 lb (or 12 oz pkg) smoked kielbasa or andouille sausage, cut into ¼ in slices
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces
  • 1 medium-large yellow or sweet onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped (try other colors too, or substitute with small jar of roasted red peppers)
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-2 teaspoons Cajun or Creole Seasoning (I've also used Garam Masala or added more Italian Seasoning)
  • ½-1 teaspoon kosher sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons Italian Seasoning
  • 2 cups chicken stock (or broth, regular or low-sodium)
  • 1 ½ cups uncooked long-grain white rice (may substitute short grain white rice)
  • 1 14.5 oz can fire-roasted or regular diced tomatoes, undrained

Instructions

Instant Pot Instructions

Press Saute to preheat the Instant Pot Insert (this is the one I love and recommend). When "HOT" is displayed, add olive oil.

Saute onions, bell pepper, celery in HOT Instant Pot, stirring occasionally about 4-5 minutes until golden and translucent (add a small teaspoon of butter or dab of oil if needed)

While veggies are caramelizing, heat a separate skillet over medium-high heat, adding a couple teaspoons of olive oil. Add sausage to skillet, stirring to quickly brown both sides, about 2 minutes per side, remove to plate. Add chicken to skillet, browning on both sides, about 2 minutes per side, remove to plate.

Add garlic, cajun/creole seasoning, sea salt and Italian seasoning to onion mixture in Instant Pot, stirring until fragrant. Pour in chicken stock, scraping bottom of pan to release any brown bits. Press CANCEL on panel to turn off IP

Add browned chicken and sausage back to Instant Pot. Pour uncooked white rice evenly over the top of the meat, add can of tomatoes over the top of rice, evenly, pressing gently to cover the rice.

Secure lid, steam vent in locked position. Press PRESSURE COOK (Manual), adjust timer to 5-6 minutes (sea level) or 6-8 minutes (altitude), at high pressure.

Once finished, carefully, and immediately release the steam! Remove lid, stir gently, serve with chopped parsley if desired.

If adding shrimp | Add 12 oz medium cooked shrimp and immediately reseal the Instant Pot lid and allow the Jambalaya to warm for 5 minutes in the residual heat (Alert: the Instant Pot is on Warm). Borrowed these instructions from Boulder Locavore

STOVETOP INSTRUCTIONS

Heat a large skillet (or pot) over medium-high heat, adding a couple teaspoons of olive oil. Add sausage to skillet, stirring to quickly brown both sides, about 2 minutes per side, remove to plate. Add chicken to skillet, browning on both sides, about 2 minutes per side, remove to plate.

Saute onions, bell pepper, celery, adding another teaspoon or two of oil or butter if needed. Stirring occasionally about 4-5 minutes until golden and translucent. Add garlic, cajun or creole seasoning, sea salt and Italian seasoning, stirring until fragrant.

Pour chicken stock, scraping bottom of pan to release any brown bits, return browned chicken and sausage back to pan, pouring uncooked white rice over the top, add tomatoes, stirring to combine.

Cover, reduce to simmer and cook for 25-30 minutes, being sure to stir the mixture every 5 minutes or so (to prevent burning) until the rice is tender.

Adding shrimp | Add 1 pound raw large shrimp, peeled and deveined during last 5 minutes or so of cooking, stirring occasionally until shrimp is cooked (opaque and pink).

Notes

Easily doubles or triples using Stovetop method. Tastes great leftover, refrigerate up to 1 week or freeze up to 3 months.

Gluten-Free and Dairy Free.

TFC NOTES & CHANGES

  • When browning or searing meat in the IP, I notice when it's a decent amount of meat it's better to do it in batches so the meat browns vs. boils. I prefer to brown my meat in a separate pan (my favorite pan) on the stovetop. Saves time since you brown the meat and saute your veggies at the same time.
  • The first few times I made this recipe, the rice stuck to the bottom of the pan, almost burning, but by adding the rice AFTER the meat, but BEFORE the tomatoes the problem was solved. Could very well be due to altitude.
  • I have had some readers say that their rice was not cooked after 5 minutes. My advice is to 1. make sure your IP is at HIGH pressure and not low. Make sure you are using a long grain white rice, not brown rice or other longer cooking rice. Lastly, you can seal the IP back up and set for 2-3 more high pressure minutes, which should cook the rice through.


I have also made this dish and allowed it to depressurize naturally vs. releasing the steam immediately, keeping the IP on Warm until ready to eat.

Ingredients and Substitutions

  • Celery, Onion and Bell Pepper (traditionally it would be green pepper, but I like red, orange or yellow). Substitute a jar of roasted red peppers, this is also delicious!
  • Add Cayenne for heat, from a sprinkle up to ½ a teaspoon.
  • Garlic, Creole or Cajun seasoning, Italian Seasoning. Substitutes | I have used all Italian Seasoning as well as Garam Masala seasoning in place of Cajun/Creole seasoning, all tasted great.
  • Chicken and Kielbasa Sausage | Choose your proteins! I have used kielbasa, andouille sausage, and chicken; substitute or add in ham chunks and/or shrimp*.
  • Chicken stock (stovetop method, may need more liquid) Substitute | Vegetarian Jambalaya omit meat and sub in vegetable stock.
  • Diced Fire Roasted Tomatoes. Substitute regular diced tomatoes.
  • White Rice | Long grain is traditional, short grain white rice also works.
  • Sea Salt and Black Pepper | Always taste before serving, adding additional seasonings if needed.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

6

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 370Total Fat: 26gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 56mgSodium: 1627mgCarbohydrates: 21gFiber: 2gSugar: 8gProtein: 14g

The nutritional information is estimated and may not be entirely accurate, at times it pulls information for suggestions and options which may increase calories, etc.

Did you make this recipe?

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More Great Easy Weeknight Meals

Long pin for Easy instant pot Jambalaya. top image of white bowl on wooden plate with rustic spoon and bowl filled with jambalaya. Bottom image of top down shot of chicken and sausage jambalaya.

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Cameron

Thursday 10th of December 2020

Yum! The weather turned cold today and I was glad I had planned on Easy Chicken Jambalaya fir dinner! Yummy. Added shrimp to my daughter's bowl, spinach to mine & parsley on top of my husband's ... all hearty, mild, warm.

Kathleen

Thursday 10th of December 2020

Awe, you are so sweet! Thank you Cameron! So glad everyone loved it!

[email protected]

Sunday 10th of May 2020

Printing this out to make this week! Looks delicious!

Kathleen

Sunday 10th of May 2020

And I hope you love it Paula, thank you!

Lynn Spencer

Saturday 9th of May 2020

Delicious and so easy in the Instant Pot!!!

Kathleen

Saturday 9th of May 2020

Thank you my friend, it's so easy!!

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