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Easy Instant Pot Chicken & Sausage Jambalaya

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Easy Chicken & Sausage Jambalaya – a quick, easy, healthier, not-so-spicy version. Easy Chicken & Sausage Jambalaya – a quick, easy, healthier, not-so-spicy version of instant pot jambalaya recipe. It has so much flavor, you are going to love it! Stove top instructions included too!

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 jambalaya for dinner!

I you are like me and want to spend more time with your family and less time cooking, try these other favorite recipes:: Instant Pot Whole Roasted Chicken, Crockpot London Broil, Best Cheesesteak Sandwich Recipe, and Easy 30 minute Chicken Parmesan

Easy Instant Pot Jambalaya recipe with spoonful of chicken and sausage jambalaya, square format.

This easy instant pot jambalaya is such a great recipe – 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!

The whole family loves it!

Perfect for Mardi Gras or anytime you are looking for a healthy, delicious meal! Someone even told me it was better than the famous Martha Stewart Firehouse Jambalaya and easier too! Let me know what you think!

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 But do not quote me!

Is Jambalaya 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 breast or chicken thighs

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?

  • Pressure Cook less than 30 minutes!
  • STOVETOP about 45-60 minutes! Either way a great meal!

Ingredients and Substitutions for Instant Pot Jambalaya

  • Celery, Onion and Green Pepper (traditionally it would be green bell pepper, but I like red, orange or yellow). Substitute a jar of roasted red peppers, this is also delicious! This combination is traditionally called the “holy trinity”.
  • Cayenne pepper 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.
  • Rice | Long grain is traditional, short grain white rice also works. I used jasmine rice.
  • Sea Salt and Black Pepper | Always taste before serving, adding additional seasonings if needed.
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.

How to make chicken jambalaya

  • Press Saute function to preheat the Instant Pot Insert (this is the Instant Pot 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, using a wooden spoon to quickly brown both sides, 2 minutes per side, remove to plate
  • Brown chicken in skillet, 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 the pot 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 cooking time to 5-6 minutes (sea level) or 6-8 minutes (altitude), at high pressure.
  • Carefully, perform a quick release on pressure cooker jambalaya
  • 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 easy Jambalaya recipe to warm for 5 minutes in the residual heat (Alert: the Instant Pot is on Warm). Borrowed these instructions from Boulder Locavore
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!

Storage

  • Tastes great leftover, refrigerate up to 1 week or freeze up to 3 months in an airtight container. Reheat on stovetop over low heat or in microwave.

Variations & Tips for Instant Pot Jambalaya

  • 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, reducing your overall cook 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.
  • Try adding a 1-2 bay leaves to the ingredients.
  • Replace white rice with brown rice, I’ve had several people successfully do this, you might need to add a few more minutes time, or let it sit a little longer.
  • Garnish with green onions
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

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 and Sausage Jambalaya recipe for your Instant Pot or Stovetop! This recipe easily doubles!

Gluten-Free Jambalaya

This recipe, since it does not use a roux of any kind, is naturally gluten-free, watch your sausage, but otherwise, enjoy this delicious, family friendly recipe for instant pot jambalaya.

Side dishes for Jambalaya

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

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23 Comments

  1. 4 stars
    Perfect for a busy weeknight and the directions and tips are spot on. I did sub chicken thighs for the breast and some Cajun Lemon Pepper seasoning in place of the Italian Seasoning. Also stirred in some chopped scallions at the end. Enjoying leftovers for lunch today!

  2. 5 stars
    Made this again tonight & it is super easy, super satisfying. We added shrimp to the kielbasa & chicken (cooked separately, added shrimp after everything else was done in the instant pot). Great weeknight dinner when the snow is suddenly flying! Warm and satisfying.

  3. 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.

      1. I love anything Cajun or Creole and this recipe looks so easy. Should this recipe work just as well in a Ninja? The Ninja does pretty much everything. We had a supervisor that was from New Orleans and she would bring in Gumbo, Jambalaya and Red Beans and Rice. They were so good. Thanks for stating that the recipe can be frozen. This would be a great quick meal to pull out of the freezer on a cold night.

        1. Yes, from my limited experience with the Ninja I think it would work just fine. This is a fabulous meal, makes quite a bit, so it’s great to freeze the leftovers as a lovely surprise another day. Hope you love it, if you like it spicy, just add more spices, I am a spice Wimp! LOL! I also have a yummy Red Beans and Rice recipe on the blog as well, another great one for this time of year! I hope you love it!
          Happy New Year!
          Kathleen

  4. 5 stars
    Thank you so much for this delicious recipe! We do like our bacon, so instead of oil, I just fried up a half lb of bacon in the pot and used that grease to sautee everything else. This really was delicious!

  5. Could cauliflower rice be used instead of regular rice? If so, this would be a wonderful lo carb dish. Would I need to cut down on the amount of liquid?

    1. Hi Kathy, I did a little poking around to see if this would work and I think I found a way. Reduce the liquid to 1/2 cup and only pressure cook for 3 minutes at high pressure, then let pressure naturally release for 15 minutes, then release.

  6. I still remember my first taste of real jambalaya on my first trip to New Orleans so many years ago and this version is closest to that original one! I love that I get the authentic flavor in the instant pot so I don’t have to do all that authentic work too!