Cajun Jambalaya

Spicy, saucy, and ultra-flavorful, Cajun jambalaya is one of our all-time favorite meals.

Today is Hubby’s birthday. While I write this post, he hasn’t decided what he wants for a birthday meal. But I know this would always, always be an excellent option.

I have been making jambalaya for over a decade, and looking back, it has changed a lot. Traditionally the recipe calls for andouille sausage, chicken, and shrimp. I rarely make meals with two types of protein, much less three. Husband loves sausage and I love shrimp; so the chicken was quickly omitted. I don’t eat pork these days, but luckily, I have found a very good alternative for traditional pork andouille sausage.

There was also zero chance green bell peppers were going in this recipe, or any recipe I plan to eat. Fortunately, red bell peppers or any color ripe pepper is a much more acceptable alternative.

While I doubt you would be drawn to this dish if you were completely averse to spice, you can definitely adjust to your liking.

But you really should be drawn to this recipe. Every ingredient is infused with delicious flavor.


Shrimp: Either medium to large-sized raw shrimp work as the shrimp is chopped into bite-sized pieces before adding to the pot. Some people like to leave the tails for appearance’s sake. But who the heck wants to sit and pull tails off shrimp in the middle of their meal. Nope!

Cajun Seasoning: Available in the spice section. I use this brand. Cajun seasoning contains spices like paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and salt.

Olive Oil: To sauté the veggies.

Onions, Bell Peppers & Celery: This is a delightful mixture of veggies to give the dish some texture and color. We like the vegetables with just a bit of crunch. I typically use red onion and either red, yellow, or orange bell pepper.

Garlic: A necessity in a savory dish.

Tomato: Adds lovely red color and flavor to the finished dish.

Bay Leaves: Describing the flavor that bay leaves add to a recipe is near impossible, but it is unmistakable and absolutely perfect in jambalaya.

Worcestershire sauce: This salty, flavorful sauce is excellent in this rice-based dish.

Hot Sauce: Sriracha is my absolute go-to for hot sauce. Is it Cajun? Definitely not. But that doesn’t stop me from adding a generous amount to my jambalaya. Use your favorite hot sauce. Tabasco sauce is another popular choice around here.

Rice: The starchy base for the recipe. Absorbs all the wonderful flavors as it cooks.

Chicken Stock: Liquid for the rice to absorb while it cooks. I use low sodium stock.

Andouille chicken sausage: I really love this chicken sausage. Pork andouille sausage is traditionally used in Cajun jambalaya.

Pepper: To taste. I always add some fresh ground black pepper. There is salt in the sausage, Cajun seasoning, chicken stock, and Worcestershire sauce, so it shouldn’t be necessary to add salt.


Start by combining your thawed, deveined, peeled, and chopped shrimp with Cajun Seasonings. This allows the shrimp to absorb the flavor.

Next, chop your veggies and saute in olive oil in a large, heavy pan. I use my large stockpot for this recipe. If you prefer vegetables very tender, let them go for a few more minutes. They will continue to soften a bit more as the rest of the ingredients cook.

Once the vegetables are starting to get tender, add garlic, chopped tomato, bay leaves, Worcestershire sauce, and preferred hot sauce. You can always add more hot sauce at the end, so no need to go completely overboard now. You can also add hot sauce when it is plated.

Add the rice and stir in the chicken stock.

Allow the rice to cook and absorb most of the chicken stock. The tomatoes will start to fall apart and color the chicken stock. The smell will be amazing.

Add shrimp and sausage once the rice is tender. The sausage is cooked and only needs to be heated, and shrimp cooks very quickly. The shrimp will curl and turn white when it is cooked.

A small amount of residual silky sauce will remain when the dish is done. It is infused with flavor and so good.

Taste for seasonings and add fresh black pepper and additional Cajun Seasoning or hot sauce. Remember to remove the bay leaves!

Pile a generous helping of Cajun jambalaya into a bowl and enjoy!

Cajun Jambalaya

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Cajun
Servings 4


  • 15 medium shrimp peeled, deveined, and chopped
  • 2 tsp Cajun seasonings
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • ½ cups chopped onion
  • ½ cups chopped red bell pepper
  • ½ cups chopped celery
  • 2 garlic cloves finely chopped
  • 1 medium tomato chopped
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • Sriracha or preferred hot sauce to taste
  • ¾ cups rice
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 2 Andouille chicken sausage links sliced
  • Fresh ground black pepper


  • In a bowl, combine shrimp and Cajun seasoning. Stir and set aside.
  • In a large, heavy pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, red pepper and celery. Sauté over medium heat for about 5 minutes until the vegetables are just starting to soften.
  • Add garlic, tomatoes, bay leaves, Worcestershire and hot sauce. Stir in rice and slowly add chicken stock.
  • Reduce heat to medium and cook until rice absorbs liquid and becomes tender, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes.
  • When rice is just tender, add shrimp and sausage. Cook until the shrimp is done, about 5-7 minutes more.
  • Season to taste with pepper and additional Cajun seasoning. Remove the bay leaves and serve.
Keyword Hot, Savory, Spicy, Starch

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