Easy One Pot Jambalaya
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Easy One-Pot Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya — This EASY jambalaya is made in ONE pot with Cajun-seasoned chicken, sausage, rice, peppers, and more! The whole family will LOVE this big batch of comfort food that’s ready in 30 MINUTES! Perfect for busy weeknights or make it as a freezer meal prep recipe. There’s such incredible depth of flavor in such a short amount of time that it’ll be sure to go into your rotation!
Easiest Jambalaya Recipe!
For anyone craving a little bit of Southern comfort food, this easy one pot jambalaya recipe is just what you need!
Before anyone gets bent out of shape and writes to me telling me that this “isn’t how you make jambalaya” — you’re right, it’s not! Not the traditional way at least.
If you know my site and my style of cooking, you know that I like to take traditional recipes that your grandma may have made, for instance Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup, but that took her all day to prepare and I like to adapt them for our busy modern lives.
My goal is to simplify and condense recipes into far less steps and less time, so that you can get on with your life, but still enjoy ALL the flavor of the traditional version.
And this one pot, 30 minute, easy jambalaya recipe delivers on all those fronts!
It’s hearty, comforting, has just the right amount of kick from the Cajon seasoning that perfectly coats the sausage, juicy chicken, tender rice, peppers, and onions.
Best of all with my easy one pot jambalaya, there is no browning first, then removing that food, then sautéing something else in the skillet or Dutch oven, then adding the cooked and browned food back in — no, none of that.
One pot means one pot and no transferring food around and playing musical chairs with it which I am not fond of at all.
Tip: In case you’re looking for another non-traditional but so fast and easy jambalaya recipe, look no further than my Easy Sheet Pan Jambalaya with Sausage and Shrimp. It’s ready in 20 minutes and made on one sheet pan!
Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya Ingredients
For this super easy jambalaya recipe that’s made with common fridge and pantry ingredients, you’ll need the following common and easy to find ingredients:
- Olive oil
- White or yellow onion
- Green bell pepper
- Red bell pepper
- Chicken breast
- Cooked U-shaped sausage link (kielbasa, Polish sausage, turkey sausage, etc.)
- Cooked rice
- Cajun seasoning
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Lemon juice, optional
- Green onions, for garnishing; optional
How to Make Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya
It really doesn’t get any easier than this one-pot dinner recipe. Follow these easy steps to prepare the jambalaya:
Step 1: Begin by sautéing an onion in olive oil in a large Dutch oven, then add in the green pepper, red pepper, and sauté before adding the garlic and cooking it momentarily until fragrant.
Step 2: Add the chicken and cook it briefly and then add the sausage and cook until the chicken is done.
Tip: If you like your chicken and sausage well-browned with lots of color, you can remove them, sauté them in a separate skillet, and then add them back into the Dutch oven with the onion and peppers.
However, as I mentioned, I am not a fan of this and being that the chicken and sausage brown enough for our liking amidst the onions and peppers, I don’t bother dirtying another skillet nor doing any separate browning and do it all in the one pot.
Step 3: Add the Rotel, cooked rice, evenly season with Cajun seasoning, salt, pepper, stir, and simmer for a few minutes.
Step 4: Taste the jambalaya and add any additional Cajun seasoning, salt, or pepper to taste.
Step 5: Add a dash of lemon juice if you’d like to brighten up the overall flavor profile as well as optional green onions for garnishing and dig in!
Is This Jambalaya Spicy?
We love spicy food and food that really packs a punch. By design, I made our jambalaya on the spicier side, but it’s not where near hot.
I used about 4 tablespoons — yes, correct, tablespoons not teaspoons — of Cajun seasoning. I added two while I was cooking the jambalaya and then towards the end, I added two more.
Feel free to tone that way back by starting with one tablespoon and working your way up.
However, by design, jambalaya is not a ‘plain’ type of recipe and should have a little punch to it. Embrace it for what it’s intended to be is my recommendation.
Additionally, although four tablespoons of anything sounds like a lot, remember that you’re cooking two pounds of protein, six cups of rice, 20 ounces Rotel, and two big bell peppers and a large onion.
Trust me, this easy jambalaya recipe with sausage and chicken can handle it based on the quantity of food that you need to season. Nothing would be worse than bland jambalaya!
Variations and Substitution Ideas for One Pot Jambalaya
Recipes like homemade jambalaya are just the perfect vehicles for tweaking to your tastes and desires. And also to use up random odds and ends you have laying around in your fridge and pantry.
For example, you can consider the following variations and substitutions:
- Rather than green and red peppers, use orange
- Add celery (or even carrots)
- Instead of yellow or white onion, use a Sweet Vidalia
- Mix-and-match any combo of chicken, sausage, and shrimp for the proteins. Use just one, all three, or any two.
- I used a pork Kielbasa sausage but you can use Polish sausage, turkey sausage, smoked sausage, or your favorite cooked sausage link
- Any type of Rotel is great from No Salt Added to Mild or Hot or use your favorite thick and chunky salsa. It’s what I use in my Sheet Pan Jambalaya with Sausage and Shrimp rather than Rotel.
- Roma tomatoes and diced jalapenos can stand in for Rotel; add them when you add the bell peppers
- I used Uncle Ben’s Ready Rice in a combination of Original, Spanish Style, and Red Beans and Rice. Feel free to use all the same types or mix-and-match based on what you have on hand which is what I did. Use your favorite type of rice inlcluding previously cooked leftover rice, or cook up some fresh rice.
What to Serve with Jambalaya
Not sure what goes with jambalaya? Here are some side dishes for jambalaya you can try:
- Green side salad
- Grilled corn
- Cornbread or biscuits
- Steamed or sautéed green beans
- Cucumber salad
Really anything fresh and crisp OR carby works well with this chicken and sausage jambalaya! Or, serve it on its own.
Can This Recipe Be Halved?
One pot jambalaya makes a big batch. However, as long as you’re cooking, you may as well cook enough to have planned leftovers is my motto!
This jambalaya recipe makes about 10 more modest sized servings or approximately 6 to 8 much bigger portions. Appetites vary so these are my estimates but your mileage may vary.
You can theoretically halve the recipe from the get-go although I wouldn’t bother personally because I opt for planned leftovers so just make the full amount as written since you’re cooking it anyway and stash leftovers for a rainy day.
Or, you can eat half and stash half in the freezer!
Can Jambalaya Be Frozen?
Yes! Jambalaya is a great freezer meal prep recipe because it freezes, thaws, and reheats beautifully.
Tips for the Best Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya
You’re going to be impressed from the first bite you take of this comfort food classic, but the one pot jambalaya actually gets better after a day or two in the fridge.
The flavors marry together and it tastes even better, which is something I find often happens with pasta sauce, red sauce, or anytime there’s a decent quantity of a tomato-based sauce such as Rotel here, coupled with red peppers.
There is something about the acidity of the tomatoes I presume that somehow must mellow and morph over time and the dish tastes even better for me.
There is a fair amount of chopping and dicing, and to make this a true 30-minute recipe, I urge you to do is work ahead!
While your onion is sautéing, start dicing that green pepper, and then when that is added to the skillet, quickly dice the red pepper.
When those are sautéing and softening, get that chicken diced, add it, and slice off your sausage link while the chicken browns momentarily.
Always be looking ahead — your knife will be in your hand the whole time and if it’s not, you have rock star chopping and dicing skills and I would love for you to come help me out in my kitchen!
Finally, I am a huge fan of precooked ready rice packets. I just am not a fan of cooking rice but hey, if you are, go for it. But again, in order to keep this easy one pot jambalaya truly easy, I highly recommend using precooked rice, unless of course you have leftover rice in your fridge.
- 3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil, plus more if/as desired
- 1 large white or yellow onion, diced small
- 1 large green bell pepper, seeded and diced small
- 1 large red bell pepper, seeded and diced small
- 3 to 5 cloves garlic, finely minced or pressed
- 1 to 1.25 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast, diced into bite-sized pieces
- 12 ounces cooked U-shaped sausage link, sliced into bite-sized pieces (kielbasa, Polish sausage, turkey sausage, etc.)
- two 10-ounce cans Rotel* (See Notes) or similar canned diced tomatoes and green chiles
- three 8-ounce packets precooked Ready Rice such as Uncle Ben's or 6 cups previously cooked rice** (See Notes)
- 2 to 4 tablespoons Cajun seasoning, or to taste *** (See Notes)
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt, or to taste
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice, optional and to taste
- Green onions, sliced thin; optional for garnishing
- To a large Dutch oven or similar deep, heavy-bottomed pot, add the olive oil, onion, and sauté over medium-high heat for about 3 to 4 minutes, stirring intermittently.
- Add the green peppers and and sauté for about 2 minutes, stirring intermittently.
- Add the red peppers and sauté for about 2 minutes, stirring intermittently. If at any time the mixture seems at all dry, add additional olive oil.
- Add the garlic and sauté for about 1 minute or until fragrant, stirring constantly.
- Note - If you like very well-browned chicken and sausage, sauté them in a separate pan, starting first with the chicken, then add the sausage about 3 minutes later, and sauté until the chicken is cooked through and the proteins are as browned as desired, then transfer them back into the Dutch oven with the onions and peppers. However, because we are not fanatical about it, and I like the ease of one-pot recipes, no transferring food back and forth, I do it all in one pot.
- Add the chicken to the onions and peppers, and add more olive oil if desired. Stir and flip intermittently for about 3 to 4 minutes before adding the sausage.
- Add the sausage, and stir and flip intermittently for about 3 to 4 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and the sausage is lightly cooked.
- Add the rice (if using packets of Ready Rice I like to heat the in the microwave according to the packet directions before adding it to the Dutch oven because it helps soften up the rice nicely and warms it through). If using precooked leftover cold rice, let it sit out at room temp before adding it to the Dutch oven. Stir to combine.
- Add the Rotel and stir to combine.
- Evenly sprinkle with Cajun seasoning, to taste (start slowly at first if you're sensitive to spices)***, salt, pepper, and stir to combine.
- Allow mixture to come up to just barely boiling, or until all ingredients have been warmed through, about 3 to 5 minutes.
- Taste the jambalaya and if desired, add more Cajun seasoning (likely if you started with just 1-2 tablespoons), additional salt (if it tastes at all flat or boring, most likely it needs salt too not just spice/heat so add it and remember the saltiness of your Rotel as well as your sausage will effect this) as well as additional pepper if desired.
- Optional add the lemon juice (brights up the dish) and optionally garnish with green onions to taste. Serve immediately.
- Jambalaya will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 4 months.**** (See Notes)
*I used No Salt Added Rotel but you can use your favorite including Original, Mild, Hot, etc. or another similar brand of canned diced tomatoes and green chiles.
**I used Uncle Ben's Ready Rice in a combination of Original, Spanish Style, and Red Beans and Rice. Feel free to use all the same types or mix-and-match based on what you have on hand which is what I did. These flavors for me seem to "go" better with the overall flavor profile of Jambalaya and I wouldn't personally for example use jasmine nor likely brown rice, but use what you enjoy.
***I used about 4 tablespoons, yes correct tablespoons not teaspoons, of cajun seasoning. I added two while I was cooking the jambalaya and then towards the end, I added two more. Feel free to tone that way back by starting with one tablespoon and working your way up, if desired. By design, jambalaya is not a ‘plain’ type of recipe and should have a little punch to it. Embrace it for what it’s intended to be is my recommendation. Additionally, although four tablespoons of anything sounds like a lot, remember that you're cooking two pounds of protein, six cups of rice, 20 ounces Rotel, and two big bell peppers and a large onion. Trust me, it can handle it based on the quantity of food that you need to season. Nothing would be worse than bland jambalaya!
**** This recipe makes about 10 more modest sized servings or 6-8 much bigger portions. It's a great freezer meal prep recipe because it freezes, thaws, and reheats beautifully. You can halve the recipe from the get-go (I wouldn't bother personally - you may as well make the full amount since you're cooking anyway and stash leftovers for a rainy day), or you can eat half and stash half in the freezer, or make it simply to immediately place in the freezer.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 407Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 52mgSodium: 1903mgCarbohydrates: 54gFiber: 2gSugar: 2gProtein: 24g
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