This Easy Crock Pot Jambalaya recipe is perfect for a satisfying meal without shrimp. With a medley of smoked sausage, tender chicken, colorful bell peppers, and a blend of flavorful seasonings, this dish is a true Southern comfort classic that's easily made in the crock pot!
Jambalaya is a flavorful one-pot meal that typically features a combination of smoked sausage, chicken, and a variety of vegetables like bell peppers and onions. Originating in Louisiana, it's a true staple of Creole and Cajun cooking! What makes jambalaya a crowd-pleaser is its versatility. It can be adapted to suit various tastes, with options like this shrimp-free version for those who prefer to skip seafood and by using smoked sausage to keep the heat at a lower level while still savoring the flavors of this Southern classic.
Creating crock pot Jambalaya with no shrimp is a breeze! The slow cooker does all the work, allowing you to enjoy a delicious, hearty jambalaya without constant monitoring, making it perfect for busy days or when you want a simple, flavorful dinner. Combine sliced smoked sausage, cubed chicken, diced bell peppers, onions, tomatoes, and flavorful seasonings in your slow cooker. Let it simmer until cooked, then add the jambalaya rice mix during the final 30 minutes for a complete, hassle-free meal.
From casual family dinners to festive gatherings with friends, jambalaya in the crock pot suits many occasions. Its bold flavors and hearty texture also make it an excellent choice for meal prep, as it reheats wonderfully, allowing you to enjoy it throughout the week. Pair it with a side of cornbread, a fresh salad, or some steamed vegetables for a well-rounded and satisfying meal!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- This easy jambalaya recipe combines the smoky goodness of sausage, the tenderness of chicken, and a delicious blend of spices, creating a taste that's reminiscent of the South.
- With the convenience of a slow cooker, you'll spend minimal time in the kitchen while this dish simmers to perfection.
- Whether you're serving a crowd or planning ahead for the week, jambalaya can be adapted to your needs and reheats beautifully.
- Don't like seafood? No problem! This recipe omits shrimp, ensuring that even those with seafood aversions can enjoy a hearty jambalaya meal without sacrificing taste.
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Smoked Sausage - Adds a rich, smoky flavor to enhance depth and savoriness without adding a lot of heat.
- Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast - Contributes tender and lean protein for a heartier, satisfying dish.
- Bell Pepper (red and green) - Provides vibrant color and a sweet, crunchy texture.
- Yellow Onion - Imparts a mild, sweet onion flavor as it cooks down.
- Diced Tomatoes - Introduces a tangy, slightly acidic note and a burst of tomatoey goodness.
- Creole Seasoning - Infuses the dish with a bold, authentic Creole flavor profile.
- Dried Oregano - Contributes a subtle earthy and herbaceous flavor that is popular in Cajun cooking.
- Low Sodium Chicken Broth - Serves as the cooking liquid, providing moisture and flavor.
- Zatarain's Jambalaya Rice Mix - Delivers perfectly seasoned, aromatic rice that absorbs all the flavors of the other ingredients. If you cannot find this rice mixture, use long-grain rice instead.
How To Make Jambalaya In The Crock Pot
Brown the sausage: Though optional, browning the sausage will give the dish more depth of flavor. If you’re short on time, you can skip this step.
Add to crock pot: Add the smoked sausage, chicken, bell peppers, onion, diced tomatoes, Creole seasoning, oregano, and chicken broth to the slow cooker. Mix until well combined.
Cover and cook: Add the lid to the top and cook on HIGH For 3-4 hours or LOW for 6-7 hours.
Add the cooked rice: 30 minutes before the cooking time is up, stir in the cooked Zatarain's jambalaya rice. Let the rice simmer in the mixture for 30 minutes before serving. Enjoy!
- Tailor the Creole seasoning to your taste. If you prefer milder flavors, reduce the amount; for a spicier kick, increase it slightly.
- If you enjoy a bit more heat, opt for andouille sausage instead of smoked sausage. It will bring an extra layer of spiciness to your jambalaya.
- When cubing the chicken breast, aim for uniform sizes to ensure even cooking. This ensures that all pieces are tender and juicy.
- While canned diced tomatoes are convenient, you can use fresh ones if preferred. Just be sure to chop them finely to release their juices.
- If you can't find pre-made Creole seasoning, consider making your own by blending spices like paprika, cayenne, garlic powder, and onion powder.
- For a meatless version, skip the sausage and chicken and opt for plant-based sausages or tofu cubes. You can also add extra veggies like okra, mushrooms, or zucchini.
- Add a pinch of cayenne pepper or a few dashes of hot sauce to dial up the spiciness.
- Experiment with different rice types like brown rice or even cauliflower rice for a lower-carb option. Adjust the cooking time and liquid accordingly.
- Boost the herb flavor by adding fresh thyme, bay leaves, or basil to the slow cooker. Remove the herbs before serving.
- Enhance the smokiness by using smoked paprika in place of regular paprika or adding a dash of liquid smoke to the mix.
- Increase the veggie content with diced celery, carrots, or corn for added sweetness and crunch.
- Serve with toppings like shredded cheese, sour cream, or a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime juice for a refreshing twist.
Storing & Freezing
Storing: To store leftover jambalaya, allow it to cool to room temperature, then transfer it to an airtight container. Refrigerate within two hours of cooking and store in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. Reheat portions in the microwave or on the stovetop, adding a splash of chicken broth if it seems dry.
Freezing: Once it has cooled, portion it into airtight containers or heavy-duty freezer bags, removing as much air as possible to prevent freezer burn. Store in the freezer for up to 2-3 months. To reheat, thaw overnight in the fridge and warm in the microwave or on the stovetop, adding a little chicken broth to revive the moisture if needed.
Gumbo is a thick, hearty soup or stew that typically features a roux (a cooked flour and fat mixture) and can include a variety of proteins like seafood, chicken, or sausage. It is served over rice and has a more liquid consistency. Jambalaya, on the other hand, is a one-pot rice dish where the rice is cooked with a combination of meats, vegetables, and seasonings, resulting in a drier, pilaf-like texture.
While chicken is a common protein used in jambalaya, there are many variations of the dish. Jambalaya can feature a mix of proteins, including smoked sausage, shrimp, and sometimes even pork or ham.
To make this recipe in an Instant Pot, sauté the sausage and chicken using the "Sauté" function, then add the remaining ingredients (except the rice). Pressure cook on high for 5 minutes, then do a natural pressure release for 5 minutes before opening the lid. Stir in the rice, set to "Sauté" again, and cook for about 5-7 minutes or until the rice is tender.
Easy Crock Pot Jambalaya
- 1 lb smoked sausage (sliced into ¼-inch thick pieces)
- 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts (cubed into bite-sized pieces)
- 1 large green bell pepper (diced)
- 1 large red bell pepper (diced)
- 1 medium yellow onion (diced)
- 14.5 oz petite diced tomatoes
- 2 tsp creole seasoning
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 2 (8 oz) Zatarain's jambalaya rice mix
- Add sausage, chicken, bell peppers, onion, diced tomatoes, Creole seasoning, oregano, and chicken broth to the slow cooker. Mix until well combined.
- Cover and cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6-7 hours. Add Zatarain's jambalaya rice mix during the last 30 minutes of cooking time.
- Mix before serving and enjoy!
- Traditionally, andouille sausage is used in Jambalaya. I used regular smoked sausage to keep the heat down. I suggest using the andouille sausage if you like things a little spicier.
- I recommend browning the sausage in a skillet before adding it to the slow cooker for extra flavor. (This is not a necessary step.)
- If you can not find Zatarain's jambalaya rice mix. You can replace this with 3 cups of cooked long-grain rice. Mix the rice in right before serving.
*All nutrition information provided is automatically calculated and is an estimate and will vary based on ingredients, brands, and changes in cooking methods listed in the recipe. If you need exact numbers on your ingredients, I would recommend calculating them with your prefered nutrition calculator.