Instant pot Jambalaya with chicken, shrimp, smoked sausage, vegetables and Cajun spice makes for a one-pot rice and meat dinner. Super easy and bursting with flavor and color!
I adore one-pot rice dinners made in the instant pot! They're simple and convenient and you don't have to wash a hundred dishes after.
If you like the idea of throwing together rice and meat or vegetables in the instant pot and sitting down to no-fuss, delicious meals, check out the variety of rice recipes on the blog.
Of course, most of them are Indian pulaos with a few exceptions like this Jambalaya recipe. But you will find something you like for sure. Mushroom pulao, chicken pulao or vegetable pulao are all delicious options. And so is a simple lemon rice if you like the idea of a tangy rice dish with crunchy peanuts and lots of anti-inflammatory turmeric.
Anyway, I'm digressing. Let's talk about Jambalaya for now. As you can see in the pictures, it is an explosion of colors on the plate. But what is Jambalaya exactly?
What is jambalaya?
Jambalaya is a highly seasoned rice, meat and vegetables dish eaten in Louisiana, United States. There is a Creole Jambalaya and a Cajun Jambalaya. They have the same ingredients except that the Creole version is red with lots of tomatoes and uses Creole seasoning. Cajun cooking does not have tomatoes in it and uses, you guessed it, Cajun seasoning. There are also differences in the technique of cooking but unless you are looking for a strictly authentic Creole or Cajun Jambalaya, it really doesn't matter.
Because I sometimes mix and match things up in my cooking (shocking, I know), I did the same with good ol' Jambalaya! I did a lot of research on the different ways to make it, tried out this and that and finally settled on the one I liked. My version has a generous amount of Cajun spice but I also added a can of diced tomatoes to it. So, that makes it a cross between the two traditions, I guess?
What goes into jambalaya?
Note: Exact amounts are given in the recipe card below.
- Meat - boneless and skinless chicken breasts, smoked andouille sausages and jumbo shrimp. Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces and slice the sausages into medium thick rounds. There's no need to defrost the shrimp. You can put them straight in from the packet, if using frozen.
- Vegetables - a trio of peppers, celery and onions, chopped.
- White, long-grain rice - I used Basmati rice since this is what I had. Traditionally too, long grain rice is used in Jambalaya, so we're good here. Rinse, drain and keep aside.
- Chicken broth - a good quality organic broth makes a world of difference to any recipe.
- Can of diced tomatoes, juice and all.
- Fresh garlic - peeled and chopped.
- Seasonings - Cajun spice (the star spice of this recipe), paprika, ground black pepper and cayenne.
- Herbs - dried thyme and fresh parsley.
- Cooking oil
- Sea salt, to taste
How to make instant pot jambalaya
Step 1 - Switch on the instant pot and press sauce. Add half the oil and the sausages. Shallow fry the sausages (2 minutes). Take them out on a platter. Then, add the chicken to the same oil and fry until lightly browned and cooked through (5 minutes). Keep the meats aside on a platter.
Step 2 - Add the remaining oil and add the garlic and vegetables. Follow immediately with all the spices and seasonings – Cajun, cayenne powder, paprika, black pepper, thyme and salt. Sauté for 2 minutes until aromatic.
Step 3 - Add the diced tomatoes, sausages, chicken, shrimp, broth and white rice. Stir everything well and cancel saute. Pressure cook for 4 minutes.
Step 4 - After the timer beeps, wait for 10 minutes, then open the pot and fluff the rice. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve piping hot, straight from the pot.
Why this jambalaya recipe works
1. It's bold and zesty with a complex flavor profile, thanks to all those meats and seasonings.
2. It's customizable. Add the protein of your choice. I added chicken, sausages and shrimp, but you can switch it up according to your taste.
3. It is surprisingly easy to make. There's not much prep involved either in making it (my favourite kind).
4. Want more heat? Add a sliced jalapeño (or two) to the pot before you hit the pressure cooking button and ramp up the heat instantly. Less? Leave out the chilli powder.
Some tips to make the perfect instant pot jambalaya
1. If you're adding shrimp, buy the peeled, uncooked ones but with tails on. The tails add a lot of flavor to our Jambalaya.
2. Try to use smoked Andouille sausage if you can find it. This one's got a special smoky flavor and spices built into it, adding to the flavor of the final dish. Yes, it's all about flavor in Jambalaya though you might be a tad sick of the word by now!
3. Use long-grain rice only. Short-grain tends to clump together and turn to mush.
What to serve with Jambalaya
Jambalaya is the quintessential one-pot meal, so you really don't need anything else! If you want a quick side to go with it, do a light salad with fresh veggies or fruit. Keep it light and simple since Jambalaya is quite rich.
Instant Pot Jambalaya
- 4 tablespoon cooking oil
- 6 smoked Andouille sausages sliced horizontally
- 12 jumbo shrimp peeled with tails on
- 2 boneless chicken breasts cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1.5 cups white long-grain rice
- 3 cloves garlic peeled and chopped
- 1 medium yellow onion chopped
- 1 red bell pepper diced
- 3 medium-sized celery stalks chopped
- 2.5 cups chicken broth
- 1 can diced tomatoes 14.5 oz.
- 3 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
- 0.5 teaspoon red chilli powder cayenne
- 1 teaspoon paprika powder
- 0.5 teaspoon black pepper powder
- 0.5 teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 or 3 sprigs fresh parsley chopped
- Sea salt to taste
- Switch on your instant pot, press sauté and add half the oil to the inner steel pot. Add the sausages and fry until lightly browned (2 minutes). Take them out on a platter and set aside.
- In the same oil, add the chicken pieces and fry until lightly browned and cooked through (5 minutes). Take them out and keep in the same platter as the sausages.
- Add the remaining 2 tablespoon oil to the pot and add the onion, red pepper, celery and garlic. Follow immediately with all the spices and seasonings – Cajun, cayenne, paprika, black pepper, thyme and salt. Sauté for 2 minutes until aromatic. Cancel sauté.
- Add the canned tomatoes, sausages, chicken, shrimp, broth and white rice. Stir everything well and close the lid of the instant pot. Make sure the steam release handle is sealed, hit the pressure-cooking button and set the timer to 4 minutes.
- After the timer beeps, wait for 10 minutes, then open the pot and fluff the rice. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve hot.
- Omit the cayenne if you want a less hot Jambalaya. If you want it more hot, add a jalapeño or two to the pot before pressure cooking it the contents.
- Use one, two or all three types of meat mentioned in the recipe, according to what you like or prefer.
- Serve Jambalaya with a fresh salad without dressings if you wish to. This is optional as Jambalaya is a complete meal in itself.
Did you make this recipe? Don't forget to give it a star rating below!