Make this Creole-style Cheesy Jambalaya with Sausage and Chicken in only 30 minutes—an easy, spicy, and delicious one-pot weeknight dinner recipe.
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This easy jambalaya recipe requires only minimal skill and mostly pantry ingredients. You will be amazed at how quickly this simple recipe comes together.
I started with chicken and added sausage with some veggies. Add Minute Rice until done. Mix in some sour cream and a little Monterey Jack cheese, then top with more cheese. Brown under a broiler for several minutes; you're done in 30 minutes total.
- Chicken breast or thighs
- Smoked sausage—Andouille, Chorizo, or smoked sausage
- Aromatics—onion and garlic
- Vegetables—green pepper
- Dairy—Sour cream and Cheese
- Pantry ingredients—chicken broth, RoTel or diced tomatoes, Creole or Cajan spice, Minute Rice®️, salt, and black pepper.
👨🍳How to Make Cheese Jambalaya
- Trim and chop the chicken, sausage, and vegetables.
- In a large oven-safe pan over medium-high heat, brown the chicken for 5 minutes, then add the sausage and vegetables to cook.
- Cook until chicken is 165° and vegetables are tender.
- Add spices and liquids, bring to a boil, add the Minute Rice, cover, and remove from heat.
- After 5 minutes and the rice is tender, mix in cheese and optional shrimp. Top with more cheese.
- Brown under the broiler.
Andouille sausage is the classic recommendation. It is made with chunkier cut meat instead of ground, and since it is frequently made with cajun or Creole season. Mexican Chorizo has similar spices but is ground meat. Smoked sausage or Kielbasa is also excellent to use.
Use precooked sausage. If you choose sausage that needs to be cooked, it should be cooked along with the chicken to 165°.
You can use precooked chicken, like shredded rotisserie chicken. 2 cups of precooked chicken just right. Skip the cooking of the chicken and add it with the sausage and vegetables.
Shrimp is optional. If added, use precooked shrimp and add it after the rice is cooked when you are adding cheese.
I don't suggest raw shrimp. It will not fit in the flow of the recipe and requires separate cooking, which complicates the recipe.
Rice and Vegetable Options
Use instant rice like Minute Rice®️. It is pre-cooked, and "cooking" is controlled rehydration that produces consistent results. The method of this recipe does not accommodate thoroughly cooking other types of rice.
Just a red or green bell pepper and some chopped onion are enough. Other vegetables, like a rib of chopped celery, may be added. Those three vegetables make up the "holy trinity" of cajun cooking.
Use a premixed cajun seasoning or creole seasoning mixture. I usually don't suggest mixes, but it is the best solution with the small amount needed for this recipe. There are 8 to 10 spices in the Cajun spice mix, and it is not worth the time to mix your own unless you have moderate ongoing needs.
The amount of the spice mix can be adjusted up or down for your taste.
Add a pinch of cayenne or red pepper flakes if you want more heat. If you want less heat, replace the Rotel with a can of drained diced tomatoes.
I suggest both cheese and sour cream, but they are optional. The dish's sour cream and cheese mixture adds creaminess and other flavors. The browned cheese topping adds a lot of flavor and texture.
This recipe works best with Monterey Jack. Other cheeses like cheddar, gruyere, Munster, or Havarti could be used.
For a more traditional dish, eliminate both the cheese and the sour cream.
What is Jambalaya?
Jambalaya is a traditional Louisiana dish generally consisting mainly of meat and vegetables mixed with rice. It has roots in West African, Spanish, and French cultures and is somewhat related to paella.
The meat should include sausage, often smoked meat, and may have pork, chicken, and seafood.
Jambalaya can be either Cajun or Creole style. The distinction is tomato products in Creole but generally not in Cajun cooking. The spicing can be a bit different, but there is a lot of overlap. This recipe, with tomatoes, is Creole, but use either spice mix you have.
Some people seem to get confused between jambalaya and gumbo. While the ingredients and spices are similar, gumbo is a simmered stew, and rice is served on the side. But rice is within the recipe, and jambalaya is not simmered.
A 12-inch skillet works well. It needs to be oven-safe to go from the stovetop to the oven. In addition, it should be relatively deep and have a good lid.
A large Dutch oven will work well, also. But cast iron is not a good choice because the tomato products interact with the material.
No. Rotel is diced tomatoes with green chilies and cilantro. It brings some nice flavor to the dish. There are spiced versions of Rotel, which I don't suggest for this recipe.
Using a can of diced tomatoes to substitute, drain the liquid.
❄️Storage of leftovers
Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container refrigerated for 3-4 days. Freezing can change the texture of rice, and the dish may be mushy. I generally would not freeze this jambalaya.
Reheat in a microwave or oven.
If you decide to freeze, seal airtight and freeze for only 1 to 2 months—thaw in the refrigerator before reheating.
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Step-by-Step Photo Instructions
Heat 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil in an oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat.
Trim and cut one medium-sized skinless boneless chicken breast into about 1-inch pieces.
Add the chicken to the hot oil and cook for 5 minutes. Stir occasionally.
While the chicken is cooking, chop one small onion and one green pepper. Cut 8 oz. of sausage into ¼ inch medallions.
After the chicken has cooked for 5 minutes, add the onion, green pepper, and sausage. Cook until veggies are tender and the chicken is 165° internal temp—about another 7 minutes for a total of about 12 minutes. Then add two crushed or minced garlic cloves and cook another minute until fragrant.
Add 1 - 14 oz can of chicken broth and deglaze the pan. Add one 10 ½ oz can RoTel, 2 teaspoons Cajun spice, and ½ cup sour cream, and mix well. You can add a bit of salt and black pepper here if you want.
Turn the heat to high and bring it to a boil. Add 2 cups of Minute Rice®️. Mix in well. Remove from heat and cover with a lid. Turn on the oven broiler.
After 5 minutes, add ½ cup of shredded Monterey Jack cheese and mix in well. Add 8 oz of cooked shrimp here if you want.
Top with 1 cup of Monterey Jack cheese.
Place under broiler until nicely browned — about 3 minutes.
Cheesy Jambalaya with Sausage and Chicken in 30 Minutes
- ¾ pound Skinless boneless chicken breast or thighs
- 1 green pepper
- 1 onion - small
- 8 oz smoked sausage - Andouilla, Chorizo, or smoked sausage
- 2 gloves garlic
- 14 oz chicken broth
- 10.5 oz RoTel - or drained diced tomatoes
- ½ cup sour cream - lower fat is ok
- 2 teaspoons Creole or Cajun spice
- 2 cups Minute Rice
- 1 ½ cup Monterey Jack cheese - shredded
- 8 oz cooked shrimp - Optional
- salt and pepper to taste - Only add if needed
- Heat 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil in an oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat.
- Trim and cut one pound of skinless boneless chicken breast or thighs into about 1-inch pieces.
- Add the chicken to the hot oil and cook for 5 minutes. Stir occasionally.
- While the chicken is cooking, chop 1 small onion and 1 green pepper. Cut 8 oz. of sausage into ¼ inch medallions.
- After the chicken has cooked for 5 minutes, add the onion, green pepper, and sausage. Cook until veggies are tender and the chicken is 165° internal temp—about another 7 minutes for a total of about 12 minutes. Then add two crushed or minced garlic cloves and cook another minute until fragrant.
- Add 1 - 14 oz can of chicken broth and deglaze the pan. Add one 10 ½ oz can RoTel, 2 teaspoons Cajun spice, and ½ cup sour cream, and mix well. You can add a bit of salt and black pepper here if you want.
- Turn the heat to high and bring it to a boil. Add 2 cups of Minute Rice®️. Mix in well. Remove from heat and cover with a lid. Turn on the oven broiler.
- After 5 minutes, add ½ cup of shredded Monterey Jack cheese and mix in well. Add 8 oz of cooked shrimp here if you want.
- Top with 1 cup of Monterey Jack cheese.
- Place under broiler until nicely browned — about 3 minutes.
Your Own Private Notes
- The sausage needs to be precooked for this method. If you want to use raw sausage, cook it with the chicken to 165°.
- The RoTel adds some spiciness. If you don't want that, use a can of diced tomatoes drained.
- Some Cajun and Creole spice mixes will have more salt, so taste test before adding any salt.
- You can vary the meat if you want but be sure it is precooked.
- The cheese can be the cheese of your choice, or you can skip it.
- The sour cream adds a lot of creaminess but can be skipped.
- Good refrigerated for 3-4 days. I do not suggest freezing jambalaya since it affects the texture, but if you do, limit it to 1-2 months.
To adjust the recipe size:
You may adjust the number of servings in this recipe card under servings. This does the math for the ingredients for you. BUT it does NOT adjust the text of the instructions. So you need to do that yourself.
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Editor's Note: Originally Published October 12, 2013. Updated with expanded options, refreshed photos, and a table of contents to help navigation.