Cheesy Sausage and Chicken Jambalaya is a great 30-minute weeknight recipe. An easy Creole jambalaya makes a spicy and delicious one-pot dinner with tender meat and cheesy goodness everybody will love.
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, and you're done in 30 minutes total.
👨🍳How to make this recipe
- Trim and chop skinless boneless chicken breasts and vegetables. Slice the sausage into ¼ inch medallions.
- In a large oven-safe pan with oil over medium-high heat, add the chicken when hot and shimmering.
- After the chicken has cooked for 5 minutes, add the vegetables and sausage. 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.
The recipe is written for pre-cooked sausage. If you choose sausage that needs to be cooked, it should be cooked along with the chicken to 165°.
You will need about ¾ pound of raw chicken, which could be skinless boneless chicken breasts or thighs.
You can use pre-cooked chicken, like shredded rotisserie chicken—2 cups of pre-cooked chicken just right. Skip the cooking of the chicken and add with the sausage and vegetables.
Shrimp is optional. If added, use pre-cooked 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 complicating the recipe.
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 fully cooking other types of rice.
We add chicken stock or broth instead of water to add more flavor.
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 pepper or red pepper flakes if you want more heat. If you want less heat, replace the Rotel with a can of drained diced tomatoes.
Cheese and Sour Cream
I suggest both, but they are optional. For a more traditional dish, eliminate both the cheese and the sour cream.
The sour cream and the cheese mixture in the dish add creaminess and other flavors. The browned cheese topping adds a lot of flavor and texture.
Cheese: This recipe works best with Monteray Jack. Other cheeses like cheddar, gruyere, Munster, or Havarti could be used.
What is Jambalaya?
Jambalaya is a traditional Louisiana dish generally consisting mainly of meat and vegetables mixed with rice. It has its roots in West African, Spanish, and French cultures and is somewhat related to paella.
The meat should include sausage of some sort, 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, and I don't suggest them for this recipe.
To substitute, use a can of diced tomatoes but drain the liquid.
❄️Storage of leftovers
Refrigerator: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container refrigerated for 3-4 days. Reheat in a microwave or oven.
Freezer: Freezing can change the texture of rice, and the dish may be mushy. I generally would not freeze this jambalaya.
If you decide to freeze, seal airtight and freeze for only 1 to 2 months—thaw in the refrigerator before reheating.
📖30-Minute Casserole Recipes
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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-size 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 Sausage and Chicken Jambalaya in 30 Minutes
- 1 Skinless boneless chicken breast - medium or large
- 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 medium-size 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 or Creole 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 Minute Rice. Mix in well. Remove from heat and cover with a lid. Turn on the oven broiler.
- After 5 minutes, remove the lid and stir, then 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.
My 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.