Slow Cooker Jambalaya

published Jan 20, 2023
Slow Cooker Jambalaya Recipe

A great hands-off way to make the Louisiana classic for a big day of entertaining.

Serves6 to 8

Makesabout 3 quarts

Prep20 minutes

Cook3 hours to 6 hours

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Jambalaya being cooked in the slow cooker.
Credit: Maria Do

Slow cooker jambalaya is a great hands-off way to make a Louisiana classic for a day of entertaining. By starting to cook hours before it’s time to serve the jambalaya, the rice will slowly absorb seasoned chicken broth and fluff up beautifully in the end. Plus, the slow cooker keeps the jambalaya warm for a day’s worth of visiting or tailgating activities.

This jambalaya is classic Cajun style with smoky andouille sausage and shredded chicken thighs — no tomatoes or seafood. The consistency resembles dirty rice, where the rice is fluffy, separate, and definitely not wet. To make prep super easy, the chicken thighs are kept whole to cook on top of all ingredients, then shredded and mixed into the rice at the end.

What’s the Difference Between Cajun Jambalaya and Creole Jambalaya?

  • Cajun jambalaya more commonly features proteins like Andouille sausage and chicken, and the texture resembles dirty rice, where rice is fluffy and separate.
  • Creole jambalaya is a little more wet, similar to a paella, and is cooked with rich ingredients like tomatoes, butter, and seafood. 

If you would like to make this recipe more Creole-style (commonly seen in New Orleans), replace 1 1/2 cups of chicken broth with a 10-ounce can of crushed tomatoes. You can also incorporate peeled and deveined shrimp. Simply add raw shrimp to the slow cooker after the rice is fully cooked and cover until shrimp is pink, about 20 minutes.

Credit: Maria Do

Does Jambalaya Need a Roux?

No, jambalaya does not require a roux. Roux is only used in soupy dishes like gumbo or étouffée.

If You’re Making Slow Cooker Jambalaya, a Few Tips 

  • Use long-grain white rice. Make sure to purchase long-grain white rice because the grains stay fluffy and separate after cooking. Long-grain white rice (like jasmine and basmati) has less starch and fluffs up nicely in the slow cooker. Short-grain varieties (like sushi rice or risotto) have more starch and will stick together. 
  • Wash the rice beforehand. This will remove extra starches that could make the jambalaya gluey.
  • Brown chicken and sausage. Brown the proteins before adding them to the slow cooker for additional flavor. The flavor in this jambalaya comes from pre-browning the chicken and sausage before they go into the slow cooker.

Slow Cooker Jambalaya Recipe

A great hands-off way to make the Louisiana classic for a big day of entertaining.

Prep time 20 minutes

Cook time 3 hours to 6 hours

Makes about 3 quarts

Serves 6 to 8

Nutritional Info


  • 2 cups

    long-grain white rice

  • 1/2

    medium yellow onion

  • 1

    medium green bell pepper

  • 2 medium stalks


  • 4 cloves


  • 3 1/2 cups

    low-sodium chicken broth, divided

  • 4 teaspoons

    Cajun seasoning with salt, divided (or 2 teaspoons salt-free Cajun seasoning plus 2 teaspoons kosher salt)

  • 2 teaspoons

    Worcestershire sauce

  • 2

    dried bay leaves

  • 1 teaspoon

    dried thyme

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper

  • 12 ounces

    andouille or smoked sausage

  • 8 ounces

    boneless, skinless chicken thighs

  • 2 teaspoons

    neutral oil, such as canola

  • 4

    medium scallions

  • Louisiana hot sauce, for serving


  1. Place 2 cups long-grain white rice in a fine-mesh strainer. Run under cool water, agitating the rice with your fingers, until the water runs clear. Drain and place the rice in a 5-quart or larger slow cooker. (Do not use an Instant Pot for this recipe, as its shape is not wide enough for the rice to properly cook.)

  2. Prepare the following, adding each to the slow cooker as it is completed: Dice 1/2 medium yellow onion (about 1 cup), 1 medium green bell pepper (about 1 cup), and 2 medium celery stalks (about 1/2 cup). Mince 4 garlic cloves.

  3. Add 3 cups of the low-sodium chicken broth, 2 teaspoons of the Cajun seasoning with salt (or 1 teaspoon salt-free Cajun seasoning plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt), 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce, 2 dried bay leaves, 1 teaspoon dried thyme, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Stir to combine. Cover and turn the slow cooker on to the HIGH setting while you prepare the meats.

  4. Cut 12 ounces andouille sausage crosswise into 1/4-inch thick rounds. Place in a large cast iron or regular skillet. Pat 8 ounces boneless, skinless chicken thighs dry with a paper towel. Place in a bowl, add 2 teaspoons neutral oil and the remaining 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning with salt (or 1 teaspoon salt-free Cajun seasoning plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt). Mix with your hands to coat.

  5. Cook the sausage on medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until browned and the fat renders, 3 to 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the sausage into the slow cooker and arrange into an even layer. Add the chicken to the now-empty skillet and cook until browned, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to the slow cooker.

  6. Pour the remaining 1/2 cup chicken broth into the skillet and scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Pour into the slow cooker (if there are lots of blackened bits, pour through the fine-mesh strainer). Do not stir everything together.

  7. Cover and cook until the rice is tender, for 3 to 4 hours on the HIGH setting or 5 to 6 hours on LOW. Meanwhile, finely chop 4 medium scallions.

  8. Turn off the slow cooker or set to the WARM setting. Transfer the chicken to a plate and shred with two forks into bite-sized pieces. Return the chicken to the jambalaya. Use a fork to fluff the rice and evenly combine everything. Serve with the scallions and Louisiana hot sauce.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days.