We Made Emeril’s Jambalaya and Yes, the Recipe Made Us Say ‘Bam!’

Kick it up a notch with this spicy jambalaya.

Loaded with bold spices, pieces of juicy chicken, succulent shrimp and fiery andouille sausage, jambalaya is a hearty rice dish with roots in both Creole and Cajun cuisine. Originating in Louisiana and made with readily available ingredients, this dish is still strongly associated with New Orleans and often enjoyed for Mardi Gras.

Luckily, it doesn’t have to be Mardi Gras to eat jambalaya, and you don’t have to travel to the French Quarter, thanks to iconic chef Emeril Lagasse.

His classic Creole-style jambalaya recipe has been a fan-favorite for many years, and today we’re putting his recipe to the test. Let’s see how it stacks up to our other jambalaya recipes.

How to Make Emeril’s Jambalaya Recipe

Jambalaya served on a plateLauren Habermehl for Taste of Home, Getty Images

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound medium peeled, deveined shrimp, chopped
  • 1/2 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, diced small
  • 1 tablespoon Emeril’s Original Essence
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup yellow onions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup green bell peppers, chopped
  • 1/2 cup celery, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 cup tomatoes, chopped
  • 3 bay leaves, fresh or dried
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons hot sauce (e.g., Tabasco)
  • 1-1/2 cups long-grain rice
  • 3-1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 pound Andouille sausage, sliced
  • Chopped green onions, for garnish

Editor’s Tip: For those wanting to make only enough essence for this recipe, we did the math for you. You will need 3/4 teaspoon of paprika, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder, 1/4 teaspoon of onion powder, 1/4 teaspoon of ground black pepper, 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper, 1/4 teaspoon of dried oregano and 1/4 teaspoon of dried thyme.

You can also buy Emeril’s Essence on Amazon and in the spice aisle of most supermarkets.

Directions

Step 1: Season the shrimp and chicken

In a bowl, combine the chopped shrimp and chicken with Emeril’s Original Essence. Toss to coat and set aside.

Step 2: Saute the ‘holy trinity’

In a Dutch oven or large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions, peppers, and celery (aka the Cajun holy trinity), and season with salt and pepper. Saute, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10 minutes.

Step 3: Steam the rice

To the pot, add garlic, tomatoes, bay leaves, Worcestershire, hot sauce and rice. Slowly pour in the broth and then bring the mixture to a simmer. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and cook until the rice is tender and most of the liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes.

Editor’s Tip: For best results, check the package directions for your rice. Make sure to choose a long-grain white rice that cooks in roughly 15 minutes and follows the standard 1:2 rice to water ratio. If you deviate from this, you may end up with rice that’s either tender or overcooked.

Step 4: Combine

Remove the lid and fold in the seasoned shrimp and chicken and the sliced andouille sausage. Cover again and cook for 10 minutes over low heat. Turn off the heat and allow the jambalaya to continue to steam, covered, for an additional 10 minutes. Garnish with green onion and serve.

Editor’s Tip: Make sure to dice your chicken small to ensure it reaches a safe internal temperature in the time allotted in the recipe. If your pieces are larger than 1/2 inch, there’s a good chance you may need to extend the cooking time by 10-20 minutes to fully cook the chicken. More on this in our thoughts below.

Here’s What I Thought

Jambalaya in a dutch oven pot with a wooden spoonLauren Habermehl for Taste of Home

Bam! This jambalaya is packed with flavor and plenty of spice. I really loved the ease of preparation and that there were very few dishes to clean since everything cooks in a single pot (like these other one-pot meals).

With that said, in testing this recipe, I did need to adjust the cooking time by an additional 15 minutes on low heat to get the chicken to fully cook despite dicing the chicken into fairly small bite-sized pieces.

Next time, I think I would season the chicken thighs whole with essence and sear them in a Dutch oven for a few minutes on both sides before dicing. Partially cooking the thighs would give the chicken some color and provide a little insurance that the chicken would be fully cooked in the time outlined in the recipe.

Last, I personally enjoy seeing whole shrimp in my jambalaya, so I would also opt to leave at least some, if not all, of the shrimp unchopped.

Next on my list of recipes to try: this Louisiana gumbo!

Lauren Habermehl
Lauren is a recipe developer and food photographer. At Taste of Home, you’ll find her putting famous celebrity recipes to the test, from Dolly Parton’s stampede soup to Stanley Tucci’s six-ingredient pasta casserole. She’s also known for her FoodTok finds and sharing tips for how to re-create Internet-famous 15-hour potatoes, apple pie cinnamon rolls and chamoy pickles. When she’s not trying out a recipe-gone-viral, she’s developing copycat recipes and new twists on comfort food for her food blog, Frydae.