With this Instant Pot Jambalaya recipe, you will have a classic, comforting Louisiana dish to share with your loved ones.
Before we start cooking, here are some interesting facts about this delicious dish.
What Is Jambalaya?
Jambalaya is a Louisiana rice dish packed with meat, sausage, vegetables, and spices. It takes on a beautiful red color and, unlike most rice dishes, is rather moist (but not soggy like risotto.)
A typical jambalaya recipe calls for:
Protein: Chicken, pork, sausage, seafood, or crawfish. A type of French smoked sausage known as “andouille” is often preferred.
Vegetables: Onion, celery, and bell peppers — the “holy trinity” vegetables in Cajun and Creole cooking. There might also be okra, carrots, tomatoes, and chilis.
Spices: Cajun spices, paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, and onion powder. These are the basic spices used in Louisiana cuisine.
Broth: The key to the dish’s signature flavor.
After the meat and vegetables are thoroughly sauteéd, the rice, seasonings, and broth are added and simmered until the rice is cooked. The rice gets to absorb all of the seasonings and flavors from the sauteéd meat and veggies, making it special and inviting.
With the instant pot, you can make this delicious staple much faster.
The Differences Between Gumbo and Jambalaya
While the two call for similar ingredients, they are actually very different dishes.
Jambalaya, as mentioned, is rice cooked in a stew, whereas gumbo is a thick soup that is served with rice that was cooked separately. The flavors combine differently and give each dish its own character.
First of all, this recipe is packed with protein: one serving can provide you with nearly 25 grams. Protein takes a lot of time to digest, so you will feel full for longer.
This is a rice dish, so it’s relatively high in carbs but low in calories (only 467 calories per serving).
Next, let’s look at the amount of saturated fat. There’s only 3 grams per serving due to the limited use of olive oil and sausages.
And since sausages are naturally high in sodium, we need to pay attention to the amount of salt we add as well. In the end, we reduced it to only ¼ teaspoon of salt for the whole recipe.
Finally, our recipe doesn’t require added sugar because some ingredients such as onions, celery, and bell peppers are naturally sweet. Once cooked, these vegetables will give the rice a mildly sweet, umami taste.
Let’s take a look at the main ingredients to our jambalaya recipe:
Protein: We used smoked sausage and shrimp.
Olive oil: You don’t need much because we will render the fat out of the sausage and use that to cook.
Flavorants: Garlic, onions, celery, and green bell pepper are essential ingredients in Louisiana cooking.
Chopped tomatoes: This is not a common ingredient in Cajun cuisine, but is popular in Creole cooking. If you want your jambalaya to be more authentically Cajun, leave the tomatoes out.
Rice: Long grain white rice is the best fit for today’s recipe.
Broth: Unsalted chicken broth is our favorite pick here at HealthyRecipes101, but you can use vegetable broth or water as well.
To garnish, we sprinkled chopped scallion on top of the jambalaya to make it more aesthetically pleasing.
Here are the seasonings we used in our Instant Pot jambalaya recipe:
Premixed Cajun seasoning
Paprika and chili powder
Salt and black pepper
As always, our recipe is simply a guide for you. You can adjust the ingredients and make the dish suit your taste better.
How to Store and Reheat
If you have leftover jambalaya, you can simply cover the bowl or plate with plastic wrap. Put it in the refrigerator and you’ll have a quick meal to eat the following day.
You can also store the jambalaya in an airtight container and it will last up to 5 days in the fridge.
To reheat jambalaya, simply put it into the microwave for 2 minutes. Be sure to transfer it all to a microwavable container if needed.
What to Serve With
Jambalaya often seems like a wholesome dish on its own as it’s packed with protein, carbs, and fiber. But as always, we encourage you to add a small salad on the side to give your body more fiber.
Sear the sausage: Turn on your Instant Pot to “Sauté” on “Normal” setting. Once it’s hot enough, add 3 oz sausage and sear for 2 minutes on both sides. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
Sear the shrimp: Add 2 tbsp olive oil to the pot. Add 10 oz peeled shrimp and 2 tsp garlic, and cook for 3 minutes, stirring constantly to avoid burning the garlic. Once cooked, transfer to a plate and set aside.
Sauté the vegetables: Add onion, celery, bell pepper (2 oz each), and 4 oz tomatoes to the pot. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Add 1 tsp Cajun seasoning, 1/4 tsp thyme, 1/2 tsp basil, 1 tsp paprika, 1/2 tsp chili powder, 1tsp lime juice, 1 1/2 tsp Tabasco, 1/4 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp black pepper. Cook and stir for another 5 minutes.
Toast the rice: Add 1 1/2 cups rice to the pot and stir constantly for a couple of minutes to avoid sticking to the bottom of the pot.
Cook the jambalaya: Add 2 cups chicken broth to the pot. Stir to distribute the rice evenly into the broth. Cover and seal the lid. Turn the venting knob to sealing position. Choose the "rice" cooking setting program and cook for 12 minutes.
Add finishing touches and serve: Carefully turn the venting knob to release steam. Open the lid and add cooked sausage, shrimp, and 2 tbsp freshly chopped scallions. Mix everything together. Transfer the jambalaya to a plate or bowl and serve.
Instant Pot Jambalaya
Amount Per Serving (1 serving)
Calories 467Calories from Fat 126
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat 3g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 8g
Vitamin A 766IU
Vitamin C 18mg
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Tuyet Pham is an award-winning Saigonese chef who believes that joy is the secret ingredient to delicious food. At Healthy Recipes 101, Tuyet personally tests and simplifies every recipe, ensuring maximum flavor with minimal effort. With a background at prestigious French restaurants P’TI Saigon and Le Corto, Tuyet knows how to make every dish exceptional.
Luna Regina is an accomplished writer and author who dedicates her career to empowering home cooks and making cooking effortless for everyone. She is the founder of HealthyKitchen101.com and HealthyRecipes101.com, where she works with her team to develop easy, nutritious recipes and help aspiring cooks choose the right kitchen appliances.
Lizzie Streit is a Minneapolis-based dietitian and founder of It’s a Veg World After All. She completed her MS in Human Nutrition from Drexel University, and is an expert in culinary nutrition, recipe development, and nutrition communications. Lizzie’s philosophy is centered around making nutrition recommendations, and especially the advice to eat more vegetables, approachable and realistic. She is excited to be working with the team at Healthy Recipes 101 to ensure that their recipes are both nutritious and delicious.