Slow Cooker Jambalaya

This Slow Cooker Jambalaya is a great way to make this New Orleans favorite with less effort! It's loaded with shrimp, chicken, sausage, and Creole seasonings.

How to Make Jambalaya in the Crockpot
Nick Evans

Jambalaya is one of my favorite one-pot style recipes. The combo of sausage, chicken, and shrimp with Creole seasoning and rice is always a winner in my book. Making it in a slow cooker makes it even easier to prepare!

There are a few things to watch out for when assembling the recipe, but if you follow the tips below, you’ll be left with a great jambalaya that’s sure to please a crowd on a chilly winter day. Enjoy!

How to Make Jambalaya in the Slow Cooker
Nick Evans

Jambalaya vs. Gumbo

The base ingredients for these two classic Creole dishes are almost identical. The main difference is that gumbo incorporates a roux, or some sort of thickener, and is served either by itself, almost like a chili, or over a bed of rice.

Jambalaya is more like arroz con pollo, in that the rice and other ingredients cook together. This is actually hard to pull off consistently in a slow cooker so I recommend cooking the rice separately, and then either serving the jambalaya over the rice or stirring the cooked rice into the finished jambalaya before serving. Personally, I prefer to serve it over rice on an individual serving basis!

But have no fear! It can be done!

How to Make Jambalaya in the Slow Cooker
Nick Evans

The Creole Seasoning: DIY or Buy?

I normally just buy my Creole seasoning. I like Tony Chachere's Original Creole seasoning which is a classic and available in most supermarkets nationwide. It is not the same as Cajun seasoning, which is more of a blackening spice. I wouldn't substitute Creole for Cajun!

If you want make your own Creole seasoning, you can get a good result by stirring together the following:

  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 2 teaspoons granulated onion
  • 2 teaspoons granulated garlic
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme

Store whatever you don't use for this recipe in a tightly covered container.

Whatever you do, if your Creole seasoning has salt in it already, and most of them will, make sure you taste as you go. You may not need additional salt during the cooking process. It's much easier to add salt in; it's much harder to take it out.

The Holy Trinity in Creole Cuisine

Almost any classic Creole recipe will start with what’s often referred to as the "holy trinity" of onion, bell pepper, and celery. This is a great start to so many recipes, and you better believe I include it in this slow cooker version as well.

Take the time to dice your vegetables to a similar size so they cook at the same rate, and you don’t end up with any huge chunks.

How to Prep the Shrimp

Buy unpeeled shrimp and leave the shells on, but use kitchen shears to cut the shells up the backs. The shells add a lot of flavor to the dish and also help prevent the shrimp from becoming overcooked and rubbery during slow cooking, which is why we leave them on. But cutting them up the backs now will make them easier to peel at the table when eating.

Easy Jambalaya Recipe
Nick Evans

Cook This Jambalaya in Two Stages

If you toss all the ingredients in this recipe in a slow cooker and hit go, you would be in for disappointment after 3 to 4 hours of cooking. The rice would be soggy and the shrimp would be like rubber. No, thank you!

To prevent that, cook this jambalaya in two stages.

Stage one is for cooking the trinity, garlic, spices, tomato, chicken, and sausage. This stage you can cook for a long time. It’ll take at least 3 to 4 hours on high heat, but if you were trying to space it out more, you could cook it on low heat for up to 6 hours.

Then it’s time to add the shrimp! Stir the shrimp into the jambalaya and then cook for another 30 to 45 minutes more. The final cooking time might vary a bit depending on your exact slow cooker. It’s done, though, when the shrimp are cooked through.

While the shrimp cooks, get a pot of rice going on your stovetop. When ready to serve, taste the jambalaya and season it with salt and pepper to your liking, then either stir the rice into the jambalaya or serve scoops of the jambalaya over the cooked rice.

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Slow Cooker Jambalaya

Prep Time 20 mins
Total Time 20 mins
Servings 8 servings

To facilitate easy eating, either remove the shells of the shrimp before serving, or instruct your guests to remove the shells themselves as they eat.


  • 1 white onion, diced

  • 3 ribs celery, diced

  • 1 green bell pepper, diced

  • 3 cloves garlic, diced

  • 1 pound smoked sausage, sliced about 1/4 inch

  • 1 pound boneless chicken breasts and/or thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces

  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes

  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 1 to 2 tablespoons Creole seasoning (I like Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning)

  • 1 pound large shrimp, shell on, thawed

  • 1 cup long grain white rice

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste

  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste

  • Fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish


  1. Slow cook the sausage, chicken, and veggies:

    Add the onion, celery, bell pepper, garlic, sausage, chicken, tomatoes, oregano, bay leaves, and Creole seasoning to a large slow cooker. Stir together well.

    Cook on high for 3 hours or on low for 4 to 5 hours. You are ready to move onto the next step when the veggies are very tender and the chicken is cooked through and you can pull it easily apart.

    How to Make Jambalaya slow cook the chicken, shrimp and sausage
    Nick Evans
    Easy Jambalaya Recipe jambalaya after several hours with chicken and sausage
    Nick Evans
  2. Add the shrimp and cook on high:

    Leave the shells on the shrimp, but use kitchen shears to cut up the backs; this will make them easier to peel later.

    Add the shrimp to the slow cooker. Stir it in, cover, and cook on high for another 30 to 45 minutes until the shrimp are cooked through.

  3. Cook the rice:

    While the shrimp cooks, cook the rice either according to the package directions or following this boiled rice method. When done, set the rice aside, covered, until ready to serve. (This makes about 4 cups of cooked rice.)

  4. Taste and season:

    Remove bay leaves from the jambalaya and taste. Season with salt and pepper to taste and garnish with fresh chopped parsley. Either peel the shells off the shrimp now, or serve with the shells on and instruct guests to remove the shells as they eat.

    Stir the cooked rice into the jambalaya (as pictured), or serve the jambalaya ladled over top the rice.

    Leftovers will keep in the fridge in air-tight containers for 2 to 3 days and then the shrimp start to really break down. This dish doesn’t freeze particularly well. The combination of rice, shrimp, and sauce doesn’t reheat easily without making the shrimp very rubbery.

    Crockpot Jambalaya Recipe serve the jambalaya
    Nick Evans
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
369 Calories
19g Fat
14g Carbs
34g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 369
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 19g 24%
Saturated Fat 6g 30%
Cholesterol 154mg 51%
Sodium 1909mg 83%
Total Carbohydrate 14g 5%
Dietary Fiber 3g 11%
Total Sugars 5g
Protein 34g
Vitamin C 26mg 129%
Calcium 106mg 8%
Iron 2mg 12%
Potassium 795mg 17%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.