This Instant Pot Jambalaya uses chicken andouille sausage, chicken thighs, shrimp, brown rice, and a homemade Cajun seasoning to give the traditional New Orleans dish a healthy twist! It’s a reader favorite dinner that will have your entire family begging for seconds. No instant pot? Check out the recipe card for stovetop directions!
I love the way rice dishes perform in the Instant Pot. From my Instant Pot Brown Rice and Sausage Stuffing to my Instant Pot Chicken Curry and Rice, and my Healthy Instant Pot Brown Rice Pudding to my and Copycat Rice a Roni, rice dishes come out perfect each and every time.
Especially brown rice in the Instant Pot.
My husband LOVES jambalaya, so naturally I wanted to try making a healthier jambalaya recipe using brown rice that can be made quickly and easily in the Instant Pot, but tastes like the real deal.
Not to brag, but ya girl nailed it. This instant pot jambalaya recipe is a delicious, guilt free way to enjoy the Mardi Gras season. It will transport you to the French Quarter without a crazy amount of sodium and calories!
Why I love this Instant Pot Jambalaya recipe
- It tastes like classic Jambalaya with all your favorite creole flavors, but with a healthier twist.
- It’s so full of flavor, and yet it comes together with simple ingredients.
- A great recipe for meal prep, as the flavors meld and get better each day.
- It’s easy to customize and use your favorite proteins to make this dish your own! I use tender chicken, sautéd shrimp, and fully cooked andouille chicken sausage, but in a pinch to to make this more budget friendly, I have done just shrimp or chicken jambalaya.
- Most of the cooktime is hands off thanks to the Instant Pot, but if you are not team pressure cooker, I have stovetop directions in the recipe card below!
Here’s what you need to make this delicious jambalaya recipe:
- cajun seasoning – I HIGHLY recommend making your own Cajun seasoning using the recipe below. It’s such an easy way to elevate your New Orleans inspired dinner. Once you try it, you’ll never go back to store bought again.
- olive oil – you can also swap avocado oil or butter.
- chicken sausage – traditional jambalaya calls for andouille sausage made from pork, but since this is a healthy jambalaya recipe, we are going to use chicken sausage which is lower in fat. Look for a fully cooked cooked chicken Andouille sausage for the most authentic flavor. If you cannot find it, you can sub Homemade Italian Chicken Sausage. It might not be a classic New Orleans jambalaya, but it’ll still be delish.
- shrimp – Shrimp is one of my favorite proteins and I love it in this jambalaya! They’re a delicious way to get your protein for the day and help you stay full longer. If you don’t like seafood, you can leave this out.
- chicken thighs – Make you sure buy them boneless and skinless for the best results! Also, you can sub boneless, skinless chicken breast.
- brown rice – love the healthier spin brown rice gives to this dish.
- low sodium chicken stock – Sodium is one thing we want to control in this healthy jambalaya recipe, so if you can find a lower sodium brand of stock, that will help. You can substitute this for chicken broth, but just remember that stock is richer with flavor.
- diced tomatoes – Just toss it all in the Instant Pot – no need to strain!
- onions, celery and bell peppers – aka the holy trinity of cajun cooking. Any type works, but I like using red bell pepper, green bell pepper, yellow onion for this recipe.
- garlic – love it? Add extra.
Homemade Cajun Seasoning
I tested this recipe with store bought cajun seasoning blend, and it just didn’t work for me. But I loved it with my own spice blend using ingredients I have in my pantry already. You need:
- garlic powder
- black pepper
- onion powder
- dried oregano
- dried thyme
- red pepper flakes
This instant pot jambalaya recipe is very simple and mainly hands off, which is great for busy weeknights or meal prep on the weekends.
1. First, mix up your homemade Cajun seasoning and set it aside.
2. Next, turn the Instant Pot to sauté and add in 2 tsp of olive oil. Brown the sausage slices, then remove from the pot. We do this before hand because if it cooks with the rice, the texture will be off and the sausage will taste rubbery. If you are using raw sausage, then you can cook it with the rice and veggies.
3. Season the raw shrimp with 1/2 tsp of the cajun seasoning. If you want them to be extra flavorful, feel free to add more!
4. Add the shrimp to the Instant Pot and sauté for a few minutes until they are fully cooked and opaque, not translucent. When they’re done, remove them from the pot and set them aside with the cooked chicken sausage. Again, we are cooking the shrimp in advance because they will overcook if made at the same time as the rice.
5. Add the remaining 2 tsp of olive oil to the Instant Pot. Then, add in onions, celery, bell peppers, garlic and 3 tsp of cajun seasoning. Stir until fragrant, then deglaze the bottom of the pan with a little broth. This will prevent you from getting the burn message on your instant pot. Then stir in rice, chicken, diced tomatoes, and broth. Place the lid on the Instant Pot and set to manual high pressure for 22 minutes.
6. When the cook time is finished, do a natural release for 10 minutes. Then, do a quick release for any remaining steam.
7. After the lid is unlocked, open it and stir in the cooked sausage and shrimp. Taste and adjust the salt/seasoning as desired, and enjoy!
Meal Prep and Storage
To prep ahead: Chop onions, celery and bell peppers and store together in an airtight container. Prep cajun seasoning and store in an airtight container in the fridge. Also, you can prep the sausage and the shrimp up to one day in advance.
To store: For best results, store leftover jambalaya in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Jambalaya can also be frozen for up to 3 months using a freezer safe container.
To freeze: This dish freezes really well. Store in a freezer safe container for up to 3 months. Then, for best results, thaw in the fridge overnight and heat in a saucepan. Delish!
To reheat: You can reheat this instant pot jambalaya on the stovetop until warmed through, adding extra broth if needed. Additionally, you can portion out what you want to reheat in a microwave safe bowl and reheat your jambalaya in the microwave.
Great question! Wondering how gumbo and jambalaya are different? Well, they use a lot of the same ingredients, but typically gumbo is a stew that is served with rice alongside it. Or a scoop of rice is placed in a serving of gumbo. Usually rice is added in to the jambalaya as it’s cooking, and for this recipe, I used brown rice as it fits the fix plan better than white rice or jasmine rice.
It was a little tricky to find chicken andouille sausage when I first created this recipe, but it is much easier to find it now. Look for Alfresco brand, Gilberts, or Johnsonville. Or even store brands – Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, and Target all have their own brands of fully cooked andouille sausage made from chicken.
Or, like I said in the post, you can use Spicy Italian sausage from your favorite store or homemade using my How to Make Homemade Italian Sausage with Ground Chicken or Turkey post.
I love the flavor as is, but if you want to kick up the flavor profile on this cajun recipe, you can add some hot sauce or extra crushed red pepper when you serve it.
We use both kinds of pressure release for this recipe and any Instant Pot rice recipe. The first kind we use is a natural release, that means you let the pressure release through the valve naturally and at its own pace. You don’t touch the valve, you let the pressure escape on its own. With the quick pressure release while pressure cooking, you turn the valve to release and it lets the pressure release much faster. Keep in mind that the cooking time listed for this delicious meal does not account for the time that it takes for the pressure cooker to come up to pressure or the time it takes for the remaining pressure to be released.
Yes! The recipe card has been updated with stovetop directions!
Looking for more Healthy Instant Pot Recipes? Here are some of my favorites:
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Instant Pot Jambalaya
For the Cajun Seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon sea or kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes optional
For the Jambalaya
- 6 teaspoon olive oil divided
- 1/2 lb chicken sausage sliced – I used fully cooked Andouille Sausage
- 1/2 lb medium sized raw shrimp cleaned and peeled
- 1/2 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs diced
- 1 1/2 cups brown rice
- 1 1/2 cups organic chicken stock or broth (3 cups for stovetop)
- 1 can diced tomatoes 14.5oz
- 1 onion diced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 3 stalks celery diced
- 2 bell peppers diced
Instant Pot Directions
- Mix up the Cajun Seasoning and set aside.
- Turn IP to sauté and add in 2 tsp of olive oil. Brown sausage slices, then remove from pot. Add in an additional 2 tsp of oil. Season shrimp with 1/2 tsp of the cajun seasoning. Add shrimp to the Instant Pot and sauté until cooked through, usually just a few minutes. Remove from Pot and set aside with the chicken sausage.
- Add remaining 2 tsp of olive oil to the IP, and add in onions, celery, bell peppers, garlic and 3 tsp cajun seasoning. Stir until fragrant, then add in rice, chicken, diced tomatoes, and broth. Place lid on the IP and set to manual for 22 minutes.
- When cook time is finished, do a natural release for 10 minutes, then a quick release for any remaining steam.
- After the lid unlocked, open and stir in sausage and shrimp. Taste and adjust salt/seasoning as desired (there should be extra seasoning left over to add if you want to!)
- Mix up the Cajun Seasoning and set aside.
- In a large dutch oven, heat 2 tsp of olive oil over medium heat. Brown sausage slices until caramelized, then remove from pan. Set aside.
- Add in 2 tsp of olive oil, then add in onions, celery, bell peppers, and garlic. Saute until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Add in chicken and 3 tsp seasoning. Then add rice, diced tomatoes, and 3 cups of chicken broth. Bring mixture to a boil, then cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 45 minutes or until rice is tender.
- While the jambalaya rice is cooking, add 2 tsp of olive oil to a saute pan. Season shrimp with 1/2 tsp of the cajun seasoning. Add shrimp to the pan and sauté until cooked through. Remove from pan and set aside with the chicken sausage.
- After the jamabalaya rice is finished cooking, add in chicken sausage and shrimp. Stir to combine and taste, adjusting seasonings if desired.