Chorizo Chicken Jambalaya

$8.98 recipe / $1.12 serving
by Beth - Budget Bytes
4.59 from 34 votes
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Jambalaya is one of the easiest, filling, and inexpensive dishes you can make. Just ask anyone from Louisiana—we live off the stuff. Flavorful sausage, savory aromatic vegetables, and rice all cook together in one pot to make a super satisfying, one pot dish. I love cooking up a big pot of jambalay on the weekend so I can feed myself off of it all week. Talk about easy!

Instead of doing a standard jambalaya, I decided to change it up and use Mexican chorizo instead of the traditional Andouille sausage. This added a nice spicy kick, which I complimented with cumin, oregano, and smoked paprika. I didn’t have much Chorizo in my freezer, so I bulked up the meat end with some chopped chicken thighs. Chicken thighs are my new favorite because they are inexpensive, but super tender and juicy. Top it all off with some fresh sliced green onions and you’ll be in heaven. OR, if you happen to have some sour cream or avocado laying around (I just happened to buy some avocados on sale), they are awesome on this!

P.S. This freezes really well!

Chorizo Chicken Jambalaya

Top view of a pot of Chorizo Chicken Jambalaya

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Chorizo Chicken Jambalaya

4.59 from 34 votes
This spicy and filling Chorizo Chicken Jambalaya cooks up fast and easy in one pot. Step by step photos.
Servings 8 (1.25 cups each)
Prep 10 mins
Cook 55 mins
Total 1 hr 5 mins

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil ($0.02)
  • 2 links 8 oz. Mexican Chorizo ($1.67)
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken thighs about 1 1/4 lbs. ($2.35)
  • 12 oz. bag frozen onion, bell pepper, celery mix ($1.39)
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste ($0.12)
  • 2 1/2 cups dry long grain white rice ($0.83)
  • 1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes ($0.89)
  • 4 cups chicken broth ($0.52)
  • 1 whole bay leaf ($0.15)
  • 1 tsp cumin ($0.10)
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika ($0.10)
  • 1/2 tsp oregano ($0.05)
  • 1 bunch green onions ($0.79)

Instructions 

  • Cut the chicken thighs into small, one inch chunks. Add the vegetable oil to a large pot along with the chopped chicken thighs and chorizo (squeeze the chorizo out of the casing). Cook the meat over medium heat until the chorizo is browned and the chicken is white and firm (about 7-10 minutes). Drain off the excess fat. Add the frozen, chopped onion, celery, and bell pepper mix. Stir to combine and heat through (about 1-2 minutes).
  • Add the tomato paste and dry rice to the pot. Stir and cook for about two minutes. You should hear the rice crackling and popping as it cooks. This toasts the rice and caramelizes the tomato paste for more flavor. It's okay if it begins to coat the bottom of the pot, but don't let it burn.
  • Add the chicken broth and diced tomatoes (with juices) to the pot. Stir to combine and dissolve anything stuck to the bottom of the pot. Finally, add the bay leaf, cumin, smoked paprika, and oregano. Stir once more, place a lid on the pot, and turn the heat up to high. As soon as the pot reaches a full boil, turn the heat down to low and let it simmer for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, turn the heat off and let the pot sit for an additional 10 minutes, undisturbed, to continue to steam.
  • Remove the lid and fluff the jambalaya. If you see the bay leaf, remove it. Serve hot topped with sliced green onion.

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Notes

Substituting brown rice for the white rice in this recipe will not yield the same results. Brown rice requires more liquid and a longer cooking time.

Nutrition

Serving: 1.25CupsCalories: 431.88kcalCarbohydrates: 55.05gProtein: 24.08gFat: 12.45gSodium: 793.28mgFiber: 3.38g
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Side view of a bowl of Chorizo Chicken Jambalaya

Step by Step Photos

Open package of Chorizo with several taken out

I had two links (about 8 oz.) of Mexican chorizo left in my freezer that needed to be used up. You could certainly use more if you’d like, or use all chorizo and no chicken. The chorizo is important, though, because it contains a lot of herbs and spices that flavor the jambalaya. This is Johnsonville brand, which is available at most major supermarkets in the United States. Mexican chorizo is a spicy, fresh sausage, and much different from Spanish chorizo, which is a cured meat product (like salami or pepperoni).

Chopped Chicken thighs with knife

I also used four boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 1.25 lbs.). Cut the chicken up into small pieces. You can take the time to cut the fat off first if you want, but I didn’t bother. Most of the fat cooked off and then I just drained the pot before adding the rest of the ingredients.

Browned Meat (chicken and chorizo) in pot with wooden spoon

Brown the chorizo and chicken thighs in a large pot along with one tablespoon of vegetable oil (just to help get it going). After the chorizo is fully brown and the chicken is white and firm, drain off the excess fat (there was a LOT to drain off). This photo is after draining off the fat.

Package of Seasoning Blend

Because I was feeling lazy (no shame), I used a 19 oz. bag of frozen, pre-chopped onion, celery, and bell pepper. One of the nice benefits of using ingredients like this is that there are no leftovers (like half a bunch of celery) to use up later. I don’t use pre-chopped ingredients like this often, but sometimes it’s worth it! If you don’t want to use frozen, just chop up one yellow onion, one bell pepper, and a couple stalks of celery.

Frozen Seasoning Blend added to pot with meats

Add the frozen veggies to the pot and stir to combine. They’ll thaw almost immediately.

Rice and Tomato Paste added to other ingredients in pot

Next, add 2.5 cups of dry long grain white rice (not brown rice) and 2 Tbsp of tomato paste. Stir and cook this mixture for two minutes. You’ll hear the rice crackling as it cooks. This step helps caramelize the tomato paste and toasts the rice, both of which deepen the flavor. If it starts to make a film on the bottom of the pot, that’s okay. Just don’t let it burn. If you suspect it is beginning to burn, move on to the next step.

Tomatoes and chicken broth added to pot with other ingredients

Add one 15-ounce can of diced tomatoes (with juices) and 4 cups of chicken broth. Stir to combine and to dissolve of any bits that are stuck to the bottom of the pot. Add one whole bay leaf, 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp smoked paprika, and 1/2 tsp oregano. Stir to combine, then place a lid on top and turn the heat up to high. As soon as the pot reaches a full boil, turn the heat down to low and let it simmer on low for 30 minutes (with the lid in place). After 30 minutes, turn the heat off and let it continue to steam (lid in place, undisturbed) for an additional 10 minutes. 

Top view of simmered mixture in pot

At that point the rice will have absorbed all of the liquid. Quick note: if you are using an inexpensive pot with a thin bottom, the heat will not distribute evenly and you may have pockets of rice that did not cook as well as the rest. It’s best to use a heavy, thick pot or dutch oven.

Fluffed Jambalaya in pot

Use a big spoon to fluff up the mixture. If you see the bay leaf in there, go ahead and pull it out. Slice the green onions and sprinkle them on top.

Finished Chorizo Chicken Jambalaya in pot with wooden spoon on the side Mmm-Mmm good!

Top view of two bowls of Chorizo Chicken Jambalaya with two forks and red napkins on the side

 

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  1. I give this a 3 because my family would like there to me more liquid to the ending product.  I suggest only using 2 cups of rice and I would use 1 pound of chorizo sausage to give it more spice.   

  2. Excellent! I realized as I was prepping that my chicken had gone off – yuck – so I increased the chorizo and added a small zucchini as well. It turned out great! I’ll definitely try it with chicken as well soon, but the zucchini was tasty so I might keep that.

  3. Could brown rice be substituted? And if so, what would the measurements be? We make this recipe regularly at our house. Kids even love it! Thought I’d ask about Brown rice to make it a bit healthier. Love this though along with basically everything you make! :-)

    1. Swapping brown rice would be a bit more complicated than it seems because it requires more liquid and a longer cooking time. So unfortunately I wouldn’t be able to give any instructions for that without testing it out a few times to find the correct measurements and cooking times.

      1. I’ve been making this for a few years and thought it might be worth letting you know that I always make it with brown rice!! It works out fine! The timings are probably off but tbh I tend not to cook to timings – I just keep stirring until the rice is cooked. I also (shamefacedly) don’t measure the rice, I just throw it in in handfuls. It’s a really forgiving recipe and has been incredibly useful – thank you!! :)

  4. If I were to make this with yellow rice do you have any idea how I might have to change the cook time and water ratio? Thank you. Your website is my go-to for most recipes!

    1. Did this with the yellow rice…ratio with white rice seemed to be the same! This was outstanding! Didn’t have chicken thighs, but used some leftover rotisserie chicken. Just enough spice where my young kids didn’t reject it for being too spicy. They loved it

  5. This is great and was exactly what I was looking for to use up the other two links of chorizo after making the chorizo sweet potato skillet last week (uses about 3 links).

  6. Is the Chorizo Sausage (8 Ounces) used in the Rotisserie Chicken and Chorizo Jambalaya recipe (The Endless Meal) bought pre-cooked or is it bought un-cooked?

    This recipe looks delicious!

    1. I’m not sure what The Endless Meal is, but Mexican chorizo is a raw sausage, not to be confused with Spanish chorizo, which is a cured sausage.

  7. Just made it and loved it. I subbed the meat (because I couldn’t find chorizo) with half andouille sausage and half turkey kielbasa. Still delicious. Another week of tasty, inexpensive food.

  8. This a good base recipe. Two things to do differently are always use fresh veggies. It’ll take give minutes more but it’s worth it. Second, where’s the garlic?? Add three cloves of freshly chopped garlic and toast with the rice for a few minutes.

  9. My sister and I made this recipe, and honestly, it’s the bomb!! I’m looking forward to having leftovers for the next few days. Thank you, Beth!!! :-)

  10. Thank you for the recipe. I made it today and my man loves it can’t believe I pulled it off.

  11. I made this yesterday and froze it. Could not believe how easy it was to make. Hardly any prep at all. And tasty! Chicken thighs are my new favorite. I’m a believer!

    1. Why am I supposed to use frozen onion, bell, whatever vegetables instead of frying them fresh?

      1. If you have fresh that’s great! Sometimes the frozen mix can be cheaper than fresh and keeps longer.

  12. I make this recipe twice per month. I use 1 lb. chicken, 1 lb. chorizo, and only 2 cups of rice. Easy, delicious, and it makes three nights worth of dinners. Thanks!

  13. Going to try this tonight! I have half pound of chorizo I need to use and also two (cooked) chicken bratwurst that I will cut into little pieces to add. Can’t wait to try it!

  14. made this tonight and it came out OK. I overcooked the rice a bit (my fault) but I also thought the seasoning could’ve been ramped up a bit. maybe a quarter teaspoon more of both paprika and cumin. nonetheless, I will be making this again because I know it has amazing potential.