Slow Cooker Jambalaya

$10.52 recipe / $1.32 serving
by Beth - Budget Bytes
4.16 from 97 votes
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I really wanted to have this recipe ready for y’all yesterday, because it really is one of those “weekend day-cooking” sort of recipes, but I have been glued to social media since late last week, watching as the city where I lived for almost ten years was washed away by the three months worth of tropical rains that fell in just a few short days. Luckily all of my friends and family are safe, but I watched pleas for rescue, people trying to find lost loved ones, and images of destruction fill my feed for days. I finally broke away on Sunday and cooked a few things, including this Slow Cooker Jambalaya. Cooking was therapeutic, but I wish I was out there cooking for the over ten thousand people who are stuck at shelters with no where to go. But from this distance, I’ll have to do the best I can with donating supplies and helping support relief programs.

But back to this recipe. Jambalaya is a natural “budget” recipe because it combines flavorful and inexpensive cuts of meat (smoked sausage and chicken thighs) with bulky and inexpensive ingredients, like rice, onion, celery, and bell pepper. Add a good handful of spices and you have a super filling and very satisfying meal that freezes well and reheats effortlessly in the microwave. Total winner. While jambalaya is not difficult to make on the stove top, it’s still SUPER hot here, so I like to use my slow cooker when I can. Everything in this Slow Cooker Jambalaya is cooked in one pot, including the rice. Cooking rice in a slow cooker might sound like a mushy mess, but as long as you add it at the very end, you can control the texture a bit more and get good results.

This recipe depends greatly on the sausage that you buy, which accounts for about half of the flavor in the dish. I had one of those “small changes make big differences” moments at the grocery store and bought smoked turkey sausage instead of regular smoked pork sausage, and I kind of regret it. But hey, it all depends on your priorities. Just be aware that the sausage can make or break this recipe. And while I think you could easily skip the chicken thighs to reduce the meat load of the dish, do not skip the smoked sausage.

Slow Cooker Jambalaya

Top view of a bowl of Slow Cooker Jambalaya sitting on a patterned napkin with a fork on the side

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Slow Cooker Jambalaya

4.16 from 97 votes
Slow Cooker Jambalaya is a Louisiana classic made simple, with all the big flavor and half the effort.
Servings 8 (about 10 cups)
Prep 15 mins
Cook 4 hrs 30 mins
Total 4 hrs 45 mins

Ingredients

  • 3 ribs celery ($0.37)
  • 1 yellow onion ($0.42)
  • 1 green bell pepper ($0.87)
  • 2 cloves garlic ($0.16)
  • 12-16 oz. smoked sausage* ($3.49)
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (optional) ($1.13)
  • 1 tsp dried oregano ($0.10)
  • 1 tsp dried thyme ($0.10)
  • 1/2 Tbsp smoked paprika ($0.15)
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper ($0.05)
  • Freshly cracked pepper (15-20 cranks of a mill) ($0.05)
  • 2 15 oz. cans diced tomatoes (or one 28oz. can) ($1.98)
  • 1/4 bunch fresh parsley, chopped ($0.20)
  • 2 cups chicken broth ($0.26)
  • 2 cups uncooked long grain white rice ($0.96)
  • 3 green onions, sliced ($0.23)

Instructions 

  • Finely dice the celery, onion, and bell pepper. Mince the garlic. Add the celery, onion, bell pepper, and garlic to the bottom of a 5 quart or larger slow cooker.
  • Slice the smoked sausage into rounds or half moons and add them to the slow cooker, along with the chicken thighs, oregano, thyme, paprika, cayenne, and freshly cracked pepper.
  • Pour the diced tomatoes and all their juices over the meat and spices in the slow cooker. Add the chicken broth and a handful of chopped fresh parsley. Stir briefly.
  • Place the lid on the slow cooker, turn the heat on to high, and cook for four hours.
  • After four hours, the liquid in the slow cooker should be boiling. Carefully remove the chicken thighs, making sure to replace the lid quickly, shred the meat, and stir it back into the pot along with the uncooked rice. Replace the lid and let it continue to cook on high for 20-25 minutes, or until the rice has absorbed most of the liquid.
  • Remove the lid, test the rice to make sure it's tender, then stir to fluff the ingredients. Sprinkle the sliced green onions over top, then serve.

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Equipment

Notes

*The package of sausage I bought was 14oz, but any amount from 12 to 16oz. (3/4 to 1 lb.) will work just fine.

Nutrition

Serving: 1ServingCalories: 200.8kcalCarbohydrates: 7.64gProtein: 14.54gFat: 11.69gSodium: 918.9mgFiber: 2.08g
Have you tried this recipe?Mention @budgetbytes or tag #budgetbytes on Instagram!

Top view of Slow Cooker Jambalaya in slow cooker

Side view of a bowl of Slow Cooker Jambalaya sitting on patterned napkin

Step by Step Photos

Celery, onion and bell pepper in bottom of Slow Cooker

Start by dicing three ribs of celery, one yellow onion, and one green bell pepper. Mince two cloves of garlic. Add the bell pepper, onion, celery, and garlic to a 5 quart or larger slow cooker.

Sliced Sausage, Chicken Thighs and Spices added to slow cooker

Add 12-16oz. sliced smoked sausage, two boneless, skinless chicken thighs, 1 tsp dried oregano, 1 tsp dried thyme, 1/2 Tbsp smoked paprika, 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper, and a healthy dose of freshly cracked black pepper (15-20 cranks of a pepper mill). Sorry this photo looks so funky. One of the black storm clouds that was dropping all that rain sailed in right as I was preparing this step, then it left just as quickly…

Diced Tomatoes and Parsley added to slow cooker

Add two 15oz. cans of diced tomatoes (or one 28oz. can), a handful of fresh parsley, and 2 cups of chicken broth. Stir briefly. 

Boiling mixture in slow cooker

Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on high for four hours. The liquid should be boiling in the pot after four hours. It’s important that it be boiling for the rice to cook correctly. 

Rice being poured into slow cooker

Remove the lid just briefly to remove the chicken thighs. Shred the meat and stir it back into the pot with two cups of uncooked long grain white rice.

Rice is submerged down in broth in slow cooker

Make sure all that rice is submerged under the liquid, then replace the lid as quickly as possible so that it returns to boiling quickly.

Cooked dish in slow cooker

Let it cook on high for 20-25 minutes more, or until the rice has absorbed most of the liquid. 

Stirring dish with wooden spoon in slow cooker

Stir the pot gently to mix everything together and fluff the rice (don’t stir too vigorously or the rice will become gummy). top with some extra chopped parsley and a few sliced green onions, then serve your Slow Cooker Jambalaya.

Top view of a bowl of Slow Cooker Jambalaya sitting on a patterned napkin with a fork on the side

  I totes forgot my green onions! Which is a shame because green onions are such a quintessential flavor in jambalaya. No worries, though. I still have leftovers that can get the green onion treatment! Leftovers for days cuz that’s how I roll.

Slow Cooker Jambalaya has all the big flavor of the classic Louisiana dish with half the effort. BudgetBytes.com
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  1. This was DELICIOUS!!! It had a little bit of a kick to it so I added a dollop of sour cream on top of each serving. Loved it 

  2. I am also having a rice problem! I read all of the comments- should have listened and made rice separately. Flavor is good, easy to prep. But the rice not cooking is a big issue for me. Will try again next time. 

  3. This is my go to recipe, I LOVE IT and make it all the time. But I just skip the rice and add some shrimp at the end, then I guess it’s more like Gumbo :) 

    1. Unfortunately, I’ve never tried cooking those types of rice in a slow cooker, so I don’t know if the slow cooker will get the liquid boiling to a point where it can cook a more tough kind of rice like that.

  4. I made this a few months ago for my family (including an 18- month old) and it was a resounding success!! To the point where it was making an appearance weekly (!) on our dining tables, and if I skipped it one week my husband would ask when we would be eating it next. Thank you for such a great- and forgiving- recipe that I can tweak as we go.

  5. Made this today it’s wonderful.  I did use chopped tomatoes with green chiles.  This is so good.  Made garlic bread to go with it.  Try it you’ll like it!

  6. The rice did not cook. We followed this recipe to the t and for whatever reason we had to pull it lol out of our crockpot in order to simmer the rice to get it soft. The bottom was mush and the top was uncooked. Will not be making this again. 

  7. I have to differ slightly. I thought it was “meh” when I made it, but it was MUCH better the next day.

  8. This recipe was amazing! I know it’s terrible when people review a recipe and change ingredients but I just don’t like bell peppers. For me they add color but no flavors. So, instead I used one jalapeno and a poblano pepper. Delicious! I had no issues with my rice. It was perfect. I had a giant Costco bag of basmati rice so I used that. Absolutely perfect! I will say my liquid was at a full bubble when I quickly added my rice so maybe that was the issue others had.

  9. Hello, do you think this would work with paella rice? Have some to use up!! Thanks in advance :) 

  10. This turned out really good. I halved the recipe and I also sauteed the veggies a little before adding them to the slow cooker (just a personal habit of mine). Yum!

    1. Definitely keep it covered as much as possible. And make sure it is bubbling before adding the rice. I used parboiled rice and the consistency was just right. Took about 30. min for the rice to absorb the liquid.