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Cajun Jambalaya Soup

Savor the rich and spicy flavors of Cajun Jambalaya Soup, packed with tender chicken, succulent shrimp, and homemade Cajun seasoning. This hearty and flavorful soup is perfect for any occasion, offering a comforting and satisfying meal. Easy to prepare and bursting with traditional Southern taste, it’s sure to become a favorite in your recipe collection.

Cajun jambalaya soup in a black bowl with a piece of French bread
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Key Ingredients

Jambalaya starts with the Holy Trinity vegetables: celery, green bell peppers, and onions. Here are other things you will need:

  • Smoked Sausage: Andouille sausage is the favorite. It’s a smoked pork sausage that originates from Louisiana and has a robust, spicy flavor which complements the other ingredients in jambalaya. You can use any smoked or standard sausage.
  • Shrimp
  • Chicken
  • Broth
  • Garlic
  • Rice
  • Flour
  • Cajun Seasoning
collage of 4 photos with diced celery, onions, bell peppers, chicken broth, garlic, flour, and white rice in separate glass bowls

What is Jambalaya

It’s a flavorful and hearty dish that originates from Louisiana, particularly the Creole and Cajun cuisines. It’s a one-pot meal that consists of rice cooked with a combination of meats (such as sausage, chicken, or seafood), vegetables, and a medley of traditional spices. In our family, seafood goes in jambalaya and things like beef and chicken go in dirty rice. It will vary widely depending on who you ask!

This recipe makes it into a soup, so it becomes a soupy rice dish. This soup is different from gumbo, because it does not include a roux or okra as a thickener. The soup is thickened using all-purpose flour instead. The absence of the roux and okra are the key variations.

What Type of Chicken to Use

Boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts along with cooked rotisserie chicken will work best. I used chicken thighs.

Chicken breasts are lean, tender, and easy to shred or cut into chunks. They can also be less flavorful compared to dark meat but works well with the creamy, rich sauce.

Chicken thighs are more flavorful and juicier than breasts, with a slightly richer taste. They also have more fat, which adds more richness to the soup, along with calories.

smoked sausage, raw shrimp, and raw chicken thighs in separate glass bowls

What Type of Rice to Use

Long-grain white rice such as jasmine rice, basmati rice, etc works best because it holds up well during cooking and maintains a good texture in the soup.

Medium-grain and short-grain rice is shorter and plumper, and will become more tender and slightly sticky when cooked. This can lead to a creamier texture in the soup, which might make it feel thicker and more hearty. It won’t have the same distinct grains and firmer texture that long-grain rice provides. If you prefer a soup with more defined rice grains and a lighter texture, sticking with long-grain rice is recommended.

In general, you don’t want to use processed, pre-cooked rice like Minute Rice. Grab the rice that comes in a bag (it’s also cheaper!)

What Type of Shrimp to Use

  • Size: I’m a jumbo shrimp lover, but, medium-sized shrimp are often preferred for jambalaya. They are typically labeled as “21-25 count” or “31-35 count,” which means there are approximately 21 to 25 or 31 to 35 shrimp per pound. These sizes are ideal because they are easier to eat in a single bite. Pick what you prefer.
  • Peeling and Deveining: For convenience, consider using peeled and deveined shrimp. This will save you time and effort during preparation.
  • Fresh vs. Frozen: If you have access to fresh, high-quality shrimp, that’s the best option. However, frozen shrimp can work well too, especially if they are frozen shortly after being caught to preserve their quality. Thaw frozen shrimp before using them in the recipe.
  • Tail-On or Tail-Off: The choice of whether to leave the tails on or off is largely a matter of personal preference. Leaving the tails on can enhance the presentation of the dish, but removing them will make eating more convenient.

How to Make Cajun Jambalaya Soup

Detailed measurements and full instructions can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.

  1. Heat olive oil in a large soup pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add sausage rounds and diced chicken.
  2. Add in Cajun spices, green peppers, onions, celery, and garlic. Stir to combine.
  3. Sprinkle flour throughout and stir well to combine.
  4. Gradually whisk in the broth and stir repeatedly, ensuring there are no lumps. Deglaze the bottom of the pan using your spoon.
  5. Bring the mixture to a simmer and add in the rice and optional bay leaves. Cover the pot with the lid and let the soup simmer.
  6. Open the pot and remove the bay leaves and add the shrimp.
collage of 4 photos with cooked sausage, chicken thighs, green peppers, onions, spices, and rice in a Dutch oven
collage of 4 photos with cooked sausage, chicken thighs, green peppers, onions, spices, and rice in a Dutch oven

What Type of Pot to Use

A large, heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven is ideal. I use this Dutch oven from Amazon. Heavy-bottomed pots distribute heat more evenly, which is crucial for preventing the ingredients from sticking or burning. Cast iron or enameled cast iron Dutch ovens retain heat well, which helps in maintaining a consistent simmer throughout the cooking process.

A large pot will accommodate the soup’s ingredients, including the rice, sausage, chicken, and vegetables, allowing for easy stirring and combining.

Cajun jambalaya soup in a Dutch oven with a wooden spoon

Substitutions and Add-Ins Ideas

  • Turkey
  • Crab
  • Lobster
  • Scallops
  • Okra
  • Tomatoes
  • Corn
  • Broccoli
  • Spinach
  • Hot Sauce
  • Lemon Juice
Cajun jambalaya soup in a Dutch oven with a wooden spoon

How to Prevent Mushy Soup

  • Don’t use short or medium-grain rice, unless you plan to cook it separately from the soup.
  • Simmer the soup gently instead than boiling it vigorously. High heat will break down the rice and other ingredients faster, leading to a mushy texture.
  • Let the soup rest for a few minutes after cooking before serving. This allows the rice to absorb any remaining liquid without becoming overcooked.

How to Store

Leftovers can be stored tightly covered in the fridge for 3-4 days.

Cajun jambalaya soup in a black bowl with a piece of French bread

How to Reheat

You can reheat the dish in the microwave or on the stove at medium heat until warm. Be careful with the shrimp. The texture will become rubbery if overcooked.

Freezer Tips

You can freeze the soup tightly covered and sealed for a few months (for optimal freshness). If you know you plan to freeze the soup, cook the rice separately from the soup. Over time, the rice may become mushy. Defrost overnight in the fridge.

Cajun jambalaya soup in a black bowl

More Cajun Recipes

Cajun Shrimp Boil
Cajun Boiled Peanuts
Cajun Fries
Cajun Turkey Recipe
Cajun Crawfish Boil

Cajun Jambalaya Soup

Savor the rich and spicy flavors of Cajun Jambalaya Soup, packed with tender chicken, succulent shrimp, and homemade Cajun seasoning. This hearty and flavorful soup is perfect for any occasion, offering a comforting and satisfying meal. Easy to prepare and bursting with traditional Southern taste, it's sure to become a favorite in your recipe collection.
Save this recipe here.
Course dinner, lunch
Cuisine Cajun, Southern
Keyword Cajun soup, jambalaya soup
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 8 cups
Calories 333kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 6 oz smoked sausage I used andouille; sliced into 1/2-1 inch rounds.
  • 1-1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs Diced into 1 inch chunks.
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 1/2 cup diced green peppers
  • 1/2 cup diced onions I used white onions.
  • 3 garlic cloves Minced
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 6-8 cups broth Chicken, seafood, or vegetable broth. See notes.
  • 1 cup long-grain white rice
  • 2 bay leaves Optional
  • 12 oz raw shrimp Peeled and deveined

Spices

Instructions

  • Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the sausage rounds and diced chicken. Cook for a few minutes until browned on both sides.
    1 teaspoon olive oil, 6 oz smoked sausage, 1-1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs
  • Add in the Cajun spices, green peppers, onions, celery, and garlic. Stir to combine. Cook until the vegetables are soft and the onions and garlic are fragrant.
    1/2 cup diced celery, 1/2 cup diced green peppers, 1/2 cup diced onions, 3 garlic cloves
  • Sprinkle the flour throughout and stir well to combine. Add the flour in stages to avoid excess drying.
    1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • Gradually whisk in the broth and stir repeatedly, ensuring there are no lumps. Deglaze the bottom of the pan using your spoon.
    6-8 cups broth
  • Bring the mixture to a rolling boil and add in the rice and optional bay leaves and simmer. Cover the pot with the lid and lower the heat to Low and let the soup simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the rice is cooked and tender. (However long it takes. Cook time will vary based on the type of rice you use.)
    Stir every 5-8 minutes to prevent sticking at the bottom of the pot.
    1 cup long-grain white rice, 2 bay leaves
  • Open the pot and remove the bay leaves and add the shrimp. Stir and cook for a few minutes until the shrimp is pink and translucent.
    12 oz raw shrimp
  • Taste the soup repeatedly and adjust the spices as necessary to suit your taste.

Notes

Using 6 cups of broth results in thick soup. The starch for the rice also helps to thicken the texture of the soup. If you want to thin out the soup, once it is cooked, at additional broth or water. This is what I recommend if the soup is too thick for your liking.
Don’t use short or medium-grain rice, unless you plan to cook it separately from the soup.
Simmer the soup gently instead than boiling it vigorously. High heat will break down the rice and other ingredients faster, leading to a mushy texture.
Let the soup rest for a few minutes after cooking before serving. This allows the rice to absorb any remaining liquid without becoming overcooked.
Recipe Tools Used in this RecipeAs an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Nutrition (displayed with net carbs)

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 333kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 11g
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Nutrition DataMacros are provided as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. This information is calculated using MyFitnessPal.com. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator. You are solely responsible for ensuring that any nutritional information provided is accurate, complete, and useful.
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