Quick Southern Dinner Instant Pot Jambalaya

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jambalaya recipe

What’s Up, Hungry People

Every now and then, I get a hankering for some real down South cooking – despite the fact that I live in Northeast Ohio, just about as far from the deep South as you can get. Regardless of the distance, when I get a craving for some good ol’ Southern dishes, there’s not much that can stop me until my desires are satiated.

Enter: jambalaya. It’s my go-to between the cold and warm seasons when I don’t want to commit to making a stew.

What’s the Difference Between Jambalaya and Gumbo Anyway?

Gumbo is primarily a stew, characterized by its thick, soup-like consistency. It starts with a roux (a mixture of fat and flour) which acts as a thickening agent and provides a deep, nutty flavor. Okra is often used as another thickening agent, and filé powder (ground sassafras leaves) can be added for additional flavor and thickness. Gumbo typically contains a variety of meats or seafood, such as chicken, sausage, shrimp, or crab, and is served over rice, which is cooked separately.

Jambalaya, on the other hand, is more of a rice-based dish, similar to a paella. It incorporates rice into the cooking process, absorbing the flavors of the other ingredients. The base of jambalaya includes onions, celery, and bell peppers (known as the “holy trinity” of Cajun and Creole cooking), and it usually features a combination of meats like chicken and sausage, or seafood. The rice is cooked with the other ingredients, broth, and seasonings, leading to a heartier, less soupy texture compared to gumbo.

If you’re intrigued by the flavors of the South and ready to bring a bit of that cajun magic into your own kitchen, why not try making Instant Pot Jambalaya? This dish packs all the vibrant flavors of Louisiana into one pot, with a combination of Andouille sausage, chicken, and shrimp, plus the freshness of bell peppers and celery.

It’s a complete meal that satisfies that Southern craving without requiring a plane ticket.

instant pot jambalaya

Here’s What You Need

  • Andouille sausage: Adds a smoky, spicy flavor typical of Cajun cuisine.
  • Chicken breast: Provides a lean protein source, balancing the richer sausage.
  • Olive oil: Used for sautéing and building the base flavor.
  • Sweet onion: Adds natural sweetness and depth to the dish.
  • Celery: Offers a slight crunch and fresh, aromatic quality.
  • Mixed peppers: Contribute vibrant color and a slight sweetness.
  • Garlic: Brings a pungent, aromatic depth to the flavor profile.
  • Bay leaf: Infuses the dish with a subtle, herbal aroma.
  • Tomato paste: Deepens the dish with a rich, concentrated tomato flavor.
  • Diced tomatoes: Provide moisture and a fresh tomato flavor.
  • Brown rice: Absorbs flavors and adds a nutty texture.
  • Lobster broth: Enriches the dish with a robust seafood essence.
  • Oregano: Offers earthy, slightly bitter undertones.
  • Thyme: Imparts a minty, subtly earthy flavor.
  • Paprika: Gives a sweet and mildly spicy kick.
  • Cajun spice blend: Delivers heat and complexity.
  • Beau Monde seasoning: Adds a savory, all-purpose seasoning touch.
  • Okra: Thickens the dish and adds a grassy, slightly sweet taste.
  • Raw shrimp: Provides a tender, sweet seafood element.
pressure cooker jambalaya

Let’s Cook

First things first, let’s get your Instant Pot fired up to sauté mode. Toss in a tablespoon of olive oil and once it’s hot, add your chicken pieces. Give them a good sauté for about 3-4 minutes—they don’t need to cook through, just get a nice golden brown. Next, throw in the sliced Andouille sausage and let it brown for another few minutes. Once they’re both nicely browned, take them out and set them aside.

Building the Flavor Foundation

Now, pour in the remaining olive oil. Once it’s warm, add your chopped sweet onion, celery, and those colorful mixed peppers, along with the minced garlic. This is where the magic starts—let these veggies cook until they start to soften and release their delightful aromas, which should take around 10-15 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and diced tomatoes and keep cooking until most of the liquid has evaporated.

Mixing It All Together

Alright, now stir in that uncooked brown rice, then add back the chicken and sausage you browned earlier. It’s seasoning time—sprinkle in the oregano, thyme, paprika, Beau Monde seasoning, and as much Cajun spice as you like. Give everything a good mix to ensure the flavors meld together.

The Pressure Cooking Phase

Pour the lobster broth over everything, making sure it mostly covers the rice and other ingredients. You might need to add a little more broth or even some water to make sure everything’s just about submerged. Now, clamp on the lid of your Instant Pot, hit the ‘pressure cook’ button, and set it for 15 minutes on normal mode.

Finishing Touches

Once the cooking time is up, let the pressure release naturally for about 15 minutes. This bit of patience is a small price to pay for perfect jambalaya. After that, if you’re in a hurry, you can speed things up with a quick release by venting the pressure manually. Open the lid carefully—watch out for that steam—and give everything a good stir. At this point, there should still be a bit of liquid in the pot, which is perfect for the next step.

Adding the Final Ingredients

Switch your Instant Pot back to sauté mode and bring the mixture up to a simmer. Now’s the time to add the shrimp and okra. Let them cook for about 3-5 minutes until the shrimp are pink and the okra is tender but not mushy. This last step adds a fresh pop of flavor and texture to your dish.

Ready to Serve

Turn off your Instant Pot and let the jambalaya sit for about 15 minutes before serving. This rest period lets the rice absorb any excess liquid, making your jambalaya just the right consistency.

Perfecting Your Instant Pot Jambalaya

  • Browning the Meats: Always sauté your chicken and sausage until they’re nicely browned before removing them from the Instant Pot. This step is crucial as it locks in flavors and ensures a rich foundation for the jambalaya.
  • Layering Flavors: Start with sautéing the “holy trinity” – onion, celery, and bell peppers. This creates a flavorful base that infuses every bite of the jambalaya with traditional Southern charm.
  • Rice Consistency: Make sure to rinse the brown rice thoroughly before adding it to the pot to prevent it from becoming mushy. The rice should be tender but still hold its shape after cooking.
  • Managing Liquid Levels: Adjust the amount of lobster broth based on the consistency you prefer. If you like your jambalaya more stew-like, add a bit more broth. Keep an eye on the liquid level during cooking, especially after the pressure cooking phase.
  • Adding the Shrimp and Okra: Add these towards the end of cooking to avoid overcooking. Shrimp cook quickly and okra can become slimy if overcooked, so timing is key to perfect texture.
instant pot gumbayala

I hope you’re as excited as I am to whip up this pressure cooker jambalaya. It’s a perfect blend of ease and flavor, making it an ideal choice for those evenings when you crave something hearty but don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen. With each bite, you’ll taste the deep South right from your own home, no matter how far you might be from Louisiana. So gather your ingredients, follow the steps closely, and prepare for a meal that promises to be both comforting and vibrantly flavorful. Remember, good food isn’t just about feeding the body but also about bringing joy to the table, one delicious spoonful at a time.

instant pot jambalaya

Instant Pot Jambalaya

The Starving Chef
Enjoy a taste of the South with this easy and quick instant pot jambalaya, packed with sausage, chicken, and shrimp.
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Course Dinner, One Pot
Cuisine Pressure Cooker, Southern
Servings 8



  • 6 oz Andouille sausage sliced
  • 6 oz chicken breast cut into pieces
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ cup sweet onion chopped
  • ½ cup celery chopped
  • ½ cup mixed peppers (red, green, yellow, orange) chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 14.5 oz diced tomato
  • 1 cup brown rice rinsed and uncooked
  • 1 ½ cup lobster broth
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 1 tablespoon thyme
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 2 tablespoons cajun spice blend or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon Beau Monde seasoning
  • ½ cup okra
  • 8 oz raw shrimp shells removed


  • Turn the Instant Pot (IP) or equivalent pressure cooker to sauté mode. Add one tablespoon of olive oil, then sauté the chicken breasts for 3-4 minutes; followed by the sausage for another 3-4 minutes. Remove from the pot, it's okay if the meat is not fully cooked—we are only looking to brown it at this point.
  • Add the rest of the olive oil, then add the onion, celery, peppers, garlic, tomato paste, and diced tomatoes. Sauté for 10-15 minutes or until the liquids have started to evaporate.
  • Stir in the uncooked rice followed by the cooked chicken and sausage. Season with oregano, thyme, paprika, Beau Monde seasoning, and Cajun spices.
  • Pour in the lobster broth so that it mostly covers the rice—you may need to add additional broth (or water) to cover the contents almost entirely.
  • Turn off the sauté mode and secure the lid. Set the IP to pressure cook on normal mode for 15 minutes.
  • Allow the IP to depressurize naturally over 15 minutes after completion; or carefully do a quick release by toggling the pressure vent.
  • Once the lid can be removed, give the jambalaya a good stir and scrape up any rice or pieces stuck to the bottom. There will still be a good amount of liquid, so turn the IP back to sauté mode.
  • Bring the contents of the IP to a rolling simmer on sauté mode—then add the shrimp and okra. Cook for another 3-5 minutes or until the shrimp are pink and the okra is cooked and tender.
  • Turn off the IP and let the jambalaya cool for 15 minutes before serving—this will help the rice soak up any excess liquid. Serve warm with a side of cornbread and enjoy!
Keyword cajun, chicken, rice, sausage, shrimp
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