This all-in-one recipe for Instant Pot Jambalaya is made with chicken, andouille sausage, shrimp, and rice, for a flavorful meal that is ready in under 30 minutes.
When it comes to developing flavor fast, I love turning to my Instant Pot. An electric pressure cooker seals in the heat AND flavor, allowing meals to be cooked quickly without sacrificing the taste. In fact, I find that many Instant Pot recipes are MORE flavorful than the stove-top or oven version.
Take this Instant Pot Jambalaya. This classic Cajun dish can take hours to make on the stove and the rice often needs babysitting to ensure that it cooks perfectly.
When using the Instant Pot to make Cajun Jambablya, it comes together in less than 30 minutes and delivers jambalaya full of tender chicken, andouille sausage, perfectly cooked rice, and tons of Cajun spice! I also include instructions for making this pressure cooker jambalaya with or without shrimp--because some of us like it, and some of us don't 😉
Bottom line, Instant Pot Jambalaya delivers a delicious one-pot meal filled with Creole and Cajun flavors and is a life-saver on busy nights.
Ingredients for Jambalaya
- Holy Trinity: The holy trinity in Cajun cuisine and Louisiana Creole cuisine refers to the combination of onions, bell peppers, and celery. This recipe for Jambablaya starts off by sauteeing this classic combination in oil to develop authentic flavor. Use any color of bell pepper you like.
- Andouille Sausage: For an authentic jambalaya recipe, use andouille sausage. However, smoked sausage or Cajun chicken sausage work as well. I personally love using chicken cajun-style sausage to keep the fat on the lower end.
- Chicken: Use boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs that have been cubed into bite-sized pieces.
- Rice: In order for your chicken not to overcook, it is best to use long-grain white rice, not brown rice. Brown rice requires a MUCH longer cooking time, which would overcook the chicken. Because I am using pre-cooked, chicken sausage, I chose to use Jasmine rice, which only cooks in 3 minutes. You can use brown rice, simply increase the cooking time to 22 minutes.
- Seasoning: I used a homemade Cajun Seasoning, that is simple to make and lower in sodium than store-bought brands. That said, feel free to use any brand of cajun seasoning you like. I also recommend adding a dried bay leaf and dried thyme leaves, which help to replicate the authentic flavor of jambalaya.
- Diced Tomatoes: Use one 15-ounce can of diced tomatoes.
- Chicken Stock: For the cooking liquid, use low-sodium store-bought or homemade chicken stock or broth. Alternatively, you can use seafood stock if you have it on hand.
- Shrimp: The shrimp is completely optional, yet authentic in Jamabalya recipes. I have found it is best to use fresh or defrosted small, deveined, shrimp and add them AFTER pressure cooking. The residual heat will cook the shrimp through. If you want to add shrimp prior to pressure cooking, I would use frozen jumbo shrimp.
- Hot Sauce: To add a bit more heat and flavor to the jambalaya, add hot sauce as desired after pressure cooking. I often stir in a teaspoon, allowing people to add more as desired.
- Worcestershire Sauce: A little bit of Worcestershire sauce adds a rich umami flavor to the dish, helping it to taste as though it simmered for hours.
How to Make Instant Pot Jambalaya
While this is an incredibly simple recipe, if you are unfamiliar with cooking in an Instant Pot or the functions of your Instant Pot, be sure to start with How to Use an Instant Pot for the best results on this and future recipes. You will find the full recipe in detail in the recipe card below.
- Turn Instant Pot to saute, add in the oil, and let heat for a minute or two. You can use that time to dice up your chicken, onion, peppers, celery, and chicken.
- Once the oil has heated, add the sausage, chicken, onions, peppers, and celery to the inner pot and saute for a couple of minutes, stirring often, until the onions are just beginning to soften up.
- Add in garlic, and saute for 30 seconds longer, being careful to not allow garlic to burn. Turn Instant Pot OFF by hitting cancel.
- Add in a bit of the broth or stock and scrape up any browned bits of food from the bottom of the pan. This is crucial to prevent a burn warning!
- Stir in the rest of the broth along with the cajun seasoning, thyme, and bay leaf.
- Add the rice to the cooking liquid, and gently push it down to submerge it fully into the liquid.
- Top the rice with diced tomatoes, but DO NOT STIR! This also helps to prevent a burn notice.
- Place the lid on your pressure cooker and be sure the lid is locked and the venting knob is sealed.
- Set to cook on high pressure, using the manual or pressure cooker button, not the rice button, for 3 minutes.
- Once the cooking time has elapsed, let the pressure release naturally for at least 10 minutes, but a full pressure release is best. This ensures your rice stays tender and fluffy.
- While pressure is releasing, pat the shrimp dry with a paper towel and then toss them with a bit of cajun seasoning.
- Once pressure is released, open the lid and add the seasoned shrimp. Place the lid immediately back on the inner pot and let it be for 5-10 minutes, or until the shrimp are fully cooked from the residual heat.
- Once the shrimp have cooked, add the Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce, and fluff the rice with a fork to combine everything together.
- Serve with lemon wedges and additional hot sauce.
FAQs about Pressure Cooker Jambalaya
No! Absolutely not. While traditional, jambalaya is absolutely delicious with or without shrimp.
I would add frozen jumbo shrimp prior to pressure cooking. Simply add the seasoned frozen shrimp on top of the tomatoes and cook for 3 minutes as directed. I do find that the shrimp will still be a bit overcooked, so I recommend using thawed small shrimp for best results.
I don't recommend brown rice for this recipe, as it needs to be cooked for 22 minutes instead of 3 minutes, so the chicken will be overcooked in that time frame.
I highly recommend rinsing the rice before pressure cooking. Rinsing rice will remove the surface starch that can cause the rice to get mushy and stick together when cooked.
More Instant Pot Easy Dinner Recipes
- Instant Pot Sweet and Sour Chicken
- Instant Pot Mongolian Beef
- Instant Pot Spaghetti
- Instant Pot Pork Chops
- Instant Pot Tuna Noodle Casserole
The next time you need a FAST meal full of flavor, try out this recipe for Instant Pot Jambalaya--it won't disappoint! And if you gave it a try, be sure to leave a review and comment below.
Instant Pot Jambalaya
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 12 ounces Andouille or smoked Cajun sausage sliced into 1-inch rounds
- 6 ounces boneless skinless chicken breast cut into 1-inch chunks
- 1 small onion diced
- 1 small red bell pepper diced
- 1 stalk celery minced
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 2 cups low sodium chicken stock
- 2 cups long grain white rice rinsed well
- 3 teaspoons Cajun Seasoning divided
- ½ teaspooon dried thyme leaves
- 1 dried bay leaf
- 15 ounces diced tomatoes
- ½ tablespoon hot sauce optional
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire Sauce
- 1 pound small shrimp, peeled and deveined optional
- Turn Instant Pot to saute, add in the oil, and let heat for a minute or two.
- Once heated, add the sausage, chicken, onions, peppers, and celery to the inner pot and saute for 2-3 minutes, or until the onions are just beginning to soften up. Add in garlic, and saute for 30 seconds longer, being careful to not allow garlic to burn. Turn Instant Pot OFF by hitting cancel.
- Add in ½ cup of the chicken stock and scrape up any browned bits off the bottom of the inner pot. Stir in the remaining chicken stock, 2 teaspoons of cajun seasoning, thyme, and bay leaf.
- Place the rice in a fine-mesh strainer and place under running water for 1-2 minutes to fully rinse. Add the rice and gently push, not stir the rice, with the back of a spoon to submerge the rice into the liquid. Pour tomatoes on top of the rice mixture. Do not stir in tomatoes.
- Place the lid on Instant Pot and set the cooking time by hitting manual/pressure cook and use the +/- buttons to adjust the cooking time to 3 minutes on high pressure.
- Once the cooking time has elapsed, let the pressure release naturally for at least 10 minute.
- While pressure is releasing, pat the shrimp dry with a paper towel and then toss with the remaining 1 teaspoon of cajun seasoning. Once pressure is released, open the lid and add the seasoned shrimp. Place the lid back on the inner pot and let sit for 5-10 minutes, or until the shrimp are fully cooked (the residual heat will cook the shrimp).
- After the shrimp is fully cooked, open the inner pot again, add the Worcestershire Sauce and hot sauce, and gently fluff everything together with a fork to combine, removing the bay leaf when you come across it.