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Zatarain’s Jambalaya Recipe

The deliciousness of spicy crawfish and rice, combined with smoky flavor from ham hock, will have you craving more.

What Is The Name Of The Company That Makes Zatarain’s Jambalaya?

Zatarain’s is a Louisiana-based food company known for its line of seasonings and sauces including Dijon Mustard, Cajun Seasoning, Creole Seasoning, and others.

While there are many variations on the classic New Orleans style of jambalaya, we’ll focus on this version as it is one of the most well-known recipes in America.

In addition to being tasty, easy to make, and quick, what else sets our favorite jambalaya apart from other versions?

The ingredients used in this recipe include smoked sausage (ham hocks), chicken stock, bell peppers, green onions, fresh tomatoes, garlic, celery, fresh parsley, and red pepper flakes.

This may seem like an overwhelming list of ingredients but they all contribute something special to the overall taste profile and texture of the finished product.

We’re going to break down each item individually so you can see which ones stand out amongst the rest, and then give you some tips about how to use them effectively when making your own batch of homemade jambalaya.

Smoked Sausage

For starters, if you don’t already have some kind of smoked sausage in your pantry, now would be a good time to start stocking up on links.

These sausages come packed full of meaty goodness, and they add incredible depth to this traditional dish.

They also hold up really well, making them great candidates for leftovers or reheating during busy days.

You can buy smoked sausage at pretty much every grocery store chain across America these days, and you should definitely try to find local brands whenever possible.

You can even go hunting for them yourself by checking out online forums dedicated to smoking meats.

Some will let you know where to look for the best deals.

Ham Hock

Another ingredient worth mentioning here is ham hock.

Ham hocks are pieces of cured pork leg found near the shank end of the pig.

While not as common as regular bacon, ham hocks do still turn up occasionally.

Like their cousin, bacon, ham hocks contain collagen, which helps keep the meat tender after cooking.

They’re also very low in fat content compared to regular pork chops, giving you less chance of feeling guilty while eating them.

If you live outside of the United States, you might want to check out your country’s equivalent of ham hock.

In Canada, it’s called “bacon” and comes vacuum sealed in plastic bags.

Chicken Stock

Next up is chicken stock. Chicken stock adds a lot of body and flavor to your dishes.

It’s made by boiling bones and cartilage until they’ve broken down into gelatinous bits.

After straining out the solid material, you can either drink the broth straight away or freeze it for later use.

When using frozen stock, thaw just enough to cover whatever foods you plan to cook before adding it back to the pot.

Some people prefer to skip the step of straining out the solids completely, though.

If you opt to leave the cartilage behind, you can save money by buying canned chicken stock instead.

Just make sure to drain off excess liquid first.

Bell Peppers

Finally, we arrive at two of the main components of this dish – bell peppers and onion.

Bell peppers add a sweet yet mildly tangy flavor to this otherwise hearty stew.

Onion contributes a bit more spice than sweetness, while both provide moisture and help bind everything together.

When shopping for bell peppers, always choose those with vibrant colors.

Red, orange, yellow, purple… pick whichever shade you’d like!

And when choosing onions, select smaller varieties over larger specimens because they tend to pack more punch per piece.


One of the key ingredients in this mix is garlic.

Garlic has been around since ancient times, and was originally cultivated primarily for medicinal purposes.

Today, however, it’s grown mainly for culinary uses.

Most people recognize garlic as the bulb-shaped plant that grows underground, but it also comes in the form of cloves, which are harvested once the bulbs reach maturity.

You can either chop or smash your garlic cloves directly into the pan to infuse the sauce with a nice amount of flavor, or you can remove individual cloves and set them aside for future use.

Either way works just fine.

Once you get started cooking, you can add multiple small clumps of garlic at a time to ensure the entire mixture doesn’t burn.

Fresh Tomato Paste

Now we come to the final component of this meal.

Fresh tomato paste brings a lot of color and complexity to this dish, acting as a natural preservative against mold growth and bacterial spoilage.

To make your own, place whole peeled tomatoes into a blender along with a little salt, olive oil, and black pepper.

Blend until smooth, then strain through cheesecloth or clean flour sifter.

Refrigerate until needed.

Once you’ve got your ingredients assembled, it’s time to put on the stove.

First, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.

Then grab your dry brown paper bag and fill it halfway with water.

Place the bag inside the hot pan and wait for it to boil.

Cook the mixture for five minutes, stirring often, until the bottom layer turns light golden brown.

Remove the bag from the pan and carefully flip it upside down onto a flat surface.

Fill it with another half cup of water and repeat steps 1-4 above.

Repeat this process three additional times, alternating between the wet and dry portions of the bag each time.

After the fourth cycle, discard the last two cups of water and wipe the sides of the pan thoroughly.

Return the contents of the bag to the pan and stir constantly until the mixture thickens slightly.

Add the prepared ham hock, chicken stock, bell peppers, onion, garlic, and herbs.

Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer, covered, and reduce the heat to maintain a slow simmer throughout the remainder of the cooking period.

Simmer the mixture uncovered for 40 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent sticking.

Turn the heat down to low and continue to simmer slowly for 20 minutes longer.

Finally, stir in the prepared chicken stock powder.

Serve immediately, garnished with freshly chopped parsley, if desired.

What Is The Origin Of The Dish?

Zatarains Louisiana Kitchen Company was founded by Louis Zatarain in 1922.

He began selling his famous spice blend at farmers markets, fairs, and community gatherings around New Orleans.

Louis Zatarain worked for the Southern Foodways Alliance and wrote an article about his family’s cooking traditions.

The story inspired a documentary called “Crawfish: A Celebration of America’s Favorite Seafood Dish.”

Today, the company has grown into one of the largest producers of seasonings and sauces in the United States.

Where did it get its name?

In 1879, Louis Zatarain opened up the Zatarain & Son Coffee House on Bourbon Street.

It became known as the best place for coffee in town.

After he retired from running the restaurant, he continued making his signature seasoning blend in his home kitchen until his death in 1944.

How Many Calories Are In A Serving?

You can get the answer to this question by looking at the nutrition facts label on your favorite brand’s product.

If there isn’t one listed on the back of the box or package, it probably doesn’t contain nutritional information.

However, if you see the word “serving” next to the amount of food per container, then you know exactly how much you should eat before you reach fullness.

  • A single cup (8 ounces) has about 90 calories
  • 3/4 cup (6.25 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup (12 ounces)
  • 1 cup (16 ounces)
  • 1 1/2 cups (20 ounces)
  • 2 cups (32 ounces)

Zatarain’s also makes JAMBALAYA® which contains no added salt!

This recipe includes chicken broth for extra flavor, but you can use water instead if necessary.

What Are The Main Ingredients In The Dish?

Jambalaya consists of spicy tomato-based sauce, chicken or seafood, and usually some type of vegetable.

The vegetables may be cut into small pieces for easy preparation, but can also include larger chunks like carrots, celery, peppers, onions, and corn on the cob.

For this particular recipe, we decided to go with shrimp as our main ingredient since it’s what I had available at home (if you don’t want to use seafood, feel free to substitute your favorite protein).

We added red bell pepper, green onion, garlic, and diced tomatoes to create an extra kick.

What Is The Recommended Cooking Time?

Zatarain’s Jambalaya Recipe calls for slow-cooking your favorite seafood stew for 3 hours on low heat or 6 hours at a simmer on the stovetop.

Once it has been cooked through (which takes about 30 minutes), it can be served immediately or cooled down further before being refrigerated overnight.

How to cook Zatarain’s Jambalaya

  • Add all remaining ingredients except shrimp into a large pot over medium heat.
  • Bring mixture up to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer and cook until vegetables are tender, about 25 minutes.
  • Remove lid and add shrimp to saucepan along with 1/4 cup water. Cook shrimp just 5 minutes or until pink and opaque throughout. Remove shrimp and set aside.
  • Once the liquid has reduced by half, stir in butter and season with salt and pepper. Add green onion and parsley.
  • Serve as is or cool completely and store in fridge overnight. Serve chilled or reheat slightly before serving.

Why do I need to wait so long to make this dish?

Because if you start heating the broth right away, it will break down the proteins in the meat which makes them tough.

By letting the flavors develop, they will become more concentrated and rich.

If you want to serve this dish warm, simply bring back to a boil and let it simmer for another few minutes.

If you don’t want to use raw meats like pork shoulder in this dish, you can substitute chicken thighs instead.

What Is The Ideal Number Of Servings For This Dish?

Zatarain’s Jambalaya Recipe has a very high rating on, as well as being featured in USA Today, and even making it onto Oprah’s Favorite Things list! This isn’t surprising considering the amount of meat (and other ingredients) used in each serving.

One serving typically contains a generous 1/4 cup of cooked rice, 2 oz of chopped green bell pepper, 3 oz of diced onion, 1/3 cup of diced red or white potatoes, a quarter cup of frozen peas, 2 oz of cubed ham, 4 oz of canned chicken broth, and 1 teaspoon of Old Bay seasoning.

The only real downside to this dish is how much sodium it contains, but if you’re careful about portion control, you shouldn’t have too many issues.

When preparing Zatarain’s Jambalaya Recipe at home, make sure to use fresh herbs instead of dried ones, as they tend to be less salty than their dried counterparts.

If you prefer your dishes to be gluten-free, check out our article detailing tips for making gluten free food!

What Are Some Common Substitutions For The Ingredients?

You can substitute chicken or shrimp in place of the crawfish if you prefer.

You can also use a combination of seafood like crabmeat and clams instead of just one type of shellfish.

If you want to make your own spice blend, use whatever spices you want! The only thing we cannot recommend using as an alternative ingredient is bacon.

It does not add enough saltiness to the mix.

Can I use frozen vegetables instead of fresh ones?

Yes, absolutely! Just be sure to thaw them first so they don’t overcook while waiting for everything else to cook through.

This way, it won’t take too long for your veggies to cook thoroughly, but still retain their crunchy texture.

What Are Some Tips For Making The Perfect Jambalaya?

To start off, it’s important to know what makes a good jambalaya.

The dish is traditionally made in Louisiana and uses Creole spices like cayenne pepper and allspice along with smoked sausage.

It also includes shrimp or chicken as well as seafood such as crab legs, oysters, and other shellfish.

While there aren’t many strict rules on how to prepare this dish, here are some general guidelines to follow while preparing your own jambalaya.

  • You can use frozen or fresh vegetables instead of canned ones.
  • If you want to add meat, try using ground beef, pork shoulder, or even bison (if you have access to it).
  • Use whatever type of sausage you prefer, but avoid those which contain nitrates.
  • For seafood, choose fish, scallops, or raw shrimp.
  • Canned beans should be drained before adding them to the pot.
  • Aromatic herbs like thyme, basil, oregano, rosemary, parsley, bay leaves, etc., can be added at the end of cooking.
  • Make sure to stir regularly during the entire process.

How do I store my jambalaya once it’s done?

Once cooked, allow your jambalaya to cool down slightly so that it doesn’t continue cooking after being removed from the heat source.

After cooling, cover your pan and place it in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

You may reheat leftover jambalaya by placing it back into the same pan over low heat, stirring frequently.

If you don’t mind eating cold food, you can transfer the contents of the bowl directly onto plates.

Otherwise, pour the contents into another container and refrigerate until needed.

What Are Some Common Mistakes People Make When Making Jambalaya?

Jambalaya has its own set of rules.

The dish must contain a combination of meat and seafood, along with tomatoes or tomato products.

It’s not uncommon to find chicken in addition to shrimp, but if it isn’t included, there should be plenty of vegetables like corn or green beans.

And while we love our Creole spices, they aren’t essential to the dish.

If you wish to add them, go ahead, just don’t forget about all those veggies!

There are very few ingredients that shouldn’t appear in this classic Louisiana stew.

However, if you do use an ingredient that doesn’t belong on your plate, you may end up ruining the entire batch.

Here are three types of foods you need to stay away from when cooking jambalaya:

  • Canned beans – Canned beans tend to get mushy after being cooked, so they don’t work well as part of your jambalaya. You can either substitute fresh black-eyed peas (or even lima beans) instead, or cook dried beans separately before adding them to the pot.
  • Diced deli meats – When cutting up any piece of meat, you want to avoid cuts that are too thin. Deli meats are usually precut into small pieces, which means they won’t fit in the pan without getting overcooked. Instead, cut thicker slices of meat, then dice it further once it’s added to the mix.
  • Sauces – Sauces often thicken during the cooking process, which makes them difficult to stir through the mixture later. They also contain sugar, which will cause the sauce to turn brown quickly if left unattended. Stir sauces right before serving.

Don’t skip out on the onions

  • Onions – Onions are key to making authentic jambalaya taste good. While chopped onion adds both texture and flavor, whole ones give the food body and help create a thick gravy.

Here’s how to prepare a great JAMBALAYA:

1 cup uncooked rice

1 pound boneless country sausage, sliced 1/4 inch thick

2 cups water

1 large yellow bell pepper, diced 2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

¼teaspoon freshly ground white pepper

¼teaspoon paprika

1 bay leaf

16 ounces frozen okra or cut green beans

2 pounds medium raw shrimp, peeled and deveined

In a medium stockpot over high heat, bring the rice, broth, water, peppers, and sausages to a boil.

Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer gently until tender, about 20 minutes.

Add the remaining ingredients except the okra and green beans, return to a boil, reduce the heat again, and simmer until the okra turns bright orange and the shrimp turn pink, 10 to 15 minutes longer.

Meanwhile, combine the okra and green beans in a bowl.

Add enough boiling water to barely cover (about ½ cup).

Cover the bowl tightly and let stand 5 minutes.

Drain thoroughly, transfer the okra and green beans to a platter, and sprinkle each portion with salt to taste.

Serve at once, garnished with parsley leaves.

Zatarain’s Zest Recipe: What Is Zatarain’s Zest?

What Are Some Other Dishes That Can Be Served With Jamb

Jambalaya is a Louisiana-style dish that originated in New Orleans but has since spread throughout the country.

It’s a hearty meal full of aromatic spices, which makes it perfect for serving at parties or as an easy weeknight dinner option.

You can serve this meal alongside a variety of sides like creamed corn, potatoes, green beans, macaroni salad and coleslaw.

If you want something a little different, try adding your favorite pizza toppings!

This tasty jambalaya features ingredients that are typically found on Southern tables, including chicken thighs and sausage.

You can substitute shrimp if you prefer, though they aren’t necessary.

If you don’t already own all of these ingredients, you might not find them in your local grocery store.

The good news is that they are relatively inexpensive compared to other staple items, so you shouldn’t have much trouble finding them.

In addition to being versatile, zatarain’s jambalaya recipe is also very simple to prepare.

This means that anyone can enjoy it without having to spend hours preparing food or worrying about overcooking their main dish.

To get started, first place the chicken thighs into a large pot filled with water and bring it to a boil over high heat.

Once it boils, reduce the temperature to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the meat reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit (75 C).

Remove the chicken from the pot using tongs and set aside while you cook the rest of the ingredients.

Add the bell peppers, onion, garlic, celery, ham hocks, bay leaves and black pepper to the same pot and sauté everything together until vegetables start to caramelize.

Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, paprika, thyme, cayenne, salt and hot sauce to the pot and stir well to combine.

Bring everything back up to a boil, then add the chicken thighs and return the mixture to a rolling boil.

Reduce the heat to low, partially cover the pot, and let the stew simmer for 2 1/2 hours.

After two hours, remove the lid completely and continue cooking the stew for another 30 minutes.

When the time is up, check the internal temperature of the meat — it should reach 165 F (74 C) before removing it from the pot.

Once the chicken thighs are cooked through, remove them from the pot using tongs and set them aside.

Skim off most of the fat from the surface of the stew using a spoon.

Stir in the parsley and adjust seasoning to taste.

Serve immediately with crusty bread or biscuits.

Zatarain’s Jambalaya Recipe

Zatarain’s is a Louisiana-based food company known for its line of seasonings and sauces including Dijon Mustard, Cajun Seasoning, Creole Seasoning, and others.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Zatarain’s Jambalaya Recipe
Servings: 5
Calories: 273kcal


  • Saucepan


  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1 package Zatarain’s Jambalaya Rice Mix
  • 1 pound smoked sausage thinly sliced


  • Rice Mix, water, and your choice of meat should all be thoroughly combined in a big saucepan. heating to a boil Once most of the water has been absorbed and the rice is soft, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 25 minutes.
  • Remove from heat. Let stand 5 minutes. Fluff with fork before serving.



Calories: 273kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 64mg | Sodium: 775mg | Potassium: 171mg | Calcium: 10mg | Iron: 1mg
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