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This Louisiana Chicken and Sausage Gumbo with okra, a roux, and The Holy Trinity of onions, celery and bell peppers is a classic Cajun stew! Top each bowl with a scoop of rice for a hearty, flavorful and satisfying dinner. You don’t need to go to New Orleans to enjoy an easy gumbo recipe!

Close up side shot of chicken and sausage gumbo in a large serving bowl

Louisiana Chicken and Sausage Gumbo

Gumbo is a staple in creole cuisine, and is a beautiful dish that represents the cuisines and ingredients of several cultures coming together — including West African, French, German, and Choctaw. This flavorful, zesty stew combines various meats or seafood in a thick sauce or gravy. Gumbo is typically seasoned with parsley and “the holy trinity” of vegetables: onion, bell pepper and celery, as well as garlic and tomatoes (on occasion).

The stew originated in Louisiana, but also dates back to colonial Virginia, where Chesapeake oysters or crab were used alongside sausage and other meats. My mom always used crab meat in her Virginia version, but I’ve used chicken and sausage here for a more affordable combination. You can adapt this recipe to incorporate your favorite proteins, such as shrimp, crab meat, oysters, duck or rabbit.

What’s the difference between gumbo and jambalaya?

While gumbo and jambalaya both originated in Louisiana and have similar flavor profiles, there are a couple of significant differences between these two dishes:

  • Gumbo is a hearty soup or stew inspired by the French bouillabaisse and named after the West African word for okra “guingombo.” It’s served with a small amount of rice that’s cooked in a separate pan.
  • Jambalaya is a thicker rice-based meal, in which the rice is cooked in the same pot as the meat and vegetables.

How to Thicken Gumbo

Gumbo broth or gravy gets its hallmark thick, rich texture from one (or more) of three primary thickeners: okra, filé powder and roux. In this recipe, we’re using all three!

  • Okra: the seed pods of the okra plant produce “mucilage” when heated, which has a gooey consistency and includes soluble fiber that helps to naturally thicken the stew. It’s a classic gumbo ingredient!
  • Filé powder: another traditional gumbo ingredient, this powder is made from the ground, dried leaves of the sassafras tree. It has a woodsy flavor reminiscent of root beer or tea, and is used as both a thickener and as a flavor enhancer in this dish.
  • Roux: a simple combination of fat (like vegetable oil, canola oil, or butter) and flour that helps to thicken the gumbo and also adds a rich flavor to the dish. In this case, we’re cooking the roux until it has a golden color, which requires about 10 minutes of stirring. Be careful not to let it burn!
Side shot of a bowl of chicken and sausage gumbo with rice in front of a blue Dutch oven

Ingredients

Here’s a quick overview of the ingredients that you’ll need to make a big pot of this delicious Cajun stew. As always, the specific measurements and complete cooking instructions are included in the printable recipe box at the bottom of the post.

  • Salted butter: used in conjunction with flour to make the roux.
  • All-purpose flour: to make the roux and thicken the broth.
  • Onions, green bell pepper and celery: The Holy Trinity of vegetables that traditionally flavors gumbo.
  • Garlic: for more savory flavor.
  • Sausage: andouille sausage is most traditional, but you can also use kielbasa (my kids’ favorite) or another variety of smoked sausage.
  • Chicken broth: the liquid base of the gumbo. Store-bought or homemade broth will both work well.
  • Petite diced tomatoes: make sure that you get a big 28-ounce can, not the smaller can. You’ll use the tomatoes’ juice in your gumbo’s gravy, too — no need to drain them!
  • Thyme, oregano, bay leaf, paprika and cayenne: all add great flavor to the stew. Use more cayenne for a spicier gumbo!
  • Chicken: you’ll need cooked, shredded chicken for this recipe. I often use a store-bought rotisserie chicken for a shortcut, but you can also boil your own chicken at home. You’ll need about 1 ½ lbs. of raw, boneless, skinless chicken breasts or chicken thighs to yield about 3 cups of cooked, shredded meat.
  • Okra: use fresh if you can find it, or sub with frozen when necessary.
  • Green onions and fresh parsley: add more bright, fresh flavor to the stew towards the end of cooking.
  • Filé powder: dried, ground sassafras leaves. Find this on the spice aisle of most grocery stores, or order it online. It’s an important thickener and flavor enhancer.
  • Cooked rice: for serving.
Bottle of file powder

How to Make Chicken and Sausage Gumbo from Scratch

This relatively quick and easy gumbo recipe is made with a golden roux, which only takes about 10 minutes to cook (rather than a traditional chocolate color roux, which can easily take an hour or more). Let’s get started!

Overhead process shot showing how to make chicken and sausage gumbo from scratch
  1. Make the roux over medium heat.
  2. Add the vegetables and cook over medium heat or medium high heat until softened.
  3. Stir in the garlic and sausage; cook for 1 more minute.
  4. Whisk in the chicken broth and diced tomatoes, then bring the mixture to a boil.
  5. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the seasoning.
  6. Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  7. Add the shredded chicken and okra to the pot. Simmer for 10 more minutes.
  8. Remove from the heat and stir in the green onions, parsley and filé powder. Season with salt and more cayenne, if necessary.
  9. Ladle into bowls and serve with the warm, cooked rice.
Close overhead shot of a wooden spoon stirring a pot of the best chicken and sausage gumbo recipe ever

What goes with Gumbo?

Chicken and sausage gumbo is traditionally served with warm, fluffy white rice. It’s also great with a side of cheese biscuits, cornbread or corn muffins!

An easy gumbo recipe served in a bowl with white rice and parsley garnish on top

Storage

Gumbo is a great make-ahead meal, so it’s convenient for busy weeknights, suitable for entertaining, or even a nice option to reheat for lunches. Allow cooked gumbo to cool to room temperature. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Reheat the chicken and sausage gumbo in a pot over low heat just until warmed through. You can also warm individual portions in the microwave for 1-2 minutes.

Recipe Variations

  • Use other proteins in equal weights — for instance, swap out the chicken for about 1 ½ pounds of shrimp or oysters and make it a seafood gumbo.
  • If you can’t find fresh okra, sliced frozen okra is a good substitute.
  • Add more cayenne (or serve the bowls with a side of hot sauce) to kick up the heat!
  • Andouille sausage is the most traditional sausage for authentic Cajun flavor, but you can substitute with other smoked sausage varieties. I used kielbasa here, because my kids prefer the mild taste.
  • Stir in a dash of Worcestershire sauce for great umami flavor.
Overhead image of chicken and sausage gumbo with okra and a side of biscuits

Tips for the Best Chicken and Sausage Gumbo Recipe

  • Okra and filé powder are both traditionally used as thickeners along with the roux in gumbo. You can omit one of these ingredients, but I do not recommend omitting both (or the texture and flavor of your gumbo will not be right).
  • Keep a close eye on the roux, stirring almost constantly while it cooks. Roux can burn quickly, and if that happens you’ll have to start over.
  • Use the meat from a rotisserie chicken for a shortcut. Leftover chicken or turkey from a previous meal is also a great way to eliminate prep work. If you prefer to cook your own chicken at home, you can boil about 1 ½ lbs. of raw, boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs for 15-18 minutes, or until cooked through. Shred the meat and use in the recipe as instructed.
Close up shot of Louisiana chicken and sausage gumbo in a white bowl

More Cajun Recipes to Try

Close up side shot of chicken and sausage gumbo in a large serving bowl

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo

5 from 2 votes
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 1 hour 5 minutes
Total: 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings 6 people
Calories 605 kcal
This Cajun Chicken and Sausage Gumbo with okra, a roux, and The Holy Trinity of onions, celery and bell peppers is a classic Louisiana stew!

Ingredients
  

  • ¼ cup salted butter
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup finely diced onion
  • ½ cup finely diced green bell pepper
  • ½ cup finely diced celery
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 12 ounces andouille, kielbasa, or other smoked sausage, cut into ¼-inch-thick pieces
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 (28 ounce) can petite diced tomatoes, not drained
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (or more, to taste)
  • 3 cups cooked, shredded chicken (such as from a rotisserie chicken)
  • 1 cup cut okra
  • 2 green onions (white and green parts), chopped
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 teaspoons filé powder
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 4 cups cooked long-grain white rice

Instructions

  • Melt butter in a large Dutch oven over medium-low heat. Sprinkle flour over top; cook, stirring constantly, until dark caramel colored, about 10 minutes. Be careful not to let the roux burn.
  • Add onion, bell pepper, and celery, increase the heat to medium or medium-high, and stir until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and sausage; cook for 1 more minute.
  • Whisk in the chicken broth. Increase the heat to high and whisk until smooth.
  • Add the diced tomatoes (with their juices), whisk, and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to low and stir in the thyme, oregano, bay leaf, paprika, and cayenne pepper. Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the shredded chicken and okra to the pot. Return to a simmer and cook for 10 more minutes. Remove bay leaf.
  • Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the green onions, parsley, and filé powder. Taste and season with salt and more cayenne, if necessary. Serve with warm rice.

Notes

  • Use other proteins in equal weights — for instance, swap out the chicken for about 1 ½ pounds of shrimp or oysters.
  • If you can’t find fresh okra, sliced frozen okra is a good substitute.
  • Add more cayenne (or serve the bowls with a side of hot sauce) to kick up the heat!
  • Andouille sausage is the most traditional sausage for authentic Cajun flavor, but you can substitute with other smoked sausage varieties. I used kielbasa here, because my kids prefer the mild taste.
  • Okra and filé powder are both traditionally used as thickeners along with the roux in gumbo. You can omit one of these ingredients, but I do not recommend omitting both (or the texture and flavor of your gumbo will not be quite right).
  • Keep a close eye on the roux, stirring almost constantly while it cooks. Roux can burn quickly, and if that happens you’ll have to start over.
  • Use the meat from a rotisserie chicken for a shortcut. Leftover chicken or turkey from a previous meal is also a great way to eliminate prep work. If you prefer to cook your own chicken at home, you can boil about 1 ½ lbs. of raw boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs for 15-18 minutes, or until cooked through. Shred the meat and use in the recipe as instructed.

Nutrition

Serving: 1/6 of the gumbo with riceCalories: 605kcalCarbohydrates: 48gProtein: 29gFat: 34gSaturated Fat: 13gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 110mgSodium: 1374mgPotassium: 971mgFiber: 5gSugar: 7gVitamin A: 1378IUVitamin C: 43mgCalcium: 114mgIron: 5mg
Keyword: chicken and sausage gumbo, easy gumbo recipe
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American, creole, Southern
Author: Blair Lonergan
blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

Read More

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I made this gumbo for my sister and her husband who love my cooking. She shared some with her neighbor as well, and I’ve been asked to make this again. I did add more heat to it but it went over so well, I will be making this one more often for sure! Thank you for sharing!

    1. That’s so great to hear, Priscilla! Thanks for your kind note and for taking the time to let me know. 🙂

  2. 5 stars
    We had just gotten back from Galveston Texas where we tried our first Gumbo==it was fantastic and we wanted to try and make it
    We found your recipe for Chicken and Sausage Gumbo and tweeked it a little–not quite as spicy–but have made it the sane way since and LOVE IT
    Will continue to follow you for more recipes