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This Louisiana crockpot gumbo with chicken, sausage, shrimp, 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!

Overhead shot of two bowls of slow cooker gumbo with chicken sausage and shrimp

Crock Pot Chicken Gumbo

Gumbo 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 uses crab meat in her Virginia version, but I’ve used chicken, sausage, and shrimp here for a more affordable combination. You can adapt this recipe to incorporate your favorite proteins, such as crab meat, oysters, duck, or rabbit.

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.
Making a roux in a cast iron skillet

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 a roux, but you can certainly add some filé powder or okra, too!

  • 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. If you’d like to add this ingredient to your crock pot gumbo, I recommend stirring it in at the end (about the same time that you add the shrimp).
  • Roux: a simple combination of fat 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 on the stovetop until it has a golden brown color, which requires about 10 minutes of stirring. Be careful not to let it burn!
Adding andouille sausage to a slow cooker

Ingredients

This is a quick overview of the ingredients that you’ll need for a pot of slow cooker gumbo. As always, specific measurements and complete cooking instructions are included in the printable recipe box at the bottom of the post.

  • All-purpose flour and vegetable oil: make the roux.
  • Chicken: boneless, skinless chicken thighs stay juicy and flavorful in the slow cooker, but you can substitute with boneless skinless chicken breasts if you prefer.
  • Smoked sausage: I use andouille sausage, but kielbasa or another similar smoked sausage will work.
  • Diced tomatoes: use the tomatoes and their juices to flavor the stew.
  • Onion, green bell pepper, and celery: The Holy Trinity of vegetables that traditionally flavors gumbo.
  • Garlic, bay leaf, paprika, thyme, and oregano: for even more earthy, savory flavor.
  • Cajun or Creole seasoning: a zesty blend of spices like chili pepper, red pepper, and paprika, as well as garlic, sugar, onion, and other flavor enhancers.
  • Chicken broth or chicken stock: use a low sodium chicken broth if you’re sensitive to salt, since the Cajun seasoning and the sausage also include salt.
  • Shrimp: raw, peeled, and deveined. The shrimp cook right in the slow cooker!
  • Green onions and parsley: for a bright, flavorful addition at the end.
Bowl of peeled raw deveined shrimp

How to Make Crockpot Gumbo

Gumbo is a great option for the slow cooker, because the stew can simmer for hours and the flavors just get better as it sits on your counter.

  1. Make the roux in a skillet or small saucepan on the stovetop. Transfer the roux to a slow cooker insert.
  2. Add the chicken, and then top with the sausage, tomatoes, onion, bell pepper, celery, garlic, bay leaf, Creole seasoning, paprika, thyme, oregano, and broth.
  3. Cover and cook on LOW for 6-8 hours or on HIGH for 3-4 hours.
  4. Switch the slow cooker to the HIGH setting and stir in the shrimp. Cook for about 15 more minutes.
  5. Discard the bay leaf, chop or shred the chicken, and then stir in the green onions and parsley.
  6. Taste and season with salt and pepper, cayenne, or hot sauce.
  7. Serve with rice and garnish with additional chopped fresh parsley, if desired.
Side shot of crock pot gumbo with chicken sausage and shrimp

What to Serve with Crockpot Gumbo

Gumbo is traditionally served with warm, fluffy white rice. It’s also great with a side of cheese biscuitscornbread, corn sticks, or buttermilk biscuits!

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 fridge for 1-2 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Reheat the crockpot gumbo in a pot over low heat just until warmed through. You can also warm individual portions in the microwave for 1-2 minutes.

Bowl of easy gumbo recipe with rice

Recipe Variations

  • Use other proteins in equal weights — for instance, swap out the chicken for an extra 1 pound of shrimp.
  • Add sliced fresh or frozen okra. This helps thicken the broth and it also adds classic Southern flavor.
  • Use cayenne or hot sauce as a garnish at the end for a spicier gumbo.
  • Andouille sausage is the most traditional sausage for authentic Cajun flavor, but you can substitute with other smoked sausage varieties. Kielbasa is also a good choice.
Square side shot of two bowls of the best gumbo recipe

Tips for the Best Crockpot Gumbo Recipe

  • 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.
  • Chicken thighs stay the most moist and tender over the long cooking time in the Crock Pot. That said, you can substitute with an equal amount of boneless, skinless chicken breast if you prefer the white meat.
  • Serve the gumbo with your favorite cooked rice, or with cauliflower rice for a lighter option.
Overhead shot of hands eating a bowl of crockpot gumbo

More Cajun Recipes to Try

Square overhead image of a bowl of crockpot gumbo

Crockpot Gumbo with Chicken, Sausage, and Shrimp

5 from 2 votes
Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 4 hours
Total: 4 hours 30 minutes
Servings 6 – 8 people (about 7-8 cups)
Calories 218 kcal
A big pot of Healthy Slow Cooker Gumbo with chicken, sausage, and shrimp is a nourishing, cozy and satisfying way to end the day.

Ingredients
  

  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs (or substitute with chicken breast)
  • ½ lb. andouille, kielbasa, or other smoked sausage, sliced into rounds
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes, not drained
  • ½ of a large onion, diced
  • ½ of a green bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 celery rib, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 teaspoons Cajun or Creole seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon sweet paprika
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme (or 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 cups chicken broth or chicken stock
  • ½ lb. raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 green onions (white and green parts), chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, plus extra for garnish
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • Cayenne or hot sauce, to taste
  • Cooked white rice, for serving

Instructions

  • Make the roux by heating the flour and oil in a small saucepan or skillet over medium heat. Cook for 8-10 minutes, whisking constantly so that it doesn’t burn. The mixture should turn a light reddish-brown. If it starts to get dark too quickly, reduce the heat to medium-low.
  • Transfer the roux to the bottom of a slow cooker.
  • Add the chicken, and then top with the sausage, tomatoes, onion, bell pepper, celery, garlic, bay leaf, Creole seasoning, paprika, thyme, oregano, and chicken broth.
  • Cover and cook on LOW for 6-8 hours, on HIGH for 3-4 hours, or until the chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are tender.
  • Turn the slow cooker to the HIGH setting (if it’s not already there), and stir in the shrimp. Cover and cook on HIGH for 15-20 more minutes (stirring twice), or until shrimp are pink.
  • Discard the bay leaf. Remove the chicken from the pot. Chop or shred the meat, and then return the chicken to the pot. Stir in the green onions and parsley.
  • Taste and season with salt and pepper, cayenne, or hot sauce. Serve over rice and garnish with additional chopped fresh parsley, if desired.

Notes

  • 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.
  • Chicken thighs stay the most moist and tender over the long cooking time in the Crock Pot. That said, you can substitute with an equal amount of boneless, skinless chicken breast if you prefer the white meat.
  • Serve the gumbo with your favorite cooked rice, or with cauliflower rice for a lighter option.
  • Use other proteins in equal weights — for instance, swap out the chicken for an extra 1 pound of shrimp.
  • Add sliced fresh or frozen okra. This helps thicken the broth and it also adds classic Southern flavor.
  • Use cayenne or hot sauce as a garnish at the end for a spicier gumbo.
  • Andouille sausage is the most traditional sausage for authentic Cajun flavor, but you can substitute with other smoked sausage varieties. Kielbasa is also a good choice.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup (not including rice)Calories: 218kcalCarbohydrates: 7gProtein: 23gFat: 10gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 99mgSodium: 751mgPotassium: 446mgFiber: 1gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 447IUVitamin C: 18mgCalcium: 56mgIron: 2mg
Keyword: chicken and sausage gumbo, crockpot gumbo, easy gumbo recipe, gumbo recipe, gumbo with shrimp and sausage, slow cooker gumbo
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Southern
Author: Blair Lonergan

This post was originally published in January, 2014. It was updated in March, 2022.

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!

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Best gumbo we’ve had. Super simple, taste better than a restaurant. I added about a teaspoon of cayenne at the end. Will definitely make again!