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Spicy smoked sausage and rice simmer together in a tomato-based sauce with the “Holy Trinity” of bell peppers, celery, and onion. It’s a simple and flavorful one-skillet dinner that everyone at the table can agree on!

Gold serving utensils in a skillet of smoked sausage and rice.
Table of Contents
  1. Smoked Sausage Jambalaya
  2. Ingredients for a Smoked Sausage and White Rice Skillet
  3. How to Cook Smoked Sausage and Rice
  4. Serving Suggestions
  5. Storage Tips
  6. Recipe Variations
  7. Tips for the Best Smoked Sausage and Rice Recipe
  8. One Pan Smoked Sausage and Rice Recipe

Charleston red rice is a lowcountry classic that pairs nicely with just about any Southern-inspired meal. I’ve taken those same basic ingredients, added zesty smoked sausage, and turned it into a main course entrée! What you’ve got here is essentially a sausage jambalaya, and it couldn’t be easier to throw together in a single pot.

Browning smoked sausage in a cast iron skillet.

Smoked Sausage Jambalaya

Jambalaya is an American Creole and Cajun rice dish with French, African, and Spanish influence, which consists of meat, vegetables, and rice that are all cooked together in one pan. This particular recipe more closely resembles a red jambalaya, thanks to the addition of tomato paste.

This easy rice dish is a combination of long-grain rice that cooks in a tomato-based liquid (in this case, water and tomato paste) along with aromatics like onion, garlic, green bell pepper, and celery, as well as the smoky meat. Some jambalaya recipes include chicken or seafood (like shrimp and crawfish), but here we’re just using smoked sausage. The ingredients are affordable, the process is simple, and the results are incredibly delicious!

Adding the holy trinity of vegetables to a cast iron skillet.

Ingredients for a Smoked Sausage and White Rice Skillet

This is a quick overview of the ingredients that you’ll need to make this delicious one pot dinner recipe. As always, specific measurements and complete cooking instructions are included in the printable recipe box at the bottom of the post.

  • Vegetable oil: to brown the sausage. Olive oil or another oil of choice will also work.
  • Smoked sausage: lends a smoky, meaty flavor to the dish. I prefer hot smoked sausage or andouille sausage, but you can use kielbasa, mild smoked sausage, or turkey smoked sausage as well.
  • Butter: to sauté the vegetables and to flavor the rice.
  • Onion, celery, bell pepper, and garlic: aromatics that add more flavor to the rice.
  • Tomato paste: provides rich, concentrated tomato flavor.
  • Kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper: to enhance the flavors in the dish.
  • Sugar: adds a touch of sweetness, and also helps to balance the acidity from the tomato paste, giving the rice a more complex flavor.
  • Water: the liquid that cooks the rice.
  • Long-grain white rice: this recipe is specifically formulated for long-grain rice, so do not substitute with other varieties like instant rice, wild rice, or brown rice.
Pouring water into a cast iron skillet.

How to Cook Smoked Sausage and Rice

You’ll love the ease of this one skillet smoked sausage and rice tomato recipe! I’ve included the detailed directions in the recipe card below, but here’s the quick version:

  • Brown the sausage.
  • Sauté the veggies in the sausage drippings and butter.
  • Stir in tomato paste, seasoning, water, rice, and sausage. Simmer.
  • Cover and transfer to the oven until the rice is tender.
  • Fluff the cooked rice with a fork and garnish with chopped fresh herbs.
Overhead shot of a pan of smoked sausage jambalaya.

Serving Suggestions

Here are a handful of delicious sides that go well with smoked sausage and rice:

Square overhead shot of one pan smoked sausage and rice in a bowl with parsley garnish.

Storage Tips

Leftovers will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. You can freeze this smoked sausage recipe for a later meal, too — just know that the texture of the rice may be mushy. Allow the dish to cool completely, store in airtight containers, and freeze for up to 3 months.

How to Reheat

Thaw frozen smoked sausage and rice in the refrigerator overnight. When ready to serve, transfer the mixture to a pot on the stovetop. Warm over low heat, covered, until it reaches the desired temperature, stirring frequently. The mixture thickens significantly as it sits, so you will need to stir in additional broth or water to thin the rice as it warms. You can also reheat individual portions in the microwave for 1-2 minutes.

Recipe Variations

  • Add cooked chicken or shrimp to the skillet along with the sausage.
  • Include additional vegetables like okra, carrots, broccoli, corn, or peas. You can also swap out the green bell peppers for red bell peppers.
  • Use broth. For added flavor, cook the rice in chicken broth or vegetable broth instead of water. Depending on how salty your broth is, you may need to decrease the amount of added salt in the recipe.
  • I like the zesty kick that you get with the hot smoked sausage (since the rice dish is mild on its own), but you can sub with mild smoked sausage, smoked turkey sausage, polish kielbasa, chorizo, or andouille sausage.
  • Add extra spice with cayenne pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, Cajun seasoning, or Creole seasoning. You can also serve hot sauce on the side to garnish individual portions. Smoked paprika is a nice touch as well.
  • Prepare a larger batch by doubling all of the ingredients and preparing the recipe in a Dutch oven.
  • Sprinkle cheddar cheese on top at the end for a cheesy sausage and rice casserole
Square overhead shot of smoked sausage and rice in a cast iron skillet.

Tips for the Best Smoked Sausage and Rice Recipe

  • Use a cast iron skillet or Dutch oven, which conducts the heat evenly and helps to prevent scorching on the bottom of the pan. If you don’t have an oven-safe large skillet, you can transfer the mixture to a greased 2-3 -quart baking dish before it goes into the oven.
  • Do not substitute with other varieties of rice (such as instant rice or brown rice), since different varieties will require different amounts of liquid and different cooking times.
  • The cooking time will vary depending on your individual oven and on the type of skillet or pan that you use. You’ll know it’s done when the rice is tender. Do not overcook the rice or it will become mushy.
  • Keep a close eye on the rice. If the rice absorbs all of the liquid before it’s tender, add a little bit more water to the pan, fluff with a fork, cover, and return to the oven for an extra 5-10 minutes.
  • Simmer before baking. I learned this tip from Southern Living, and it works really well! By simmering the rice, vegetables, and cooking liquids in a skillet on the stovetop (to reduce the liquid) before finishing it in the oven, you’ll get separate yet tender and fluffy grains. Sometimes baked rice can have a mushy, gummy texture — but not here!
  • Cover the rice tightly in the oven. Otherwise, steam will escape during the cooking process and the rice will not cook properly.
  • Stir regularly. Even when the rice is in the oven, use a fork to fluff and stir the dish every 15 minutes or so. This will keep the grains fluffy and separate and will help the rice cook evenly.
  • Garnish each serving with fresh herbs (such as parsley, thyme, or rosemary) or a squeeze of fresh lemon juice to brighten up the dish.
Overhead shot of a bowl of smoked sausage and rice.

More Easy Smoked Sausage and Rice Recipes to Try

Square overhead shot of smoked sausage and rice in a cast iron skillet.

One Pan Smoked Sausage and Rice

Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 50 minutes
Total: 1 hour
Servings 4 people
Calories 331 kcal
A simple, flavorful, and affordable dinner that comes together in just one skillet!

Ingredients
  

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 (12-14 ounce) link hot smoked sausage, andouille sausage, kielbasa, or other smoked sausage of choice, sliced into rounds
  • ¼ cup (½ of a stick) salted butter
  • 1 small onion, finely diced (about 1 cup)
  • ½ cup diced celery
  • ½ of a green bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoons sugar
  • Freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup uncooked long-grain white rice
  • Garnish: chopped fresh parsley

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • In a 12-inch cast iron skillet (or other oven-proof skillet), heat oil over medium-high heat. Add the sausage rounds and cook until browned, about 5 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the sausage to a plate, leaving the drippings in the pan.
    Browning smoked sausage in a cast iron skillet.
  • Melt butter in the same skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, celery, and bell pepper and cook, stirring, until the vegetables soften, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the tomato paste, kosher salt, sugar, and pepper. Cook for 1 more minute.
    Adding the holy trinity of vegetables to a cast iron skillet.
  • Add the sausage back to the skillet, along with the water and rice. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low. Cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has reduced slightly, about 7-9 minutes. Use a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the skillet as you stir.
    Pouring water into a cast iron skillet.
  • If you’re not using an oven-proof skillet, transfer the mixture to a greased 2-3-quart baking dish. Cover the skillet (or baking dish) and bake until the rice is tender, about 30-40 minutes, stirring after the first 15 minutes. Fluff the rice, garnish with fresh parsley, and serve.
    Gold serving utensils in a skillet of smoked sausage and rice.

Notes

  • Use a cast iron skillet or Dutch oven, which conducts the heat evenly and helps to prevent scorching on the bottom of the pan. If you don’t have an oven-safe large skillet, you can transfer the mixture to a greased 2-3 -quart baking dish before it goes into the oven.
  • Do not substitute with other varieties of rice (such as instant rice or brown rice), since different varieties will require different amounts of liquid and different cooking times.
  • The cooking time will vary depending on your individual oven and on the type of skillet or pan that you use. You’ll know it’s done when the rice is tender. Do not overcook the rice or it will become mushy.
  • Keep a close eye on the rice. If the rice absorbs all of the liquid before it’s tender, add a little bit more water to the pan, fluff with a fork, cover, and return to the oven for an extra 5-10 minutes.
  • Simmer before baking. I learned this tip from Southern Living, and it works really well! By simmering the rice, vegetables, and cooking liquids in a skillet on the stovetop (to reduce the liquid) before finishing it in the oven, you’ll get separate yet tender and fluffy grains. Sometimes baked rice can have a mushy, gummy texture — but not here!
  • Cover the rice tightly in the oven. Otherwise, steam will escape during the cooking process and the rice will not cook properly.
  • Stir regularly. Even when the rice is in the oven, use a fork to fluff and stir the dish every 15 minutes or so. This will keep the grains fluffy and separate and will help the rice cook evenly.
  • Garnish each serving with fresh herbs (such as parsley, thyme, or rosemary) or a squeeze of fresh lemon juice to brighten up the dish.

Nutrition

Serving: 1/4 of the recipeCalories: 331kcalCarbohydrates: 51gProtein: 6gFat: 12gSaturated Fat: 7gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0.5gCholesterol: 31mgSodium: 1321mgPotassium: 583mgFiber: 3gSugar: 9gVitamin A: 1061IUVitamin C: 13mgCalcium: 51mgIron: 2mg
Keyword: easy smoked sausage and rice recipes, sausage jambalaya, sausage jambalaya recipe, smoked sausage and rice
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American, 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!

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Comments

  1. Marion McClung says:

    Looks delicious!

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      Thanks!