Cajun Chicken and Sausage Gumbo

Cajun Chicken and Sausage Gumbo Recipe

Chocolate brown, earthy, and spiked with thyme and three kinds of pepper, this Cajun chicken and sausage gumbo earns back every second of effort you put into the pot, from chopping your seasonings and measuring out spices to stirring away on your roux. If you make it and serve it straightaway, you’ll be glad you didn’t have to wait to savor it. But if you can cook it a day in advance, you will love how its flavors blossom—a bit of resting time in the refrigerator allows your gumbo to cut loose, to stretch out, to meander from tasty to operatically magnificent. It means that as serving time approaches, you’ve had the opportunity to rest up, cook some rice, set out some libations, and crank up some music. You and your guests will surely want to dance; it is just that good.–Nancie McDermott

LC What Folks Are Saying About This Recipe Note

“It turned out unbelievably great.” “Perfect.” “Your family will think you are AMAZING.” “A straightforward, real deal Cajun gumbo that everyone loved.” “It’s very easy and straightforward and affordable.” “A keeper!” That’s what folks are saying about this lovely Cajun chicken and sausage gumbo from one of our most trusted cookbook authors, Nancie McDermott, and one of what we consider to be the year’s best cookbooks. Translation: You gotta try this gumbo. And you should buy this cookbook, too.

Cajun Chicken and Sausage Gumbo Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 2 H
  • 2 H, 45 M
  • Serves 10 to 12


  • 1 cup vegetable oil or mild olive oil
  • 1 cup (140 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (150 grams) chopped onion
  • 1 cup (150 grams) finely chopped celery
  • 1 cup (150 grams) finely chopped green bell pepper
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme, or 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sweet or hot paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 quarts (8 cups) homemade chicken stock or canned chicken broth
  • 3 1/2 pounds skin-on, bone-in chicken legs and thighs
  • 1 pound Cajun-style andouille sausage, smoked kielbasa, or other smoked sausage
  • 1 cup thinly sliced green onions, plus more for garnish
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • Cooked white rice, for serving


  • 1. In a large, heavy-bottomed Dutch oven, preferably cast-iron or enamel cast-iron, or a large cast-iron skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat until shimmering hot. When a pinch of flour sprinkled on the oil immediately blooms on the surface of the oil, scatter in the rest of the flour and stir quickly and thoroughly, combining the oil and flour evenly into a thick, smooth roux. Continue cooking, stirring often, as the roux turns from pale yellow to a rich, deep brown, adjust the heat as needed to keep the roux darkening slowly without bubbling up or burning. This can take anywhere from 20 to 60 minutes, depending on your pot and your stove. The roux should be darker than peanut butter and about the color of coffee with some cream—a deep brown but not a dark brown. [Editor’s Note: Don’t have the patience to stand and stir? Try the brilliant oven trick for making roux that our recipe tester, Elie Nassar, explains in his comment just beneath the recipe.]
  • 2. Add the onion, celery, and bell pepper to the roux and stir well to coat them. Let them cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are fragrant, softened, shiny, and evenly coated with the roux, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic, thyme, salt, pepper, paprika, and cayenne and stir well and cook for 2 minutes more.
  • 3. If using a cast-iron skillet, transfer the roux to a large stock pot. Add the chicken stock, stir well, and bring it to a lively boil, stirring often to dissolve the roux into the stock. When everything is boiling nicely, add the chicken pieces. When the stock returns to a rolling boil, adjust the heat to maintain a lively simmer and cook, stirring now and then, until the chicken is cooked through and very tender, 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  • 4. Meanwhile, chop the andouille into bite-size pieces by first halving each andouille link lengthwise and then cutting it crosswise into half-moon slices about 1⁄4 inch thick.
  • 5. Remove the chicken from the pot and set it out on a platter to cool. As soon as it is cool enough to touch, pull the meat from the bones, discarding the bones and skin. Tear or chop the chicken very coarsely, and then return the meat to the pot. Add the andouille and stir. Cook, stirring now and then, until the sausage has seasoned the gumbo and softened, and everything has come together into a rich, flavorful, slightly thickened stew, about 30 minutes more.
  • 6. Remove the pot from the heat. (You can cool, cover, and refrigerate the gumbo for up to 2 days to allow the flavors to meld. Skim any fat from the surface of the gumbo and discard. Warm the gumbo over low heat prior to continuing.)
  • 7. Stir in the green onions and parsley. Serve the gumbo in bowls over rice or with rice on the side, garnished with green onions.
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Recipe Testers Reviews

Recipe Testers Reviews
Testers Choice
Elie Nassar

Sep 30, 2015

This is a straightforward, real deal Cajun gumbo that everyone loved. The kids ate "leftover" gumbo for 2 days afterwards. It really kept getting better. I like that the author labels this Cajun-style as opposed to Creole. Creole cooking is lighter, probably more refined, and possibly might include tomato. This one is a hearty stew that is rustic and utterly delicious. The most time-consuming step is making the roux. The cooking time for the roux is too short—it took an hour or so for me to get it to deep brown without burning it. Be careful with the hot roux, it burns like crazy so do not splatter it around. The cooking time can actually be mitigated in a couple of ways. It could be done way ahead of time and left in the pot with the heat off once it reaches the appropriate color. Just bring it back to temperature of "scalding hot" before proceeding. Another method that I use almost exclusively for making roux is the Alton Brown oven method. Just mix the fat and flour and put the uncovered pot in the oven set to 350°F. It takes about 2 hours for it to get to the almost dark brown stage and requires no constant stirring. Just give it a stir maybe every 30 minutes. This frees you up to get everything else prepared and have a couple beers, too. I wanted to cut on the level of spiciness in the gumbo for my kiddos, so I used sweet paprika and subbed hot paprika for the cayenne. I added healthy doses of Tabasco to my bowl, though. When the raw chicken is added, make sure to skim all the usual gunk that comes to the surface. The chicken was ready in about an hour since I used the thighs and legs from a large free-range chicken. Smaller hens may take less time.

Testers Choice
Ralph Knauth

Sep 30, 2015

I love gumbo—any kind—and I really liked this one. It’s very easy and straightforward and affordable. A very satisfying dish. Since I had just made a roasted chicken stock, I had lots of chicken fat left and used that for this dish. It worked very well. I used some smoked paprika, which is slightly hot already, so I omitted the cayenne. Since I'm still not used to my new stove, my roux was done in just 16 minutes. Next time I will do the roux on a very low flame. After adding the veggies, then the stock, and then the chicken, I let the gumbo simmer for about 1 hour. The chicken was done but not quite falling off the bone. Exactly what I wanted. Adding back the shredded chicken and the andouille, I let the stew simmer for another 1/2 hour to blend the flavor. I added a bit more salt, and then I was done. Served with white rice and a bit of chopped cilantro and green onions, it's a keeper! I made it ahead of time and let the flavors mingle in the fridge. The fat separated a bit, but a rigorous short boil brought it back together.

Testers Choice
Sandy Owen

Sep 30, 2015

I followed this Cajun chicken and sausage gumbo recipe to the letter, and it turned out unbelievably great. The paprika I used was hot, not sweet. I used store-bought chicken stock, and it seemed to be just fine. The roux did not take long (15 minutes tops) to reach a "coffee with creamer" brown. I had to adjust the heat quite often so it wouldn't smoke but no problems at all on the browning of the roux. The chicken actually took a little over an hour, just because I like it fall-off-the-bone tender. The smell in the house as this was cooking was out of this world! I made this, let it rest in the refrigerator for a day, and enjoyed it with the suggested rice. This is a recipe that is worth the effort…your family will think you are AMAZING! Definitely will have this again and again.

Testers Choice
Kim Venglar

Sep 30, 2015

If you're expecting a spicy hot gumbo, then this Cajun chicken and sausage gumbo recipe isn't what you're looking for. If you want a gumbo with layers of flavor, then this is the perfect recipe for you. I was concerned about the amount of cayenne pepper, so I used the sweet paprika. Next time I'll opt for the hot because I thought it could use just a little extra kick—not enough where it will sear your mouth but enough to make you sit up and take notice of the flavors. I also used andouille sausage because I just love it. The directions are very easy to follow, and the timing for me was perfect. It took me 20 minutes in my enamel-coated cast-iron Dutch oven to get that beautiful deep brown coloring. When making a roux, you need to remember, the lighter the roux, the thicker it will be. The darker the roux, the more flavorful it is, yet the flour has lost all its thickening power. It took only 45 minutes for my chicken to cook through. Then, 30 minutes later, I had a very good pot of gumbo ready to eat. This does make a huge batch of gumbo but could very easily be cut in half for a smaller batch.

Testers Choice
Lou Ann Traster

Sep 30, 2015

Ohio does not know gumbo. I don't pretend to. What I do know is that we are on board with this spicy, richly flavored, meal-in-a-bowl chicken and sausage gumbo. If you have a helper in the kitchen with you, pass them a beer and put them on roux-stirring duty so you can do all the chopping while you chat. It took 30 minutes for our olive oil and flour mixture to look like café au lait. From that point, there's about 15 minutes of activity until you, too, can relax with a beer while the chicken stews away. Pulling the meat away from the bones and skin was the only grumbly part; as I did so, I had to wonder if using boneless, skinless thighs would affect the final product. Adding the andouille sausage is truly transformative—the entire pot is changed by the smoky, savory sausage. Fistfuls of green onions and parsley and a scoop of bright white rice gives each bowl a photo finish. The perfectionist in me will tinker a bit more, as the stew was a tad greasy for me at the end, bringing me back to the skinless thighs idea...but a rest in the fridge, then scooping the solids off could do as well. Don't forget the hot sauce—Tabasco, Crystal, or any vinegar-and-cayenne-style hot sauce is perfect. We simply can't wait to enjoy this again! I used sweet paprika. Great recipe!

  1. Meg says:

    I’m from SE Louisiana, and this is almost how I make my chicken and andouille gumbo. The only thing I see that’s missing is file (I can’t do the accent aigu). It’s so worth ordering real andouille from Laplace, LA. You can probably get a jar of file from there, too. Then you’ll be set for the whole gumbo season.

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