This easy Gumbo recipe is loaded with amazing flavor and is soul-satisfying to the very last bite. Made with love and packed full of flavor, Gumbo is a classic Southern dish that is made with chicken, Andouille sausage, shrimp and spices. Go down south with this amazing Gumbo recipe!
There’s no big secret to making the best gumbo recipe; you only need some quality ingredients, patience, and a heavy-bottomed skillet or pot. The flavors in this dish are fabulous, and it all starts with the holy trinity.
What Is The Holy Trinity In Cajun Cooking?
Many authentic (and delicious) Cajun recipes start with a base of onions, bell peppers, and celery, and because this is so common, some clever person called it the Holy Trinity. For this easy chicken and sausage gumbo recipe, you’ll want to finely dice the celery, onions, and pepper and have them ready to go. They create a flavor base for the dish that’s hard to match, so don’t skimp or make substitutions.
More Southern Favorites
Southern classics that are on repeat in our house
- Mac and Cheese
- Homemade Cornbread
- Sausage Gravy
- Chicken Fried Steak
- Maple Pecan Pie
- Banana Pudding
- Hummingbird Bundt Cake
What’s In Gumbo?
This gumbo recipe features shrimp, sausage and chicken and is loaded with veggies and spices. As always, you can find a printable recipe card at the end of this post. Now let’s take a look at what you’ll need to have on hand:
- vegetable oil – any type of cooking oil, like grapeseed, canola, or olive oil can work here.
- chicken thighs – boneless and skinless will cut down on your prep time. Chicken breasts are also delicious in this recipe.
- butter – feel free to switch this out for unsalted butter and add salt to taste at the end.
- all-purpose flour – this will help to create the roux which will thicken the chicken and sausage gumbo.
- celery – part 1 of the holy trinity. Dice it small.
- onion – part 2 of the trinity. Red, white or sweet onions are suitable replacements here.
- bell pepper – use green bell pepper for the final part of the trinity. Try this with orange, yellow, or red bell pepper for a slightly different taste.
- Cajun seasoning – any brand will do or try my homemade Cajun seasoning.
- garlic salt – add half garlic powder and half salt in place of garlic salt if you don’t have any.
- chicken broth – use low or no-sodium added to control the salt. You can also try this seafood gumbo recipe with beef or vegetable broth instead.
- andouille sausage – a must-have ingredient in gumbo recipes. You can substitute chorizo sausage though it may crumble more than andouille sausage does.
- shrimp – look for large shrimp that are peeled and deveined. Nip the tails off if you need to.
- green onions – aka scallions. They add a pop of freshness and color to the dish.
If you have smaller or bigger shrimp, feel free to use them, just make sure you don’t overcook or undercook them. You will know your shrimp is done when it has curled and turned opaque.
How to Make Gumbo
This recipe is not difficult by any means but do take your time allowing the roux to get to the right color. It makes a huge difference in the flavor. Let’s take a look:
- Cook the chicken in dutch oven until no longer pink. Remove.
- Create a roux by adding the butter to the skillet and then whisking in the all-purpose flour.
- Cook the roux on low heat until it turns dark chocolate brown.
- Add the trinity (celery, onions, bell pepper).
- Add the Cajun seasoning and cook until the vegetables are nearly tender.
- Whisk in the chicken broth, one cup at a time. When smooth and starting to thicken, add another cup of broth until it’s all incorporated.
- Simmer until thickened, then add the cooked chicken (and any juices) and andouille sausage. Heat through.
- Add the shrimp and cook until the shrimp turns opaque.
- Serve over rice, sprinkle with sliced scallions, and enjoy!
Be patient! Making the roux can take up to 30 minutes. If you cook it low and slow and stir frequently, it won’t burn. It adds such amazing flavor to the gumbo!
How To Make A Roux For Gumbo
What is a roux? Roux is the name for the process of cooking flour and fat together.
I’m going to get a little nerdy here: the sugars in the all-purpose flour will react with the proteins in the butter in what’s called a Maillard reaction. This creates brown molecules and of course, lots of added flavor. When liquid is added, the starches will expand and absorb the liquid creating a smooth sauce or gravy. That is the base of this gumbo recipe.
Roux can be white, blond, or brown, and in the case of this shrimp gumbo, we want a dark brown roux.
Substitutions & Variations
Authentic Gumbo recipes vary from family recipe to family recipe. Here are some ways you can change up this recipe:
- Use chorizo sausage instead of andouille (it may be more crumbly.)
- Try chicken breasts instead of thighs.
- The yellow onion can be replaced with red, white, or even sweet onions.
- Green bell pepper is traditional, but you can use red, orange, or yellow peppers for a sweeter flavor.
- Use vegetable, beef or even seafood broth instead of chicken.
- Peeled and deveined shrimp make the recipe prep easier, but you can use any size shrimp you like. Just be careful to not overcook them.
Refrigerator: If you have leftovers (this shrimp gumbo is so good there may not be any!), pop them into an airtight container and keep them in the fridge for 3 to 4 days.
Freezer: Package portions of chilled gumbo in freezer-safe zipper-top plastic bags or containers. Freeze it for up to 6 months. Reheat your gumbo in a saucepan on the stovetop after thawing it in the fridge overnight.
This dish makes enough for 6 hearty appetites, but it’s easy to double if you need more.
Gumbo Recipe FAQs
Andouille sausage is traditional, but you can use chorizo or even Italian sausage if you’re in a pinch.
It’s not hard! There’s some chopping, but the hardest part is being patient while the roux develops. Once you’ve got the dark brown roux ready, the rest is easy peasy!
Yes, sure you can! If you are allergic to shrimp or just don’t care for it, skip it! The shrimp does add lovely color and flavor but the dish will still be delicious without it.
Shrimp is pretty typical in gumbo, but you can also add crab, shucked oysters, and even white fish.
You sure can but make sure you have a dutch oven or large pot that will accomodate the ingrdients.
Trish’s Tips and Tricks
Making gumbo is not for the faint of heart, but there is a delicious reason it is such a classic Southern recipe. Follow the instructions and these tips and you will do great!
- Cook the roux for 30 minutes to one hour. Seriously?! Actually, yes. The roux is what makes this gumbo so amazing. Make sure you use a non-stick saucepan and a wooden or silicone spoon. You’ll also need plenty of patience as you stir the roux every few minutes to keep it from burning.
The roux starts out a very light tan, but will slowly get darker as it heats and is stirred over time. As you start cooking, heat your roux on medium low heat so that it gets hot slowly. After ten or so minutes, heat it up to medium heat while stirring frequently. While it’s on medium heat, it will brown faster, but may also burn faster, so it needs to be stirred more often.
- In order to get your chicken cooked just right, be careful. Cooking the chicken is the first thing that you do, and one of the easiest to overcook. Make sure that you stop cooking the chicken as soon as all the pink disappears. If you have any pink left in the middle, it will finish cooking as you cook the shrimp.
- Overcooking the shrimp is also very easy to do. As soon as the shrimp has gotten pink and curled, it’s done. It really only takes about 5-6 minutes. If they aren’t completely cooked by the time you turn the heat off, they will finish cooking with the leftover heat of the soup.
- No garlic salt? Use half garlic powder and half table salt to make your own garlic salt.
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 to 1½ pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs cut into 1-inch pieces (or chicken breasts)
- ¾ cup salted butter
- ¾ cups all-purpose flour
- 3 celery stalks diced
- 1 yellow onion diced
- 1 green bell pepper de-seeded and diced
- 1 ½ tablespoons Cajun seasoning
- 2 teaspoons garlic salt
- 5 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 12 ounces andouille sausage sliced
- 1 pound raw large shrimp peeled, deveined, tail off (~ 16-20 shrimp)
- 2 green onions thinly sliced, optional garnish
- Heat the vegetable oil up in a large heavy saucepan on medium high heat.3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- Once the oil is hot add the chicken and cook until it is no longer pink, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside on a plate. You will add it back in later.1 to 1½ pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
- Drop the salted butter into the saucepan and let it melt. Whisk in the all-purpose flour with the butter to create a roux (a smooth mixture of the flour and butter).¾ cup salted butter, ¾ cups all-purpose flour
- Lower the stove top temperature to medium or medium-low and then cook the roux, frequently stirring, for 30 minutes to one hour or until it turns dark chocolate brown. (This step is necessary for the classic Gumbo taste and color and the roux changes color depending on the heat and materials used, which is why it may take a long time.)
- Once the roux is a dark chocolate brown color, stir in the celery, yellow onion, and green bell pepper.3 celery stalks, 1 yellow onion, 1 green bell pepper
- Season with the Cajun seasoning and garlic salt and then cook until the vegetables become nearly fork tender, about 5 minutes.1 ½ tablespoons Cajun seasoning, 2 teaspoons garlic salt
- Gradually add in the chicken broth 1 cup at a time, stirring constantly and making sure the sauce thickens before adding more. Stop stirring in the chicken broth if the sauce isn’t thickening anymore.5 cups low sodium chicken broth
- Bring the mixture to a simmer, uncovered. If the sauce still has some thickness to it, continue with the next step. If not, cook for 5 to 10 minutes to thicken the sauce a little.
- Add in the cooked chicken and andouille sausage and return to a simmer.12 ounces andouille sausage
- Add in the shrimp. Cook until the shrimp curls and turns opaque, about 5 minutes.1 pound raw large shrimp
- Plate and serve warm over a serving of rice (optional) with a sprinkle of green onions as an optional garnish.2 green onions