Simply stated, jambalaya is a south Louisiana stew. But ask five local chefs to define it and you might get six answers. Bottom line, it is indefinable, at least in its particulars. But there are two basic styles. Creole jambalaya likely began as a version of Spanish paella that substituted tomatoes for saffron. Cajun jambalaya, which contains no tomatoes, tends to be a hunter’s stew made with whatever swamp country critters are available, plus sausage. Like gumbo, most jambalaya is aggressively seasoned, partly by the smoked and spiced meats it contains but also by the cook who stirs it in the big iron pot using a paddle or shovel. The technical difference between jambalaya and gumbo is that in the latter, rice always is cooked separately and combined with the soup for serving. When making jambalaya, rice is cooked with everything else, sopping up different flavors. A perhaps more important distinction between the two is that gumbo can be thought of as quite sophisticated; jambalaya always is considered a people’s dish, served at big picnics, fairs, and community parties.

Restaurants With This Dish

Boll Weevil Cafe & Sweetery


Stella’s Diner


French Market Grille


Rhinehart’s Oyster Bar


Johnson’s Boucaniere | Cajun Boudin At Its Best


82 Queen



What do you think of Jambalaya?

Latest Articles & Guides

Clam Shack - Lobster Roll
14 Best Lobster Rolls in New England

Bad lobster rolls are easy to come by  We've done the research and have found the best...

Best Affordable Eats Along Sedona’s Red Rock Drive

Scenic Driving and Good Eating Rising an average of an inch every 60 to 80 years, the...

Road trip | Seattle to Yakima Washington

Road Trip Overview A road trip over the Cascades through Snoqualmie Pass leads not only to a...

America’s Byways: Road trip through the Florida Keys

Road trip through the Florida Keys Surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico...

The Best Hidden Gem Restaurants of Boston | Roadfood Bests

Best Hidden Gem Restaurants in Boston Tradition-bound and cutting edge, Boston has...

Road trip through New Mexico | What to eat

Road trip through New Mexico Take a road trip and eat your way through El Camino Real "The...


Connect with us #Roadfood