What is the Best Rice for Jambalaya, The Secret Revealed

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By Ashley Woodward • Last Updated: February 16, 2023

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What is the Best Rice for Jambalaya

Hi Everyone! I’m back with a new post and this time we will explore a more adventurous rice recipe called ‘Jambalaya’. We will learn what is the best rice for Jambalaya and how to cook this famous dish!

A Tasty History

Throughout history, rice has been used in many other dishes apart form the usual steaming and cooking. Among the most popular rice recipes ever is the Jambalaya.

Jambalaya is a popular dish in the Southeastern part of the United States, particularly in Louisiana. It is considered a versatile dish that’s absolutely filling and full of flavor.

To say the least, the root of the word Jambalaya can be difficult to really identify. There are many theories surrounding it that exist, though.

One theory says it is a compound word of the French word ‘Jambon’ which means ham and the African word ‘Aya’ which means rice. Another theory is that, the Jambalaya is derived from the word ‘Jambalaia’ which means mix-up or mish mash.

It has a different mixture of influences from Spanish, French, Native American, Caribbean and African styles of cooking.

It is believed that Creole Jambalaya originated from New Orleans with roots from the Spanish Paella. The dish is thought to be brought by the Spanish explorers to New Orleans. This is perhaps why the dish has a striking similarity to the Spanish Paella recipe.

On the other hand, Cajun Jambalaya is believed to have originated from Louisiana which was a swampy, rural country. Cajun is cooked using meats and seafood readily found in the bayous.

How to Cook Jambalaya

How to Cook Jambalaya

Jambalaya is perhaps considered to be a comfort food because it’s a hearty meal that is made in just a single pot. You’ll get the tasty source of your much-needed carbohydrates, fats and protein, plus some veggies too!

There are two main versions of Jambalaya namely: Creole and Cajun. Creole also referred to as the red Jambalaya, because of its red color, which is made with tomatoes. On the other hand, Cajun has no tomatoes and comes with a more distinct flavor and a brown color.

Both versions can have a mixture of virtually any meat and seafood. Although crayfish or craw-fish, is the most popular inclusion.

You’ll Need to Prepare:

  • 1 tablespoon of Canola oil
  • 1 pound boneless chicken breasts, cut into cubes
  • 1/2 pound sliced smoked sausage
  • 1 medium-sized onion, chopped
  • tablespoon of Cajun Seasoning
  • 1 cup long grain rice
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 can of stewed tomatoes


  1. Heat oil in a frying pan. Add the sausage and sliced chicken. Cook for five minutes or until brown and remove from the pan.
  2. Add the onions. Stir in the Cajun seasoning. Put the chicken and the sausage back into the pan.
  3. Add the chicken broth and the stewed tomatoes. Bring into a boil.
  4. Add the rice. Stir. Cover and cook for about 20 to 25 minutes or until the rice is cooked. Be sure to stir occasionally.
Best Rice Varieties for Jambalaya

What is the Best Rice for Jambalaya – Choosing the Right Rice

Choosing the right variety of rice is very important in cooking Jambalaya; after all, it’s a rice recipe. The rice is the one that will absorb all the flavors of the seasonings, the stock, veggies, meat, seafood and other ingredients.

You will want to choose the rice variety that can absorb the liquids well without getting too sticky or wet. It should also be fluffy and comes with distinct grains that tend to separate and still get an al dente-like texture when cooked. Below are the Top 5 best rice varieties used in Jambalaya.

The Top 5 Best Rice Varieties for Jambalaya

1. American Long Grain Rice

Most people opt for the subtle flavor that is why they use the American long grain rice which perfectly complements the rich flavor of Jambalaya.

The grains also tend to separate and stay fluffy when cooked making it ideal for cooking Jambalaya.

2. Jasmine Rice

Jasmine rice is another variety of long-grain white rice that is commonly used for cooking Jambalaya.

Its pleasing fragrance is a great addition that blends well with the Jambalaya recipe. The Jasmine rice however, is somewhat moist and has a soft texture.

So, since they can be a bit sticky when cooked, it is recommended to cut down on water when used for cooking Jambalaya. You can also find out what is the best way to cook Jasmine rice to get the perfect texture and fluff.

3. Basmati Rice

Basmati rice has a distinct, richer taste with longer grain and fluffiness that is great for making Jambalaya.
Just like the Jasmine rice, it also has a pleasing aroma which only added to its appeal. Basmati rice can also be cooked in many other popular rice dishes.

4. Popcorn Rice

Popcorn rice is a Louisiana grown-rice. It is a long grain rice variety and is a hybrid of the Basmati rice. Like Basmati, popcorn rice has an aromatic nut-like fragrance and has a distinct taste.

The grains of the popcorn rice stays fluffy and tends to stay separate when cooked and even has a unique taste which makes it the best rice for Jambalaya.

5. Brown Rice

Brown rice for Jambalaya? Why not! As we know brown rice is healthier and its natural brown color couldn’t be more perfect for Jambalaya. Compared to the white rice, brown rice is also firmer and holds better together when cooked.

However, it is important to know though that brown rice takes longer to cook, a bit more than an hour, compared to white rice and it needs more water than any other rice varieties.

There are plenty of brown rice to choose from too! Find out from this previous post.

Jambalaya All The Way!

Overall, Jambalaya recipe is typically created out of the easily available ingredients. It is traditionally made in just a single pot and is made out of a mixture of meat, seafood, vegetables and rice. Thus, it is a highly filling and practical dish which can be shared by the entire family.

Inexpensive, filling, and flavorful – these are the main characteristics that make Jambalaya a favorite recipe though the years. To date, the dish comes in many variations. Each of these variations have their own distinct tastes showcasing the ingenuity of its creators.

And, because of its unique versatility, it is easy to say that this dish will likely remain as a favorite dish for the generations to come.

Can you cook Jambalaya in a Rice Cooker? Watch This!

Jambalaya is so easy to prepare even in rice cookers!  For sure, your entire family will love it. When in doubt about the type of rice to use, you can go over our list again which can serve as your guide. Let us know your thoughts by sharing it on the comments below.

Happy cooking!

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