Difference between Gumbo and Jambalaya
By Theydiffer - February 17, 2016

Gumbo and jambalaya are two popular meals traditionally associated with Louisiana cuisine. We will examine the differences between them with the help of a recipe for each meal.


Getty Images/Photodisc/Bill Boch

Gumbo is a thick soup originating in the state of Louisiana, which has always been a place rich in vegetables. Depending on the particular restaurant, gumbo may be cooked with a Cajun sausage, shrimps, or Andouille sausage.

A simple gumbo with chicken broth recipe:


  • ½ cup oil
  • ½ cup flour
  • 1 onion
  • 1 cup bell paper (red or green)
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 lbs shrimp (or chicken, or any meat you prefer)


  1. Add oil to a large pot. Add flour and mix it with the oil. Cook the mixture 10-15 minutes, while stirring it thoroughly, over medium heat. The mixture has to reach a dark brown color.
  2. What you get at the end of this stage is known as the “roux” – this is a necessary ingredient of gumbo.
  3. Add sliced onions and bell peppers, chopped garlic, and garlic. You can also add scallion or celery. Cook over the same medium heat for around 10 minutes more, until all the vegetables are soft. Keep stirring while cooking.
  4. Add broth, salt, and seasoning to your taste.
  5. Cover pot with a lid and leave it to simmer for around 15 minutes.
  6. Add the meat or the shrimp and leave the mixture to simmer for 10-15 minutes more.
  7. Your gumbo is ready.

Getty Images/Moment/Steven Brisson Photography

Jambalaya is a traditional food from Louisiana. It is a mix of some sort of meat and/or seafood with vegetables.

A simple jambalaya recipe:


  • 2 cups rice
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1-2 large garlic cloves
  • 2 bell peppers
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt,
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 medium Andouille sausage,sliced
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup celery


  1. Strain the rice in a strainer, rinse it in cold water.
  2. Put the bell peppers, the onion, and the minced celery in a large pot and sauté the mixture over a low heat.
  3. Add the garlic, the chicken broth, and the rice. Cook the mixture, while stirring for around 5 minutes.
  4. Add the Andouille sausage and the tomato sauce. Add water so it covers the mixture. Turn the heat to high, and bring the mixture to a boil. Add salt, black pepper, and ground cayenne pepper (you can also add herbs to your taste).
  5. Reduce the heat, put a lid on the pan and cook until the mixture is soft (around 30 minutes). Do not forget to stir it from time to time to keep the rice from sticking. Different sorts of rice have different cooking times, so make sure the rice is actually cooked.
  6. Your jambalaya is ready.

Gumbo vs Jambalaya

What is the difference between gumbo and jambalaya?

  • While gumbo is a soup, jambalaya is a casserole.
  • Gumbo is traditionally served with rice as a side dish although it can be served with any preferred side dish. Jambalaya, on the other hand, includes rice as a mandatory ingredient in the cooking process.

Comparison chart

Is a soupIs a casserole
Is usually served with rice as a side dishIs cooked with rice as an ingredient