Easy Cajun Skillet Jambalaya

If you love Cajun flavors and easy one pan recipes, Easy Cajun Skillet Jambalaya with ham and shrimp will be your new favorite fast dinner recipe! Naturally gluten free, this one skillet jambalaya is healthy and delicious!

If you’ve ever been to New Orleans, you know what the hubbub is all about. The crescent city is one of my favorite places to visit and it goes without saying that the crux of my devotion is the food… Gumbo, Po’Boys, Tasso Ham, Beignets, Grilled Oysters, Shrimp Creole, Étouffée, Bananas Foster, Eggs Sardou, and Cajun Jambalayas… I can (and have) gained 5 pounds in two days in this mecca of good eating. The flavors of this city are the inspiration behind this Easy Cajun Skillet Jambalaya.

Diced ham in a bowl.

If you’ve got a hankering for Cajun and Creole flavors, you’ll appreciate this easy one pan jambalaya recipe.  It’s simple enough for a weeknight meal and is a surefire way to satisfy those N’Awlins cravings.  It starts with ham, preferably Tasso ham, but if you can’t find it in your grocery, just use a ham steak and dice it into bite sized pieces.

Rice and a bundle of thyme.

It’s not a jambalaya without rice and any long or medium grain variety white rice will do.

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Kosher salt, black pepper and cayenne.

You probably already have most of the ingredients for this easy skillet jambalaya in your pantry and fridge, too.  The spice blend is little more than kosher salt, black pepper and cayenne.

Bell peppers, onion, celery and garlic.

Canned tomatoes, frozen peas, chicken broth and the “holy trinity” of onions, peppers and celery — plus garlic — you can’t do anything without garlic — round out the flavors in this dish.  The key to making this a no-hassle meal is to have all of your ingredients prepped and ready to go (mise en place) when you start cooking. Things like having your vegetables and ham chopped, tomatoes drained and shrimp deveined will save time in the long run.

Peeled and deveined shrimp and a bowl of frozen peas.

Speaking of shrimp, I like to use large prawns (U16-20) for this ham and shrimp jambalaya recipe, but you can use smaller ones if you prefer.  I’ve made this with both fresh and frozenand I do prefer fresh, they’re firmer, sweeter and have more flavor — but if it’s a Tuesday night and you can’t make it to the fishmonger, I’m not gonna bust your chops for taking a bag out of the freezer.

Cooing the jambalaya in a large skillet.

Add the frozen peas last, because you’re really just warming them through and if you overcook them, they’ll get mushy and grey.

A sprinkle of parsley and you’re done!  Serve your Cajun shrimp and ham jambalaya with hot sauce for extra oomph — we like Crystal’s brand — it’s got a nice, tangy heat. 

A plate of jambalaya with shrimp, ham, peas and rice.

More easy skillet dinners you might like:

Watch The Easy Cajun Skillet Jambalaya Video:

YouTube video
A serving of jambalaya with a shrimp on top.
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4.60 from 5 votes

Easy Cajun Skillet Jambalaya

This simple recipe has delicious Cajun flavors and is ready to eat in about half an hour. Adjust the spice level to your tastes!
Author: Lisa Lotts
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword ham, jambalaya, one pan dinner, rice, shrimp, skillet dinner
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 4


  • 2 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 cups diced ham Tasso Ham if you can find it
  • 1 stalk celery diced
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • ½ red bell pepper seeded and diced
  • 1 poblano pepper seeded and diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup long grain rice
  • 5-6 stems of thyme tied with kitchen string
  • 2 cups chicken stock from rotisserie chicken or low-sodium broth
  • 1 cup canned diced tomatoes drained
  • ½ pound large shrimp peeled and deveined
  • ½ cup frozen peas
  • 2 tablespoons parsley chopped


  • Heat a large skillet (with a lid) over medium high heat.  Add olive oil and ham and saute for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the celery, onion, bell pepper, poblano and garlic and stir. Saute for 2-3 minutes or until vegetables are tender and onions are slightly translucent.
  • Add the salt, pepper and cayenne and mix together thoroughly. Add the thyme and rice and cook for 2-3 minutes. Stir in the chicken broth and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to a simmer, cover tightly with the lid and cook for 10 minutes.
  • Add the diced tomatoes and cook, covered  for 5 minutes.  Add the shrimp and cover with the lid for 3-4 minutes or until shrimp are opaque.  Add the frozen peas and stir.  Sprinkle with parsley and serve.


YouTube video


Calories: 374kcal | Carbohydrates: 50g | Protein: 29g | Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 173mg | Sodium: 1465mg | Potassium: 517mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 1025IU | Vitamin C: 63.5mg | Calcium: 142mg | Iron: 3.4mg

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Need a fast one-pan jambalaya recipe? This Easy Cajun Skillet Jambalaya is a delicious, gluten free dinner that's ready in about 30 minutes. #skilletdinner #onepanmeals #cajunshrimprecipe

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  1. 5 stars
    My husband has been bugging me to make jambalaya so this is perfectly timed! Looks so yummy and comforting.

  2. 5 stars
    New Orleans is definitely on my list of places to visit – just haven’t gotten there yet. This jambalaya looks so tasty – love that it is a simple version too!

  3. 5 stars
    Easy enough for a weeknight meal, love that! We are huge cajun and shrimp fans here!

  4. I love love love Jambalaya, and yours looks so flavorful and delicious. yum!