Look no further than this Authentic Cajun Gumbo recipe to satisfy your stomach, but also your soul. This 1-pot gumbo sings with an abundance of flavor, y’all. It starts with a deeply-rich roux base, sautéed aromatics, and tons of meaty goodness with chicken, andouille sausage, crab, and shrimp. This heartwarming staple is the epitome of comfort food! A perfect, cozy weeknight or special occasion meal!

cajun gumbo with rice in floral bowl with gold spoon on the side

Hey friends! Listen, there are very few recipes in the world that scream comfort and richness like a good ole bowl of gumbo does. I have maybe 5 dishes that come to my mind whenever I’m wanting something that delivers soulful, tasty deliciousness and yup, this is one of ’em. This recipe has been sitting in my drafts for a bit, and the wait is over! My Cajun gumbo’s time is right neoww!

Authentic Cajun Gumbo ♡

For starters, gumbo is one of the most famous dishes to be brought forth from Louisiana’s Cajun-Creole heritage. Unlike typical soup, gumbo is much heartier and leans more on the side of a thick, stew-like dish with several key ingredients that truly make it a Cajun or Creole specialty. This recipe focuses on signature Cajun-style gumbo with a deeply-colored roux, no tomatoes, and plenty of mouthwatering depth that’s chock-full of Cajun flair.

Now, gumbo is also one of those recipes in which everyone has their own opinion. Some gumbo loyalists might argue lard over oil, okra or no okra, filé powder or none, these meats or those meats, etc. As varied as gumbo recipes can be, this recipe has been dialed in to yield one insanely delicious and heartwarming pot of goodness. The flavors are deeply-rich, bold, and satisfying.

⇢ While gumbo tends to have a reputation of being somewhat complex, this Cajun gumbo recipe is a labor of love while also being super easy at the same time. The entire dish is made in one singular vessel, too! Developing the roux base (fat/flour mixture) is the most labor intensive element of the entire dish! However, with your utensil + elbow grease and my straightforward tips/tricks, you’re good to go, boo. Once that roux is nailed, everything else is a breeze!

closeup of cajun gumbo in floral bowl

The History of Gumbo & Diving Deeper

Although some culinary research might suggest otherwise, most scholars and food historians agree that gumbo has roots in Southern Louisiana Cajun and Creole culture. Gumbo is of major cultural and culinary significance and the most famous delicacy within the state of Louisiana.

Moreover, the term “gombo/gumbo” is derived from a West African word for okra. Research shows us that to understand this dish is to understand its origin as largely African and nothing else. Also, it is important to recognize the influence that African slaves contributed to Cajun/Creole culture, too.

Gullah Geechee people, distinctive Black folks living in the Low-country region of South Carolina, have major culinary influence here. These folks are descendants of Africans and Gullah is a term used to appoint the Creole dialect of English. ⇢ All in all, history proves that gumbo is of a larger-based fabric of West African origin with South Louisiana fame. The more you know 💫

ingredients for authentic cajun gumbo laid out on beige surface

Ingredients Needed For This Cajun Gumbo

(Note: the full ingredients list, including measurements, is provided in the recipe card directly below.)

  • Oil: For sautéing the chicken/sausage and developing a roux.
  • Flour: This works in tandem with the oil for the roux, I use all-purpose flour.
  • Chicken: I’m using boneless/skinless chicken thighs in this gumbo.
  • Andouille sausage: It’s smoked, nicely seasoned, and a staple among Cajun/Creole cuisine. Kielbasa or beef sausage make great substitutes for andouille sausage. For andouille sausage lovers, check out my chicken and sausage gumbo, this red beans and rice or this cabbage and sausage, delish.
  • Veggies: You’ll need onion, bell pepper, and celery– aka the Cajun/Creole holy trinity! This trinity mixture is a non-negotiable, classic element of gumbo.
  • Garlic: No explanation needed…garlic is #bae, garlic is life!
  • Chicken stock/broth: Flavor on flavor to keep things extra savory and rich. I like to use low sodium because the Cajun seasoning will give plenty of salty vibes already. Use chicken stock, fish stock, or a combination of both.
  • Cajun seasoning: This type of seasoning is a blend that contains salt, red pepper, black pepper, garlic, and more. Brands like Slap Ya Mama or Tony Chachere’s stay in my kitchen pantry for all that Cajun-forward flava!
  • More spices: Bay leaves and ground white pepper for extra oomph.
  • Seafood: In addition to the chicken and sausage, I use lump crab meat and shrimp as well. The seafood provides a nice complexity in flavor, and more swoon-worthy depth that sings like a choir! Seafood is clutch in gumbo!
  • Gumbo filé powder: This ingredient is ground sassafras leaves. Y’all, gumbo just isn’t the same without this earthy thickener that’s added in near the end to thicken and enrich the gumbo pot.
  • Okra: This edible pod is one of the hallmarks of gumbo. You’d be hard-pressed to find a gumbo recipe without ’em. Okra is also a thickener.
  • For serving: cooked rice, hot sauce, and fresh chopped scallions/parsley.

Gumbo Meat Variations & Customizations

While this Cajun gumbo is insanely divine with chicken, sausage, crab, and shrimp…it’s important to note that gumbo is super versatile! If you’re not feeling any one of those ingredients, feel free to make this gumbo your own by omitting one or you can double-up on what you prefer, yay! 👍🏾

How To Make Gumbosauté meat & veg:

(Note: please see the recipe card directly below for the complete written instructions.)

  1. Brown chicken & sausage. In a large dutch oven or stockpot over medium heat, pour in 1/4 cup of oil. Once the oil is hot, place the chicken thigh pieces into the pot. Brown the chicken until golden brown and cooked through, about 4-5 minutes on each side. Season the chicken with 1 teaspoon of cajun seasoning, stirring well to combine. Then use a slotted utensil to transfer the browned chicken pieces onto a clean plate/platter. Place the andouille sausage rounds into the pot. Sauté the sausage, stirring often, until golden brown on both sides, about 2-3 minutes per side. Then remove the sausage rounds and place onto the same vessel with browned chicken and tent chicken/sausage with foil, set aside.
  2. Sauté the trinity. In the same pot, add the onion, bell peppers, and celery. Sauté the mixture, stirring often, until golden brown, about 4-5 minutes. Use a wooden utensil to scrape up any bits along the bottom of the pot. Then add in the garlic and continue cooking along with the onion/bell pepper mixture until the garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute. Then use a slotted utensil to transfer the veggies to a clean plate and set aside. Carefully wipe the pot as clean as you can.

Building The Roux- get it just right:

  • Developing the roux base. Pour in the remaining 1 cup of oil over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, with one hand, sprinkle in the flour just a little at a time, stirring continuously with a wooden utensil in the other hand to prevent any lumps. *This is where the bulk of the tedious work resides, the roux.
  • Continuously stir the roux until it takes on a deeply rich, chocolate color, about 30 minutes. You’ll reduce the heat to medium-low and continue stirring until the roux color is achieved. The roux requires tlc + patience!
cajun gumbo in large black pot with black ladle on the side

Finishing The Gumbo- the final stretch:

  1. Build the gumbo. Once the roux is nice and chocolatey-brown, Add the browned chicken/sausage, sautéed trinity mixture, remaining 2 teaspoons of Cajun seasoning, ground white pepper, and bay leaves. Then slowly pour in the chicken broth. Stir until everything is well combined. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a simmer. Then reduce heat to medium and cover the pot with a lid. Let simmer for 20 minutes.
  2. Add crab, okra, shrimp & finish gumbo. Now add the crab meat into the pot, stirring well to make sure that the crab and other ingredients are combined. Cover and let crab simmer in pot for another 15-20 minutes. Then add the okra and raw shrimp into the pot, stirring well to combine. Reduce the heat to low and let simmer for another 7-10 minutes, until the shrimp is pink. Sprinkle in the gumbo filé and a few dashes of hot sauce, stir, and cook for 5 more minutes. Then remove the pot from heat and let gumbo sit for a few minutes. Give the gumbo a taste test and adjust with more cajun seasoning, if desired.
  3. Serve. Ladle Cajun gumbo into individual serving bowls. Carefully add a little helping of cooked rice right on top of the gumbo, and garnish with sliced scallions or chopped parsley. Serve-stat, and enjoy ya life! 😛
cajun gumbo with rice in floral bowl

FAQs & Tips + Tricks For Recipe Success

Here’s some extra info to guide you along your gumbo-making journey:

  • Use a neutral-flavored oil– I use vegetable oil here, but any neutral oil is recommended that won’t affect the gumbo flavor.
  • Brown chicken & sausage– This step ensures that the two are previously cooked, get good color, and enhance the gumbo flavor.
  • Gluten-free needs?– Swap the all-purpose flour for any gluten-free flour as a 1:1 ratio (we love Bob’s Red Mill gf flour!).
  • Nailing dat ROUX– You’ve gotta babysit the pot, stirring the oil + flour constantly, so that the heat slowly builds in that nutty flavor without the bottom scorching and the roux burning. If that happens, your roux is no good and you’ll have to toss out and start again. Oof, I’d hate that for you. Keep stirring until you’ve achieved rich, chocolate-brown coloration.
  • Crab notes– Fresh (refrigerated) *lump crab meat* is what I recommend. Make sure it’s “hand-picked” as well. This means that the crab has been picked over to remove any shells/cartilage- aka the work has been done for you.
  • Okra notes– Use fresh okra or frozen okra. For frozen okra, simply rinse the frozen okra under cool water to defrost and pat dry.

How To Serve Cajun Gumbo

Cajun gumbo (usually all kinds of gumbo) is traditionally served with rice, it’s the only way! And I also love to have a batch of buttermilk cornbread or biscuits on the table as well, everyone loves a good sopped-up moment, yumm 🙌🏾.

Storing Leftover Gumbo & Freezing/Reheating

  • Refrigerate: First, let the gumbo cool down to room temperature. Then place leftover gumbo into airtight containers. It will keep stored safely in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. ⇢ Reheating gumbo from fridge: For best results, gently reheat gumbo on the stovetop over low heat, stirring often, until warmed through.
  • Freeze: First, let the gumbo cool down to room temperature. Then place leftover gumbo into airtight, freezer-safe containers. It will keep stored in the freezer for 3-4 months. ⇢ Reheating gumbo from freezer: Let the gumbo thaw out overnight in the fridge. Then gently reheat gumbo on the stovetop over low heat, stirring often, until warmed through.
black hands holding floral bowl full of cajun gumbo and rice

You’ll love this Authentic Cajun Gumbo, y’all. There are few dishes that are as delicious and comforting as gumbo! Be sure to tag @butterbeready in your BBR recipe creations, I sure love to see it when you do. Until next time! 🤟🏾

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cajun gumbo with rice in floral bowl

Authentic Cajun Gumbo

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 7 reviews
  • Author: Quin Liburd
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
  • Yield: 810 1x
  • Category: Soups & Stews
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Cajun, Southern

Description

Look no further than this Authentic Cajun Gumbo recipe to satisfy your stomach, but also your soul. This 1-pot gumbo sings with an abundance of flavor, y’all. It starts with a deeply-rich roux base, sautéed aromatics, and tons of meaty goodness with chicken, andouille sausage, crab, and shrimp. This heartwarming staple is the epitome of comfort food! A perfect, cozy weeknight or special occasion meal!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 ¼ cup vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 lb boneless/skinless chicken thighs, cut into pieces
  • 3 teaspoons Cajun seasoning, divided, plus more to taste
  • 12 ounces andouille sausage, sliced into rounds
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 large green bell peppers, chopped
  • 3 stalks of celery, green part only, chopped
  • 8 cloves of garlic, finely minced or pressed
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 64 ounces (2 cartons) low-sodium chicken broth or stock
  • 16 ounces lump crab meat
  • 2 cups chopped okra, fresh or frozen
  • 1 lb raw large shrimp, peeled & deveined
  • 3 teaspoons pure ground gumbo filé
  • Hot sauce (preferably Louisiana-style!)

For serving gumbo:

  • cooked white rice, sliced scallions or chopped parsley

Instructions

  1. Brown chicken & sausage. In a large heavy-bottomed dutch oven or stockpot over medium heat, pour in ¼ cup of oil. Once the oil is hot and shimmering, gently swirl the pot around to evenly coat the bottom. Place the chicken thigh pieces into the pot. Brown the chicken until golden brown and cooked through, about 4-5 minutes on each side. Season the chicken with 1 teaspoon of cajun seasoning, stirring well to combine. Then use a slotted utensil to transfer the browned chicken pieces onto a clean plate/platter. Place the andouille sausage rounds into the pot. Sauté the sausage, stirring often, until golden brown on both sides, about 2-3 minutes per side. Then remove the sausage rounds and place onto the same vessel with browned chicken and tent chicken/sausage with foil, set aside.
  2. Sauté the trinity. In the same pot over medium heat, add the onion, bell peppers, and celery. Sauté the mixture, stirring often, until translucent and golden brown, about 4-5 minutes. Use a wooden utensil to scrape up any bits along the bottom of the pot. Then add in the garlic and continue cooking along with the onion/bell pepper mixture until the garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute. Then use a slotted utensil to transfer the veggies to a clean plate and set aside. Grab a few paper towels and carefully wipe the pot as clean as you can.
  3. Make the roux. Pour in the remaining 1 cup of oil over medium-high heat. Once the oil is nice and hot, with one hand, sprinkle in the flour just a little at a time, stirring continuously with a wooden utensil in the other hand to prevent any lumps. *This is where the bulk of the tedious work resides, the roux. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Continuously stir the roux until it takes on a deeply rich, chocolate color, about 30 minutes. You’ve gotta babysit the pot, stirring constantly, so that the heat slowly builds in that nutty flavor without the bottom scorching and the roux burning. If that happens, your roux is no good and you’ll have to toss out and start again.
  4. Build the gumbo. Once the roux is nice and chocolatey-brown, Add the browned chicken/sausage, sautéed trinity mixture, remaining 2 teaspoons of cajun seasoning, ground white pepper, and bay leaves. Then slowly pour in the chicken broth. Give the pot a good stir until everything is well combined. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a simmer. Then reduce heat to medium and cover the pot with a lid. Let simmer for 20 minutes.
  5. Add crab, okra, shrimp & finish gumbo. Now add the crab meat into the pot, stirring well to make sure that the crab and other ingredients are combined. Cover and let crab simmer in pot for another 15-20 minutes. Then add the okra and raw shrimp into the pot, stirring well to combine. Reduce the heat to low and let simmer for another 7-10 minutes, until the shrimp is pink. Sprinkle in the gumbo filé and a few dashes of hot sauce, stir, and cook for 5 more minutes. Then remove the pot from heat and let gumbo sit for a few minutes. Give the gumbo a taste test and adjust with more cajun seasoning, if desired.
  6. Serve. Ladle cajun gumbo into individual serving bowls. Carefully add a little helping of cooked rice right on top of the gumbo, and garnish with sliced scallions or chopped parsley. Enjoy!

Notes

  1. Oil/fat alternatives for gumbo roux: I use vegetable oil here, but any neutral oil is recommended that won’t affect the gumbo flavor. Fats like duck fat, bacon grease, or lard are also excellent go-to’s for developing your gumbo roux.
  2. Gluten-free needs? Swap the all-purpose flour for any gluten-free flour as a 1:1 ratio (we love Bob’s Red Mill gf flour!).
  3. Storing leftover gumbo & reheating: First, let the gumbo cool down to room temperature. Then place leftover gumbo into airtight containers. It will keep stored safely in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. >> Reheating gumbo from fridge: For best results, gently reheat gumbo on the stovetop over low heat, stirring often, until warmed through.
  4. Freezing leftover gumbo & reheating: First, let the gumbo cool down to room temperature. Then place leftover gumbo into airtight, freezer-safe containers. It will keep stored in the freezer for 3-4 months. >> Reheating gumbo from freezer: Let the gumbo thaw out overnight in the fridge. Then gently reheat gumbo on the stovetop over low heat, stirring often, until warmed through.
  5. Please read blog post in its entirety for more tips + tricks.