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Quick and Easy Cajun Chicken Gumbo

Rebecca is a retired special education teacher, a freelance writer, and an avid recycler.

Celebrate Mardi Gras with a bowl of Cajun chicken gumbo

Celebrate Mardi Gras with a bowl of Cajun chicken gumbo

Easy Gumbo Recipe

Can’t make it down to the Big Easy for Mardi Gras? Join in the festivities in your own way. Curl up in front of the fire with a bowl of delicious homemade chicken gumbo.

Make it quickly and easily with my short-cut recipe. I use frozen cooked diced chicken, frozen gumbo veggies, and Uncle Ben’s ready rice. It doesn’t get any easier than this. Really!

Creole and Cajun Food: Differences and Similarities

Visitors to New Orleans make sampling the food a top priority. But how can you tell the difference between Cajun and Creole cuisine? It is becoming difficult because they are quickly becoming one and the same. Food historians have had to focus on regional differences to do so.

Both cuisines are heavily influenced by Spanish, African, and Native American cooking and are slightly influenced by West Indies, German, Irish, and Italian cooking. Creole cooking evolved in New Orleans during the 1800s.

Today, Creole dishes vary from home to home as cooks use different thickening agents. A thickening agent, known as a roux, can include anything from the African vegetable okra to crushed sassafras leaves. Creole roux is made from butter and flour. Cajun roux calls for oil or lard and flour.

Cajun is more of a country way of cooking than Creole. Cajun cooking evolved in the Louisiana backcountry and uses locally farmed and trapped meat, rice, beans, and pork fat. Butter was not widely used in the past because of a lack of dairy products in the area. Cajun food has more French and Southern roots than Creole food.

Gumbo vs. Jambalaya

Gumbo is thin-stocked and soup-like, whereas jambalaya is more of a stew. Gumbo’s use of tomatoes also distinguishes the dish from Creole. Cajun dishes generally don’t include tomatoes. Jambalaya is more of a protein entree served with rice on the side. It is made with a thickening, or roux, seasonings, and veggies.

Both gumbo and jambalaya may use any combination of chicken, sausage, and shellfish such as shrimp or crayfish.

Healthy Chicken Gumbo

Okra has been added to the list of foods that food scientists have found to help lower cholesterol. Of course, we have known the many benefits of tomatoes for a while now. Other gumbo veggie ingredients include corn, red bell pepper, and celery. I use wild brown rice instead of white rice. And I use olive oil for a healthier roux. Cajun seasoning from the spices isle gives it an authentic Cajun flavor.

These are some of the ingredients I used for this short-cut gumbo recipe

These are some of the ingredients I used for this short-cut gumbo recipe


  • 1 cup chicken, pre-cooked, frozen
  • 1 (10-ounce) can chicken broth
  • 1 (10-ounce) can diced tomatoes with green chilies
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 (12-ounce) package gumbo veggies, frozen
  • 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1/8 teaspoon hot pepper sauce


  1. Make a roux in the bottom of a Dutch oven with the oil and flour. Cook until the roux is caramel-colored.
  2. Add all remaining ingredients except for the rice.
  3. Bring to a boil and boil for 3 minutes.
  4. Reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour.
  5. Add the ready rice during the last 10 minutes.

Real Cajun Chicken Gumbo

Want to make gumbo the "real" way? Check out Cajun cooking expert and funny man Justin Wilson.