Instant Pot Brown Rice Jambalaya. The New Orleans classic, pressure cooked with brown rice, smoked sausage, and chicken.

I’m trying to eat healthier by using more brown rice in my diet, so for Mardi Gras this year I’m making Jambalaya with brown rice.

Wait – a healthy Fat Tuesday? Isn’t that a contradiction? Shouldn’t Mardi Gras be about excess and celebration?

A bowl of brown rice jambalaya with sausage, chicken, and green onions, and tabasco sauce and cajun rub in the background.
Instant Pot Brown Rice Jambalaya

Well, yes. I’m fine with a less excess when the results taste this good. Brown rice works really well with jambalaya, with its extra flavor and chew. Especially when pressure cooking, I think brown rice makes a better jambalaya than my white rice version.



  • Vegetable oil
  • Boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • Cajun seasoning
  • Onion
  • Bell pepper
  • Celery
  • Garlic
  • Fine sea salt
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Dried thyme
  • White wine
  • Brown long-grain rice
  • Chicken broth
  • Smoked sausage
  • Petite diced tomatoes
  • Bay leaf

See recipe card for quantities.

🥘 Substitutions

Chicken thighs – I prefer dark meat in pressure cooking; you can substitute chicken breast, but it’s going to get a little overcooked in the longer cooking time that brown rice needs.

Cajun Seasoning – there are all sorts of store-bought cajun seasoning blends, and any of them will work in this recipe. Most Store-bought blends have a lot of salt; it will be the first or second ingredient in their ingredient list. If you have get salt-free cajun seasoning, or use my salt-free homemade Cajun spice rub, add a teaspoon of fine sea salt to the recipe.

Cajun aromatics – the Cajun trinity of onion, bell pepper, and celery, sautéed with garlic, make the backbone of most Cajun recipes. (At least that’s what Emeril taught me on Emeril Live years ago.)

Spicy – Cajun seasoning is already spicy, and I add an extra teaspoon of cayenne pepper to kick it up a notch. (Shout-out to Mr. Lagasse again). If you are serving kids (or other heat-sensitive types), skip the cayenne.

White wine – I add a little wine for the acid and a hint of fruit in the recipe. Also, the alcohol helps bloom some of the spices in the Cajun seasoning. If you want to avoid alcohol in your cooking, replace it with more chicken broth.

Brown rice – I use long grain brown rice in this recipe. Long grain brown rice is less dense and chewy than medium- or short-grain brown rice. (Brown rice is already dense and chewy to begin with.) That said, if you have or prefer a denser rice, go ahead and substitute medium or short grain brown rice.

If you want to use white rice, use this recipe instead: Pressure Cooker Jambalaya with Chicken and Sausage

Chicken broth – I love homemade pressure cooker broth, but you can substitute low-sodium store-bought broth, or water. If you use homemade broth or water, make sure to add an extra ½ teaspoon of fine sea salt to the recipe.

Smoked sausage – Andouille sausage is the traditional choice from New Orleans, but any smoked sausage will do.

Petite diced tomatoes – I like the smaller chunks of petite diced tomatoes in this recipe, because they blend in with the rice better. But, a can of regular diced tomatoes or crushed tomatoes will work.

Bay leaf – not absolutely necessary, but it is a common ingredient in jambalaya. Make sure to discard it when you’re done cooking. It has given its flavor to the dish, and whole bay leaves are a choking hazard.

🛠 Equipment

A 6-quart pressure cooker


This recipe doubles easily in a 6-quart pressure cooker. Cut all the ingredients in half and this recipe will fit in a 3-quart pressure cooker. The cooking time does not change; it takes the same amount of time to cook brown rice, no matter how much you’re cooking.

💡Tips and Tricks

  • Simmer to thicken. This recipe comes out on the border between a rice dish and a soup. If you want a thicker jambalaya, set your Instant Pot for Sauté mode adjusted to low and simmer for an extra 10 minutes to thicken it up. Just make sure to stir and scrape the bottom of the pot so the rice doesn’t stick and burn.



A bowl of brown rice jambalaya with sausage, chicken, and green onions, and tabasco sauce and cajun rub in the background.

Instant Pot Brown Rice Jambalaya

  • Author:
    Mike Vrobel

  • Total Time:
    1 hour 5 minutes

  • Yield:
    8 cups of jambalaya


Instant Pot Brown Rice Jambalaya. The New Orleans classic, pressure cooked with brown rice, smoked sausage, and chicken.


  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 ½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt (if using salt-free Cajun seasoning)
  • 1 large onion, minced
  • 1 bell pepper, minced
  • 1 rib celery, minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ cup white wine (or more broth or water)
  • 1 cup long-grain brown rice
  • 1 cup chicken broth (homemade or low-sodium store-bought or water)
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt (if using homemade broth or water)
  • 1 pound smoked sausage, sliced ½ inch thick (andouille sausage if you can find it)
  • 14– to 16-ounce can petite diced tomatoes with juices
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt (or kosher salt)
  • 1 bay leaf


  • Tabasco sauce
  • Sliced green onion


  1. Brown the chicken: In an Instant Pot or other pressure cooker, heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil using Sauté mode until the oil starts to shimmer, about 3 minutes. (Use medium heat in a stovetop PC.) Sprinkle the chicken with 1 tablespoon cajun seasoning (and 1 teaspoon fine sea salt if the Cajun seasoning is salt-free.) Add the chicken to the pot in a single layer. Cook the chicken, without moving, until it is browned on the bottom, about 3 minutes. Remove the browned chicken to a bowl, leaving as much oil behind as possible.
  2. Sauté the aromatics: Stir in the onions, bell pepper, celery, and garlic into the pot, then sprinkle with ½ teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning, and ½ teaspoon dried thyme. Sauté, scraping the bottom of the pot with a flat edged wooden spoon to loosen any browned chicken bits, until the onion turns translucent and starts to brown around the edges, about 5 minutes. Pour in the white wine and bring to a simmer. Simmer the wine for 1 minute. Stir in the rice, chicken broth, ½ teaspoon salt (if using homemade broth or water), sliced sausage, diced tomatoes, and the browned chicken and any juices in the chicken bowl. Float the bay leaf on top.
  3. Pressure cook the jambalaya for 20 minutes with a 15 minute Natural Release: Lock the lid and cook on high pressure for 20 minutes in an Instant Pot or other electric PC (“Manual” or “Pressure Cook” mode in an Instant Pot), or for 16 minutes in a stovetop PC. Let pressure come down naturally, about 15 minutes (If you’re in a hurry, you can quick release any remaining pressure at that point).
  4. Serve: Unlock the lid and open the pot, tilting the lid away from you to avoid the hot steam. Discard the bay leaf, then stir the jambalaya to fluff up the rice. Scoop into serving bowls, sprinkle with the minced green onions, and serve, passing Tabasco sauce at the table. Enjoy!

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Category: Sunday Dinner
  • Method: Pressure Cooker
  • Cuisine: Cajun

Keywords: Instant Pot Brown Rice Jambalaya, Pressure Cooker Brown Rice Jambalaya

☃️ Storage

Cooked rice does not keep well – it carries bacteria spores (Bacillus cereus) that multiply in warm temperatures. If you need to store cooked rice, cool it down quickly in the refrigerator, or freeze, within an hour of cooking. Store refrigerated rice for 2-3 days, or frozen rice for up to 3 months, and make sure to reheat completely (to at least 165°F) before eating. (Source: Safe Handling of Cooked Rice, University of Wisconsin Extension)

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