Authentic Chicken and Smoked Sausage Gumbo

4.66 from 50 votes

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Authentic Chicken and Smoked Sausage Gumbo is a delicious NOLA Cajun or Creole stew recipe. The soup is made with traditional gumbo flavors and a dark roux for lots of flavor. A perfect cold weather or football game day recipe, including Mardi Gras. Straight from New Orleans.
Top view of Authentic Chicken and Smoked Sausage Gumbo in a gray bowl with rice

This Authentic Chicken and Smoked Sausage Gumbo is an amazing stew that tastes just like you are in New Orleans!

Top view of Authentic Chicken and Smoked Sausage Gumbo in a gray bowl with rice

Why You Will Love This Recipe

One of my former coworkers used to live in Louisiana for several years.  He is also into cooking and has some regional dishes from his adventures.  

We worked with each other for two years and would both often make dishes for various pot lucks and parties at work.

But it was not until THIS gumbo recipe that I was determined to get a recipe from him. This is my favorite gumbo recipe!

Gumbo was something that was always slighting intimidating because it uses ingredients that I am not extremely familiar with (ever heard of gumbo file?…yeah, me neither).  

But this recipe is amazing and something that you will want to make again and again! And it tastes great the next day!

It is perfect for game day and cold weather, or for celebrating Mardi Gras!

The recipe below is for the mild-spice version and I have added notes for adjustments of seasoning if you want to make it spicy. 

A spoon with some gumbo and rice on it

What is Traditionally in Gumbo?

Most gumbo recipes call for a stock, meats or shellfish, and the classic holy trinity combination of celery, onion, and bell pepper.

It is a stew-like dish that focuses on Cajun flavors from the south.


Here is what you need to make this gumbo:

  • Split Chicken Breasts or Chicken Thighs
  • Flour
  • Vegetable Oil
  • Smoked Sausage
  • Diced Tomatoes
  • Okra – Fresh Okra is great but hard to find. I like to use pre-cut frozen okra.
  • Chicken Broth – or stock
  • Gumbo FilΓ© Powder – A ground spice that adds flavor and acts as a thickening agent
  • Cajun Seasoning – or creole seasoning if preferred
  • Bay Leaves
  • Yellow Onion
  • Celery
  • Bell Peppers – any color will work. Green bell pepper is crisper and red, orange, or yellow bell pepper is a touch sweeter
  • Garlic
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Hot Sauce for Serving
  • Olive Oil or more Vegetable Oil for cooking – only use olive oil when cooking at medium heat or lower, otherwise it burns

Gumbo file is ground up sassafras leaves. You can normally find it in the spice section of the grocery store on a lower shelf with other specialty spices.

Close view of the gumbo in a bowl

Instruction Overview – How to Make Authentic Gumbo

First and foremost, get that roux going with equal parts vegetable oil and all-purpose flour (see below for more on roux!). This is the most important part of the cooking process as the roux brings so much nutty flavor! You want your roux to be a milk chocolate color or even a touch darker as this is where the flavor comes from.

Then sear off the chicken in a large, heavy bottomed pot or large pot over medium heat until golden brown. I love to use my Dutch oven for this recipe!

SautΓ© your vegetables and then add the chicken back in plus the chicken stock. Let the chicken finish cooking in this liquid.

Cooking the vegetables in a pot

Then add your dark brown roux, seasoning, bay leaf, tomatoes, sliced sausage, and shred the chicken and add it back in.

Let it simmer on low heat and in the last 30 minutes, add the okra.

I love to serve this up with white rice and French bread.

Making Roux

Making the roux (flour and oil mixture) is probably the trickiest part of this easy recipe.

What makes it a little tricky is you want it to get super dark, like the color of dark chocolate, without burning the flour. The dark flavor is what will give you the most flavor and best results. But aim for at least a milk chocolate color.

I have found that sometimes it takes the roux extra long to get it to where I want it, so always start it first.

And then either be prepared to wait before adding it, or adding it when it is not quite as dark as you want it.

When I make gumbo with a lighter-than-ideal roux, it still tastes great, just not as deep of a flavor as when I can get it dark brown.

The shade of brown that you want the roux to be
Aim for this color roux!

Kim’s Tips

Get that roux as dark as you can! The darker it is, the better the end product will taste! But be careful as there is a fine line of really dark and burning. Aim for a dark chocolate color but not black.

Modifications and Substitutions

Are you team no tomatoes? Then don’t use tomatoes. Indifferent? Go with the recipe πŸ™‚ Wondering what this war is about? See the FAQs!

Using Different Meats

Easily switch up the meats with things like shrimp or other sausages. Just adjust the cooking time! (Frozen or fresh shrimp only need to be added the last few minutes to cook). Tail-on shrimp is more difficult to eat but adds great flavor.

You could also use leftover or rotisserie chicken if desired, just adding it at the end.

Or adjust the ratios of different meats with more or less of what you love!

This Authentic Chicken and Smoked Sausage Gumbo has become a staple in the house.  It is especially popular in the colder months and during football season.  

It is in regular rotation with my famous Hatch Green Chile!  

My favorite way to eat this homemade gumbo is on a bed of white rice, but French bread is great as well!


Can I Simmer Gumbo All Day?

Yes! The longer you can let it cook, the better it will taste.
Just make sure to stir frequently to avoid any sticking and burning on the bottom.

What Gives Gumbo its Flavor?

One of the keys to the flavor is the roux! A dark roux is going to bring an amazing depth of flavor.

What is the Secret Ingredient in Gumbo?

This answer might vary based on who you talk to, but most of the time, gumbo file is the secret!
And in my opinion, also the roux color πŸ™‚

What is Gumbo File?

Gumbo file is ground up sassafras leaves. You can normally find it in the spice section of the grocery store on a lower shelf with other specialty spices.
What does gumbo file do? It is a thickener for the gumbo and also a key flavor!

Do you Need Okra in Gumbo?

It is not required, but I recommend it! You can find it whole or already cut up in the frozen vegetables section of a grocery store.
It brings great texture when you are eating, and it has never tasted slimy to me in this recipe.
Plus okra is incredibly good for you!

Does Real Gumbo have Tomatoes?

It depends on what variation you are thinking about. People have very strong opinions about this.
Creole gumbo does have tomatoes, and cajun gumbo does not.
If you do not want to use tomatoes, go ahead and skip them!


Authentic Chicken and Smoked Sausage Gumbo in a gray bowl with rice sitting on a cutting board
Pin of Authentic Chicken and Smoked Sausage Gumbo in a gray bowl with rice and title at top

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Top view of Authentic Chicken and Smoked Sausage Gumbo in a gray bowl with rice

Authentic Chicken and Smoked Sausage Gumbo Recipe

Authentic Chicken and Smoked Sausage Gumbo is a delicious NOLA Cajun or Creole stew recipe. The soup is made with traditional gumbo flavors and a dark roux for lots of flavor. A perfect cold weather or football game day recipe, including Mardi Gras. Straight from New Orleans.
4.66 from 50 votes
Print Pin Rate Save Recipe
Course: Soup
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Chicken/Turkey, Game Day, Pork, Winter
Cook Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 429kcal




  • Make the roux: Combine the 1 cup of flour and 1 cup of vegetable oil in a small saucepan. Heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for approximately 30 minutes.
    You want to turn it off when the mixture gets to the color of milk chocolate as it will continue to cook and darken. Ultimately you want it to be a dark chocolate brown color, but be careful that it does not burn and start turning black. (It helps to remove the roux from the pot and pour it into a bowl to get it away from the hot pot and help stop the cooking process).
    Keep an eye on the roux and if it is starting to brown too quickly, turn the heat down to medium low.
    1 cup all-purpose flour, 1 cup vegetable oil
  • Add 2 Tablespoons of vegetable or olive oil to a large pot. Heat over medium heat. Season both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper. Add the chicken to the oil in the pot and brown on both sides, approximately 5-7 minutes per side. Remove chicken and set aside.
    2 Tablespoons oil
  • To the same pot, add the bell pepper, onion, and celery. Cook vegetables for 5 minutes until they begin to soften.
    Add the garlic and cook an additional 2 minutes.
    1 bell pepper,, 1 large yellow onion,, 5 stalks celery, 5 cloves garlic
  • Add the chicken, still whole, back to the pot as well as the chicken stock. Turn up the heat to medium-high and cook until the chicken is cooked through.
    3 split chicken breasts, 64 ounces chicken stock
  • Remove the chicken and add the roux, bay leaves, tomatoes, and seasonings (including the file). (Be careful when adding the roux as it may bubble or splatter if it is still hot).
    3 bay leaves, 28 ounces diced tomatoes, 1/2 Tablespoon Cajun seasoning, 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1 Tablespoon gumbo file, 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • Pull the chicken off of the bones and shred. Discard the bones and add the chicken back to the pot.
  • Slice the sausage into coins and add to the pot. Reduce heat to low and cook for 1.5-2 hours.
    2 smoked sausages
  • In the last half hour, add the frozen okra.
    8 ounces frozen okra
  • Season to taste with salt, pepper, and hot sauce. Serve with rice and/or french bread.


To make the spicier version, use the following spice measurements instead of what is listed above for the same items:
  • 1 Tablespoon Cajun seasoning
  • 1 Tablespoon Cayenne pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon hot sauce
I use skinless split chicken breasts. The bone-in gives it more flavor. You can also use boneless chicken breasts or any other cut of chicken that you prefer.
Worried about heat? Completely skip the hot sauce and cayenne pepper, and then add more heat if desired at the end or when serving.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 429kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 73mg | Sodium: 445mg | Potassium: 713mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 1660IU | Vitamin C: 44mg | Calcium: 91mg | Iron: 3mg
By on February 4th, 2016

About Kim

Kim has grown up with a passion for cooking good food! You can find her in the kitchen experimenting with new recipes, making dog treats, and eating Italian food!

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68 thoughts on “Authentic Chicken and Smoked Sausage Gumbo”

  1. Well this sounds hearty and delicious. And I’m a big Staub fan too – but I only have the one cocotte so far. I feel a collection coming on πŸ˜‰

    • Yes, the Staub collection is a dangerous and real thing! I am in love with their new white color, I need to find a piece that I can get in white now!

    • I am getting ready to
      Make it now so I want to know leave the chicken skin on the chicken after i brown them

      • Hi Ginger,
        I typically use skinless split breasts. If you like to eat chicken with skin on, I would say you can definitely leave it! I hope you enjoy it!

        • I am from New Orleans Louisiana born and bred and everybody loves my chicken and sausage combo you can use a combination of sausages , smoked , andoullie, even green onion. yum,but I always use chicken thighs as they don’t dry out like white meat
          tends to do. In a pinch, grab a rotisserie chicken from you local grocery for quick and delicious flavor. As far as file goes we add it ( just a pinch) at the table because when you add it to the pot or reheat it it could become gooey. Okra with or without tomatoes is a great way to thicken your gumbo. Enjoy

      • Being Creole, I recommend leaving the skin on. Since I’m trying to lose weight , I recommend losing the skin, but, with remorse!

  2. Ohh! I love gumbo! I’ve only made it myself a couple of times and it was by no means authentic. It still tasted pretty good, but this recipe sounds much better. I need to get my hands on some gumbo file!

  3. Does this recipe freeze well? I made it & live it!, but it is quite a big batch….and worried it may go bad before we can eat it all.

    • Hi Ray,
      I am glad you love it! I do the same, I freeze portions into mason jars and it turns out great when defrosted! I do not freeze it with rice or anything, just the gumbo itself. The sausage and okra is a little softer than when it is fresh, but it is not mushy or overly soft at all. Freeze away! πŸ˜€

      • I keep all my cereals, pasta, cookies and crackers in Mason Jars… They look nice on the shelf, now especially that the jaars are plain not logo. I have wanted to freeze in jars but was afraid they word crack or break in the freezer and I would loose all my food, as you would not know where glass would go. Are there any tips on freezing in jars. I use ziplocks like pasta sauce and beef stew, I freeze flat but it makes a mess at first when filing. The when they are solid I stand up in freezer like a file cabinate.

        • Hi Arolyn,
          When I freeze in jars I fill them up until about where the lid starts and just label them with some masking tape and a sharpie on the lid. To thaw, it is best to pop them in the refrigerator the day before and let them thaw that way if possible, but I know that is not always an option. You can try microwaving it, without the metal lid!, a few minutes at a time and stirring in between, but sometimes the jars break because of the temperature change. Rare for me, but it happens sometimes. You can also try thawing them like you would frozen foods, running cold (not warm) water over the jar.

          The bag method you use is great as well, I use that too! And much easier to thaw. To help with the mess I flip the top ziploc part of the bag down, so the top edge is the inside of the bag and catches the drips. I also do this in a bowl to help hold the bag upright. Hope this helps!

    • Hi Luke,

      I add them in at step 5 just before the liquids and let them cook with the veggies until they are just fragrant. Then I add the liquids and let it cook low and slow. By adding them with the veggies, they get a little toasted which helps to bring out the flavor a little more. And by letting them stew in the liquid for a longer period of time, you should get a better well-rounded flavor out of them. I hope you enjoy it!

  4. I came across this recipe yesterday and I am so happy that I did. It turned out fantastic! Just a few notes – that roux takes longer than 30 minutes on medium low. Also I would add that you should heat the oil first – as it reads you just add them together and start your roux. I hate okra so I substituted gumbo file to mine. And additional salt will be needed (not just to season the chicken).

    Note: The size pot that you might want to use was not mentioned in the recipe, but making this in a 5 qt pot is not a good idea. Use a bigger pot. I thought I would be able to get away with my 5 qt and I was mistaken.

    • Hi Stephanie,

      I am so glad you liked it! Thank you for the comments, it definitely does make a lot! I’ll make a note about the roux, sometimes it can burn easily on medium since stoves are different.

  5. I like to add a big scoop of homemade potato salad to my bowl. I never make gumbo without it. I make mine similar to this but omit okra and tomatoes and add andouille as well as the smoked sausage. I was also always taught that file is the last thing you add.

  6. Looks great. I’ve discovered that I can get a little more flavor using roasted chicken thighs. I add the drippings to the Roux just before adding the veggies. I also roast the garlic when roasting the thighs. I make a paste out of it and stir it in

    I also always brown my sausage before adding. Again more flavor

  7. I was born & raised in East Texas, and our Cajun neighbor, Miss Totie, was a fabulous cook. She shared some of her gumbo techniques with us. One was the big, black cast-iron skillet in which she cooked her roux to a perilous-looking darkness. She halted the browning immediately by dumping in all the chopped peppers, celery & onions at once, giving it a quick stir and and clamping a lid on it. They cooked off-burner in the stored heat of that hot cast iron while Miss Totie boned her chicken.
    Browning flour reduces its thickening power. Miss Totie thickened her gumbo with okra. BUT, she cautioned, NEVER cook okra in cast iron, or it will turn an ugly, unappetizing black. I forgot once, and my results were literally too ugly to serve or eat. OKRA THICKENER: Miss Totie sliced each pod crossways, sauteed the slices in bacon fat til tender, and ruthlessly squashed them with the back of an egg turner into a mass of mostly seeds and fibers. She reduced this by about half, stirring frequently, and smeared in enough tomato paste to mound the mixture in the middle of the skillet. “That there’s yer thickner,” Miss Totie pronounced.
    When Miss Totie served her gumbo, she passed the rice around separately, instead of mixing it in at the stove. Mama asked her why. Miss Totie explained, “Bad for the leftovers. Rice in yer gumbo jest keeps soakin’ up liquid an’ swellin’ up–even in the icebox. I oncet turned a mighty good gumbo into rice dressin’ like that.”

  8. The difference between Creole gumbo & Cajun Gumbo is that Creole people add tomato in some fashion, whereas, Cajuns don’t.
    The tomato flavor seems to round out the overall flavor to me.
    My Granma & Granpa were from New Orleans so, I am Creole. I also love it very spicy!

  9. Being Creole, I recommend leaving the skin on. Since I’m trying to lose weight , I recommend losing the skin, but, with remorse! My historical family root name is Fortier.
    Cajuns migrated from Canada as Acadians & became Cajun in the twisted language. Cajuns usually live in the countryside were as Creoles generally live in the city of New Orleans itself.

  10. Being a Louisiana girl I might suggest using a whole chicken as it’s traditional , season it up well , brown it , add it all to your gumbo leaving each cut up section whole, you see this adds so much flavor to our gumbo. Also you will want to smother your okra in a skillet with a little butter , allow it to smother add a little water and let it smother out , or you will have slimy gumbo. We also like to just throw everything in one pot and allow it to cook and marry so to speak. So make your roux and add your trinity and add a little broth or water and allow it to cook together for 30 min then add all the rest , your cut up bone in chicken (gives flavor) your sausage, and all your spices minus the file, as we add that in the end , most add it to their bowls of individual gumbo & don’t forget the creamy potato salad us Cajuns must have with our gumbo !!!

    • I’m in the whole chicken camp, too, or at least bone in thighs. I’ve never smothered out my okra before, though, I’ll have to try that next time. My auntie alway cooks up her trinity like you suggest and I dearly love her version. I’ll have to give that a go, next time. πŸ™‚

  11. 5 stars
    Have made this twice in the past month and it’s sooooo good!! We have tried both bone-in and boneless chicken, both very delicious. Even better the next day for leftovers with rice and homemade french bread! A new go to for comfort food any time of the year (and I’m sure we will eat it a lot more often in colder weather!).

  12. 4 stars
    We’ve used this recipe several times with great success. A few things we’ve done to make this a much more “week night” friendly meal are as follows:

    β€’ Make a large batch of rue in advance (outside on the grill to keep it from stinkin’ up your house) and keep it stored in your freezer in 2 cup servings. Thaw it out the morning you plan to make gumbo, along with your chicken and sausage, and you are ahead of the game by a mile.
    β€’ Grill your chicken (thighs, never breasts!!), sausage and holy trinity over an open flame to impart depth and richness to your final dish. (grill the chicken completely and let rest before pulling)
    β€’ Add all your prepped/cooked/cut ingredients to an insta-pot (minus ~1.5 cups of stock) and cook on high for 30 mins with a 10min natural release.
    β€’ Always serve over white rice, with a crusty loaf of french bread and a heaping helpin’ of potato salad on the side. Oh and you’ve gotta have a good bourbon drink to compliment.

  13. 5 stars
    Turned out fantastic, I added the gumbo filet to the roux at the end. Also no okra since I just don’t care for it. Skimmed the oil/fat off the top as it cooked. Used 1 Tbs of all the seasonings and it was perfect.

  14. 5 stars
    Really good! I used less cayenne than called for because I’m sensitive to spicy foods but otherwise followed the recipe exactly. Tastes like New Orleans!

  15. 5 stars
    Dropped the okra and added shrimp. This is a solid pleaser for the family. Spice it up and enjoy, I used Savoire’s roux and can’t beat this recipe. Also used 1 tsp file. Use the full 2 hours to let the flavors marry and I used Franks hotsauce to keep from being too bold.

  16. 5 stars
    OMG ! Soooo good! I used Hilshire Farms Cajun Style Andouille Smoked Sausage and an already cooked chicken from Harris Teeter. And fresh okra cut up and stirred in with the other veggies. Delicious!

  17. 5 stars
    No to the tomatoes & didn’t add okra because I wanted left overs and okra can make it slimy after a day or two. But DAMN was this delicious!

  18. It tasted great but I made the roux a couple days earlier and stored in the fridge. Had to warm it up a bit before adding to the stew.
    But the oil is separating- color is a nice chocolate brown.
    Why is oil separating? I used vegetable oil

    • Hi Rosy,
      I am guessing it is just from it sitting there, like how a salad dressing would separate.
      I would just whisk it back together as it warms up and would think it will go back to being combined!

  19. 5 stars
    Wife made this yesterday and it was absolutely delicious. Very nice flavor and heat. I did have to look all over the dang town to find gumbo file. It just wouldn’t have been the same without it. Also need to find a different smoked sausage as this one came out a bit mealy in texture. Put in too soon? Maybe just need to find a different brand.

    • Hi Jim, so glad you like it! And so sorry the file was being elusive on you! I use the Hillshire Farms sausage that comes in vacuum seal and it has always worked for me!


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