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Slow Cooker Jambalaya Pasta

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If you want to mix up your weekday dinner routine, look no further than slow cooker jambalaya pasta. Combining the rich flavors of New Orleans jambalaya with the comfort of pasta, this dish promises the taste of the South in a satisfying, one-pot meal. No more hustling in the kitchen after a long day – your slow cooker will take care of everything while you relax.

Jambalaya Pasta in a slow cooker with a wooden spoon.

This easy pastalaya is filled with shrimp, smoked sausage, veggies, and tender pasta in a Cajun cream sauce. It’s simple to make in the slow cooker and a delicious family dinner recipe.

The slow cooking process allows each ingredient to meld and create a delightful symphony of flavors in your mouth. And the best part? Your trusty slow cooker does all the heavy lifting, making this recipe an ideal option for busy weeknights.

Why You’ll Love This Jambalaya Pasta Recipe

  • Effortless prep: With a slow cooker, there’s no need to monitor your food constantly. Combine all ingredients, set the cooker, and let it do its magic! This means less time tending to dinner and more time to focus on other tasks or enjoy quality family time.
  • Big batch: Make a large amount of pasta, ensuring you’ll have leftover jambalaya pasta for lunch or another dinner. This is great for meal planning and makes life easier for busy families. It tastes just as yummy the next day. 
  • Customizable: Jambalaya pasta offers various ingredients to suit your taste, such as chicken, smoked sausage, and shrimp. Mix and match or add extra veggies to meet your family’s tastes. It’s a family favorite!
  • Impressive flavors: Combining classic jambalaya ingredients like sausage, chicken, and spices creates a bold and satisfying flavor profile that won’t disappoint.


  • Chicken tenderloins: This adds a tender, lean protein to your jambalaya, balancing the flavors and textures.
  • Smoked sausage: The smoked sausage provides a robust, smoky taste and a firmer texture that complements the dish.
  • Celery: Celery offers a delightful crunch and mild, earthy taste that enhances the overall profile of your jambalaya.
  • Garlic cloves: Garlic contributes a subtle, aromatic layer of flavor, elevating the spices and seasonings in your dish.
  • Frozen peppers and onions: A convenient way to add veggies, these will be incorporated easily into the dish while providing a pop of color and flavor.
  • Can diced tomatoes: Canned tomatoes add moisture and acidity to the jambalaya, creating a rich, savory base.
  • Cajun seasoning: This quintessential blend of spices brings Cajun cuisine’s bold, distinctive taste to your slow cooker jambalaya pasta.
  • Smoked paprika: Smoked paprika adds a smoky depth and subtle heat that supports the overall flavor profile of the dish.
  • Large peeled and deveined shrimp: A classic jambalaya ingredient, the shrimp lend a delicate seafood flavor and meaty texture to the dish.
  • Cream: The cream adds a velvety smoothness, mellowing out the intense flavors and complementing the rich ingredients in your jambalaya.
  • Bowtie pasta: Provides the perfect vessel to soak up all the delicious flavors of your slow cooker jambalaya pasta.
Ingredients to make Slow Cooker Jambalaya Pasta.

How to Make Slow Cooker Jambalaya Pasta

  • Step One: Add the chicken, sausage, celery, garlic, peppers, onions, diced tomatoes, Cajun seasoning, and paprika to your slow cooker. Give everything a good stir, making sure everything is well mixed.
  • Step Two: Put the lid on your slow cooker and set the heat to LOW. Allow your jambalaya to cook for six hours. This slow cooking process will ensure that all the flavors meld together and the meat becomes tender.
  • Step Three: When there are about 30 minutes left in the cooking process, it’s time to add the shrimp to your slow cooker. Continue to cook until the shrimp is fully cooked through. While the shrimp is cooking, prepare the pasta according to the package directions.
  • Step Four: Add the cream and cooked pasta to the slow cooker once the shrimp is cooked and the pasta is ready. Gently stir to combine everything, ensuring the pasta is evenly coated with the creamy sauce.
Steps to make Slow Cooker Jambalaya Pasta.

Equipment Needed

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  • Slow cooker. Choose a slow cooker with at least 5-7 quarts to accommodate all your ingredients.
  • Measuring cups and spoons: Ensure you have a set on hand to measure your ingredients accurately.
  • Wooden spoon: This is perfect for stirring your ingredients in the slow cooker, as it won’t scratch the surface.
  • Colander: You may need this to drain your pasta before combining it with other ingredients.
  • Serving spoon: This helps scoop out generous portions of your jambalaya pasta once it’s ready to serve.

Variations and Substitutions

  • Changing the proteins: You don’t have to settle for chicken or shrimp in your jambalaya pasta. Feel free to substitute other meats that you enjoy. Some excellent options include andouille sausage, turkey sausage, or even tofu for a vegetarian version. Boneless skinless chicken breasts or boneless skinless chicken thighs can be used instead of chicken tenderloins.
  • Modify the veggies: Mix and match vegetables according to your taste and what’s in season. Some alternative favorites include green bell pepper, carrots, tomatoes, zucchini, or corn. You can also use fresh tomatoes instead of canned tomatoes, peppers, and onions instead of frozen. Add some tomato paste for extra tomato flavor.
  • Adjusting the spices: Finally, tweaking the seasoning blend is easy to customize your slow cooker jambalaya pasta to your spice preferences. Experiment with bold spices like creole seasoning, paprika, cayenne pepper, or chili powder to add heat, or add other dried herbs like basil or parsley for a different flavor. Don’t forget to season with salt and black pepper.
Jambalaya pasta in a crockpot.

Serving Suggestions

  • Crusty bread: A warm, crusty baguette or a slice of garlic bread will complement the rich flavors of the jambalaya and help you soak up any remaining sauce on your plate.
  • Green salad: A fresh green salad with a light vinaigrette dressing can balance out the hearty, rich taste of the jambalaya. Consider using mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, and red onions for a colorful, tasty salad.
  • A light, tangy coleslaw: Try our Chipotle Coleslaw.
  • Grilled or steamed vegetables (such as asparagus, zucchini, or bell peppers).
  • Cornbread or hush puppies.

Choosing the Right Pasta

When making crockpot jambalaya pasta, selecting the right pasta is crucial to achieve the ideal texture and flavor. In general, you can’t go wrong with choosing pasta that can absorb flavors and retains its shape during the slow cooking process.

Medium to large-sized pasta shapes work well for jambalaya pasta. We love bow-tie pasta, but some great options are:

  • Penne: This tube-shaped pasta has ridges on the outside, which helps to trap the sauce and seasonings, enhancing the flavor of your jambalaya.
  • Rigatoni: Similar to penne but larger, rigatoni also has ridges and a wide hollow center, making it an excellent choice for holding the jambalaya sauce and ingredients.
  • Rotini: With its spiral shape, rotini is perfect for grabbing onto the deliciously rich, spicy, and savory sauce of jambalaya.
Slow Cooker Jambalaya Pasta in a white bowl.

Recipe Tips and Tricks

  • Select the best proteins: Including various proteins, like chicken, sausage, and shrimp, will add flavor and depth to your dish. Ensure your chicken is boneless and skinless, cut into bite-size pieces, and use your favorite smoked sausage to enhance the taste. You can also use cooked shrimp, but add them at the end of cooking time.
  • Amp up the flavor with spices: Cajun seasoning is essential for an authentic jambalaya flavor. You can use store-bought or homemade Cajun spices to add that perfect kick. Don’t forget to season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Chop your veggies uniformly: Ensuring your vegetables (e.g., onions, celery, and bell peppers) are chopped into similar-sized pieces will help them cook evenly in the slow cooker.
  • Don’t cook the shrimp too long: If including shrimp, add it near the end of the cooking time to avoid overcooked, chewy shrimp. Most slow cooker recipes recommend adding shrimp during the last 30 minutes of cooking for the most tender shrimp.
  • Thicken the sauce if you need to: Make a cornstarch slurry and whisk in after you’ve added the cream. 
  • Garnish and serve: Before serving, garnish with finely chopped cilantro, sliced green onions, or parsley to enhance the presentation and add freshness. Pair your jambalaya pasta with crusty bread or a green salad for a well-rounded and satisfying meal.

Storage Instructions

First, allow the jambalaya pasta to cool completely before storing it. This step helps prevent condensation from forming inside the container, which can lead to soggy pasta and potential spoilage.

Once cooled, transfer the pasta to an airtight container or resealable plastic bag. Keeping the air out helps retain moisture and flavor while preventing the growth of bacteria. Consider dividing it into smaller portions for easier storage and reheating if you have a large batch.

Refrigerate the jambalaya pasta for 3-4 days in an airtight container. 

Slow Cooker Jambalaya Pasta in a white bowl.

Can I Freeze?

Yes, you can freeze your slow cooker jambalaya pasta, but there are a few things you should note. 

Let your jambalaya cool completely after cooking. Placing hot food in the freezer can raise the surrounding temperature and potentially harm other items. Transferring your jambalaya to a large, shallow dish can speed up the cooling process. Once cooled, portion your jambalaya into freezer-safe containers or resealable plastic bags. Ensure the containers are airtight to avoid freezer burn and maintain your dish’s flavor.

Regarding your dish’s ingredients, meats like chicken and smoked sausage should freeze well, retaining their flavor and texture. However, freezing pasta is a bit trickier. It’s best to cook it separately and add it to the dish once you’ve reheated the jambalaya. 

If you need to freeze the pasta, just be aware that some texture changes could occur when you thaw and reheat.

To reheat your jambalaya, it’s a good idea first to thaw it in the refrigerator overnight. Thawing slowly is a safer method than using the microwave or leaving it on the countertop, as it minimizes the risk of bacteria growth and ensures an even temperature throughout the dish. Once thawed, you can reheat your jambalaya in the oven, stovetop, or microwave, depending on your preference.

How to Reheat

Reheating your slow cooker jambalaya pasta can be done in a few ways to ensure that it remains delicious and safe. Below are some methods to reheat your dish effectively.

Method 1: On the Stove

One of the best ways to reheat jambalaya pasta is on the stove. To do this, add some water or chicken stock to a pan or Dutch oven and heat it on medium heat. Next, add the jambalaya to the pan and cover it with a lid. The lid will trap the steam and keep the dish moist, preventing it from drying out. Be sure to stir occasionally to ensure even heating.

Method 2: In the Oven

Another option to reheat the pasta is by using the oven. First, preheat your oven to 300F. Then, place your slow cooker jambalaya pasta in an oven-safe dish and cover it with aluminum foil. You may need to add some water or broth to prevent it from drying out. Just a tablespoon or two will be enough – make sure not to drench the pasta. Pop the dish in the preheated oven and reheat for approximately 20 minutes or until the pasta is heated through.

Method 3: Using a Microwave

Microwaves are also a convenient way of reheating jambalaya pasta. To use this method, transfer the pasta into a microwave-safe container and cover it with a microwave-safe lid or plastic wrap. Make sure to leave an opening for the steam to escape. Reheat the dish on high power for about 2-3 minutes, stirring halfway through to ensure even heating. Be cautious when removing the container, as it might be hot.

Can I Make Ahead?

Yes, you can make Slow Cooker Jambalaya Pasta ahead of time, making it a convenient choice for busy days. To save time, you can prepare the ingredients earlier and store them in the refrigerator until you’re ready to start cooking.

Begin by chopping and dicing your key ingredients like chicken breasts, smoked sausage, and celery, and store them separately in airtight containers in your refrigerator. When you’re ready to start cooking, dump them into the slow cooker and your other ingredients. This step helps reduce the time spent on last-minute preparations.

While pre-cooking the pasta is not recommended, you may cook it separately before serving. This helps ensure the pasta remains al dente, as it can become 

Can I Make it on the Stovetop?

Yes, you can make jambalaya pasta on the stovetop if you don’t have a slow cooker or prefer a quicker cooking method. Traditional jambalaya is often cooked on the stovetop, and transitioning to a pasta version will be just as delicious and satisfying.

Gather all your ingredients, such as chicken, smoked sausage, vegetables, and seasonings. Begin by browning the chicken and sausage in a large pot or deep skillet over medium-high heat. Remember that using a good-quality smoked sausage will add a lot of flavor to the dish and is a classic ingredient in jambalaya.

Once the meats are browned, set aside and sauté your vegetables, including onions, celery, and bell peppers, until tender. Now, you can add the seasonings like garlic, Cajun seasoning, paprika, and a can of diced tomatoes.

Next, add the uncooked pasta directly into the pot and the rest of the ingredients, ensuring it’s properly soaked in the liquid mixture. 

Cover the pot and let it simmer on medium-low heat, stirring occasionally to keep the pasta from sticking to the bottom. Watch the pasta until it’s cooked to your desired tenderness. 

Add the cream and shrimp in the last few minutes of cooking. Continue to cook for a few more minutes until the shrimp is cooked and the sauce has thickened slightly.

Slow Cooker Jambalaya Pasta in a bowl.


Jambalaya is a flavorful dish that originates from the southern regions of the United States, particularly Louisiana. It’s a delicious one-pot meal that combines rice, meat, vegetables, and a mix of seasonings to create a heartwarming and satisfying dish. Many variations of jambalaya exist, ranging from Cajun to Creole styles, each bringing their unique twist to the classic recipe.

As you start exploring jambalaya, you’ll notice that the dish typically features a combination of meats such as chicken, pork, sausage, and sometimes seafood like shrimp or crawfish. Vegetables like onions, bell peppers, and celery, also known as the “holy trinity” in Cajun and Creole cooking, are commonly used to add depth and flavor to the dish.

The spices in jambalaya play a crucial role in defining the dish. A balanced blend of Cajun or Creole seasonings, such as paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and oregano, gives jambalaya its distinctive taste.  

A noteworthy feature of jambalaya is its resemblance to other famous rice-based dishes in world cuisines, such as Spanish paella or the French jambalaya. Jambalaya’s origins can be traced back to these dishes, showcasing the blending of culinary cultures across the globe.

Slow cooker jambalaya pasta can be as spicy or mild as you prefer. The traditional jambalaya flavors come from Cajun seasonings, which often include paprika, cayenne pepper, and other spices that add heat to the dish. However, you can easily adjust the spice level to suit your taste.

To control the spiciness of your jambalaya pasta, follow these simple tips:

  • Add cayenne pepper: Adding more will increase the spice level. 
  • Choose a mild sausage when preparing your jambalaya pasta. Smoked sausages vary in spiciness, so selecting a milder option will help keep the heat down in your dish.
  • Taste and adjust as you go. As your slow cooker jambalaya pasta_ cooks, taste the sauce and add more spices or broth to reach the desired heat level. Remember that the flavors will continue to develop as the dish cooks, so start with a conservative amount of spice and adjust as needed.
  • Add hot sauce or Tabasco sauce to bring out those spicy flavors.

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Slow Cooker Jambalaya Pasta

This easy pastalaya is filled with shrimp, smoked sausage, veggies and tender pasta in a cajun cream sauce. It's simple to make in the slow cooker and a delicious family dinner recipe.
5 from 1 vote
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crockpot jambalaya pasta being scooped out of a slow cooker
Prep Time:10 minutes
Cook Time:6 hours
Total Time:6 hours 10 minutes



  • Add the chicken, sausage, celery, garlic, peppers and onions, diced tomatoes, cajun seasoning and paprika to a slow cooker. Stir to combine.
  • Cover and cook on LOW heat for 6 hours.
  • 30 minutes before serving, add the shrimp to the slow cooker and continue to cook.
  • Add the cream and cooked pasta to the slow cooker and serve hot.


Calories: 775kcalCarbohydrates: 79gProtein: 51gFat: 29gSaturated Fat: 12gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 0.01gCholesterol: 209mgSodium: 977mgPotassium: 1296mgFiber: 9gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 6384IUVitamin C: 24mgCalcium: 154mgIron: 5mg
Servings: 6
Calories: 775kcal
Author: Stacie

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