What is the Difference Between Gumbo and Jambalaya

What is the Difference Between Gumbo and Jambalaya

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Gumbo is a stew or a sup that’s served on top or alongside rice. Jambalaya is more of a casserole that’s cooked in the same pot as rice. They are both rice and meat dishes and they originate from New Orleans.

What is the Difference Between Gumbo and Jambalaya

Difference between Gumbo and Jambalaya


Gumbo is made with vegetables like celery, okra, green pepper, onions, thickened and meat stock. You will find different varieties of meat in different regions, including crawfish, sausage, ham, chicken, and shrimp. It is thickened with okra, file powder, or roux.

Jambalaya on the other side is a mix of vegetables and meat with stock and rice. Usually, it includes chicken, smoked sausage, ham, shrimp or crawfish. Cajun jambalaya doesn’t include tomatoes, while Creole jambalaya does. Beef and duck are also used in some versions of this dish.

Nutritional Information

Usually, traditional jambalaya and gumbo include ingredients which are high in sodium and calories. However, there are a few healthier choices. Instead of white rice, you can use brown rice, you can use walnut or sesame oil, and saturated fat.

A cup of Gumbo with meat and rice have:

  • Calories: 193
  • Calories from fat: 68
  • Fat:56g
  • Saturated Fat:61g
  • Protein:71g
  • Carbohydrates:2g
  • Sodium: 908mg

A cup of Jambalaya with meat and rice have:

  • Calories: 393
  • Calories from fat: 191
  • Fat:2g
  • Saturated Fat:18g
  • Protein:11g
  • Carbohydrates:72g
  • Sodium: 478mg


There are a lot of variations of gumbo. These are the most common ones:

  • Cajun gumbo – Dark, burnt roux. Okra is usually used as a roux and is mixed with sausage, seafood, duck, or chicken as fowl. Fowl is not deboned generally, and bell pepper, celery, and onions are not strained out of the dish. Green onions and parsley are used as toppings. This dish is most common in southwestern Louisiana.
  • Creole gumbo – Tomatoes and seafood used as thickeners. This dish is not as spicy as Cajun gumbo since the cayenne pepper is not used too much.
  • Gumbo z’herbes – A gumbo without meat made from mustard greens, spinach, and turnips. This dish is very time consuming to make and this is why it’s not very popular.

Jambalaya variations that you will find the most:

  • Creole jambalaya – also known as red jambalaya. Ingredients include celery, onions, peppers, sausage or chicken or seafood. Tomatoes are added to the dish for that red color which gives this dish its uniqueness.
  • Cajun jambalaya – also known as brown jambalaya. Ingredients include seafood or meat, onions, bell peppers, and celery. Tomatoes aren’t added to this dish, which is resulting in the brown color and why it’s different from Creole jambalaya.
  • White jambalaya – A dish that you can make pretty quickly, where the vegetables and meat are cooked separately from the rice. Rice is cooked in a savory stock at the same time. You should add the rice to the vegetables and meat minutes before serving. This is why this dish is called white jambalaya.

These are only a few variations of these tasty dishes. You can find recipes for much more, but make sure not to miss these ones!

Now that you know the Difference between Gumbo and Jambalaya, what is your favorite?

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