gumbo vs jambalaya

If you ever had the wonderful experience of living in New Orleans, you definitely know that it is a state like no other with its unique language and cuisine.

The locals of New Orleans are a unique blend of French, Spanish, African, German, and Native Americans that gave birth to a number of Creole dishes including Gumbo and Jambalaya.

For the outsiders, it is tough to differentiate between the two, but the main difference between Gumbo and Jambalaya is the addition of rice in the process of cooking.

Comparison Chart

Gumbo Jambalaya
Origin Southern Louisiana (1700’s) Jambalaya originated from the French Quarter of New Orleans and considered as a culinary cousin of Spanish Paella
Type of Cuisine Gumbo is a thick spicy stew that often contains seafood, sausage, chicken, okra, and other vegetables, served on a bed of rice Jambalaya is a traditional Creole dish that combines rice with vegetables and some type of meat usually chicken and andouille sausage
Consistency It is thickened with either okra, ground sassafras leaves, or a dark roux Thin
Cooking Time Most cook simmer gumbo for three hours minimum Simmered for an hour
Rice Rice is cooked separately and served with stew Jambalaya is a stew that is cooked with a rice

What is Gumbo?

Gumbo is an authentic southern food that has been around for a long time and is believed to have originated in New Orleans in the 18th century.

Gumbo is more like a soup consisting of veggies, okra, meat, or shellfish that is served over or with a small serving of rice. One of the most significant aspects of gumbo is the cooking time, many cooks simmer gumbo for a minimum of three hours in order to help the stew thicken and to let all flavors blend together and create a rich and flavorful stock.

Nutritional Value

  • Calories per cup = 400
  • Proteins per cup = 15 gm
  • Carbohydrates per cup = 21 gm
  • Cholesterol per cup = 60 mg
  • Sodium per cup = 620 mg
  • Potassium per cup = 429 mg

Types of Gumbo

Gumbo is typically distinguished on the basis of what is used as a thickening agent typically okra, roux, file powder, or sometimes the combination of all these three are used during gumbo making.

gumbo vs jambalaya

  • Cajun G0.umbo
  • Creole Gumbo
  • African Style Gumbo

What is Jambalaya?

Jambalaya is a cuisine that typically consists of three stages while cooking:

  • The first step involves cooking the meat that includes chicken, sausage, or both and vegetables such as celery, onions, and peppers in a pan.
  • Addition of stock
  • Rice will be added which is then simmered for an hour.

Nutritional Value

  • Calories per cup = 393
  • Proteins per cup = 26.11 gm
  • Carbohydrates per cup = 22.72 gm
  • Cholesterol per cup = 98 mg
  • Sodium per cup = 478 mg
  • Potassium per cup = 412 mg

Types of Jambalaya

To make authentic Jambalaya, cooks usually have two primary styles:

  • Creole Jambalaya: It is also called as Red Jambalaya as it contains tomatoes.
  •  Cajun Jambalaya: Cajun Jambalaya is quite similar to the Creole Jambalaya and the only tomatoes are missing from the recipe.

Key Differences between Gumbo and Jambalaya

  1. The easiest and main difference between the Gumbo and Jambalaya is the addition of rice in the process of cooking. Gumbo is a thick stew that is served with rice separately while Jambalaya is a stew that is cooked with rice in the same pot.
  2. Gumbo is thickened by the addition of okra, sassafras, or flour while Jambalaya is thickened by the addition of rice alone.
  3. The flavor and texture of both these dishes are quite different as in Gumbo the rice is not cooked in the same pot which means the flavor and texture of Jambalaya will be quite different as it is cooked with rice.
  4. Gumbo has a much longer cooking time that means all the flavors are more evenly distributed between all the ingredients in the stew while in Jambalaya the cooking time is much lower.

Comparison Video


Both Gumbo and Jambalaya are incredibly flavorful dishes that showcase the unique and diversified culture of New Orleans. These similar stews are delicious due to the way they blend various flavors together over their long cook times. Be sure not to confuse either of these dishes with other New Orleans favorites like etouffee which is a seafood-based dish with a similar blend of vegetables, or red beans, and rice.