How to make the quintessential Gumbo Dish of Louisiana?

Gumbo is a hearty Louisiana stew bursting with flavor and cultural heritage. It features a rich, nutty roux as its base, layered with the “holy trinity” of vegetables (onion, celery, bell pepper), and typically includes protein like sausage, seafood, or chicken. This quintessential dish is a true taste of Louisiana and is a must try for anyone who has ever been to the state.

Here’s a guide to preparing the classic chicken and sausage gumbo dish from the state of Louisiana:


Gumbo Stew Dish

Gumbo boasts a complex and bold flavor profile. The roux forms the base, offering a rich, nutty taste. The "holy trinity" of vegetables (onion, celery, bell pepper) adds depth and a subtle sweetness. Smoked sausage and seafood contribute savory and umami notes, while the optional cayenne pepper brings a kick of heat.
Prep Time 1 day 6 hours
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 4 people
Calories 350 kcal


  • 1 skillet
  • 1 Dutch Oven
  • 1 Large Pot
  • 1 Whisker



  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • Vegetables Holy Trinity:
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup chopped green bell pepper


  • 1 pound smoked sausage sliced
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • Broth:
  • 8 cups chicken broth


  • 1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper optional
  • 1 pound okra sliced (optional)
  • 1 pound shrimp peeled and deveined
  • 1 tablespoon file powder
  • Chopped green onions for garnish (optional)
  • Cooked white rice for serving


Make the Roux:

  • In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat. Slowly whisk in flour and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture turns a deep chocolate brown. This can take 30-45 minutes, so be patient and keep stirring to prevent burning.

Sauté the Vegetables:

  • Add the chopped vegetables (onion, celery, and bell pepper) to the pot and cook until softened, about 5-7 minutes.

Brown the Sausage:

  • In a separate skillet, cook the sliced sausage until browned. Drain any excess grease.

Simmer the Gumbo:

  • Add the chicken broth, diced tomatoes, thyme, Cajun seasoning, black pepper, and cayenne pepper (if using) to the pot with the roux and vegetables. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

Add Okra and Sausage (Optional):

  • If using okra, add it to the pot and simmer for an additional 15 minutes. Then, stir in the browned sausage.

Add Seafood:

  • Stir in the shrimp and cook until pink and opaque, about 5 minutes.

Thicken the Gumbo:

  • Remove about 1/2 cup of the hot broth from the pot. Whisk in the file powder with the broth to create a slurry. Then, slowly whisk the slurry back into the gumbo. Cook for an additional 5 minutes, or until the gumbo reaches desired thickness.


  • Serve hot over cooked white rice, garnished with chopped green onions (optional).


You can adjust the spice level to your preference by adding more or less cayenne pepper.
Gumbo is known to taste even better the next day, so feel free to make a large batch and enjoy it throughout the week.
For a richer flavor, you can substitute chicken broth with chicken stock.
This is a basic recipe, and there are many variations of gumbo. You can experiment with different types of sausage, seafood, or vegetables.
Keyword gumbo, stew

Well, now you know how to cook the quintessential Gumbo Dish, which is what this article is intended for. But if you wish to know a bit more of its origins, benefits and more, keep on reading.


Gumbo is a celebration of Louisiana’s diverse culinary heritage, drawing influences from African, French, and Native American traditions. Its exact origin is unknown, but it likely emerged in the 18th century within the state’s Cajun and Creole communities.

Health Benefits & Nutrition:

While not necessarily a health food, gumbo can be part of a balanced diet. It can be a good source of protein from the meat and seafood, and offers some fiber from the vegetables, particularly if you include okra. However, the dish can be high in sodium and fat due to the roux and sausage, so moderation is key.

Nutritional Value:

The exact nutritional value of gumbo varies depending on the specific ingredients and portion size. However, a typical serving (around 1 cup) can contain:

  • Calories: 300-500
  • Protein: 20-30 grams
  • Fat: 15-25 grams
  • Sodium: 500-1000 milligrams (mg)
  • Fiber: 2-5 grams

Remember, it’s important to be mindful of portion sizes and choose leaner protein options to enjoy gumbo as part of a healthy diet.

Gumbo: When, Where, and How to Enjoy It

When to Eat Gumbo:

Gumbo is a versatile dish that can be enjoyed any time of day. It’s traditionally served as a main course for lunch or dinner, but it can also be enjoyed as a hearty breakfast or a satisfying appetizer. Due to its rich and filling nature, it’s best enjoyed during cooler months when a warm and comforting meal is desired.


Gumbo pairs well with various side dishes. It is traditionally served in Louisiana in these styles.

  • Classic: Steamed white rice is the most common and traditional accompaniment, soaking up the flavorful broth.
  • Starchy: Cornbread, hushpuppies, or potato salad offer a textural contrast and additional flavors.
  • Fresh: A simple green salad or coleslaw can add a refreshing counterpoint to the richness of the gumbo.
  • Beverages: Iced tea, sweet tea, or beer are popular choices to complement the bold flavors.

Popular Restaurants in Louisiana:

Here are a few well-regarded restaurants serving gumbo in Louisiana:

  • Commander’s Palace (New Orleans): A New Orleans institution known for its upscale Creole cuisine, including their award-winning gumbo.
  • Dooky Chase’s Restaurant (New Orleans): A historic restaurant serving classic Creole dishes, including a delicious gumbo with a rich, dark roux.
  • Rue Bourbon (Lafayette): A lively Cajun restaurant offering various gumbo options, including seafood, chicken & sausage, and vegetarian versions.
  • Prejean’s Restaurant (Lafayette): A family-owned restaurant serving authentic Cajun cuisine, featuring a gumbo recipe passed down through generations.
  • Mulate’s Restaurant (New Orleans): A renowned restaurant specializing in soul food, offering a unique and flavorful gumbo with a strong emphasis on okra.