This homemade slow cooker gumbo features chicken, Andouille sausage, okra, and lots of fresh veggies! I’ve added in rice to make it a complete meal in one! It’s easy to set up and turn on before work, so you can have a family meal ready to go when you get home. 

two bowls of Chicken Gumbo made in a slow cooker

I shared this recipe originally in September of 2012. I have updated the recipe to make it more simple to prepare, and I have added new photographs and a video to share it with you again today.

Holy Hat! I cannot believe that this recipe has been on the blog for seven years! That was so long ago!  A lot has changed since I started this blog, and since I first shared this recipe.

When I first published this recipe (or the original version of it) I loved it so much I put it on the Best of List. But as time went by, and after getting feedback from readers over time, I learned that you all are just as busy as I am. Though we love to cook, we don’t necessarily have tons of time to do it.

Readers told me, “We have a problem, we want to make healthy dinner fast.” That’s when I started sharing easy recipes like steamed cauliflower with herbs or simple sauteed swiss chard. Recipes like that solve that very problem. And what do you know, recipes like that have been the most popular!

This Gumbo, as it was originally published was both too complicated and had way too many ingredients in it. This new gumbo today though is the new and improved Slow Cooker Gumbo.

  • It’s has a shorter prep time
  • The steps are easier
  • It has far fewer ingredients too
  • Crazy enough, it is just as delicious!

Slow cooker Chicken Gumbo in two bowls overhead

What is Gumbo?

Gumbo is a thick stew that’s most commonly eaten in Southern Louisiana. Gumbo can be made with whatever meat you have on hand, but seafood gumbo, sausage gumbo, and chicken gumbo are the most popular takes on this dish. It should also be noted that gumbo is almost always made with okra and some kind of thickening agent like a roux and also gumbo file powder.

a close up into the slow cooker filled with gumbo

 

How to Make Slow Cooker Gumbo

Sear the Chicken First For More Flavor

To really make the flavor of this slow cooker recipe rich, sear the chicken on the stove top first. It will brown which adds so much additional flavor to the gumbo.

Add Canned Tomatoes

  • Many gumbo recipes do not have tomatoes in them, but I really love the acidity that they bring to the overall taste profile. I love how the tomatoes help balance the salty andouille sausage. 
  • Use a whole can (28-ounce) of peeled tomatoes and then crush them by hand into the slow cooker. This will give the best rustic chunky texture to the gumbo. 
  • You can use fresh tomatoes if you have them on hand, but it’s better to peel and seed them. See notes in the recipe card how to do so. 

Use Andouille Sausage

  • Andouille is a traditional Louisiana sausage with a smoky spicy flavor and adds a flavor kick to the gumbo. I like the Andouille Sausage by Niman Ranch if you can find it. Their products are certified humane which means they do not use gestation pens for their sows. {Aside, I highly recommend reading Pig Tales by Barry Estabrook about the pig farming industry.} 
  • If you have a hard time finding Andouille, you could use kielbasa, because that is also a smoky sausage. Or you could use a hot Italian or even chicken sausage if you want to. It won’t be traditional, but it will surely taste great! 

Bulk up the Serving with Vegetables and Rice

  • In Cajun and Creole cooking the Holy Trinity is a combination of bell peppers, onions and celery. It’s like what odori is to Italian cooking, and mirepoix is to French. This Gumbo is no exception and I used a heavy hand to bulk up the serving size.
  • In addition to the celery, onion and peppers, gumbo almost always has okra in it. Today I used frozen okra, but if you can find fresh, use that! Just make sure when you’re cutting it, if you come across a stalk of the okra that seems pithy, don’t use it. That’ll be tough and fibrous.
  • Usually Gumbo is served with rice, but in this case, to make it a complete one pot meal, I added the rice to the gumbo. It’s brown rice for additional fiber.

Skip the Roux (and Added Saturated Fat) and Instead Thicken with Okra and Gumbo Filé

  • Traditional gumbo is made with a roux which is a cooked mixture of butter and flour. In Cajun cooking, the fat is usually oil instead and the roux is darker. 
  • I tested this with and without the roux, and I didn’t think that it really added too much to the overall texture of the dish. This is very thick as it is, and the gumbo file really makes it nice and thick. So I opted to save the extra fat calories, and grams of saturated fat, and not use a roux at all.
  • If you’re not familiar with gumbo filé, it can be found in the spice section of good grocery stores, and with the bulk spices in natural food stores. It is made from ground sassafras root. The flavor of it is actually not as strong as you would think, but it has a subtle slightly licorice and minty taste to it. It doesn’t need to cook, so you can just stir it in at the end.
  • The okra also add body to the gumbo. Don’t worry they won’t be slimy at all! After cooking in the slow cooker, they are super tender and practically melt into the gumbo.

Add Seasonings

When you look at the ingredient list below, it’ll seem like this is a big one, but a lot of the ingredients are spices. I did pair it down for this new 2.0 version of this recipe to just sage, thyme, garlic and salt. I used a whole sprig of rosemary, which adds nice flavor without being overly bossy. Once the gumbo is done cooking, just remove the sprig. 

Slow Cooker Chicken Gumbo

More Slow Cooker Chicken Recipes:

This Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup is possibly even easier, because there is no searing step! 

Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore, an all time favorite of mine and readers. If you think you don’t like chicken thighs, I dare you to try this recipe! 

Slow Cooker Thai Chicken Coconut Soup, this recipe toes the line of tasting exotic and being 100% comforting! 

Slow Cooker Maple Chipotle Pulled Chicken, I adore the combination of chipotle pepper and maple syrup. You’ll never go back to pulled pork. Okay maybe you will, but you’ll at least also love pulled chicken too! 

Slow Cooker Chicken and Okra, totally along the same vein as this recipe here. It’s got a great story to go with it too. 

a close up of a serving of gumbo from overhead

 

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a close up of a serving of gumbo from overhead

slow cooker gumbo

  • Author: Katie Webster
  • Prep Time: 40 minutes
  • Cook Time: 4 hours
  • Total Time: 4 hours 15 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Category: Main Course
  • Method: Slow Cooker
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This homemade slow cooker gumbo features chicken, Andouille sausage, okra, and lots of fresh veggies!


Scale

Ingredients

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs

1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes, or 3 large tomatoes, peeled and seeded

1 large onion, diced

1 sprig rosemary

4 cups reduced sodium chicken broth

8 ounces Andouille sausage cut into 1/2-inch slices

2 cups sliced fresh or frozen okra

2 cups diced celery

2 cups diced green bell peppers

1/2 cup long grain brown rice

1 tablespoon rubbed sage

2 tablespoons chopped garlic, about 4 cloves

1 teaspoon dry thyme

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon gumbo file

Tabasco for serving


Instructions

  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook until browned 2 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to the insert of a large slow cooker.
  2. Hand crush tomatoes into the slow cooker and add any remaining liquid from the can. Add onion, rosemary, broth, sausage, okra, celery, peppers, rice, sage, garlic, thyme and salt in the insert of the slow cooker.
  3. Turn to low heat for 8 hours or 4 hours on high. Allow the gumbo to cook, covered and undisturbed until the timer goes off. Remove rosemary sprig and stir in gumbo file. Ladle into bowls and serve with Tabasco.

Notes

To peel and seed fresh tomatoes: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Make an ice bath by filling a large bowl with ice and water. Set aside. Core tomatoes and score an “x” on the bottom. Dip the tomatoes into the boiling water and boil until the skin starts to peel away, but the flesh isn’t mushy, 40 seconds to 2 minutes. Drain tomatoes and transfer to the ice bath to cool. Drain and slip skin off of the cooled tomatoes. Cut in half along the equator. Gently seed tomatoes over a bowl lined with a fine mesh sieve to catch any juices. Roughly chop the tomatoes. You’ll need 2 1/2 cups for this recipe


Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 2 cups each
  • Calories: 356
  • Fat: 16 g
  • Carbohydrates: 29 g
  • Protein: 26 g
Slow Cooker Gumbo with Chicken, andouille sausage and okra. An easy make-ahead meal in one pot! #healthy #glutenfree #gumbo #slowcooker #crockpot #easy #makeahead #onepot