How to make Gumbo …

These are the Ingredients for homemade gumbo using either a whole chicken or leftover turkey meat.  And, below the ingredients there are step by step pictures of how I make it. 

  • Whole chicken or left over Turkey
  • 2 packages of beef smoked sausage (or your favorite)
  • 2 pounds of shrimp
  • 1 Bell Pepper
  • 1 onion
  • 4 celery hearts (or stalks)
  • 1 bunch of green onions .. or two
  • 5 gloves of garlic
  • 1 bunch of parsley
  • I large can diced tomatoes
  • cajun seasoning
  • cayenne pepper
  • LB Jamison’s chicken soup base
  • 3 cups of flour
  • 2-3/4 cups of vegetable oil 
  • Chicken broth (I usually end up adding 3 or four cans)

Cook chicken in very LARGE stock pot (fill pot until it covers the chicken) then let it cool. 

Debone chicken and then add back to chicken broth.  

Pour can tomatoes in with the chicken broth.

Cut the vegetables up as small as possible and have them ready before you make the roux. 

To make the roux .. use a LARGE skillet and add the Flour and Vegetable Oil.  Stir until it’s dark like a copper penny and its thick like peanut butter. 

Once the roux is done .. add all the vegetables and cook on low for 30 minutes.

Add roux and vegetables to Stock Pot.

Cut up the smoked sausage (slice it or dice it family likes it diced) and cook in skillet (no oil is needed).

Add sausage to stock pot.

Add spices.

At this point you want to make sure you have the taste of the gumbo as you like it … you only add the shrimp after you have the taste you desire.

Boil shrimp just a tad .. cut in small pieces and add to stock pot.

Simmer as long as you’d like.

Serve with white rice.


  • I usually cook the chicken the day before and debone it after it’s cold.
  • Spices … I start with 2 tablespoons of cajun seasoning and 1 tsp of cayenne pepper .. 2 tablespoons of LB Jamison chicken soup base.
  • I don’t add salt to gumbo .. it doesn’t need it with the sausage.
  • You can take some of the roux out before you add vegetables if you’d like the taste to be a bit milder  (we like the richness of the roux).

Here’s the steps with pictures….

Lets start with the meat … I typically use a whole chicken, but during the holidays I’ll use left over turkey
Looking at it now …. that is not enough turkey in the bowl labeled Turkey for gumbo 
I should have taken all the white meat too. But Dave would kill me ..that meat was for his turkey sandwiches.

 Cook a whole chicken and debone it.  Saving the chicken broth for your gumbo.

If you’re using leftover turkey meat .. have fun deboning it!  I think it’s little harder because the turkey has a bunch of muscles in his body (or something .. not sure what those body parts are… just throw them away).   You will want all the dark meat .. it’s a must!!
When I first started making gumbo I had to use gloves to debone my chicken…. it no longer bothers me because the end result is very yummy!!

 Add chicken to a very large stock pot.

I fill it about 3/4 of the way with Chicken broth … the picture below already has the can of diced tomatoes added.

 Add diced tomatoes to stock pot


Cut up all the veggies .. truth be told I usually cook the chicken and cut up veggies the day  before.  It’s such a long process that it helps cut the work in half.

You need a good knife!

I use 5 celery stalks

Here they are chopped up … 
One green pepper
I slice it into strips 
Then I chop it up 
Two bunches of green onions
Green onions …. chopped up
Two bunches of Parsley (not Italian parsley)
Parsley all chopped up 
One yellow onion 
Onion chopped up 
It’s a beautiful site when it’s all done!
After it’s said and done .. this too is not enough veggies based on how much broth I used. Had I used less broth …the taste would have been richer ….in other words less watered ..or even a better word .. Thicker!   Don’t get me wrong .. it was still very yummy!!
Cut up the Beef Smoked Sausage. You can use any sausage you’d like.
In the old days I just sliced it .. but my family really likes a lot of sausage.
So, now I add three packages instead of two ..and I cube it.
Set aside and let’s work on the main ingredient … 
There are a lot of ways to do this … you can add more oil … you can add less oil.  
This is how I make it and everyone loves it.
Cooking is like sewing .. or anything in life …. 
there are several ways to do things….and experts (otherwise known as know it alls) want to tell you that you’re doing something wrong.
It may be wrong .. but it sure is GOOD!
(Sorry!!! I had to add that because you know someone is going to email me and tell me I’m doing something wrong .. or I could do it better.)
 How to make the Roux …..
2 cups of Vegetable Oil – the picture slows less than two cups … I added more… like 2-3/4″ cup of oil.
3 Cups of Flour
Dump the oil in Large Skillet
Add Flour
Proceed to stir until you feel as if you’re arm is going to fall off. 
About 45 minutes … 
and don’t step away 
or you will burn it
I cook it on medium heat .. maybe a little high because I want to get it done!!
Here’s what it looks like …right now 
After cooking for about 15 minutes
30 minutes later … 
It’s ready … doesn’t it look like canned dog food?
The whole house is now smelling like roux and your smoke alarm may go off …. if you have the temp too high.
You want it to be thick like Peanut Butter and look the color of a penny.
Never add more flour to this mixture … once you start cooking it …  if you think it’s not getting thick enough .. be patient … will get there.
I made the mistake of doing that once and my gumbo tasted like flour …. bummer!!
Once the roux is ready… you want to add your veggies.
I start with celery
Add the green peppers
Add green onions
Add onions
Add Parsley
Stir and add about two or three cups of the broth
Let that simmer for 30 minutes.  
It cooks the veggies perfectly .. make sure you turn the heat down and continue to stir it occasionally.
While the Roux is simmering …. lets cook the sausage.  My advice is …always cook the sausage ……even if you only have time to cook it five minutes.
Drain the fat .. or not … this time I did .. but sometimes I don’t.
Sausage is ready .. add to Stock Pot
  Add the veggies and roux to Stock Pot

Add spices –
4 tablespoons of cajun seasoning
1 tsp of cayenne pepper

you may like more or less of these spices… start out with less and add more after you do a couple taste tests

Add LB Jamisons soup base  – I add 2 or 3 tablespoons


Taste test ..   this time it took me three times and I got it.  We like it so spicy that you can’t eat it without rice!!

 Boil 2 pounds of shrimp…. let cool and remove the tails
Cut them into bite size pieces 
Add the shrimp to the stock pot
   Cook the Rice
The picture below is the Gumbo before we added rice to our bowl. We usually add our rice and then pour over the gumbo … but I wanted to take a picture of it without the rice first.
Dang I wish I had used my pretty dishes! We were so eager to eat it we took out whatever bowls was closest to us.
Gumbo with Rice added …YUMMY!!
Serve Rice separately.
Equipment Needed:  
Large Stock pot 12 to 15 quarts
Large Skillet (2 of them)
Sharp cutting knife
Wooden spoon to stir roux.
Large Ladle to serve gumbo
Large spoon to stir gumbo while cooking
Rice cooker is nice but not necessary
The only question I see that you may have is ….. how much water to boil the chicken and how much chicken broth to add.  The answer is what ever you go with … you’ll be fine.  I add more because we’re okay if the gumbo is not quite as thick or rich in flavor.  I always go for volume so we can freeze some for later.  
Speaking of freezing some … do it!  You’ll be glad you did!
And .. Gumbo is a dish that always taste best the next day after cooking it.
Thanks to my friend Tracey!! She taught me how to make gumbo …. back in 1997.  She had us over during Christmas and served us gumbo… the funny thing is… they taste completely different!!  Even though we have the same recipe.  She adds peppers and sometimes okra …. I don’t.