This Instant Pot Shrimp and Sausage Gumbo Recipe is full of color and delicious flavors! And thanks to the magic of pressure cooking, is ready in half the time when you make it in your Instant Pot.
This Instant Pot Shrimp and Sausage Gumbo has so many things I love, that I’d make it every week if I could get away with it. However, my seafood-hating daughter, my vegetable-averse son, and my loves-bland-food youngest daughter would protest so it’s a rare treat (for me).
Given that half my family grumbles about this meal, I can’t in good conscience call it family-friendly. But, if you’re a better parent than I am and have raised non-picky eaters, this will be a hit!
What is in a traditional gumbo?
Gumbo is the cornerstone of Louisiana cooking, merging the influence of the French in its roux and deriving its name from a West African word for okra (Southern Food Ways). There are many varieties of gumbo and each is considered authentic Cajun or Creole cooking.
They almost always have one or more of the following main ingredients: sausage, chicken or shrimp. Many incorporate other types of seafood (e.g. crab, oysters) and meats (ham, beef). Personally, I find more than two different meats overkill, so I typically use only two of the standard main choices.
Traditional gumbo also allows for some variation in the vegetables, though authentic gumbo always includes the “Holy Trinity” of vegetables — celery, bell peppers, and onions. Tomatoes are also pretty common ingredients in gumbo, though you will find some Cajun cooks who refuse to let a tomato come near their gumbo. I’ve had tomato-free gumbo and I very much prefer mine WITH tomatoes.
The most important part of a traditional gumbo is the roux. Roux is made from oil and flour, cooked over medium-high heat until it turns dark brown. This is the base that gives gumbo it’s distinct texture and flavor.
Why I Make Gumbo Without a Roux
So, before we get to my Instant Pot Shrimp and Sausage Gumbo Recipe, I have to confess that this ISN’T a traditional gumbo. There is no roux (or the only other Creole-accepted alternative, filé) in this recipe.
There are a couple of reasons I forego the roux step. First, it’s super time consuming and requires standing over the pot stirring constantly. As I’ve explained on my Instant Pot resource page and in most of my Instant Pot recipes, one of the main reasons I love my Instant Pot is because it doesn’t hold me captive.
I can toss things in and let the Instant Pot do all the work. If I have to stand there forever. Don’t be fooled by the online recipes that tell you it takes 5 minutes. I’ve tried to make authentic gumbo a few times and it has never taken as little as 5 minutes to get my roux to the right shade of brown.
Also, I hope I don’t offend any Cajun cooks, but I don’t like the taste any better when gumbo is made with a roux. I CAN taste a difference, but it’s not better or worse in my opinion. So, I skip the trouble.
And as long as I’m admitting to deviating from traditional gumbo, I should probably mention that I violate the “Holy Trinity” of vegetables too. I’m not a fan of celery in my gumbo so you won’t’ find that in my Instant Pot Shrimp and Sausage Gumbo either.
How to Make Instant Pot Shrimp and Sausage Gumbo
If you made it past my confession that I’m breaking a couple of gumbo cardinal rules then welcome to an easy and tasty version I hope you love all the same. This version is so much faster and easier than the traditional version.
Step 1: Sauté Sausage and Onion
First, we need to pull out some of that yummy flavor from the sausage and onion by sautéing them. Set your Instant Pot to saute mode, add 3 tablespoons of oil and wait for the display to read “Hot.”
Add the sausage and onion to the pot and stir occasionally for three minutes, just long enough to soften the onions and release some of the flavors.
Step 2: Add Everything Else
If we were making traditional gumbo, you’d still be stirring the roux. Thankfully, I’m too lazy so now we just need to add the remaining ingredients before we pressure cook!
Add some diced bell peppers. You can use just green peppers if you want, but I like red bell peppers so I used that too.
On top of the diced peppers, add some minced garlic, salt, and a little cayenne pepper and black pepper. I used 1/4 teaspoon measurements for the peppers in the recipe card below but if you like your food with some kick, you can go a little crazy. For reference, I prefer mine with a full teaspoon of each.
Top the garlic and pepper with a can of diced tomatoes. Don’t drain the tomatoes first. Just open the lid and pour all of the contents of the can right in the pot.
Add a 12-ounce package of uncooked frozen shrimp. Make sure the shrimp has been shelled and deveined.
Finally, pour one cup of water over the other ingredients.
Step 3: Pressure Cook
Now, we just need to let the Instant Pot work its magic! Secure the lid, set the valve to sealing and press the “Manual” button. Set the time for 6 minutes.
When the cook time ends and the pot beeps, perform a quick release of the pressure. When the pin drops indicating all the pressure has been released, remove the lid.
Press Cancel, then Saute. In a small bowl, stir together some cornstarch and water. Add the mixture to the pot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the gumbo thickens to your desired consistency.
Your Instant Pot Shrimp and Sausage Gumbo is ready to serve!
Traditionally, gumbo is served over rice. If you want to skip the carbs you can spoon it over cauliflower rice or eat it right out of the bowl on its own! There are plenty of hearty ingredients you won’t feel like you’re missing anything.
My kids prefer it with a side of cornbread. Since this isn’t their favorite dinner, I usually concede (even though I’m convinced cornbread is really cake).
Instant Pot Shrimp and Sausage Gumbo Recipe
Ready to make your own Instant Pot Shrimp and Sausage Gumbo? Here are the exact measurements and summarized instructions.
Instant Pot Shrimp and Sausage Gumbo
- 3 tablespoons oil
- 14 ounce Kielbasa sausage cut into ½ chunks
- 1 large onion chopped
- 1 large bell pepper chopped
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes undrained
- 1 12 ounce package frozen raw shrimp shelled and deveined
- 1 cup water
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 3 tablespoons water
- Add oil to pot, press Sauté button and wait for display to read "Hot." Add sausage and onion. Cook for 3 minutes stirring occasionally.
- Add bell pepper, garlic, salt, peppers, diced tomatoes, shrimp, and one cup of water to the pot.
- Secure lid, turn pressure valve to sealing, and press manual button. Set time for 6 minutes.
- Do a quick release when the cook time has ended.
- Mix together cornstarch with 3 tablespoons of water using a fork and stir until smooth.
- Set pressure cooker back on sauté. Pour cornstarch/water mix into the pot and stir to thicken. Turn pot off and serve over rice or with cornbread.
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