Everything you need to know about making gluten-free chicken gumbo that’s hearty and rich and tastes as good as the original without sacrificing the classic flavors of New Orleans in this post.
From making a gluten-free roux, the base for this gumbo, to the seasonings, a video showing you how to make it step-by-step, and a printable recipe below.
After living in New Orleans for more than 20 years, I can say that I’ve perfected the art of making a roux and a good (simple) gumbo recipe.
Is Gumbo Normally Gluten-Free?
Traditional gumbo uses all-purpose flour for the roux, which disqualifies it for a gluten-free option. However, you can make an authentic and delicious gumbo roux by using a 1:1 gluten-free all-purpose flour.
It won’t change the flavor or consistency and requires no extra steps or additional ingredients.
When my son and I had to go gluten-free, I knew I would have to find a way to make gumbo gluten-free. After all, we are right outside New Orleans and gumbo is a staple in my family’s meals.
Thanks to a bit of recipe testing and my favorite 1:1 gluten-free all-purpose flour, the mission was accomplished.
Gluten-Free Chicken Gumbo
This recipe for gluten-free chicken gumbo has the rich flavors and heartiness of the original recipe made with roasted chicken, aromatic vegetables, smoked sausage, and a roux-based broth that coats all the above.
The only thing missing? The gluten and that means everyone can enjoy a bowl or two!
This recipe is also great for beginners since the ingredients and method are basic, and there’s also a video you can watch and cook along with to make the best pot of gumbo, wherever you are.
Gluten-Free Gumbo Ingredients
Here’s everything you need to make an authentic and gluten-free gumbo:
- vegetable oil: makes a rich, brown roux in under 25 minutes without burning. You can also use butter or lard.
- 1:1 gluten-free all-purpose flour: flour is a MUST for the roux. You need equal parts fat and flour.
- aromatic vegetables: chopped onions, bell pepper, and celery are known as the ‘holy trinity’ vegetables and are essential to the success of your gumbo.
- garlic: adds more flavor.
- andouille or smoked sausage: andouille is a smoked pork sausage with Cajun seasonings, but you could also use whatever smoked sausage is available near you. While these ingredients can be omitted your gumbo won’t be as flavorful.
- shredded chicken: always start with cooked shredded chicken from a rotisserie chicken, breasts, or even roasted turkey leftovers.
- Cajun seasoning: a blend of spices and herbs that’s essential for gumbo. You can find it at the grocery store or on amazon.
- chicken broth: since this is a chicken gumbo, stick with chicken broth or stock.
- bay leaves: optional, but they do add flavor.
- gumbo file: a ground powder used to thicken and flavor the gumbo (near the spices or on amazon).
The Gluten-Free Roux for Gumbo
The roux is the first step and most important element for perfect gumbo. It’s made with equal parts flour and fat, usually, a neutral oil or butter, whisked in a large cast-iron pot or stockpot over medium heat until the mixture reaches a copper brown color and smooth consistency.
And just like traditional roux, you’ll need to watch it close and constantly until it browns and thickens.
Yes, this takes some time, about 15 to 20 minutes, but you’ll get some killer shoulders, and once you take your first bite of this chicken and sausage gumbo, you’ll gladly grab the whisk again.
I usually tune into a podcast or audiobook while whisking. It makes the process go by much faster.
The Best Flour for Gluten-Free Roux
To make a gluten-free roux, you’ll need a 1:1 all-purpose gluten-free flour. These mixes are perfect because it combines grain and starch and usually a binder to act as the “gluten” and help the roux do its job in thickening gumbo.
Below is a list of gluten-free flours I’ve tested this recipe with:
- Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 gluten-free Flour Mix
- King Arthur Measure for Measure Flour Mix
- Namaste Perfect Flour Blend
- Pamela’s All-Purpose Flour Blend
- King Arthur All-Purpose Baking Mix
Gluten-Free Flour Not to Use
I strongly advise against using other gluten-free or grain-free flours such as rice and almond flour for this recipe. Rice flour is a grain and has a grainy texture, and by itself won’t bind with the oil or thicken.
On the other hand, almond flour is too high in fat, has no starch, and when mixed with oil you’ll essentially be making coarse almond butter.
Do not use:
- rice flour
- soy flour
- chickpea flour
- almond flour
- cornmeal or corn starch
- coconut flour
- cassava flour
- amaranth flour
While some gluten-free flour mixes include the above flours, you may not use any of the above stand-alone.
How to Make Gluten-Free Gumbo
Making a gluten-free gumbo goes the same as regular gumbo, the only difference being the gluten-free flour.
- Make a roux
In a large Dutch oven or pot, combine the oil and flour. Using a whisk, stir slowly and constantly over medium heat for 15 to 25 minutes or until the roux has thickened and has a copper brown color.
*Use the biggest cast-iron pot or soup pot you’ve got!
- Add the veggies
Once the roux is cooked, add in the bell peppers, onion, celery, and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes until the veggies have softened and are fragrant.
- Add the meat and seasonings
Add the sausage, shredded chicken, and seasonings to the veggies making sure to stir everything so they get coated in the roux.
Pour in the broth, stir, and add the bay leaves. Stir until the roux is incorporated into the broth.
Bring the heat to medium-high and bring the gumbo to a boil before reducing the heat to low. Cover with a lid and simmer for 2 hours (if you’re short on time, 1-hour minimum).
- Grab that jar of filé
Turn off the heat and skim off any fat that rises to the surface. With the heat off, stir in the filé powder.
- Dish up
Scoop some cooked rice into your bowl and top with a generous ladle of gluten-free gumbo. You’re going to love this!
How to Thicken Gluten-Free Gumbo
Gluten-free gumbo is thickened by the roux (the base) and by adding gumbo filé at the end. Filé is a natural thickening agent made from sassafras leaves. It’s a staple ingredient in many Creole recipes, especially gumbo, that adds an earthy, rich flavor many people find enjoyable.
It’s important to add the filé powder once the heat has been turned off. Otherwise, it will clump and give the entire dish a bitter flavor.
You can even sprinkle additional file powder over your bowl of gumbo, just like you would use salt.
Okra is also another method to thicken gumbo. You can add it along with the other aromatic vegetables, but I prefer to leave it out because I’m not a fan of the slimy texture.
That being said, if you want to thicken gumbo, you can use either gumbo filé or okra, but not both, this would make the ‘broth’ slimy and too thick.
How to Serve Gluten-Free Gumbo
You can serve this gluten-free gumbo the way you would regular gumbo, over rice, or with a side of potato salad. And thankfully, both rice and potato salad are gluten-free options as well.
More Tips for Perfect Gluten-Free Gumbo
What fats not to use for gluten-free gumbo roux
I don’t recommend coconut oil or olive oil which have lower smoke points.
In no way should you ever use margarine, it will be a disaster.
The Best Fats for Roux
If you want to stick with oil, use a neutral option such as canola or vegetable oil. People also use lard, bacon fat, and butter in the deep south, but be warned, the butter will brown and cause the roux to burn if the heat is too high.
And by the way, you will know when your roux is burnt, it smells like burnt toast instead of a nutty aroma.
Gumbo Roux Color
The color of your roux depends on how long you cook it and whether you use oil or butter as your fat.
When you first begin whisking the flour a fat, the roux will go from a pale color to golden, light peanut butter, caramel, and eventually a copper brown.
This can take a minimum of 20 and up to 35 minutes to achieve, depending on how well your burner convects heat, which shouldn’t be over medium-high or medium if using butter.
All of that to say, you don’t need a dark roux for good gumbo- you can whisk and cook until it reaches a rich caramel color. Gumbo made from this roux won’t be as thick, but it’s still flavorful and worth the work.
What texture should the roux have?
At first, the flour and oil will have a liquid consistency, but as you keep stirring, the flour will thicken, and the roux will reduce and thicken as it cooks.
Gluten-Free Chicken Gumbo
Everything you need to know about making gluten-free chicken gumbo, including how to thicken and add flavor to the gumbo roux.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
- Total Time: 2 hours 40 minutes
- Yield: 8 servings
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: New Orleans
- Diet: Gluten Free
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- ½ cup gluten-free all-purpose flour
- ½ cup chopped onions
- ½ cup chopped celery
- ½ cup chopped green bell pepper
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 pound andouille or smoked sausage, sliced
- 1 ½ pounds boneless chicken meat, shredded
- 1 ½ tablespoons Cajun seasoning
- 2 quarts (64 oz) chicken broth or stock
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon file powder, optional
- Rice for serving
- Combine the oil and flour in a large pot over medium heat (use a cast-iron one if you have it). Stirring slowly and constantly for 15 to 25 minutes, until the roux is a copper brown color, chocolate-like, and it has thickened.
- Add the onions, celery, and bell peppers and continue to stir for 4 to 5 minutes, until they’ve softened.
- Add the sausage and chicken, and stir to combine. Add the seasoning and continue to fold until everything is well combined.
- Add the broth or stock and the bay leaves and slowly mix to combine, making sure the roux incorporates itself into the liquid.
- Turn up the heat to medium-high, bring the gumbo to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, for 2 hours.
- Before serving, turn off the heat. Skim off any fat that rises to the surface and discard it. Stir in file powder for flavor and thickening, if using. Remove the bay leaves and serve over rice.
- Serving Size: 1 bowl
- Calories: 469
- Sugar: 1.3 g
- Sodium: 617.1 mg
- Fat: 32.5 g
- Saturated Fat: 18.1 g
- Trans Fat: 0.4 g
- Carbohydrates: 14.2 g
- Fiber: 1.1 g
- Protein: 31.1 g
- Cholesterol: 101.7 mg
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