Cajun Chicken Stew with Mushrooms: Even Better the Next Day

Sneak Preview: This Cajun Chicken Stew with Mushrooms starts with sautéed chicken. Add a delicious roux sauce and lots of veggies, including baby Bella mushrooms and baby carrots. Simmer for an hour. Serve immediately or the next day. As you can imagine, leftovers are outstanding.

Cajun Chicken Fricassee ready to eat in a white serving dish with a serving spoonPin

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The messiest pages in my 3-ring binder of favorite recipes are those for make-ahead entrees. I couldn’t live without them. Can you? Cajun Chicken Stew with Mushrooms only improves as it rests in the fridge.

No worries if you want to eat it immediately. Please do so.

Happy Cooks Speak Up

I am making this dish for a second time today. Just forgot to print it out the first time. This was soooo good that all my family loved it, and it is very rare I can please both dad and kids at the same time. There was not a drop left.” —Violet

Ingredients and Substitutions

  • CHICKEN: Use a whole chicken if you like all the different pieces. One of the advantages of a whole chicken is that you can make broth with the backbone, wings, etc. However, use only the thighs, breasts, or boneless chicken if you prefer. I pull the skin off because, after the chicken cooks for an hour, the skin will no longer be crispy.
  • BUTTER: Substitute vegetable oil for the butter. Several readers have suggested that oil works better in getting the roux brown before it burns. Suit yourself.
  • FLOUR: Bleached or unbleached all-purpose flour will work. If you need to go gluten-free, you can substitute almond flour. However, the texture will not be as smooth and rich as it is with regular flour.
  • ONIONS: Use fresh or frozen diced onions.
  • CELERY: Celery is an essential part of this dish. I can’t think of any substitutes to recommend.
  • BELL PEPPERS: I like to use many colors of bell peppers: red, yellow, orange, and green. At the very least, use green bell peppers to get the authentic Cajun taste.
  • GARLIC: Garlic is an important ingredient. Fresh is always better, but jarred garlic is acceptable.
  • MUSHROOMS: Baby Bellas hold their shape better than standard white button mushrooms. They are also more attractive in the final dish. Although you see them sliced in the pictures, I now prefer to quarter them.
  • CARROTS: After making this for years, I started adding baby carrots because it’s easy to throw them in the pot, and then I don’t have to prepare another vegetable for dinner.
  • SEASONINGS: Adding the spices as specified will produce a fairly spicy dish typical of Cajun fare.

Can I Make This Recipe Ahead of Time?

A couple of days ago, I made this for our mid-week family dinner–an informal affair with our married kids, their spouses, and our grandson.  Even though it was my day off, I knew I would be gone all day. It was easy to put together early in the morning, refrigerate, and serve for dinner.

This Cajun Chicken Stew recipe improves after hanging out in the fridge for a few hours.  The flavors mix, meld, and marry, producing a wonderful gumbo-like flavor.  Make it 24 hours ahead of time and refrigerate for the best flavor.

CAJUN Chicken Fricassee AND MUSHROOMS--in serving dish with serving spoonPin
Old picture circa 2010.

How To Make Cajun Chicken Stew

browning chicken piecesPin
Brown chicken thighs, legs, and breasts in a large skillet.
making the roux in a Dutch oven.Pin
Make the roux.

How to make the roux: Melt butter in a heavy pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add flour and continue to stir with a wooden spatula. At first, the mixture will be crumbly. Keep stirring. It will eventually start to turn brown. Aim for dark butterscotch or the color of milk chocolate. If you start to see black specks, it has burned, and the taste will be off. Throw the roux out and start over.

If preferred, make a roux with your microwave and transfer the roux mixture to the Dutch oven.

softening veggies in a Dutch oven.Pin
Add chopped onions, celery, and red or green bell peppers to the roux and sauté until softened. Add garlic and cook for a couple more minutes.
pot of chicken and vegetables simmering in large potPin
Add warm chicken broth, mushrooms, baby carrots, spices, and chicken. Cover. Simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour.


What can I serve with this recipe?

The sauce makes a deliciously rich and silky gravy best enjoyed over a pile of long-grain rice. I use a rice cooker with a timer so the rice will be ready when I walk in the door. Try mashed cauliflower or riced cauliflower as a low-carb alternative.

Round out the menu with a good loaf of homemade French bread to sop up the gravy.

Can I freeze chicken stew?

Yes. After it cools, pour it into a freezer-safe container. Seal well. Freeze for 2-3 months.

Can I use pork or shellfish (like shrimp or crawfish) instead of chicken?

Cut pork loin into small pieces and sauté it like the chicken. If using shellfish, wait about ten minutes before you’re ready to serve before adding it to the vegetables and sauce. It won’t take long for the seafood to cook. Overcooking makes shrimp or crawfish tough.

Why did my flour and butter mixture (roux) burn?

Several possibilities: 1)Tried to cook it too fast on HIGH heat 2)Didn’t stir often enough 3) Didn’t use a heavy pan

Parting thoughts: Just like gumbo, this dish shines brightest the next day. You don’t have to be in Cajun country to enjoy it.

More chicken recipes:

Help at Your Fingertips: For questions or suggestions, email Paula at If you need help, I’m happy to troubleshoot via email (faster than leaving a comment). Attach pictures and as many details as possible for the best advice.

cajun chicken Fricasse with MushroomsPin
Yield: 5 servings

Cajun Chicken Stew Recipe with Mushrooms

Cajun Chicken Stew with Mushrooms starts with a roux-based gravy. Add in Cajun seasonings, and you’ve got a winner. A good make-ahead dish.

Rate this recipe

(5 stars if you loved it)

5 from 3 votes
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour
Total time: 1 hour 30 minutes


  • ¼ cup (50 g) vegetable oil (divided, 1 T for frying the chicken and 3 T for making the roux
  • 1 (870 g) cut-up chicken or 5-6 chicken breasts or 6 boneless, skinless thighs
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 3 tablespoons (13 g) vegetable oil
  • ½ cup (60 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 cups (225 g) chopped onions
  • 1-1/2 cups (338 g) chopped celery
  • 1 cup (175 g) chopped green bell peppers
  • ½ cup (88 g) chopped red bell peppers
  • 1-2 cloves chopped garlic
  • 2-1/2 cups (568 g) hot chicken stock
  • 8 ounces (227 g) fresh mushrooms, sliced baby bellas or white button mushroom
  • ¼ pound (113 g) baby carrots
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2-3 drops Louisiana hot sauce
  • ½ teaspoon seasoned salt
  • Parsley for garnish or chop and add for fresh flavor


  • Pour 1/4 cup (50 g) vegetable oil into a large heavy pan. Pat 1 (870 g) cut-up chicken or 5-6 chicken breasts dry, sprinkle it with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper, and place them into the hot oil. When browned on both sides, remove them from the pan to another dish.
  • Pour 3 tablespoons (13 g) vegetable oil into the same pan over medium heat. Stir in 1/2 cup (60 g) all-purpose flour and continue to stir until it is a dark butterscotch flavor. If necessary, add an extra tablespoon of oil to make the roux come together.
  • Add 1-1/2 cups (225 g) chopped onions, 1-1/2 cups (338 g) chopped celery, 1 cup (175 g) chopped green bell peppers, 1/2 cup (88 g) chopped red bell peppers, and 1-2 cloves chopped garlic, chopped, to the roux. Cook until softened. Stir frequently.
  • Add 2-1/2 cups (568 g) hot chicken stock to the vegetables, stirring as you go.
  • Add the 8 ounces (227 g) fresh mushrooms, sliced, 1/4 pound (113 g) baby carrots, browned chicken, and the remaining seasonings: 1 bay leaf, 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce, 2-3 drops Louisiana hot sauce, 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt except for parsley. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until the chicken is tender.
  • Remove bay leaf and add Parsley for garnish or chop and add for fresh flavor before serving over rice. This recipe is even better served the next day.


I usually cut up a whole chicken but you could use any chicken pieces you already have or prefer such as boneless, skinless breasts or thighs. You don’t have to remove the skin but I wouldn’t have it otherwise. Because I used a whole chicken, I had the back and wings leftover to make fresh broth–just boil in a pot of water adding a little salt and black pepper.


Serving: 1 | Calories: 491kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 31g | Fat: 33g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 12g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 139mg | Sodium: 645mg | Potassium: 652mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 4293IU | Vitamin C: 51mg | Calcium: 51mg | Iron: 3mg

All images and text ©️ Paula Rhodes for Salad in a

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Recipe Rating


  1. Chelsea Duenez says:

    5 stars
    I made this for dinner tonight with rave reviews from my family and myself! Once you gathered all the delicious ingredients, it came together like a dream. We roasted up some mini golden potatoes to make a hearty meal for this cold evening. I think my favorite part was the mushrooms! Looking forward to leftovers tomorrow! Every single recipe you post always turns out perfectly. Thank you again!

    1. Hi Chelsea,
      I love the mushrooms, too. Thank you for the kind words and 5-star review.

  2. Kate Bruno says:

    I made this recipe today- it does look gorgeous, and I followed it. This took a long time. Unfortunately, I have been making dark roux gumbos for many years, and this took as long as, if not longer (because of the butter based roux, rather than an oil based roux) than a Gumbo Ya-Ya…which it is…..well, partly. I let it sit and then tested the seasonings, and it was missing a lot. I did add thyme, oregano, Tony’s, and some cayenne. I appreciate the recipe, but for the time and effort, would rather make a regular gumbo. The recipe from Mr. B’s in New Orleans is very good, with modifications, as is Paul Prudhomme’s – as is. Note- to the poor soul who burned the roux….done it many times. You must use a heavy pot- cast iron/ Le Creuset, etc. My trick is to add the flour to – preferably oil – with a whisk quickly on really high heat, then turn the heat down to low. It takes about 1 hour to make a good roux, with constant stirring- don’t get the phone, don’t have a smoke, don’t go to the bathroom, and let the kids cry it out. Then, temper the roux and seasonings, cook for 10 minutes, and add the stock- not water ever- very slowly. I also agree that okra has no place in a Cajun gumbo- File in your own bowl please! Thanks for the recipe and will try other stuff from y our blog!

  3. recipe sounds great & looks great, almost identical to the way I make my chicken,sausage & shrimp gumbo. In the pic that I pinned it looked like there was also carrots in the pot…? Is that so or another recipe that I couldn’t find on your website?

    1. Hi Ricky,
      No carrots. Those are red bell peppers. paula

  4. Mushrooms are in the ingredient list, but they are never mentioned again. I suppose they must be added with the other veggies, right?

    1. Hi Donna,
      Mushrooms are included in “the remaining ingredients”. Hope it turns out good for you.

  5. I don’t have any celery. Can I substitute celery for okra or a vegetbale in order to have have gumbo flavor. I will make that probably tonight. It does look good. And I can I make it spicy?

    1. Celery is a pretty important part of many Cajun foods. You might sub celery salt for some of the regular salt. Don’t know of another good substitute.

  6. so i cook the butter and flour in a pot on low.. but by the time it looked like chocolate it suddenly smelled like burnt popcorn… is this normal or did i cook it too fast? is it ruined?

    1. uhg…it tastes like it smells…

    2. As you have probably guessed, it is burned, and therefore, ruined. If you cook it too fast and/or don’t stir it continuously (or at least, very often), or use a cheap pan that heats unevenly, it can burn. So sorry. But practice makes perfect. Try again but watch it close. It will not be the color of dark chocolate but more of a milk chocolate/caramelly color.

  7. I just tried to make this and literally wasted at least 1 cup of butter because there is no way butter and flour make a “rich milk chocolate”

  8. I am making this dish for a second time today. Just forgot to print it out the first time. This was soooo good that all my family loved it, and it is very rare I can please both dad and kids at the same time. There was not a drop left.

  9. I am in the process of making this now… when I added 1/2 cup of flour to 1/4 cup of butter the result was a dry crumbly mess, not the smooth sauce you have pictured… are you sure the measurements aren’t backwards?

    1. Hi Gigi,
      I’m afraid this answer may be too late for you but maybe it will help others. The amounts are correct as listed. The butter and flour will go through stages as it turns brown. First, it will be more like the consistency of mashed potatoes. As it starts to take on some color, it might seem a little dry. (Perhaps this is what you observed as a “dry crumbly mess.”) But as it gets browner and browner it will become more liquid again as seen in the pictures. Just keep stirring. That is the nature of a roux. You could always add more butter, but that will make the end product more “greasy” which is not good in my book.

  10. I don’t have a Dutch oven, can I just use a large pot?

  11. OK, so technically it is a gumbo…sort of. What you actually made is a chicken fricassee’ (freak-ah-say). Comfort food for any cajun. Minus mushrooms add potatoes you have something really authentic. You can easily substitute shrimp for the chicken, but put it in at the end until it turns pink.

    A gumbo would be made exactly the same way, minus the mushrooms, more meats added, more roux, and more water. No okra please – that’s so totally creole and not many cajuns would ever do that. If you want to thicken add small amount of file’ to your OWN bowl, not the pot.

    1. Hi June,
      What an interesting comment! Minus mushrooms (which I adore so I’ll have to think about that), plus potatoes? That sounds so fantastic. And never thought of shrimp. Yes, yes, that sounds good too.

      I am no expert on this kind of food, as I said on the post, but our family loves okra in our gumbo, so I guess we are totally creole. And I never heard of putting file’ in just the bowl but that makes sense too.

      Thanks so much for taking the time to write. pr

  12. Kristi Kearl says:

    We had this dish for dinner last night, and it was great! A nice change of pace from what we are used to. I liked the unique flavor.

  13. I was just thinking of Cajun food this weekend. I will definitely have to give this a try.
    Glad to hear your dad is doing better.

  14. Woohoo, Cajun chicken with the holy trinity of celery, onion, and bell peppers!! Your roux looks perfect, Paula. Glad to hear your dad is back home! 🙂

  15. Betty @ scrambled hen fruit says:

    You had me at “make ahead!” This looks fabulous!

  16. With the weather getting colder I am ready for this recipe. It’s nice to have something new to try and from a source you know you can trust to share only the best. I will be adding a couple of items to my grocery list tomorrow. I think this might be good with left over turkey too.
    I hope your dad continues to improve. Blessing to you all.

  17. Paula, this looks fantastic! Wow, so hearty. I’m laughing because I have done the same thing with my bread maching.

  18. This looks delicous. In Louisiana lots of dishes begin with, ‘first you make a roux’ which is exactly what you did with the butter/flour. Gotta be good with that.

  19. I love meals that can be made ahead of time too! This chicken recipe is sure to be a favourite of my husbands!

  20. TheKitchenWitch says:

    This one sounds like a keeper! I had to giggle a bit at the bread situation…you were far too organized with your chicken and rice! Something had to break down, right?