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And I really do mean secret.

Mrs. Mooney's Secret Gumbo |

Or at least it was before today anyway, but it’s time to share this recipe.

We’d be selfish if we didn’t. And I say we because I asked Mrs. Mooney about sharing this recipe way back when I started the blog. Not sure why I took so long to share it, but here it is. Just in time for Mardi Gras too!

Mrs. Mooney's Secret Gumbo |

I know I have talked about Mrs. Mooney before, but this is one of her tried and true recipes that is truly and utterly amazing. Every single time I make this gumbo my family says, over and over again, how good it is.

The reason this recipe is a secret? Well… sorry, that has to remain a secret, but at least you get the recipe.

Mrs. Mooney's Secret Gumbo |

I cannot actually remember the first time I tried Mrs. Mooney’s gumbo, but I sure do remember the first time I ever made it.

I was pretty young, maybe fourteen or fifteen and I was so nervous. I remember having no idea what a roux was and I was totally freaking out that if I burned it,  I would then have to start all over again. Not only that, I actually had to sit and stir the roux for forty-five minutes and not walk away. Like not even take my eyes off the pot for more than fifteen seconds at a time. Yeah, I was scared.

Mrs. Mooney's Secret Gumbo |

I still remember sending photos of the roux throughout out the process to Mrs. Mooney, just to make sure things where looking good and I was not screwing everything up. Just about every other minute I thought I had burned the roux and needed to start over.

And geez, when I finally got the roux to the color needed and I added the veggies? Yikes. Everything bubbled up and made noise. Loud sizzling noises. I thought for sure I screwed it up there too, but it turns out that is totally normal.

FYI, Mrs Mooney spent practically the entire hour or so it took me to make this on the phone with me talking me through every step. I may not have ever gone to cooking school, but at least I have Mrs. Mooney, and really, that’s better. If you knew her, you would agree.

Mrs. Mooney's Secret Gumbo |

Long story short, the gumbo got made, turned out better than I ever thought it could and in five years of making her gumbo I have yet to burn the roux. YES.

Although, I still get a little nervous every time I make the gumbo. Old habits die hard.

If you are wondering, a roux is flour and butter, bacon fat and flour or in this case, oil and flour. You mix together the flour and oil and cook it over the stove to help thicken and flavor things like sauces, soups and stews. If you have ever made mac and cheese than you have made a roux.

Mrs. Mooney's Secret Gumbo |

As Mrs. Mooney says, “The roux is the heart and soul of this recipe. If you burn it, start over and do not take your eyes off of it.”

I know it may sound scary, but it is honestly a super easy recipe and I scaled her original recipe down by half because the original recipe literally fed like sixteen people, so the roux took more like forty-five to sixty minutes to cook. This one will take thirty minutes tops because there is less to cook.

Mrs. Mooney's Secret Gumbo |

Here is my little tip. Grab a stool, turn the TV on if you can or grab your phone. Then glue your butt to that seat right in front of the stove. Seriously, I am not messing around when I say that you have to whisk the roux every fifteen to twenty-five seconds. It is mandatory.

You know the roux is done when it turns a deep dark caramel or peanut butter color. I let mine go pretty dark because I think the darker the better, but just make sure you are not burning it.

Oh, and it is also mandatory to have all your ingredient prepped and ready to go before you start making the roux. Trust me, it helps so much.

Mrs. Mooney's Secret Gumbo |

Okay, with all that said, please do not get scared off. I promise this recipe is very easy and simple to make. Once the roux is made all you need to do is let the gumbo simmer for a few hours. I let mine cook low and slow all day long. The longer it cooks, the better the flavor.

You must serve this over rice because rice is just the best, it is also very traditional. Beer bread is also delicious with it, but technically not traditional. BUT – you would be a little crazy not to serve it with some bread. Just sayin.

Mrs. Mooney's Secret Gumbo |

Mrs. Mooney's Secret Gumbo

Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours 20 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 45 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories Per Serving: 698 kcal

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

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  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 large red pepper diced
  • 1 large green pepper diced
  • 1 large yellow pepper diced
  • 2 celery stalks diced
  • 1 tablespoon garlic minced or grated
  • 1 onion diced (optional, original recipe does not call for it)
  • 1 ounce large can diced tomatoes 14, I like to use fire roasted
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 1 tablespoon creole seasoning rounded
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1-2 teaspoons cayenne pepper (less if you do not want it too hot more if you do)
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 8 cups chicken broth two 1 quart cartons
  • 1 1/2 pounds andouille sausage sliced + halved again into half circles (NO substitutions)
  • 3 boneless skinless chicken thighs may sub chicken breast if desired
  • file powder for serving
  • white rice for serving
  • beer bread for serving


  • In a large bowl combine the chopped peppers (red, green and orange), chopped celery, garlic and onion, if using (I typically leave the onion out). Set aside.
  • In a small to medium size bowl combine the oregano, thyme, basil, creole seasoning, chili powder, cayenne pepper, pepper and salt. Set aside.
  • Before you begin the next step, make sure you have completed steps 1 and 2. It is very important to have all your ingredients prepped and ready go.
  • Grab a seat. No literally, grab a sit. You cannot walk away from the roux over the next 20-30 minutes. Heat a large heavy bottom soup pot over medium-low heat. Add the canola oil and flour to the pot and whisk to combine. Stir the roux EVERY 15-25 SECONDS. You will be able to smell the flour starting to brown. Continue to gently brown flour without burning it until the mixture turns the color of peanut butter or a dark caramel. This can take 30 minutes or so but it is the heart of the recipe. If you burn it, start over. This time just keep stirring and keep an eye on it! It took me 25 minutes to achieve a dark peanut butter color.
  • Once you have your roux made, add all your vegetables (everything in the bowl). The roux will bubble and thicken up immediately into a paste which coats the vegetables. Let the veggies cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes, stirring every couple minutes or so. Sprinkle spice mixture over the vegetables, stir and cook 3-5 minutes longer.
  • Add chicken broth, canned tomatoes, chicken thighs and sausage to the pot. Bring the gumbo to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer, covered for at least 3 hours or up to all day (the longer the better for flavors to blend). The gumbo should be the consistency of stew. If too much of the liquid evaporates add water to thin and if there is too much liquid leave the top off the soup and cook 30 minutes longer. Once the meat has cooked through, skim fat from top and lightly shred the chicken. Serve over rice and sprinkle with file powder (sassafras powder) if you have it. [Beer Bread |] is great with this meal!
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Mrs. Mooney's Secret Gumbo |

Oh and gumbo kicks Monday in the butt.

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    1. Hi Roberta,
      Totally, just be sure your pot is large enough to handle all of the ingredients! I hope this recipe turns out well for you! xx

      1. Oh goodness! This was a success. My pot is very large. I doubled it and it took almost an entire hour for the roux to brown but it was well worth it. Everyone loved it! Thanks again for another fantastic “soup”.

        1. Hey Roberta,
          Happy Friday!🎃 I am delighted to hear that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks for trying it out and sharing your review! xx

  1. 5 stars
    O M G!!! I made this yesterday for Sunday night football. My first time ever attempting gumbo and I was s.c.a.r.e.d.!! I am by no means a chef. Followed this recipe exactly and it turned out INCREDIBLE! Made me look like a professional to my friends! I am now the gumbo queen to them and I am so glad I tried this recipe! Will definitely be making it again! Also made the beer bread, and it was PHENOMENAL! Who knew bread could be that easy?! Thank you so much!!

    1. Hey Anne,
      Amazing!! Thanks a lot for trying this dish and sharing your feedback, I love to hear that it was tasty for you! xT

  2. Hi!

    Wondering if it’s possible to make the roux without the oil? Can I substitute butter instead? I’m on a no oil diet but would looove to try recipe. Thank you!

    1. Hey Madeline,
      Totally, butter will work well for you! I hope you love this recipe, please let me know if you give it a try! xx

  3. 5 stars
    One of my favorite HBH recipes to date! So delicious and full of flavor. If you’re not into spicy, I’d definitely recommend lessening the amount of chili powder and cayenne (as recommend in the recipe). I went for the full amounts and it definitely had some kick. So easy to throw onto the stove in the morning and let simmer all day. Tastes even better as leftovers 🙂

    1. Hey Nicole,
      Awesome!! Thanks so much for sharing your feedback, I love to hear that this recipe was enjoyed! xx

    1. Hi Cheryl,
      Sorry for the confusion, yes that should read 1-14 ounce can. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you give it a try! xTieghan

  4. Lol I’m always skeptical when I see non Louisiana people make gumbo. I was scared you’d make it creole style with tomato or some weird ish. Glad to see you prepared people on how to make roux lol I remember my first batch at 6YO- I was sweating Over the cast iron skillet stirring like crazy for 30min+ while my friends ran around the house .. what I didn’t see that I’d recommend adding is browning liquid to the roux towards the end when it turns, smoked turnkey neck bones, oysters (+oyster juice) , crab, hot links , chicken hearts etc… but not bad at all. Also I hate when people don’t skip the oil off the top before serving

      1. Hi Tieghan,
        Can you make the roux ahead of time?
        I want to make it for Father’s Day for my husband and wondered if i could prep today and put together Sunday?

        1. Hey Kimberly,
          Sure, that would be just fine for you to do! Please let me know how the recipe turns out, I hope you love it! xx

  5. 5 stars
    We made this recipe yesterday. It’s fantastic. We added shrimp in the last 10 minutes and then topped with Dungeness crab.

  6. This looks fabulous. Would like to try it for Sunday dinner with the family. After I make the roux can I keep it going in the crockpot? On low or high? Thanks.


    1. Hey Mary,
      Sure, that will work well for you, I would cook on low for 6 hours. Please let me know if you give the recipe a try, I hope you love it! xTieghan

  7. 5 stars
    Oh my gosh!! So so yummy. I made it just as it was written. (Without onion) definitely a recipe that needs some time and love but so worth it!! My whole family loved it. I’ll be making this forever.

    1. Hi Cassidy,
      Wonderful! I am thrilled to hear this recipe was enjoyed, thanks for giving it a go! Happy New Year!? xTieghan

      1. 5 stars
        I can’t believe I haven’t reviewed this yet! We love this gumbo so much it’s become our New Year’s Day tradition 🙂

  8. Hi! I’m making the recipe from your cookbook currently in the instant pot! Just curious if I was suppose to use fully cooked sausages or raw?… the store had raw andouille links so I used that … hoping it was right.. smells great so far!

    1. Hey there,
      Yes, the fully updated version with the instant pot instructions are located in the HBH Super Simple Cookbook:) Please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan