Celebrate National Gumbo Day with this favorite Southern recipe!

Grab your favorite hot sauce – it’s time for National Gumbo Day y’all!

Each year on October 12th we celebrate #NationlGumboDay. As the weather turns cooler, Southern cooks’ thoughts instinctively turn to gumbo. This diverse the dish can be made a few ways so it’s best to just try them all to taste what’s your favorite.

Gumbo came to the United States through West Africa, as part of the Atlantic slave trade. In fact, gumbo is a traditional African word for “okra.” As the dish traveled through the South, it was influenced by each region. There’s Creole gumbo, which is roux-based, and Cajun-style gumbo, which is made with tomatoes. While the proper recipe for gumbo is one of the hottest debates in Lowcountry kitchens, these basic reminders will ensure that whichever recipe you choose, your gumbo will turn out just right for you.

  • Start with your roux, and be sure to keep an eye on it. Burning the roux means starting over.
  • Mix in a stock instead of water for a more complex flavor.
  • Don’t forget the “holy trinity” of Cajun and Creole dishes: sautéed chopped celery, onions, and bell pepper. (Okra is a classic add-in, and a little garlic never hurt, either)
  • Slow cooking allows the flavors to marry together and prevents burning.

No time to make homemade gumbo on National Gumbo Day? Not to worry, many of our favorite local restaurants have a pot already simmering for you to enjoy!


A cup of Gumbo at Plums Restaurant in Downtown Beaufort, SC
A cup of Gumbo at Plums Restaurant in Downtown Beaufort, SC


  • 1 lb. (4 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 red bell peppers, in medium dice
  • 2 celery stalks, in medium dice
  • 1 ¼ gallon (20 cups) chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons Creole seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 lb. andouille sausage, cut into ¼ inch-thick slices
  • 3 ½ lb. chicken, roasted and boned
  • hot sauce to taste
  • boiled rice as accompaniment

In a 12-quart stockpot melt butter over moderately low heat. Gradually add a third of the flour, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, and cook, stirring constantly, 30 seconds. Add a third more flour and sit constantly 30 seconds. Add remaining third of flour and stir constantly 30 seconds. Continue to cook roux, stirring constantly, until it is the color of dark mahogany, about 30 to 45 minutes.

Add bell peppers and stir constantly 30 seconds. Add onions and celery and stir constantly 30 seconds. Add the stock to roux, stirring constantly to prevent lumps. Add all remaining ingredients except chicken, rice, and hot sauce and bring to boil. Simmer gumbo, uncovered, 45 minutes, skimming off any fat and stirring occasionally. Add chicken and simmer 15 minutes. Adjust seasoning with hot sauce. Serve over rice.

This recipe yields about 6 quarts, but gumbo freezes well and can be thawed without losing flavor.