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This Cajun shrimp étouffée is a zesty combination of tender shrimp, The Holy Trinity of onions, celery, and bell peppers, and a rich gravy — all served on top of a bed of fluffy white rice. Best of all, it’s ready in less than an hour!

Close up front shot of shrimp etouffee in a bowl.
Table of Contents
  1. The Difference Between Shrimp Etouffee, Shrimp Creole, and Gumbo
  2. Ingredients
  3. How to Make Shrimp Etouffee
  4. Serving Suggestions
  5. Preparation and Storage
  6. Recipe Variations
  7. Tips for the Best Shrimp Étouffée Recipe
  8. More Easy Shrimp Recipes to Try
  9. Shrimp Etouffee Recipe

Shrimp étouffée is a staple in Creole cuisine. Etouffee means “smothered” or “suffocated” in French, and when used in the context of food, refers to a method of cooking where seafood is smothered in vegetables and sauce. This spicy stew combines shrimp, crawfish, or crab with vegetables in a thick sauce or gravy. It’s typically served over white rice for an easy, flavorful supper. With just one bite, you’ll instantly be transported to The Big Easy!

Gold roux on a wooden spoon in a cast iron skillet.

The Difference Between Shrimp Etouffee, Shrimp Creole, and Gumbo

These three Louisiana Cajun dishes share many similarities; however, they have certain distinguishing characteristics. Shrimp Étouffée starts with a roux base, which creates a thick sauce that’s more like a gravy. By contrast, Shrimp Creole features a thinner, tomato-based sauce. Étouffée is usually spicier than Creole, too.

Gumbo is yet another dish that includes many of the same flavors and ingredients as an authentic shrimp etouffee recipe, with a few differences. While both gumbo and etouffee include a broth base—like shrimp stock, crawfish tail stock, or chicken broth—gumbo is thinner than étouffée, with a soupy broth rather than a thick gravy.

Pouring broth into a cast iron skillet.

Ingredients

This is just a quick overview of the ingredients that you’ll need for our favorite shrimp etouffee recipe. As always, specific measurements and step-by-step instructions are included in the printable recipe box at the bottom of the post.

  • Butter and flour: form the roux that thickens the gravy.
  • Onion, green bell pepper, and celery: the “Holy Trinity” of Cajun cooking, these veggies form a flavorful base for the dish. I used white onion, but yellow onion or sweet onion is fine, too.
  • Garlic: for even more savory flavor.
  • Fresh parsley and fresh thyme: a bright, flavorful touch.
  • Cajun seasoning: or sub with Creole seasoning if that’s what you prefer. Cajun seasoning is a convenient blend of garlic, cayenne, oregano, chili pepper, onion, paprika, salt, and bell peppers.
  • Chicken broth: to thin the gravy. Chicken stock also works well!
  • Bay leaves: give the dish that earthy flavor, and make it taste like it’s been simmering all day long.
  • Worcestershire sauce: for salty, umami flavor.
  • Shrimp: I like jumbo shrimp here, but any size works fine.
Process shot showing how to make shrimp etouffee.

How to Make Shrimp Etouffee

Enjoy shrimp the Creole way! Shrimp etouffee is thickened with a blonde roux (which doesn’t require as much cooking), so it’s a great option when you don’t have the time for a more involved meal like gumbo (which typically calls for a dark brown roux). I’ve included the detailed directions in the recipe card below, but here’s the quick version:

  1. Make the roux with the butter and flour.
  2. Add the veggies.
  3. Whisk in the broth and seasoning, then let the sauce simmer until it thickens.
  4. Add the shrimp, and cook until pink.
  5. Serve over rice!
Square side shot of a bowl of Cajun shrimp etouffee served over rice.

Serving Suggestions

Cajun shrimp etouffee is typically served on a bed of fluffy white rice. If you’d like to offer some extra side dishes to round out the meal, here are a few good options:

Close up side shot of a bowl of Cajun shrimp etouffee with a side of cornbread.

Preparation and Storage

This easy shrimp etouffee is a great make-ahead meal, so it’s convenient for busy weeknights, suitable for entertaining, or even a nice option to reheat for lunches. Allow cooked etouffee to cool to room temperature. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Reheat the dish in a pot over low heat just until warmed through, adding extra broth to thin if necessary. You can also warm individual portions in the microwave for 1-2 minutes.

Side shot of easy shrimp etouffee in a bowl on a dinner table.

Recipe Variations

  • Add fresh or frozen chopped okra to the pot.
  • Make it spicier by adding extra cayenne pepper or hot sauce to taste.
  • Add tasso ham or andouille sausage for a richer, smokier flavor.
  • Double all of the ingredients to serve a larger family.
Overhead shot of a bowl of shrimp etouffee.

Tips for the Best Shrimp Étouffée Recipe

  • I use “jumbo” shrimp (usually frozen). Just thaw frozen shrimp in the refrigerator overnight before using them in the recipe, or run them under cold water in colander. If you prefer larger or smaller shrimp, that’s fine — just adjust the cooking time accordingly.
  • Keep a close eye on your shrimp as they’re cooking. It only takes a few minutes, and you want to remove them from the heat as soon as they turn pink. Overcooked shrimp are tough and not very appetizing!
  • Garnish the dish with chopped parsley, sliced green onions, or other fresh herbs for a bright, colorful finishing touch.
  • Increase the heat in your dish by adding more Cajun seasoning, by sprinkling in some cayenne or crushed red pepper flakes, or by drizzling hot sauce over top. Shrimp etouffee is typically quite spicy; however, the benefit of the homemade version is that you’re in charge of the heat!
Side shot of a bowl of shrimp etouffee on a table with a side of cornbread and salad in the background.

More Easy Shrimp Recipes to Try

Square side shot of a bowl of Cajun shrimp etouffee served over rice.

Shrimp Etouffee

5 from 1 vote
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 35 minutes
Total: 50 minutes
Servings 4 people
Calories 372 kcal
This Cajun shrimp étouffée is a zesty combination of tender shrimp, The Holy Trinity of onions, celery, and bell peppers, and a rich gravy — all served on top of a bed of fluffy white rice.

Ingredients
  

  • ¼ cup (½ of a stick) salted butter
  • cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup diced white onion
  • ¾ cup diced green bell pepper
  • ¾ cup diced celery
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed (about 1 ½ teaspoons total)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 lbs. jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • For serving: hot cooked rice
  • Garnish: sliced green onions; chopped fresh parsley; hot sauce (such as Crystal)

Instructions

  • In a large skillet, melt butter over medium-low heat. Whisk in flour, and cook, stirring occasionally, until roux is golden brown and resembles the color of peanut butter, about 10-12 minutes.
    Gold roux on a wooden spoon in a cast iron skillet.
  • Add the onion, bell pepper, and celery. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5-7 minutes. Stir in the garlic, parsley, and Cajun seasoning. Cook, stirring constantly, for about 1 more minute.
    Adding The Holy Trinity vegetables to a cast iron skillet.
  • Gradually whisk the broth into the skillet. Add the thyme, bay leaves, and Worcestershire sauce. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, and simmer until thickened, about 7-10 minutes.
    Pouring broth into a cast iron skillet.
  • Add the shrimp to the skillet. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the shrimp and firm and pink, about 5-7 minutes. Discard the bay leaves.
    Process shot showing how to make shrimp etouffee.
  • Serve over rice, and garnish with sliced green onion, fresh parsley, and/or hot sauce.
    Close up front shot of shrimp etouffee in a bowl.

Notes

  • Add fresh or frozen chopped okra to the pot.
  • Make it spicier by adding extra cayenne pepper or hot sauce to taste.
  • Add tasso ham or andouille sausage for a richer, smokier flavor.
  • Double all of the ingredients to serve a larger family.

Nutrition

Serving: 1/4 of the recipe (not including rice)Calories: 372kcalCarbohydrates: 15gProtein: 49gFat: 13gSaturated Fat: 8gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0.5gCholesterol: 399mgSodium: 1090mgPotassium: 853mgFiber: 2gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 968IUVitamin C: 29mgCalcium: 187mgIron: 2mg
Keyword: cajun shrimp etouffee, easy shrimp etouffee, Shrimp Etouffee
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American, Southern
Author: Blair Lonergan
blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

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Comments

  1. Tina Marie says:

    5 stars
    I look forward to making this yummy dinner I gotta go get some ingredients but I plan on making this soon 🙂

    1. The Seasoned Mom says:

      We hope you enjoy it, Tina!