Shrimp Etouffee | Classic Cajun recipe with shrimp in a flavorful sauce (2024)


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This Cajun Shrimp Etouffee is a favorite in south Louisiana…
and a great way to celebrate Mardi Gras!

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Shrimp Etouffee | Classic Cajun recipe with shrimp in a flavorful sauce (1)With Mardi Gras quickly approaching, I’ve really been craving Cajun and Creole food like you wouldn’t believe! Etouffeeis one of my favorite Creole-style comfort foods, and since it’s been unbearably cold this winter, I decided to whip up a batch for dinner. Before moving to Louisiana a number of years ago, I’d never really heard ofetouffee. I didn’t even know how to pronounce it (it’s ay-too-fay in case you’re wondering). Perhaps I had seen it on the menu at a Cajun/Creole restaurant, but I had no idea exactly whatetouffee was. But after living in south Louisiana for a few years, I couldn’t help but develop a taste for etouffee! And the best part is thatit’s surprisingly easy to make. This recipe can be made with any type of shellfish, and crawfishetouffee is by far the most popular down in Louisiana. But seeing as how I now live in upstate New York, crawfish tails aren’t exactly easy to come by. Sure, I can order them online, and I often do try to keep some in the freezer for a special meal. I was all out of crawfish, so I went with shrimp this time…and it was really tasty! (I’ve also seen recipes with crab, but I’ve never actually tried crabetouffee.)

I find that a lot of folks fear Cajun and Creole cuisine because they don’t like spicy foods. Spicy doesn’t necessarily mean burn-your-tongue-off hot. I’m not sure where the misconception came from that pouring cayenne pepper on a dish all of a sudden makes it Cajun. This Shrimp Etouffee recipe doesn’t even call for cayenne pepper. (Of course, you could add some if you like heat…but I often don’t use cayenne in this dish.) I do, however, use a creole seasoning, and cayenne is one of the many spices that go into this blend. But I find that most creole seasonings will not burn your mouth off. (Just make sure to taste a little bit before adding it to the recipe, and then just adjust the amount to your own personal taste.) I typically end up serving this ShrimpEtouffee with a bottle of hot sauce…that way people can add as little or as much heat as they want.

Shrimp Etouffee | Classic Cajun recipe with shrimp in a flavorful sauce (2)

The real flavor for this etouffee starts with making a roux. If you’ve never made a homemade roux before, don’t be afraid of it! It’s just butter (or oil) and flour cooked on a very low heat for about 20-25 minutes. The catch is that you’ll need to stir the roux quite often to keep the flour from burning. You can keep working on other things in the kitchen and just frequently stir the roux, but you can’t exactly wander off. And make sure the heat is on low!

The next layer of flavor comes from sauteing the diced onion, celery, and bell pepper in the cooked roux. (Like most Louisiana dishes, this ShrimpEtouffee uses onion, celery, and bell pepper as the base…aka “the Holy Trinity of Cajun Cooking.”) After that, just toss in some tomatoes, spices, and shrimp…and you’ve got a delicious, authentic Creole dish that’s perfect for celebrating Mardi Gras!

I have some more Louisiana-inspired recipes coming in the next couple of days, but in the meantime, check out this Chicken and Sausage Gumbo and this Cinnamon King Cake!

Shrimp Etouffee | Classic Cajun recipe with shrimp in a flavorful sauce (3)

Shrimp Etouffee

This CajunShrimp Etouffeeis a favorite in south Louisiana…and a great way to celebrate Mardi Gras!

Print Pin Rate

Prep Time: 15 minutes minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes minutes

Total Time: 1 hour hour

Servings: 4 servings

Calories: 608kcal


For the Shrimp Stock

  • Shells from 2 lbs shrimp
  • ½ cup onion coarsely chopped
  • 1 celery stalk coarsely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves coarsely chopped
  • top and bottom of 1 green pepper
  • ½ Tbsp black peppercorns

For the Shrimp Etouffee

  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup + 1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup diced onions
  • ¼ cup diced celery
  • ¼ cup diced green bell pepper
  • 1 Tbsp Creole seasoning
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 - 1¼ cups shrimp stock see above
  • 2 pounds shrimp peeled and deveined
  • ½ cup sliced green onions plus more for garnish
  • 3 Tbsp chopped Italian parsley plus more for garnish
  • 1 cup white rice uncooked (i.e. 2 cups cooked white rice)
  • hot sauce to taste


For the Shrimp Stock

  • Place all ingredients in a medium-sized dutch oven or pot. Add 6 cups of water, or enough water to cover the ingredients. Bring water to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat and allow mixture to simmer for 45 minutes. Skim off any foam on top of the pot, and then pour mixture through a fine-mesh strainer.

For the Shrimp Etouffee

  • Melt the butter in a large fry pan or skillet over low heat. Whisk in the flour and cook over low heat, stirring frequently, for 18-20 minutes or until roux turns thick and medium-brown in color. (Note: It is very important to cook over low heat and stir frequently to prevent the roux from burning.)

  • Add the onion, celery, and green pepper, and cook over medium heat for 5-6 minutes, stirring often.

  • Add the Cajun seasoning, paprika, salt, minced garlic, and tomatoes; continue cooking over medium heat for another 2 minutes, stirring often.

  • Slowly whisk in the shrimp stock, stirring constantly, until the mixture reaches the thickness of gravy.

  • Mix in the shrimp and green onions; cover the pan and reduce heat to low. Cook for 8-10 minutes or until shrimp are cooked through.

  • Add the parsley and stir until well combined. Serve over steamed white rice; garnish with additional sliced green onions, parsley, and hot sauce.


Instead of making your own shrimp stock, you can substitute canned shrimp or seafood stock instead.

Related Posts

  • Chicken Creole Soup
  • Seafood Gumbo
  • BBQ Shrimp and Grits
  • Corn Maque Choux with Smoked Andouille Chicken Sausage

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  1. I have never ever heard of Etouffe before, but it surely looks awesomely yummy! Love all the spices. White rice is a staple in our cuisine and this looks so good, I bet my husband will love it! Thanks for sharing David!


    1. Oh, you’ve got to make some etouffee, Wendy! It’s basically a delicious sauce served over rice. The hardest part is making the roux, but it’s only hard because you can’t hurry it up by increasing the heat (it’ll burn if you do). I hope you get a chance to make it!


  2. I have said I need to make Étouffée, but just haven’t yet. It seriously sounds amazing! My MIL and I were just drooling over your gorgeous recipe! AND she now wants to make it for sure:-) Beautiful, Hugs, Terra


    1. Thanks so much, Terra! This is hands-down one of my favorite recipes ever…you totally need to make it! Just take your time making the roux and the rest of it is super easy. Enjoy!!


  3. I just tried this recipe and it was pretty good! Thank you! I had etoufee when I did an internship in Louisiana and haven’t had it since so I’ve been wanting to learn how to make it – my only question or trouble was the roux…it wouldn’t brown. I got it to a dark yellow but that was it and that was over 30 minutes. Can you give any suggestions? I feel like I am missing some flavor because it didn’t brown like it should have.


    1. Hey Jasmine! I absolutely love this etouffee recipe, and I love Cajun food! Thank you so much for making it. 🙂 So making a roux is definitely one of the key pieces of this recipe (and for many other Cajun recipes, too). It’s a long, slow process. If you go hotter on your stove temperature, then it will cook faster…but you run a serious risk of burning the roux. (You know it’s burnt if little black specs start to show up in it.) At that point, you really should just dump it and start over. That’s why I like to go a little lower on the heat, but it takes a long time. Here’s the thing, though: you think it’s doing nothing for a long time, and then all of a sudden it starts to brown very quickly. I put 18-20 minutes in the recipe, but that time varies greatly based on the heat of your stove. Lower heat takes longer but ensures that you don’t burn the roux. I made this recipe a couple of weeks ago, and I recall the roux taking a solid 30+ minutes. It’s just a slow process. But that’s where the flavor comes from. Give it a shot again! Making a roux from scratch is one of those ‘harder’ kitchen skills to master, but it can totally be done with a little practice. It sounds like you were almost there last night! Like I said, it goes from yellow to brown to dark brown very quickly once it does start to turn color. I hope this helps. It’s so difficult to explain how to make a roux…much easier to just stand there and show someone in person! If you do try again, keep me updated on the process. I’m happy to edit the instructions above if you have tips for other readers, too. Have a great weekend!


      1. Thank you so much! I will definitely be trying this recipe again – I’m determined to master the roux! I just need to be prepared for the time that it takes lol


        1. Awesome! Yes, roux is not a fast process…but it’s where all of that delicious flavor comes from. Plus, it’s pretty cool to say that you know how to make your own roux! 🙂


  4. Hi David! Still poking around your site and I am getting hungry! I have crawfish tails in the freezer and they are screaming at me now! I make red beans and rice with Andouille and smoked pork at least once a month – my husband, who is not a true fan of beans, actually asks for it! And, OMG, bread pudding with bourbon sauce! I really wish I lived in New Orleans, the only drawback is I would weigh twice what I do now! 🙂 Might be worth it!


    1. Haha…you and me both, Dorothy! I loved my time living down in south Louisiana, and I would love to get back down there. Red beans is one of my all-time favorites, too. My wife likes them, but I absolutely love them! And this etouffee is another favorite. We actually made this not long ago, but we switched it up and made chicken instead. (We had some friends coming over that couldn’t eat shellfish.) Bread pudding + bourbon sauce? Don’t get me hungry like that on Monday morning…I’m still working on my coffee! Haha!


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Shrimp Etouffee | Classic Cajun recipe with shrimp in a flavorful sauce (2024)


What is etouffee sauce made of? ›

Étouffée is a type of stew if you want to get technical. It's made with a roux, onion, celery, and bell pepper (the holy trinity), tomato, garlic, hot sauce, and either shrimp, crawfish, or chicken. Cajun Étouffée does not contain tomatoes. The addition of tomatoes is the Creole way of preparing etouffee.

What is the flavor of etouffee? ›

Taste of Etouffee

Etouffee is rich and spicy with the sweet and briny flavor of shellfish. The shellfish is coated in a velvety thick gravy flavored with traditional Cajun or Creole seasonings. The dish is typically served over rice, which soaks up the lush etouffee sauce.

What is the difference between shrimp etouffee and shrimp creole? ›

The etouffee has more of a gravy consistency which means that it's thicker than shrimp creole. Another difference is that shrimp etouffee is a lot spicier than shrimp creole. Lastly, shrimp creole normally has a tomato base while shrimp etouffee utilizes a roux for its base.

What are the different types of etouffee? ›

Popular variations include shrimp étouffée, crawfish étouffée, and chicken étouffée. While often categorized as a stew, étouffée is closer to a light, aromatic gravy built from a roux. Similar entrées include the Spanish dish paella and other New Orleans bayou dishes such as gumbo, shrimp Creole, and jambalaya.

What is the difference between Creole and Cajun etouffee? ›

The Main Differences Between Creole and Cajun

A typical Creole roux is made from butter and flour (as in France), while a Cajun roux is usually made with lard or oil and flour. This is partly due to the scarcity of dairy products in some areas of Acadiana (Acadia + Louisiana) when Cajun cuisine was being developed.

What does Cajun sauce contain? ›

It typically includes a mix of herbs, spices, and peppers, giving it a distinct flavor profile. The ingredients in Cajun seasoning can vary depending on the recipe or brand but usually includes paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, black pepper, and thyme to give your meals a bold and spicy flavor.

What's the difference between Cajun and Creole? ›

As to the difference in the cuisines, Creole can be defined as “city cooking” with influences from Spain, Africa, Germany, Italy and the West Indies combined with native ingredients. Cajun cooking is more of a home cooked style that is rich with the ingredients at hand in the new world the Acadians settled into.

What is the difference between gumbo and shrimp etouffee? ›

Key Differences

Both etouffee and gumbo are broth-based, using shrimp stock, seafood stock, crawfish tail stock, or chicken stock. But etouffee has a thicker, gravy-like consistency whereas gumbo is a thinner stew.

What does etouffee mean in French? ›

In French, the word "étouffée" (borrowed into English as "stuffed" or "stifled") literally means "smothered" or "suffocated", from the verb "étouffer".

What to eat with shrimp etouffee? ›

How to serve Seafood Etoufee. Shrimp étouffée is traditionally served over cooked white rice. The rice helps soak up the flavorful sauce. Sprinkle chopped parsley or green onions over the finished dish before serving for a burst of freshness and color.

What is the best side for etouffee? ›

Here are some of the best side dishes to serve with crawfish etouffee:
  • Cajun Rice:
  • French Bread:
  • Mashed potatoes:
  • Baked beans:
  • Salad:
  • Jambalaya:
  • Fried Rice:
  • To Sum Up.
Nov 1, 2022

What are 3 main differences between Cajun and Creole foods? ›

While they are very similar, they do utilize different ingredients. Cajun food is typically spicier than Creole food, and it also contains more pork and crawfish. Creole food utilizes more ingredients like tomatoes, shrimp, oysters, and crab.

What is the holy trinity in etouffee? ›

The "holy trinity" in Cajun cuisine and Louisiana Creole cuisine is the base for several dishes in the regional cuisines of Louisiana and consists of onions, bell peppers and celery. The preparation of Cajun/Creole dishes such as crawfish étouffée, gumbo, and jambalaya all start from this base.

What does et tu fay mean? ›

Share. The word étouffée (pronounced eh-too-fey) comes from the French word“to smother.” The best way to describe this dish is a very thick stew, seasoned to perfection and chock full of delicious, plump crawfish (or shrimp) served over rice.

How dark should roux be for etouffee? ›

Blond roux is used for Velouté and can be substituted in recipes calling for a white roux. Brown roux is the foundation of roux-based New Orleans dishes such as étouffée and gumbo. Of the three types of roux, brown roux is the darkest and most flavorful.

What's the difference between gumbo and etouffee? ›

And while gumbo is a soup or stew, etouffee is more of a main dish; the word "etouffee" means "smother" in French, which refers to how the seafood is "smothered" in a thick, usually tomato-based sauce. Like gumbo, etouffee is also usually made with a roux and has its roots in Cajun and Creole cuisine (via Chowhound).

How do you describe etouffee? ›

Étouffée is a dish of shellfish, simmered in a sauce made from a light or blond roux, served over rice. It is most commonly made with crab, shrimp or crawfish.

Is etouffee the same as a roux? ›

Generally, Cajun roux calls for flour and oil. Creole roux uses flour and butter. The second is tomatoes. Cajun Étouffée typically does not contain tomatoes whereas Creole Étouffée does include tomatoes.

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