This shrimp etouffee recipe is pure Creole heaven with succulent shrimp smothered in a rich and flavorful tomato sauce with lots of seasonings, served over rice. Get ready for a great meal!
Creole Shrimp Etouffee Recipe
Shrimp étouffée is a must-eat dish from Louisiana. Etouffee is all over the American south, part of the rich history and diverse cooking techniques acquired from many different parts of the world.
I've heard people ask, "What's a creative shrimp dish I can make at home?"
This is it.
A bit like a classic gumbo recipe, shrimp etouffee offers up a wonderful creamy sauce made from the Cajun Holy Trinity of vegetables - bell peppers, celery and onion - thickened with a roux, much like a stew.
Bring in your favorite Creole Seasonings and you'll develop a flavor that will definitely work its way into your heart.
The shrimp can be sauteed then added to the dish, or you can cook them right into the sauce, which is more traditional. In fact, the very name "etouffee" means "to smother" in French, referring to smothering the shrimp within the sauce.
Let's talk about how to make shrimp etouffee, shall we?
Shrimp Etouffee Ingredients
- Shrimp. Peeled and deveined, but save the shrimp shells.
- Oil. Use peanut oil or vegetable oil.
- Flour. All purpose white.
- Cajun Holy Trinity. Green Bell Pepper (or use jalapenos for a spicier version), onion, celery + garlic.
- Chicken Broth.
- Diced Tomatoes. I'm using canned tomatoes.
- Spices. Use Creole seasonings (or use Cajun Seasonings) + dried thyme and salt and black pepper. Bay leaves are popular as well.
- Worcestershire Sauce.
- Hot Sauce. If desired. I love a good Louisiana style hot sauce for this recipe.
- For Serving. Steaming white rice, fresh chopped parsley, spicy red chili flakes.
How to Make Shrimp Etouffee - Recipe Directions
First, we want to make a shrimp stock, which will enhance the seafood flavor of the dish.
You can save time by using a store bought stock, or use chicken stock instead. I feel the homemade stock makes a big difference.
After you've chopped up your bell peppers, celery and onion, keep those leftover scraps to make the stock.
Also, save the shells from your shrimp after peeling them.
Homemade Shrimp Stock
Heat a large Dutch oven or pot to medium heat and add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add chopped onion and celery scraps along with the reserved shrimp shells.
Cook them down about 5 minutes to soften.
Add chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes to let the flavors mingle.
This will develop a lot of wonderful flavor.
Strain the stock and discard the solids. Set aside for now.
Making the Etouffee Sauce
First, heat a separate pot or large pan to medium heat. A Dutch oven works great for this. Add 3 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil along with 3 tablespoons flour.
Stir to form a paste. This is your roux.
Stir the roux continuously for 10-12 minutes, until it darkens to a light brown color, the color of peanut butter.
Do not stop stirring continuously or the roux can burn. Learn more about How to Make a Roux.
Add the onions, peppers, and celery.
Stir and cook it down for 5 minutes to soften.
Add the garlic and diced tomatoes cook another minute.
Stir in the reserved shrimp stock until it is all incorporated.
Stir in 1 tablespoon Creole or Cajun seasonings, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, dried thyme, and a bit of salt and pepper to taste.
I like to add in a bit of extra cayenne pepper for additional heat.
Simmer at least 20 minutes to let the flavors mingle and develop.
Cooking the Shrimp
While the etouffee sauce is simmering, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a pan.
Season the shrimp with 1 teaspoon Creole seasonings, then sear the shrimp a couple minutes per side, until they are cooked through.
Alternatively, you can simply add the shrimp to the simmering sauce and let them cook in the sauce for 5 minutes, until they are cooked through.
Serving Up Your Shrimp Etouffee
Add cooked white rice to plates. Spoon sauce over it. Top with shrimp.
Garnish with fresh chopped parsley and spicy chili flakes. Green onions are nice, too.
BOOM! DONE! I love this recipe. SO good. It makes me think of Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Comfort food at its finest.
Recipe Notes and Tips
The Stock. As mentioned, you can skip the step for making your own shrimp stock if you'd like to save time. Either use a store bought brand, or use readily available chicken stock.
I used chicken stock to make my shrimp stock, as sort of a double whammy of flavor.
You can use water instead to make your shrimp stock.
The Roux. For the roux, 10-12 minutes is really all that is needed to make a light blonde roux.
If you keep cooking and stirring, the roux will eventually darken to the color of copper, then chocolate, then dark chocolate.
You can just cook it to the color you prefer.
Tomatoes - Yes or No? I've seen some discussions that say a true, classic "etouffee" should not include tomatoes.
You can, of course, skip the tomatoes and just go with the gravy thickened by the roux. It will be delicious. I like it both ways. It's the same thing with gumbo.
If you want tomato? Go for it! If not, skip it.
The Shrimp. For the shrimp, you can easily just tuck the raw shrimp into the sauce and let them simmer a few minutes until they are cooked through.
This is where the "smothering" part of the dish's name comes in. I prefer a bit more snap to my shrimp, so I sauté them instead and serve them over the top.
Seafood Options. You can make this recipe with other types of seafood, as well as with chicken.
Chicken Etouffee is a real thing, luckily for us, as is Crawfish Etouffee. Feel free to use a mix of seafood.
How to Make Gumbo. If you love this recipe, you'll probably love a good gumbo as well.
Check out my Guide on How to Make Gumbo to learn how to make it different ways, and also to learn more about the history and the roux.
Try Some of My Gumbo & Cajun Recipes
If you love gumbo, check out some of my favorite and popular gumbo recipes.
- Cajun Chicken and Sausage Gumbo
- Seafood Gumbo
- Mike’s Spicy Gumbo
- Creole Chicken and Sausage Gumbo
- Gumbo Z’Herbes – “Green Gumbo”
- Chicken Fricassee
- Crawfish Etouffee
Try Some of My Popular Shrimp Recipes
- Shrimp Creole Recipe
- Shrimp and Grits
- Bang Bang Shrimp
- Blackened Shrimp
- Spicy Cajun Shrimp
- Shrimp and Red Bean Chili
- Shrimp in Fiery Chipotle-Tequila Sauce (from my cookbook! “The Spicy Food Lovers’ Cookbook“)
- Grilled Buffalo Shrimp
- Firecracker Shrimp
- Shrimp Ceviche
- Camarones a la Diabla (Diablo Shrimp)
That's it, my friends!
If you try this recipe, please let us know! Leave a comment, rate it and tag a photo #ChiliPepperMadness on Instagram so we can take a look. I always love to see all of your spicy inspirations. Thanks! -- Mike H.
Shrimp Etouffee Recipe
- 1 pound shrimp shelled and deveined (shells reserved)
- 3 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil + 2 tablespoons divided
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 1 green bell pepper chopped (or use jalapenos for a spicier version)
- 1 medium onion chopped (scraps reserved)
- 2 celery stalks chopped (scraps reserved)
- 3 cloves garlic chopped
- 2-1/2 cups chicken broth
- 15 ounces diced tomato canned or fresh, with juices
- 1 tablespoon Creole seasonings + 1 teaspoon divided (or use Cajun Seasonings + extra as desired)
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire
- 1 tablespoon hot sauce plus more to taste
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme or use fresh
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 cups cooked white rice
- Fresh chopped parsley spicy red chili flakes
MAKE THE SHRIMP STOCK
- Heat a medium sized pot to medium heat and add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add chopped onion and celery scraps along with reserved shrimp shells. Cook them down about 5 minutes to soften.
- Add chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes to let the flavors mingle.
- Strain the stock and discard the solids. Set aside for now.
MAKE THE ETOUFFEE SAUCE
- Heat a separate pot or large pan to medium heat. Add 3 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil along with 3 tablespoons flour. Stir to form a paste. This is your roux.
- Stir the roux continuously for 10-12 minutes, until it darkens to a light brown color. Do not stop stirring or the roux can burn.
- Add the peppers, onion and celery. Stir and cook it down for 5 minutes to soften.
- Add the tomatoes and garlic and cook another minute.
- Stir in the reserved shrimp stock until it all incorporated.
- Stir in 1 tablespoon Creole or Cajun seasonings, Worcestershire, hot sauce, dried thyme, and a bit of salt and pepper to taste.
- Simmer at least 20 minutes to let the flavors mingle and develop.
FOR THE SHRIMP
- While the etouffee is simmering, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a pan.
- Season the shrimp with 1 teaspoon Creole seasonings, then sear the shrimp a couple minutes per side, until they are cooked through.
- Alternatively, you can simply add the shrimp to the simmering sauce and let it cook in the sauce for 5 minutes, until it is cooked through.
- Add cooked white rice to plates. Spoon sauce over it. Top with shrimp.
- Garnish with fresh chopped parsley and spicy chili flakes.