Shrimp Étouffée (A Southern Favorite)

Shrimp Étouffée is a southern dish packed with all the flavor of our favorite New Orleans cuisine! 

In this dish, tender seasoned shrimp are smothered in a creamy sauce and jam-packed with flavor. The best Shrimp Etoufee is easy to make but it does take a bit of time and I can assure you that the time is definitely worth it!

Shrimp Etouffee on a white plate with rice

What is Shrimp Étouffée?

This is a dish I learned to make in cooking classes in New Orleans. It’s so incredibly delicious, I knew I HAD to share it with you!

Roughly translated, Shrimp Étouffée means “smothered shrimp.” It’s picked up many variations along the way.

For this recipe, a creamy sauce made with a roux will mix with cajun-seasoned shrimp. We love the layers of flavor in this creamy sauce and of course the plump juicy shrimp.

ingredients to make Shrimp Etouffee on a baking sheet

Ingredients & Variations

SHELLFISH
Étouffée can be made with any kind of shellfish. Sub out the shrimp for crab, mussels, or even crayfish (or crawdads) if you can find them! Fresh shrimp is the best to use, but if frozen is all that’s available, no worries! Just make sure it’s well-drained, and don’t overcook.

SAUCE
The base of this dish is the sauce made from a roux. It’s possible to make different types of roux, from “blonde” to medium, to brown. The longer the roux cooks, the darker and nuttier it becomes, but it can definitely take some time. So our recipe strikes a happy medium, without sacrificing any of the flavors!

BROTH
If time is short, just go ahead and use chicken broth, or better yet, canned shrimp broth. But if time is no issue and you want to “get your chef on,” then go ahead and make homemade shrimp stock.

How to Make Shrimp Étouffée

This dish takes time but I can assure you it’s worth every second.

Cook Shrimp
Season and cook shrimp just until pink (per recipe below). It will cook more later, do not overcook.
Make Roux
Combine flour and fat and cook until it becomes the color of peanut butter. Add onions/celery/peppers (this helps stop the cooking process).

flour and butter mixture cooked to the right color to make Shrimp Etouffee

Simmer
Add diced fresh tomatoes, bay leaf, and Worcestershire and simmer.
Add flavors
Add shrimp, green onions, and a squeeze of lemon juice and heat through. Serve over rice.

adding final ingredients to the pan to make Shrimp Etouffee

Tips

Once the roux has reached the color of peanut butter, add the celery/onion/green pepper (aka the holy trinity). This cools the roux to keep it from browning further.
The best shrimp is cooked safely—but just until pink! For the first cooking, remove shrimp from heat just as soon as it turns pink on both sides, which takes just a couple of  minutes! Once added back into the sauce, make sure it’s heated thoroughly but doesn’t boil. A very short simmer is fine, but that’s it. This will ensure the shrimp stays juicy and tender.
Add green onion and parsley last, just before removing the dish from heat. This way the herbs retain their flavor and stay bright green.
Make sure to time the cooking so that the rice is ready when the Étouffée is done. Hot, steaming, and slightly sticky rice tastes the best. Try making Instant Pot Rice or baked rice.

Shrimp Etouffee in a pan with a wooden spoon

Classic Southern-Style Dishes!

Hoppin’ John – loaded with fresh veggies
Dirty Rice
Fried Chicken and Waffles – comforting & delicious
Southern Potato Salad – perfect for a backyard BBQ
Collard Greens – fave side
Cajun Chicken Pasta – ready in under 30 minutes
Shrimp and Grits – cheesy & flavorful

Did you love this Shrimp Etouffee as much as we do? Be sure to leave a rating and a comment below! 

Shrimp Etouffee on a white plate with rice

Shrimp Etouffee

Shrimp slow-simmered with fresh veggies in a cajun-spice sauce, and served over rice!

Course Dinner, Entree, Main Course, SeafoodCuisine American

Prep Time 10 minutesCook Time 35 minutesTotal Time 45 minutes

Servings 4
Calories 458
Author Holly Nilsson

Ingredients1 ½ pounds medium shrimp peeled and deveined1 tablespoon cajun seasoning1 tablespoon vegetable oil⅓ cup butter⅓ cup flour1 small onion chopped½ bell pepper chopped2 ribs celery chopped¼ teaspoon thyme4 cloves garlic minced3 cups shrimp stock or chicken broth2 cups tomatoes fresh (not canned), diced3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce2 bay leavessalt & pepper to taste¼ cup green onion¼ cup parsley½ lemon juiced
InstructionsToss shrimp with cajun seasoning. Heat oil over medium-high heat and add shrimp. Cook until shrimp just begins to turn pink, about 2 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.Melt butter over medium heat. Stir in flour and cook until the flour becomes the color of peanut butter, about 6-8 minutes. Add onions, bell pepper, celery, thyme and garlic and cook until slightly softened. Stir in the broth/stock a bit at a time until smooth. Add tomatoes, Worcestershire and bay leaves and return to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered about 20 minutes. Add salt & pepper to taste.Stir in the green onions, parsley, lemon juice and shrimp with any juices. Cook just until shrimp is heated through, do not overcook.Serve over rice.

NotesFor more flavor, shell your own shrimp. Add shells (and heads), add to chicken broth and simmer on low 20 minutes. Strain and discard shells. Use this broth in place of chicken broth.
Do not overcook shrimp, cook just until pink on each side in step 1. The shrimp will finish cooking through when reheating.
NutritionCalories: 458 | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 42g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Cholesterol: 469mg | Sodium: 2190mg | Potassium: 801mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 2889IU | Vitamin C: 54mg | Calcium: 362mg | Iron: 6mg
plated Shrimp Etouffee with a title with a photos of the ingredientws in a pan cooking
Shrimp Etouffee in the pan with writing
Shrimp Etouffee in the pan with a title
Shrimp Etouffee on a plate with a title

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