Shrimp Etouffee

You can use shrimp, crawfish, or crab for this recipe interchangeably.

  • Prep time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
  • Cook time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4 to 6


Optional Shrimp Stock:

  • Shells from 2 pounds of shrimp
  • 1/2 large onion, chopped
  • top and bottom from 1 green pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 5 bay leaves


  • 2 pounds shrimp, shell on (remove shells for use in the shrimp stock, if not making your own stock, you can get shrimp already shelled)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil or lard
  • Heaping 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 large onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 to 2 jalapeno peppers, chopped
  • 1 large celery stalk, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 pint shrimp stock (see above), or clam juice or pre-made fish or shellfish stock
  • 1 Tbsp Cajun seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1 Tbsp sweet paprika
  • Salt
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • Hot sauce (Crystal or Tabasco) to taste


1 Make the shrimp stock: Pour 2 quarts of water into a pot and add all the shrimp stock ingredients. Bring to a boil, drop the heat down and simmer the stock gently for 45 minutes. Strain through a fine-meshed sieve into another pot set over low heat.

You will only need about 2 cups of stock for this recipe. Use the leftover stock for soup, risotto, etc. It will last in the fridge for a week or frozen for up to three months.

2 Make the roux: To make the etouffee, start by making a roux. Heat the vegetable oil or lard in a heavy pot over medium heat for 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the flour, making sure there are no clumps. Let this cook, stirring often, until it turns a very brown; this should take about 10 minutes or so.

making the roux for shrimp etouffee

3 Add the vegetables: Add the celery, green pepper, jalapeño and onion, mix well and cook this over medium heat for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and cook another 2 minutes.

cooking vegetables for etouffe recipe

4 Slowly add shrimp stock, then the seasonings and the shrimp: Measure out 2 cups of the shrimp stock and slowly add it a little at a time, stirring constantly so it incorporates. The roux will absorb the stock and seize up at first, then it will loosen. Add additional stock as needed to make a sauce about the thickness of syrup.

adding shrimp stock to etouffee cooking shrimp stock for etouffee

Add the Cajun seasoning, celery seed and paprika and mix well. Add salt to taste, then mix in the shrimp. Cover the pot, turn the heat to its lowest setting and cook for 10 minutes.

cajun shrimp added to etouffee pot

5 Add the green onions and hot sauce to taste. Serve over white rice with a cold beer or lemonade.

making shrimp etouffee in pot

Click on the comments you'd like to print with your recipe. Grayed out comments will not print.


  • eileen

    i can’t wait to try this! Looks simple and easy!


  • Son of a shrimper.

    I’m from south Mississippi, I agree with @cajun as far as the name goes. It’s all good though. Not quite like mama used to make but she hated oregano. Spaghetti in our house was almost bbq! I really liked this recipe but I added more/hotter pepper-homegrown homeground habaneros along with what the recipe calls for. And I used royal reds for shrimp. Excellent!


  • Cajun

    Lol…from Thibodeaux, La…dis is what we call a shrimp stew or a fricassee…Your recipe is what becomes of leftovers from our infamous crawfish, shrimp, or crab boils, .all are awesome…when we do meatballs, same recipe but it’s our fricassee. Chicken is just as good

  • Constantin

    Easy to make, the recipe steps with pics in details is perfect for even a beginner cook. Nothing to add all the seasoning is perfectly balances the vegetables with the shrimp. Thank you.


  • Sandy

    He says at least two times that you ll need two cups of shrimp stock.

  • Ryan

    Love the recipe, been a fan of the site since the beginning. One critique I would add is that when it comes to adding the stock to the roux, highlight how much you are adding. As a person that follows recipes to the letter, I made the mistake of adding the entire 2 quarts. I do skim through the recipe before hand but saying the quantity again during that step helps remind the reader exactly how much to add. Thanks again for all that you do!


  • Carmen

    Made it for the first time tonight and it was delicious! Easy to make and definitely a recipe to keep and repeat!


  • veronica

    My first attempt at Etouffee. What a success.I made a spicy version with 2 jalapenos, sriracha hot sauce and dirty rice made with Andouille sausage. Fabulous favorite!


  • Boudreaux

    Do you like suggestions Hank? Coming from a lifelong South Louisiana resident, you should simply swap out the oil for butter and don’t make the roux quite as dark. A “blonde roux” is perfect for an etouffee and more traditional for this dish. What you have is closer to a gumbo roux. An etouffee should be thicker and lighter than a gumbo. As a rule of thumb, the darker the roux the more flavorful but with less thickening power. Other than that, your recipe looks fine although quite different from mine. Maybe too much garlic.

  • Nichole

    I make this time and time again. This recipe is wonderful and better than anything we have ever had in a restaurant. It is one of our favorite dishes. We add andouille sausage to it as well.


  • Katie

    This was delicious. It’s my husband’s favorite dish to order when he travels, so I decided to take a stab at it and make it for him. He said it was the best he ever had! My 6 year old loved it too. Thanks for sharing!


  • Beverly

    Looks absolutely delicious!!!
    Does anyone know how much I should buy to serve about 50 guest?
    Also, can I add chicken to the recipe along with the shrimp?
    Thank you for any replies in advance. Deeply appreciated

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Beverly, it looks like you would have to scale up the recipe by about 8 times to get close to serving 50 people. As for chicken, I’ve seen recipes online where half of the shrimp is subbed out for chicken thighs, skin-on, bone-in. Before making the roux, you would brown the chicken in fat on all sides, then remove it from the pan and make the roux. Instead of adding the shrimp in step 4, add the chicken. Cook it in the stock for 25 minutes, then remove it, shred the meat from the bones. Return the meat to the pot along with the shrimp and cook for a few minutes more. Haven’t tried it, but this should work.

  • Amy

    This recipe is amazing! This was my first attempt at making étouffée and my husband called it “restaurant quality.”


  • Larry

    Made this for dinner and came out perfect first time. Took a little more oil than it called for and added some more stock to keep it at the right consistency because I mistimed the rice. This is a keeper.


  • Mark Richard

    I’m from the town of Baldwin, on the southern coast of Louisiana near Vermilion Bay. I would like to clear up the idea that there is no controversy among older Louisiana Cajuns on what is etouffee, stew, or gumbo, or their variations. What you describe are separate dishes here in Louisiana.

    This recipe (a very good one) is what we call here “Cajun shrimp stew” since roux with no tomatoes is used. With tomatoes, it becomes “Creole shrimp stew.”

    An etouffee has no roux. Leave out the roux, cook the shrimp (or crawfish) in its natural juices with a little water and little or no flour added, and you have an etouffee.

    Cajun stews start with a roux and can be made with crawfish, shrimp, chicken, or pork. Sometimes they are called “smothered shrimp” or “smothered pork” and so on. You are right in that usually etouffees and stews usually have only one seafood or meat. If you mix shrimp and crawfish in an etouffee or stew, you only taste the shrimp. Sometimes chicken stew is cooked with Cajun sausages, as would be chicken-sausage gumbo.

    A gumbo is made the same as a stew, with roux, and in a big pot instead of a skillet. I cook my roux in a skillet and add the garlic, then the celery, bell peppers, and onions with adequate water to keep it from sticking. When this is lightly sauteed I transfer it to a pot and add the seafood and water. It should be soup consistency instead of thick like a stew.

    Two main gumbos are seafood gumbo, which usually blends shrimp, crawfish, crabmeat, and oysters, and chicken-sausage gumbo, which usually includes chicken, andouille sausage, Cajun smoked sausage, tasso, and Cajun pork sausage.

    Creole cooking, found more in restaurants around New Orleans, uses tomatoes. Restaurants in the Lake Charles area have adopted using tomatoes as well.

    Tomatoes are not a substitute for a well-made roux. I’ve had “gumbo” outside of Louisiana with no roux and a watered-down tomato sauce. This is not gumbo!

  • Kara Ffrench

    I’ve made this several times and it is wonderful! We all love it and so does company. Thank you Hank!


  • Kate

    I love this recipe. I make it regularly. Thanks!


  • Danielle

    I used butter for my etouffe, hands down it was the best. Thank you for this wonderful recipe!


  • Scott

    This is one of the best etoufees I have ever eaten. Have made it twice and was definitely better when I used the heads and shells to make the stock. Only problem I find is it doesn’t make enough lol. Has anybody tried making a bigger batch? If so what proportions did you use? Thanks for a great recipe


  • Tom

    I live on the Louisiana coast and I can tell you that there is nothing wrong with the shrimp here despite what someones neighbor who works here says. We eat shrimp and seafood here almost daily and I can promise you that there are no longer issues with oil from the spill!

  • Kathy Ross

    Tried this last night. Making the shrimp stock with the shrimp shells made a big difference. Made the sauce so flavorful. My husband loved it.

  • Jill

    I have made this recipe twice and it is for sure a keeper! I also added andouille sausage at the time I added the shrimp. This made me have to add a little more of the stock when I added the sausage. The dish was even more delicious and my husband can’t stop telling me how wonderful I am. ;)

  • Patricia Dodson

    Don’t forget the oil spill in the Gulf. Our neighbor works there and says the oil is still down there with bed shrimp.

  • D Theriot

    Try subing butter for the oil when making the roux. I fine a light butter roux is best for shrimp, crab and crawfish as it doesn’t overwhelm the meat.

  • Michael

    Sounds great and will try it tonight. I have creole seasoning in the cupboard. Can I substitute that for the cajun seasoning?

  • Seattle Girl

    Made this two nights ago and it was awesome! Funny – I think etouffee is one of those foods that everyone has their own recipe (and opinion). I’ve tried several recipes, and I think this one was great! However, I did add Andouille sausage to mine ;)

  • Sean

    For those that avoid wheat flours: “glutinous rice flour” works as a direct replacement in an étouffée roux.

  • Lisa

    I was born and raised in Louisiana and my family use tomatoes as one of the ingredients in Shrimp and Crawfish Etouffee! But ours look different!

    • Sean

      @Lisa – From a traditional standpoint, Cajun Étouffée would not have tomatoes. Many consider the addition of tomatoes to make it Creole style. Often simply called “Shrimp Creole”.

      In my family we did both, depending on the season, the quality of shrimp and what else we were having to eat. Without tomatoes requires a bit more precision & quality to the ingredients since you are relying completely on the roux, veg & spices to make it.

      • Clone

        The preparation and end results of Shrimp Creole vs an etouffee are very different if done correctly.
        Shrimp Creole ends up as a thick tomato sauce and includes a bit of sugar. It is made deliberately as a sauce and no roux is anywhere in a recipe. Almost the consistency of a thick marinara with shrimp as the star of the dish. If you want to confirm this fact, I would point you to the recipes in Leah Chase’s and Leon Galatoire’s cookbooks. Pretty reputable sources

  • Anne

    I made this today, and it was awesome! I cooked the roux to the dark old-penny color that you’d use for a gumbo, thinking it would be the same, but I’m reading all the comments here, and I guess what I made isn’t a “real” etouffee?

    I’m still going to make my version with the darker roux though, as not only did the stew thicken up fine (maybe it’s because I used more roux than the recipe called for), but the toasted nutty flavor it brought to the dish was phenomenal.

    Also, I preseasoned the shrimp with Cajun spice and added more spice to the vegetables as it sauteed. Seemed enough seasoning for me: I realized halfway through eating it that I had forgotten the hot sauce, and I had never missed it.

    Thank you for a really delicious recipe!

  • Tom

    Made this for dinner tonight, is was fantastic – thanks for the recipe! There was a sale on head-on shrimp at my local grocer, so my stock was even more flavorful.

  • Kathy

    This was a terrific dish! We did add crawfish with 2 bay leaves and some parsley. I think next time I will have to make a double, maybe even a tripke batch…gone in an instant! LOL Thank you for a wonderful meal!! :P

  • Laura Moody

    Well I’m making this tonight! The first time I try a new recipe I like to remain true to the original, later I can make my own changes. Would like to mention though, the word gumbo comes from the African name for Okra. Therefore, I believe a true gumbo must have okra in it. Right? Thanks for the recipe.

    That is in dispute, and there are plenty of traditional Louisiana gumbos without okra. ~Hank

    • Susan Leitson

      In one of the French speaking African countries the word “gumbo” means “okra”. As the daughter of a Louisiana Cajun, we ALWAYS had okra in our chicken/sausage gumbo. Seafood gumbo not that I remember. But we love the okra.

  • Andrea Kearney

    I made this dish in a very large cast iron skillet (we just got induction and I still can’t make up my mind on new cookware). Used 1/2 butter and 1/2 oil for the roux, hot Szeged paprika b/c I was out of sweet, only 1 jalapeno. Mistakenly purchased shelled shrimp, so used the tails for stock and reduced quantity of other stock ingredients by 1/2 and ended up with exactly 1 pint after simmering. Also did not have celery seed, so skipped it and added pinch of thyme. Used Hank’s recipe in the comments for the seasoning mix (except for the paprika and celery seed, as already mentioned). Very nice result, thanks for this recipe.


  • Tess

    To the person with seafood alergies, I make an okra and tasso etouffee–no shellfish whatsoever. And, having lived in Louisiana my entire life, I can attest to the fact that many an etouffee is made with a tomato base.


    This sounds like a very flavorful dish. I love spicy, but I might try to tone down the spices for my 1 1/2 year old :) I bet he’d like this!Have you tried this with Chicken?

    I have not, but others have and they said it is excellent done with chicken! ~Hank

  • Sandra

    Most saturday nights my husband and I like to make something “special” for dinner. This recipe fit perfectly. A definite keeper. Thank you.

  • Nam

    I just finished making this. It came out great.. just like any other dish made from your site. Thanks Elise! Your website helps me try out dishes I have only had in restaurants :)

  • Krusticle

    I made this last night, with a few changes — I used butter in the roux (was out of bacon fat) and I’m allergic to onions, so that was out. It still tasted great! I used a Trader Joe’s seafood stock, adding celery, bay leaves and shrimp shells to simmer. I only had basmati rice on hand, so after having a dish of the etouffee as is, I then experimented with adding some unsweetened shredded coconut, saffron and some peas to it. It became a whole new thing with the basmati rice, a cross between a Carribean dish and Indian curry. We liked both versions so much, I’ll be making this again. Thanks!

  • Pete

    Hank; I hope you’re not paying too much attention to the critics…
    I guess some are wannabe experts…
    We should all remember that the origination of gumbos, etouffees, stews, etc… was that it was a “gumbo” of everything & anything in the fridge or whatever the hubby caught in the traps or on his pole that day. The person that corrected you & said that “if it had tomatoes in it, then it would be a shrimp creole” was wrong. Creole is not close to the same family as stew, gumbo or etouffee.

    Applying an exact, precise title to a gumbo, stew or etouffee is useless… Like the early cajuns & creoles intended, It’s whatever you want to put in it & whatever you want to call it! I DID see Paul Prudomme put a few tomatoes in a etouffee… Gumbos, stews & etouffees are differentiated by the degree of soupiness rather than the ingredients. One can travel to 1,000 cajun and creole cafes in cajun country & find no two gumbos, etouffees, or stews alike.

    Thanks for your article & recipe Hank…

  • Pop Culture Mom

    Créole gal here with just a little tip. Lard/oil is okay for a gumbo roux, but for étoufée, it’s better to have the lighter, creamier roux. Instead of lard/oil, use butter. Sounds like a little difference, but trust me, your tastebuds will THANK you! (and skip the jalepenos; use a little Cajun or Creole seasoning instead for some kick).

    With ya on the butter – it works well with a light roux – but I’ll stick with the jalapenos. I like what they bring to the party. ~Hank

    • Donna

      Can I use old bay seasoning in place of Cajun seasoning?

      • Emma Christensen

        Hi Donna! The flavor will be a little different, but I think it will still be great! Let us know how it works out!

  • Nancy Long

    I have had and made gumbo with only one meat/seafood but, I usually make mine with several. Most gumbos are thickened with either roux or okra but, I use both. Also, file powder really should only be sprinkle over the bowl when you serve it or use it all at that time. When file is reheated, it tends to make the gumbo gummy.

    Good point about the file – I sprinkle it on at the table. ~Hank

  • kathy

    For the best description of the difference between a gumbo and etouffee is to read a discourse (so formal!) on the different types of roux’s used in Louisiana cooking. Chef John Folse is an expert on Cajun & Creole cooking and gives an excellent explanation on the different roux’s (6 of them!)and which one is commonly used in which dish. Here is the link:

    As far as the butter roux for etouffee, that is how I learned to make it from several chef’s who won the world champion etouffee cook-off (many, many years ago). The orange/red color in the crawfish etouffee does not come from tomato, but from the orange fat that coats the crawfish tails. You have to make sure that you squeeze as much of that out of the bag (if using frozen tails) to get the most flavor. No counting calories.

    Good Eating!

  • sudu

    I made version of this with chicken – same spices and everything- even the chicken broth. And it came out very very very delicious!! Now I don’t know much about cajun cooking so let me dare ask – what is the difference between etoufee and gumbo? because my chicken etoufee was more like a chicken gumbo in taste (and feel!).

    Glad you made it! At the risk of starting a war here, gumbo, to me, has a) more than one meat, b) okra, and c) file powder, which is powdered sassafras leaf. Louisiana folks, chime in here. OK? ~Hank

    • Lisa

      Yes it usually has at least two meats. No it doesn’t have to have okra and file’ is optional.

      • Lisa

        Also this recipe seems to be more of a shrimp stew than an etouffee.

  • Geoff

    Looks like a great recipe and I’m adding it to my ‘to make’ list. A question – it seems like 10 minutes would overcook the shrimp. Comment?

    It doesn’t, because the etouffee is just gently simmering, not boiling. If you plan to serve this over an extended period of time, as opposed to all at once, you can turn off the burner and let the carryover heat finish the shrimp. ~Hank

  • Sam

    I missing the butter in this? I always thought Butter and bestified clarified butter?
    But, it reads good and I may try it this way, Hmmmmm, will a cup of bacon grease sub for the 1/4 cup of Lard?

    You bet. Will be a different flavor though. ~Hank

  • snperch

    Please tell me how to pronounce “etoufee”
    So many recipes come on different sites that I haven’t a clue how to say them.:-)
    This sounds wonderful. Sure wish I could find crawfish!

    I pronounce it, “EH-two-fay,” with a slight emphasis on the first syllable. ~Hank

  • Betsy

    I made this last night and it was perfect! I loved the addition of the jalapeños and sweet paprika in particular.

  • John S

    Very tasty with the right amount of heat, I used Tony C’s seasoning. Gravy was just about right in taste and thickness using a scant pint of stock. Will do this again and this time for company.

  • Nicole

    First of all, I don’t know how you’ve never heard of chicken etoufee, but it’s one of my favs, and the only way I get etoufee at home as my hubby is allergic to shrimp. :-) Just finely shred some cooked chicken and replace the shrimp with it. Second, you can get a LOT more flavor from your roux if you do 1/2 oil and 1/2 butter. The oil lowers the butter’s scorch temp, allowing you to cook the roux longer and get a true brick roux, and you get the richness of the butter flavor. Always keep your ratio of fat to flour about 1:1 in a roux and you’ll be all good. I’m also surprised there’s not any bay leaf in this recipe, because it’s traditional in etoufee, but, as you said, there’s a million different ways to prepare it.

  • Shorthand

    I must say that I agree with Avis here. Being from 70 miles south of New Orleans, etouffe is a staple in our house, particularly during crawfish season. By and large, it sounds like a really good recipe, but as Avis pointed out, it should be thicker. The way that my husband does it is that he sweats his aromatic veggies in real butter, sprinkles flour over them, and then adds whatever liquid he is using until the desired consistency is reached. I check this site most every day. It is really enjoyable to read articles and recipes from people as passionate about food as you and your contributors.

  • Jynger Morris

    Looks fabulous. Thanks. Just a suggestion, whenever I make stock, I double the recipe and freeze my leftovers in ice cube trays. It works great and I toss a few cubes into this or that for extra flavor. It even allows my daughter to have instant “au just” (to her at least) for her meat and/or veggies.

  • kathy

    I love shrimp etouffe, but prefer crawfish etouffee. In Lafayette, LA, the heart of cajun country, shrimp and crawfish etouffee are USUALLY, not always, made with butter or margarine and the roux is only cooked to “blond” not brown. This way, it retains its’ thickening properties that some people have mentioned above. And, what’s better with shrimp, or crawfish, than butter? If you do visit Acadiana and order an etouffee, this is usually how it is prepared and these are some of the things that separates it from a gumbo, is its’ stew qualities. Also, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a chef in Acadiana (or any of my local cookbooks) call for celery seed in the etouffee. Maybe in the potato salad on the side, but, they tend to run in the eggy/relish/add pickle juice to the potato salad. The slight acidity in the potato salad is a nice complement to the richness of the etouffee. Enjoy!

    Thanks for the tips! My roux thickened quite well, actually, as it was only cooked to barely brown, not the rich, nut-brown of a gumbo roux. And as for the celery seed? You got me – that’s my own addition. ;-) ~Hank

  • Regina

    For Amy – if you can find Tony Chachere’s in the spice section – that’s a common Cajun seasoning.

    And it’s pronounced “shash-er-ee” :D

  • David

    Wow….just made an etouffee Monday, go to your web-site and find your recipe. Looks really good. I make mine with andouille sausage along with the shrimp. This time I also braised some whole chicken thighs with the etouffee, removed the skin and bones, shredded the meat and added back in with the shrimp just before serving. Keep up the good work and great recipes coming.

  • Julie

    Just my 2 cents… Although it seems obvious to me that you should shell the shrimp from the étouffée ingredients to add to the ingredients for the stock… I would probably make that a little more explicit in the directions, especially since that part is listed as optional.

  • Amy

    Any idea what to use as a substitute for “Cajun seasoning”? I don’t live in the states and my grocery stores don’t carry this. :-(

    Everyone’s mix is different, but you will need something like this: 1 Tbsp salt, 2, teaspoons sweet paprika, 2 teaspoons black pepper, 1 teaspoon onion powder, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon cayenne, 1/2 teaspoon celery seed, 1/4 teaspoon allspice. Hope that helps! ~Hank

  • Terri

    This looks wonderful. I do have a question. How much stock do you end up with total and how much do you use for the recipe? I know you said about a pint for the recipe but I just want to make sure the pint (give or take a bit) is for the etouffee only. Thanks!

    Yes, the pint is for the etouffee only. We got about 2 quarts of stock total. ~Hank

  • tripstatn

    Love the site, but shouldn’t the Étouffée be made with the shells off.

    The etouffee is indeed made with the shells off – you use the shells to make the stock. ~Hank

  • Kathryn Jørgensen

    I am alergic to seafood, could I use chicken insead?

    Never heard of a chicken etouffee, but I don’t see why you couldn’t. ~Hank