Shrimp Creole is a classic Louisiana dish consisting of shrimp in a tomato sauce spiced with hot pepper sauce or a cayenne-based seasoning and cooked down with onions, celery, and bell peppers. It is a rustic dish full of spicy bites of tomatoes and shrimp that’s perfect for serving over rice.
The beauty of this dish is how easy it is to make. You only need one pot (yay!), and you build the flavors by layering each ingredient then letting it simmer.
Don’t let the ease of this meal fool you. It’s great for a busy weeknight, but also presents well for a formal dinner. Your guests will feel transported to New Orleans and be thoroughly impressed with your cooking skills!
The Holy Trinity of Creole Cooking
Creole cooking tends to be spicy and utilizes a mixture of ingredients from around the globe including French, Spanish, and African flavors.
Shrimp Creole starts off the way many classic New Orleans dishes do, with the holy trinity—a mixture of diced onions, celery, and bell peppers. It’s the foundation of many Cajun and Creole dishes such as gumbo, any kind of etouffee, sauce piquant, and red beans and rice to name a few.
In this dish, when you combine the powers of both the holy trinity and tomatoes, it produces an aroma that will instantly have you screaming, “Laissez les bon temps rouler,” or “let the good times roll” for those whose Cajun French is a little rusty!
Type of Shrimp to Use
The size is up to you! I love using fresh shrimp from my local market. I peel and devein them myself, which means I can save the shells to make shellfish stock.
I typically use smaller shrimp, such as 60 count when I’m making a weeknight dinner, however I will use 16/20 count shrimp when I am entertaining. If you’re short on time, you can use peeled and deveined frozen shrimp to get dinner on the table a little quicker. If you do use frozen shrimp, be sure to thaw them. You can do this by placing them in a bowl of cold water while prepping your ingredients.
Cajun seasoning is usually a mix of celery salt, sweet paprika, sea salt, ground black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, and ground all-spice.
I used Slap Ya Mama Cajun seasoning in this recipe, which is local to me here in Louisiana. If you cannot find this same seasoning mix, look for any packaged Cajun seasoning or go ahead and make your own! I typically use John Besh’s Cajun seasoning mix if I’m making it from scratch.
Ingredients Swaps and Substitutions
There are many ways to change this to your liking.
- Add more (or less) cayenne or Cajun seasoning depending on how spicy you want the final dish
- Use vegetable stock or chicken stock instead of shrimp stock
- Substitute the shrimp for crawfish. You can play with the recipe and also use chicken, tofu or pork here too.
- Add fresh garlic for more garlic flavor
- Add okra as an extra vegetable
You can store your Shrimp Creole in the fridge in an airtight container for up to two days. After that, if you still have leftovers, feel free to freeze it! It makes a beautiful frozen meal. You can freeze this dish in an airtight container for up to three to six months.
When you remove it from the freezer, allow it to defrost in your fridge overnight. Heat it up on your stove slowly, over medium heat, so it won’t separate.
Store rice separately in an airtight container. It will keep in the fridge for 2-3 days.
More Classic New Orleans Recipes
For the rice
6 cups water
2 teaspoons salt
3 cups long grain white rice, rinsed
For the shrimp creole
1/2 stick butter
1 large onion, chopped
2 green bell peppers, seeded and chopped
4 stalks celery, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup water
2 cups seafood stock, store-bought or homemade
2 pounds small 60 count shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
1/2 cup green onions, thinly sliced
Cook the rice:
Bring water to a boil in a medium pot over high heat. Add salt and rice to the water and stir to combine. Cover with a lid and reduce the heat to low heat. Cook the rice, covered for about 20 minutes or according to package instructions. Remove rice from heat and fluff with a fork. Keep covered until ready to serve.
Sauté the onions, peppers, and celery:
While the rice is cooking, make the shrimp creole. In a large pan set over medium heat, add the butter. Once the butter melts and is foamy, add the onions, bell pepper, and celery to the pan. Add the salt and cayenne pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, 6-8 minutes.
Add the bay leaves, Worcestershire, tomatoes, and garlic:
Add the bay leaves, Worcestershire sauce, tomatoes, and garlic powder to the pan. Stir to combine and gently break up the tomatoes using a wooden spoon. Cook on high until simmering, then reduce the heat and maintain a simmer for 15 minutes.
Combine flour and water, add to pot with stock:
In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and water and add it to the tomato sauce in the pan. Cook for 5 minutes. Add the seafood stock.
Season and add shrimp to pan:
In a large bowl, season the shrimp with the Cajun seasoning and toss to coat. Add the shrimp to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until they turn pink on the outside, 7-8 minutes. The finished sauce will be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
Stir in green onions and serve:
Stir in green onions. Serve shrimp creole over rice.
|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 12g||15%|
|Saturated Fat 6g||30%|
|Total Carbohydrate 39g||14%|
|Dietary Fiber 4g||13%|
|Total Sugars 6g|
|Vitamin C 37mg||185%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|