Easy Shrimp Étouffée is the best, classic Cajun or Creole recipe prepared with seafood, a thick roux sauce, green peppers, yellow onion, and celery, the Holy Trinity of vegetables.
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If you have ever had the gumbo or etouffee at Pappadeaux or any other restaurant, you may understand it’s addictive appeal.
What is Shrimp Étouffée? What is it Made Of?
What is the translation? It’s pronounced “ay tu fay” or “et tu fay”. In French, it means smothered. It’s a dish that’s popular in Creole and Cajun cuisine. It’s served with shellfish over rice. It is commonly prepared with crawfish, but also crab or shrimp.
It also includes the “Holy Trinity” of Cajun and Creole cooking, which includes: celery, green bell peppers, and onion. These vegetables are the base for most Louisiana cooking.
What Type of Shrimp to Use
Shrimp can be found at the grocery store in a few different ways. There is raw, pre-cooked, raw and frozen, deveined, tails on, tails off, etc.
I never use pre-cooked shrimp. There is an obvious difference in taste due to the lack of quality. The shrimp is cooked and then frozen and you have to cook it/warm it up again. This usually overcooks the shrimp. Raw shrimp only takes minutes to make, just buy it raw.
Always look for deveined, that’s my preference. The black vein that runs along the back of the shrimp is the digestive intestinal tract. Is this shrimp poop, yes.
You can buy it with the vein and remove it using a sharp paring knife to make a slit along the back and lift out the vein with the tip of the knife.
Buy large shrimp. No one likes those baby shrimp and they are harder to fry.
How to Thaw Frozen Shrimp
Place the frozen shrimp in a large bowl of cold water. The shrimp will thaw within minutes and will be ready to peel.
How to Make Shrimp Étouffée?
Detailed measurements and full instructions can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
- First, you will have to make a seafood broth using shrimp shells, water, Creole Seasoning, and Better Than Bouillon Lobster Base. Add the items to a Dutch Oven and simmer.
- Drain the shells from the broth and set aside.
- Create a roux in a separate skillet by combining oil and flour. Stir repeatedly so the roux does not burn.
- Add celery, onions, and green peppers to the Dutch Oven and stir. Add garlic, the seafood broth, Creole Seasoning, Worcestershire sauce, and bay leaves. Cover the pot and simmer.
- Uncover and add the shrimp. Cook for 3-4 minutes.
How to Create a Roux
A roux is a combination of equal parts of oil and flour. Melt the butter first, and then add the flour. And STIR, STIR, STIR. Stir constantly. If you stop, the roux will burn.
The shade of brown the roux needs to be is always a source of debate. Many prefer a lighter, peanut butter brown hue. A lot of people prefer a really dark brown hue. When making gumbo and etouffée, I have made it both ways!
Prepare it based on what you like. A peanut butter brown roux will take 5-6 minutes of stirring. A deep brown roux (as shown in the photos of this recipe) will take you 10 minutes or more.
What to Serve with Shrimp Étouffée
Green salad and French bread will pair well this dish. You should also try my Instant Pot Cabbage.
The Difference Between Shrimp Creole and Shrimp Étouffée
Shrimp Creole uses a tomato base. Étouffée is prepared with a roux base.
The Difference Between Gumbo and Shrimp Étouffée
Gumbo is more of a soup or stew. Étouffée is really thick. Gumbo is also prepared with andouille sausage and sometimes chicken, in addition to seafood like shrimp and crab.
Étouffée is prepared with one meat item, such as crawfish or shrimp. It’s commonly served with crawfish, but shrimp is usually more available in stores and makes a great option.
Type of Rice to Use in Pairing
White rice is paired with the dish. I typically use Jasmine rice.
Does it Have Tomatoes?
Whether tomatoes are used or not in Louisiana cooking is always a source of debate. Most Cajun recipes do not include tomatoes during the cooking process. A lot of Creole recipes use tomatoes. You can decide what will work best for you.
More Cajun Recipes
Cajun Dirty Rice
Slow Cooker Gumbo
Cajun Shrimp and Grits
Cajun Chicken Wings
Cajun Shrimp Pasta
More Southern Style Recipes
Instant Pot Gumbo
Instant Pot Red Beans and Rice
Instant Pot Shrimp and Grits
Instant Pot Collard Greens
Southern Homemade Cornbread
Southern Baked Macaroni and Cheese
Slow Cooker Crockpot Oxtails
You may also enjoy my Homemade Lobster Bisque recipe.
Cajun Shrimp Étouffée
- 4 cups water
- 1 pound raw shrimp, peeled and deveined save the shells for the shrimp broth
- 1 1/2 tablespoons Better Than Bouillon Lobster (or Fish) Base
- 1/2 teaspoon Creole Seasoning I used Tony Chachere
- 2-3 tablespoons olive oil for the roux
- 2 tbsp butter
- 4 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup green peppers chopped
- 1 cup yellow onion chopped
- 2 stalks, celery chopped
- 1 teaspoon olive oil to saute the veggies
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 tablespoon Creole Seasoning I used Tony Chachere
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 bay leaves
- Place a large pot, I use a Dutch Oven on medium-high heat. Add the water and bring it to a boil. Next add the shrimp shells, Better than Bouillon, and 1/2 teaspoon of Creole Seasoning.
- Stir and cover. Lower heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Open the pot and strain the shells from the broth using a strainer. Set the broth aside.
- Add the olive oil and butter to a skillet on medium-high heat. Once it melts add the flour.
- Continue to whisk until the roux turns peanut butter brown (or your desired shade of brown). It should turn brown within a few minutes of whisking. Watch it closely so that it doesn't burn. A peanut butter brown roux will take 5-6 minutes of stirring. A deep brown roux (as shown in the photos of this recipe) will take you 10 minutes or more. Set the roux aside to cool.
- Add the green peppers, celery, and onions to the Dutch Oven on medium-high heat with a teaspoon of olive oil. Stir and cook for 2-3 minutes until the veggies are soft.
- Add the roux and garli to the pot and stir. Saute for 1-2 minutes.
- Add all of the seasonings, 2 cups of the seafood broth, and Worcestershire sauce to the pot.
- Stir and cover. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Open the pot and add the shrimp. Cook for 3-4 minutes until the shrimp has turned pink. Remove the bay leaves and remove the pot from heat. Serve with white rice.
- The use of Better than Bouillon Seafood Base is optional, but it gives the stock more flavor.
- When making the roux, if the oil and flour mixture is thick, add more oil.
- Instead of using a combination of butter and oil for the roux, you can use all butter if you wish.
- You can purchase seafood stock as opposed to making your own, if you can find it in stores.
- Whether tomatoes are used or not in Louisiana cooking is always a source of debate. Most Cajun recipes do not include tomatoes during the cooking process. A lot of Creole recipes use tomatoes. You can decide what will work best for you.
Tuesday 19th of October 2021
I really enjoyed the deep flavor of the roux sauce! I went for the darker brown roux and I’m so glad I did. It was the first time I made a seafood stock, too. I definitely have to get the better than bouillon lobster base because I’m sure that would have amped up the flavor even more!
Friday 22nd of October 2021
The seafood stock is the best part!
Friday 11th of June 2021
Another great recipe that is not only easy to follow, but packed with flavor. I subbed crawfish because it’s the season. SO bomb! Thank you 🤤
Wednesday 16th of June 2021
Wonderful! I'm so glad you enjoyed it.
Friday 7th of May 2021
How could i make this with an instapot? Your instapot gumbo was amazing
Sunday 9th of May 2021
I haven't tried it. You can take a look at the gumbo recipe and try something similar.
Monday 7th of December 2020
My first thought as I took a quick taste was "shit, this is banging!" It was terrific, with so much flavor. I did find it a little salty, but I think that's possibly because I used lobster shells instead of shrimp for the stock (the shrimps I had were already shelled) and it's also possible that I used too heavy of a hand when seasoning (this is why Brandi always says to taste throughout - my bad). I wanted it a little thicker, so I made a small slurry of broth and cornstarch and then poured that back into the dutch oven. Can't wait to eat this for dinner tonight!
Friday 11th of December 2020
Wonderful. I'm glad you enjoyed the recipe.
Sunday 25th of October 2020
I don't like peppers, can I use carrot instead or skip it all together. I don't like spicy food and thought it might help cut some of the spicy. Thoughts?
Sunday 25th of October 2020
Green peppers aren't spicy. You can omit them if you wish.