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Shrimp Étouffée Recipe

This Shrimp Étouffée recipe is made with shrimp, the Holy Trinity of onion, celery, and green pepper, and a rich roux sauce. It’s a fantastic Creole dish!

Mardi Gras is almost here and if Shrimp Étouffée isn't on your menu, put it there! It's a fantastic dish that everyone will rave over!

What is Étouffée?

Étouffée (pronounced “ā-too-FAY”) is a French word for “smothered” and is found in both Cajun and Creole cooking where a type of meat is in a thick roux-based gravy sauce (equal parts flour and fat). Any meat can be used including shrimp, crawfish, or chicken.

This Shrimp Étouffée recipe is shrimp, flour-and-butter roux, onions, bell peppers and celery (known as the “Holy Trinity” of Cajun cooking), traditional Cajun seasoning and hot sauce. The stew is typically served over rice, which soaks up the Étouffée sauce.

There are many versions of étouffée as people disagree on how it should be prepared. For instance, Cajun Étouffée does not contain tomatoes and the addition of tomatoes is the Creole way of preparing etouffee. This is simply my version and the one I humbly think is the best :)

Shrimp Étouffée Ingredients

  • Shrimp, peeled and deveined (reserve the shells): Smaller shrimp are best for this recipe to allow for spoonfuls of shrimp and stew.
  • Roux (equal parts flour & unsalted butter): This brown roux will yield a creamy, nutty flavor while thickening the sauce.
  • Chicken Stock: The chicken stock is simmered with the shells for an easy “shrimp stock.”
  • Holy Trinity (Onion, green bell peppers, celery): A classic Cajun flavor base where sautéing the vegetables in butter releases their flavor into the sauce.
  • Fire Roasted Tomatoes: These are canned tomatoes that are fire roasted over an open flame to accentuate the stews flavor.
  • Green Onion: The addition of green onion adds a more milder onion taste.
  • Creole Seasoning: Your favorite blend and adjust to your tastes. Cajun seasoning can be used, if you prefer.
  • Dried Thyme, Garlic, Salt & Pepper: These seasonings intensify and enhance the natural flavor.
  • Worcestershire Sauce: Another flavor-enhancer with anchovies, garlic and cloves that adds a salty, umami flavor.
  • Hot Sauce (optional): This recipe calls for a few dashes of hot sauce for a little spiciness but not so much that you’re constantly reaching for a glass of water. Die-hards can add even more hot sauce if they prefer; I find the amount of spice here to be spot-on.

(Scroll down to the bottom for the printable recipe card with exact measurements and recipe instructions.)

How to Make Shrimp Étouffée

  1. Peel and Devein Shrimp: Reserve the shells to add to the chicken stock and boil.
  2. Make the Roux: Melt the butter and thoroughly stir in flour over a medium heat until the roux is deep brown. Ensure there are no lumps. 
  3. Sauté the Holy Trinity: Add the onions, peppers and celery until vegetables soften and then add the spices and remaining ingredients (except shrimp).
  4. Simmer: Bring it all to simmer and then add shrimp until cooked through.
Creole Shrimp Étouffée

Variations & Cooking Tips

  • This Shrimp Étouffée recipe makes enough for 3-4 people. Because I’m cooking every day, I will often make the recipe as-is; you may want to consider doubling it just for the leftovers. It reheats nicely and you’ll be craving it!
  • Shrimp Étouffée is a fantastic dish for a Mardi Gras get-together or any other dinner-type party you may be throwing. If you think you might serve this to guests (or any other rice dish) I highly suggest purchasing these inexpensive food rings to help you when plating the rice. It’s how I plated it for the photos and it’s just so easy and fun to do!
  • This Louisiana seafood stew is a year-round culinary staple in the South but if you’re Catholic, Shrimp Étouffée is the perfect dish to serve during Lent on a Friday.
  • You’re probably tired of me preaching to “buy your seafood frozen”, but it’s true! Most of us don’t have access to seafood that’s truly fresh (as in just caught and fresh off the boat; if you do, then of course buy it fresh). Almost ALL seafood is frozen when caught then shipped to the store for purchase. This means that the seafood you’re buying at the counter has already been frozen once – yet you have no idea when it was thawed and how long it’s been sitting in that seafood case.
  • To thaw your shrimp, simply put it in a colander and run cold water over it, tossing the shrimp occasionally. I usually do this while I’m prepping the rest of the ingredients; by the time I’m done, my shrimp are thawed and ready to be peeled.

Make Ahead of Time

To make ahead prepare the recipe as directed, let the stew cool off and place in the fridge in an airtight container. Make ahead a day or two in advance.

To reheat, turn on stovetop at medium-low heat, add all ingredients in a medium saucepan, and cook until mixture starts to simmer for about 10 minutes, until heated through. Watch carefully when reheating the stew so as to not overcook the shrimp. Skip the microwave too.

Mardi Gras is almost here and if Shrimp Étouffée isn't on your menu, put it there! It's a fantastic dish that everyone will rave over!

Shrimp Étouffée

Yield: 4
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

This Louisiana dish is rich and a little spicy with a sweet and briny shrimp flavor. Perfect year-round, a Mardi Gras celebration or on a Friday afternoon during Lent.


  • 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined (reserve the shells)
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup butter, unsalted
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2/3 cup chopped onion
  • 2/3 cup thinly sliced celery
  • 2/3 cup chopped green pepper
  • 1 tablespoon creole seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, drained well
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire
  • a few dashes hot sauce
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley, for garnish
  • cooked rice, for serving


  1. Peel and devein shrimp; reserve shells. Set shrimp on paper towels and pat until thoroughly dried.
  2. Pour stock into small saucepan and add reserved shells. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Strain stock through a fine-mesh sieve and set aside.
  3. Melt butter in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Whisk in flour and continue cooking, whisking frequently, until "roux" is a deep brown, about ten minutes. Add onions, peppers and celery, stir well to combine. Continue cooking for 3-4 minutes or until vegetables start to soften. Add creole seasoning, thyme and garlic; cook for one minute more, stirring frequently.
  4. Add tomatoes, Worcestershire, hot sauce and stock to pan, stirring well to combine. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for another 15 minutes. Add shrimp and cook another 5 minutes or until shrimp are just cooked through. Top with green onion and parsley. Serve immediately with hot rice on the side.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 404Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 273mgSodium: 2235mgCarbohydrates: 33gFiber: 3gSugar: 6gProtein: 33g

This data was provided and calculated by Nutritionix.

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Kristy Bernardo
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