Classic Louisiana Shrimp Etouffee features succulent shrimp in a rich, buttery dark roux seasoned with onion, celery, and bell pepper, and served over fluffy white rice. It's easy to make at home and about as authentic as it can get outside of the Big Easy itself.
This classic Louisiana Shrimp etouffee is the best you will ever make at home. It features all of the best hallmarks of Louisiana cooking including seafood, the Holy Trinity, and the French-based dark roux.
In shrimp etouffee, shrimp is simmered in a rich, buttery, spicy sauce, and then served over fluffy white rice.
What is Shrimp Etouffee?
Etouffee means "smothered" or "suffocated." Shrimp etouffee is shrimp smothered in a rich, dark roux sauce, seasoned with the "holy trinity" (onion, celery, and bell pepper), and served over rice. It is typically considered a Cajun cuisine.
What is the Difference Between Shrimp Etouffee and Shrimp Creole?
The biggest difference between these two is that shrimp etouffee is cajun cuisine and shrimp creole is creole cuisine. They have the same general idea: shrimp in a delectable rich sauce or broth. But they differ in technique and ingredients just enough to make them different, just like most traditional cajun and creole foods.
One of the simplest differences between the two cuisine types is that Creole food typically uses tomatoes and tomato-based sauces while traditional Cajun food does not (however, the differences and history run much deeper and are much more nuanced).
Cajun shrimp etouffee uses a thick, browned roux as a sauce, while shrimp creole has a thinner (but still delicious) tomato-based sauce.
What's the Difference Between Etouffee and Gumbo?
Gumbo is a rich stew with a tomato-based broth, often containing smoked meats, like andouille sausage or ham, and seafood. It is a Creole dish that is served over rice.
Etouffee isn't typically considered a stew, but instead It is some kind of meat or seafood, in this recipe shrimp, smothered in a rich, dark roux-based sauce, which is then also served with white rice.
Shrimp Etouffee Variations
- Protein: Etouffee can be made with basically any protein. So you can add more to this current recipe or switch it completely. Other options include crab, crawfish, chicken, or sausage.
- Tomatoes: There is some debate over the addition of tomatoes in etouffee (I believe it's because of the deep, rich color of the sauce, which adds confusion, but is actually made without tomatoes.) But you are welcome to add some if you'd like to give it a try. Drain a can of diced tomatoes (15 ounces), and add right after you've added the stock.
- Spice: Adjust the spice to your liking! I typically make mild food at home because we have 5 kids (who have told me that ketchup is too spicy before 😒). However, when my husband and I make it for ourselves or order it at our favorite Cajun restaurant, it is hot, hot, HOT! Add Louisiana style hot sauce until it reaches your desired heat level.
- Broth: Seafood broth is sometimes hard to find, depending on your location. You can make your own by boiling shrimp shells with onion, celery, and garlic for about 45 minutes to an hour. Or you can just substitute chicken or vegetable broth if you're in a time crunch.
How to Serve Shrimp Etouffee
Shrimp etouffee is served with white rice. This will help cut some of the richness of the buttery sauce and also round out the dish with some filling carbs.
It also pairs nicely with hush puppies and a fresh green salad.
More Southern Recipes You'll Love
- Jambalaya Pasta - The best jambalaya you'll ever have with pasta instead of rice for a fun twist.
- Southern Pan-Fried Catfish - easy southern recipe for cornmeal coated catfish pan-fried to golden perfection.
- Air Fryer Hush Puppies - classic southern hush puppies with all of the flavor and none of the mess of frying oil.
- Salmon Croquettes - simple and packed full of salmon flavor, top with remoulade for a truly delicious bite.
- Baked Catfish Nuggets - super easy to make with no frying oil, and it still comes out just as good as the fried version with a crispy cornmeal coating.
Shrimp Etouffee Video
- 12 tablespoons butter
- 1½ cups chopped onion
- 1½ cups chopped green bell pepper
- 1½ cups chopped celery
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- ½ cup flour
- 3 cups seafood stock
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Juice from ½ lemon
- 1 tablespoon Cajun or Creole seasoning (we use Tony Chachere's)
- ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
- Pinch of cayenne pepper or to taste
- 2 pounds raw shrimp peeled and deveined with tail removed
- ¼ cup freshly chopped parsley
- 4 green onions thinly sliced
- Tabasco sauce to taste
- 3 cups cooked white rice for serving
- In a large skillet over medium heat, melt butter.
- Add onion, pepper, and celery. Cook until onion is tender and translucent, about 5-7 minutes.
- Add garlic. Continue sauteeing until garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Stir in flour and salt, and allow to brown slightly while stirring constantly, for about 5-7 minutes.
- Slowly pour in stock, about ¼ cup at a time while stirring constantly to prevent lumps.
- Add lemon juice, Creole seasoning, paprika, and cayenne, and stir to combine.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and allow to simmer until for about 15-20 minutes.
- Add shrimp and parsley and stir to combine. Cook until shrimp are cooked through, about 5-7 minutes.
- Add Tabasco to taste, if desired.
- Serve warm over rice topped with green onions.
- Storage: Shrimp etouffee is best enjoyed fresh, so I don’t recommend making it ahead of time. Store leftovers in the fridge for up to four days.
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