Louisiana Cajun Shrimp Recipe


Start to Finish: 30 minutes
Servings: 4
Difficulty Level: Beginner to Intermediate

Spicy and saucy shrimp are essential in the fabric of Louisiana's Cajun cuisine and you don't have to travel to New Orleans to taste it. Transport yourself to the Big Easy with a simple and versatile recipe for Cajun shrimp. Laissez les bon temps rouler!


    • 1 pound large fresh shrimp (31/35 count), peeled and deveined
    • 1 lemon wedge
    • 2 tablespoons kosher or freshly ground salt
    • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
    • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
    • 1 tablespoon paprika
    • 1/2 tablespoon onion powder
    • 1/2 tablespoon dried thyme
    • 1/2 tablespoon dried oregano
    • 1/2 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
    • 4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter
    • 1 jalapeno pepper, minced
    • 3 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1/4 cup beer, wine or dry sherry
    • 2 cups heavy cream

Season the Shrimp

  • Place the raw shrimp in a large glass bowl; squeeze the lemon wedge over the shrimp and toss.

    In a small bowl, combine the dry ingredients.

    Add the dry mixture to the shrimp and, using your clean hands, gently toss until the shrimp are thoroughly coated. Remember, this is very spicy, so don't feel you have to use all the mixture. Let your taste buds be your guide.

Do Not Fear the Butter

  • True to their French heritage, Cajuns love butter. After all, you must have something luscious for dipping your bread.

    In a large skillet over a medium flame, melt half the butter and sauté the jalapeno and garlic for 1 minute, just until softened.

    Add the seasoned shrimp, leaving behind excess seasoning, and cook for 3 minutes, or until the shrimp are translucent in the middle. Transfer to a platter and cover with foil.

    Add the beer, wine or sherry and the rest of the butter -- omit the butter if you fear for your arteries -- to the pan and scrape up all the crispy bits at the bottom with a spatula or wooden spoon.

    Reduce heat and slowly add the cream, stirring constantly, until it begins to thicken. Do not allow the cream to boil.

    Return the shrimp to the pan and cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Seriously, do not take your eyes off the sauce.

    Remove the pan from heat and serve.

Ready, Set, Plate

    • Serve your Cajun shrimp with grits, over rice or simply on its own in a puddle of cream sauce with hunks of hot, crusty French bread for dipping.

    • Stretch the recipe a little further by tossing the shrimp and cream sauce with a pound of linguine and serve with a Caesar salad.

    • Alternatively, omit the cream sauce altogether. Sauté the shrimp for 5 minutes and serve as hot appetizers or chilled in a salad.

    • Chop the shrimp and serve them in tacos with a tomatillo sauce or salsa. It's not New Orleans, but it's tasty.

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