The Best Shrimp Creole Recipe

4.51 from 190 votes
45 minutes
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Sharing The Best Shrimp Creole recipe!  I’ve been making this Shrimp Creole recipe for clients for as long as I’ve been a personal chef, and it’s always a hit! This beloved New Orleans dish is super easy to make, doesn’t require a roux, and can be on the table in about 45 minutes for a taste of the Big Easy any night!

“Sooooo good! Will be a go-to recipe for me. The flavor was outstanding and that squirt of lemon….chef’s kiss!”

Finished Best Shrimp Creole in white enamel cast iron skillet with serving spoon.

Why This Recipe is a Keeper!

Shrimp Creole is a vibrant and flavorful dish with roots deeply embedded in the rich culinary tapestry of Louisiana Creole cuisine.

Because of that deep and rich history, it’s always a little scary when you proclaim something to be…. The best! However, I’ve made this New Orleans creole shrimp recipe a few hundred times over a 22-year personal chef career, and it’s always a hit. I first had Shrimp Creole in New Orleans, and this comes mighty close!

This Creole classic starts with onions, celery, and green bell pepper (called the “Holy Trinity”), which are sauteed until melty soft. Then, Creole seasoning is added with more herbs and spices to take it up yet another notch. The savory tomato sauce simmers with all this goodness, ready for the shrimp to be added, which is then cooked to perfection!

This Shrimp Creole recipe is:

  • Easy!
  • Quick! This classic shrimp creole recipe can be ready and on your table in about 45 minutes.
  • Authentic! Be sure to check out the reviews from folks who know a thing or two about Shrimp Creole!
Best Shrimp Creole in beige serving bowl with brown rice and lemon wedges with fork.

How to Make The Best Shrimp Creole!

Recipe Ingredients:

Here’s everything you’ll need to make this New Orleans Shrimp Creole recipe, along with how to prep the ingredients. See the recipe card below for the exact quantities.

Ingredients for Best Shrimp Creole in glass bowls.

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions:

  • Oil and Butter: A little butter in this Shrimp Creole recipe adds a touch of richness. Because butter tends to burn, you want to combine it with oil. You could also use all ghee (clarified butter) because the milk solids (which is what burns) have been removed from it.
  • Onion/Celery/Green Bell Pepper: This combination is called the “holy trinity” in Cajun and Creole cuisine, and it’s the backbone of many New Orleans-style recipes. It’s similar to a French mirepoix, which is onions, celery, and carrots; however, this combination is green bell pepper instead of carrots.  With the “holy trinity,” you want to keep the ratio approximately the same as a mirepoix:  2 parts onion, 1 part celery, and 1 part green bell pepper.
  • Cajun/Creole Seasoning: Though closely related, Cajun and Creole seasonings do differ. Cajun seasoning is a blend of ground peppers, such as cayenne, black pepper, and white pepper, while Creole seasoning leans towards herbs like paprika, oregano, and thyme. Some blends may mix elements, including pepper in Creole seasonings or herbs in Cajun seasonings. The famous Tony Chachere’s brand refers to it as Creole seasoning.
  • Tomato Sauce: Canned tomato sauce starts with fresh tomatoes or tomato puree and is then cooked and strained before additional seasonings are added. Because of the added seasonings, I prefer canned tomato sauce to crushed tomatoes or puree in my Shrimp Creole recipe.
  • Shrimp: You can use any size, but I like to use large shrimp, 16-20 count (approximate number per pound). I also always use wild-caught shrimp. Farmed shrimp tends to be rubbery; if overcooked even a bit, it also gets tough. Wild-caught shrimp is much more resilient and if you want to reheat this Shrimp Creole recipe, you’ll have a much better result.

Step-By-Step Instructions:

  • Gather and prep all the ingredients.
  • Heat oil and butter over medium-high heat in a skillet or saute pan. Add the onion, pepper and celery.
  • Reduce heat to medium and cook for approximately 10 to 12 minutes or until vegetables are very soft, adjusting heat as necessary so vegetables don’t burn.
Cooked onions, celery and green bell pepper being sauteed in white enamel cast iron skillet with mixing spoon.
  • Add the garlic, Cajun seasoning, thyme, cayenne pepper, and bay leaf. Stir briefly.
  • Add the tomato sauce, water and Worcestershire.
  • Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered for 8 to 10 minutes or until sauce thickens.
Tomato sauce and water added to vegetables and spices in white enamel cast iron skillet.
  • Stir in the shrimp and cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until firm and pink, flipping halfway through so they cook evenly.
  • Add hot sauce, salt and black pepper to taste.
  • Remove bay leaf, sprinkle with parsley, and serve immediately with hot, cooked rice and lemon wedges.
Finished Best Shrimp Creole in white enamel cast iron skillet with serving spoon.
  • Enjoy! New Orleans Shrimp Creole! Laissez le bon temps rouler!

Chef Tips and Tricks:

  • The “holy trinity” of onions, celery, and bell peppers must be super melty soft, so the flavor comes through!
  • Adding the dry spices (Creole seasoning, cayenne, thyme, and bay leaf) directly to the hot fat in the pan rather than just adding them to the sauce helps them to “bloom.”
Finished Best Shrimp Creole in white enamel cast iron skillet with serving spoon scooping up one of the shrimp.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is the difference between Shrimp Etoufee and Shrimp Creole?

Shrimp Creole is a dish of Louisiana Creole origin with a tomato base. Another famous New Orleans dish, shrimp etouffee, has a roux (fat plus flour) base. Both are usually served over rice.

What nationality is Shrimp Creole?

Shrimp Creole originated from southern Louisiana. Creole cooking comes from French, Spanish, and African people.

Can you make New Orleans Shrimp Creole ahead of time?

Yes, but to a point. Get the Shrimp Creole sauce done to the point of adding the shrimp. Cool it down completely and refrigerate. When ready to serve, get the sauce simmering, then add the shrimp as directed and cook through.

Best Shrimp Creole in beige serving bowl with brown rice and lemon wedges with fork.

Storage and How to Reheat Shrimp Creole:

  • Store any leftovers in the refrigerator. To reheat, place leftovers in a small saucepan and add water or broth if the sauce has thickened up.  Gently reheat over low heat until steaming, stirring frequently until hot, being careful not to overcook the shrimp.

Serve with:

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Finished Best Shrimp Creole in white enamel cast iron skillet with serving spoon.

The Best Shrimp Creole Recipe

4.51 from 190 votes

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By: Carol | From A Chef’s Kitchen
This beloved New Orleans dish is super easy to make, doesn't require a roux, and can be on the table in about 45 minutes for a taste of the Big Easy any night!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Fish and Seafood
Cuisine American
Servings 4
Calories 379 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium onion - finely chopped
  • 1 medium green bell pepper - seeds and membrane removed finely chopped
  • 2-3 stalks (ribs) celery - chopped (you want about the same amount as green bell pepper)
  • 4 cloves garlic - minced
  • 1 tablespoon Cajun/Creole seasoning - or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 can (15-ounce) tomato sauce
  • 1 cup water - about half the can to rinse it out
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 1/2 pounds large shrimp - 16-20 count, peeled and deveined, tail removed
  • Tabasco sauce - to taste
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper - to taste
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley plus sprigs for garnish
  • Lemon wedges
  • Cooked rice - for serving

Instructions
 

  • Heat oil and butter over medium-high heat in a skillet or saute pan. Add the onion, pepper and celery.
  • Reduce heat to medium and cook approximately 10-12 minutes or until vegetables are very soft, adjusting heat as necessary so vegetables don’t burn.
  • Add the garlic, Cajun/Creole seasoning, thyme, cayenne pepper and bay leaf. Stir briefly.
  • Add the tomato sauce, water and Worcestershire.
  • Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered 8-10 minutes or until sauce thickens.
  • Stir in the shrimp and cook 1-2 minutes or until just firm, flipping halfway through so they cook evenly.
  • Add hot sauce, salt and black pepper to taste.
  • Remove bay leaf, sprinkle with parsley and serve immediately with hot, cooked rice and lemon wedges.

VIDEO

Notes

MAKE AHEAD:  Get the sauce prepared to the point of adding the shrimp.  Cool and refrigerate.  When ready to serve, get the sauce simmering on the stovetop then add the shrimp and cook through.
TO REHEAT LEFTOVERS:  Place leftovers in a small saucepan and add a little water if sauce has thickened up.  Gently reheat over low heat until steaming, stirring frequently until hot, being careful not to overcook the shrimp.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 | Calories: 379kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 144mg | Sodium: 701mg | Potassium: 337mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 1480IU | Vitamin C: 30mg | Calcium: 103mg | Iron: 2mg

These are estimated values generated from a nutritional database using unbranded products. Please do your own research with the products you’re using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.

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4.51 from 190 votes (172 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating




69 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Was looking for a recipe to make for my father from New Orleans. He always complains that Cajun and creole dishes aren’t spicy enough for him. EVERYONE enjoyed this. In addition to the shrimp, I threw in some unknown (to me) cubed white fish filling up my freezer from one of hubbie’s fishing trips that I didn’t know what to do with, and even that was excellent. Truly a keeper!

  2. For Father’s Day, I asked my husband what dish he wanted me to prepare, so when he said shrimp creole, I scoured the internet reviewing the ingredients and preparation instructions. I decided on your recipe because based on my cooking intelligence and the comments, it seemed to be the best option. Boy, am I glad. The only modification I made was reduced the cayenne by half because I knew my son would call it spicy.
    This is definitely a keeper! Can’t wait to make it again.

    1. Hi, Tania, I can’t even begin to express how much your comment means to me. Thank you so very much!!! So glad you all enjoyed and it helped make your Father’s Day special! Thanks again!

  3. Please I had a receipt for shrimp creole that was on back of can that used ketchup can you please find it for me

    1. Hi, Linda, Thanks for your question. Perhaps do a Google search for your recipe. You may want to try this version instead. Never heard of making Shrimp Creole with ketchup.

  4. I love this recipe! It does pack some heat, so we cut the cayenne and hot sauce a little bit. We also brown andouille sausage slices and serve it with the meal for some extra flavor and meat. I would definitely recommend it. This recipe is a keeper 🙂

      1. I loved the andouille idea. I added it to the skillet with the rest of the ingredients toward the end. The dish was a hit. I will make again. Thanks!!

  5. 5 stars
    So we have made this recipe twice now and love it! We cut the cayenne a little bit since we’re sensitive to the heat, but it comes out wonderful. We actually brown andouille sausage slices in a cast iron skillet and serve it with this for some extra meat and flavor. Strongly recommended!

  6. This I must say is actually authentic. I’m from New Orleans (east) and I grew up eating this from Creole grandmother. I love the ingredients and the chef that posted this is an absolute true chef. Keep it up. Btw I used everything but just added more spice. I like it spicy.

    1. Hi, Jamar, Thank you SO VERY MUCH! I think you just made MY YEAR! So glad you enjoyed and that I have your stamp of approval. I may even frame your comment! Thanks again!

  7. Made this tonight. Absolutely delicious! My mother used to make this occasionally and we always liked it but I had forgotten all about it. Won’t forget again! This is great and husband says awesome too! Thank you!

    1. Hi, Marjorie! Thanks so very much! So glad you and your husband enjoyed. I hope you’re both staying safe and healthy! Thanks again!

  8. Hello! I will make this dish tonight but will add some leftover bratwurst, small l can of tomato sauce and small can of diced fire roasted tomaoes. And since my boyfriend loves pasta, i will serve over fettuccini. I will let you know how it goes! Thanks for the inspiration and the recipe!

      1. MJ same thing I was thinking. What’s the point of wanting authentic and then turning it into something off the wall?

  9. I bought all the ingredients and my husband made this Shrimp Creole dish tonight. It was delicious and a keeper! Perfectly spicy comfort food that once you get the chopping of vegetables and peeling of shrimp done and in the pan, the flavor really develops!

  10. 5 stars
    I have tried several recipes for this dish. I think this one was the best! My boys loved it. Thank you for sharing!

    1. Hi, Tracy and thank you so very much! So glad you and your kids enjoyed! 17 years of making this for a variety of personal chef clients was a pretty good indicator I need to share this recipe. Thanks again!

  11. Many of the shrimp recipes on Pinterest don’t mention whether you use uncooked or cooked shrimp. Not everyone is a trained chef and I mean that with all due respect. So please, all you chefs, let us know if uncooked or not. Thanks.

    1. Jeff, Thank you SO VERY MUCH for mentioning this and I’m glad you pointed this out! I actually never use precooked shrimp (I like to cook the shrimp myself) but will absolutely clarify my shrimp recipes. Thank you again for bringing this to my attention constructively and kindly. You rock and I hope you enjoy this dish!

  12. 5 stars
    I made this recipe! It’s excellent! A little too hot for us, so making tonight and will cut down on the heat!

    1. Hi, Connie, Thanks so very much! Yes, definitely start with a little bit of heat. You can always add it later and different brands of cayenne pepper are going to vary with the amount of heat because heat can vary from pepper to pepper. Thanks again and so glad you enjoyed! Please stay in touch!

    2. Just made this for our Easter meal. Excellent dish to improve our moods during the coronavirus lockdown. Thank you for sharing!!

      1. Hi, DeAnna, Thank you SOOOO very much! I can’t begin to tell you how much that means to me–especially in these times. So glad you enjoyed and a Happy Easter to you and yours!

  13. I made this shrimp creole. It was great! Making it again tonight, but will double the recipe! I will cut down on the heat a little bit! Loved it!

  14. I think you meant “never fails to please?” Because I’ve tried several of your recipes and they have not ever disappointed.

    1. Thanks so much, Laura! Oh my. I was thinking one thing and wrote another! I appreciate it and I appreciate hearing you are enjoying my recipes! Thanks again!