Bring the heart of Louisiana right to your own kitchen with this easy Shrimp Creole recipe that takes just 30 minutes to make, all in one pot! It’s healthy and packed with flavor from the perfectly cooked shrimp in spicy creole sauce.
If you’ve ever visited New Orleans or Louisiana, you’ve likely noticed Shrimp Creole on a restaurant menu. This popular creole dish is made with tomatoes, shrimp, and the cajun holy trinity of celery, bell pepper, and onion, which is the hallmark of cajun and creole cooking. Celery, bell peppers, and onions are the base of most creole stews, soups, jambalayas, and many cajun main dishes.
If you love Jambalaya, Gumbo, or Shrimp Etouffee, you may be thinking this recipe looks a little familiar as it shares some of the wonderful qualities of each of those southern dishes. Shrimp Creole served with rice (like gumbo), but it’s a little thicker and less soupy (like jambalaya). Shrimp etouffee is also served with rice and shrimp but it’s made with a more gravy-like sauce.
Purchasing Shrimp (Know Before You Go!):
The most authentic shrimp creole would be served with Gulf shrimp, but since most of us don’t have access to wild-caught, fresh shrimp from the Gulf Coast, we have to purchase ours at the grocery store. While you can buy shrimp in all varieties (large, medium, small, shell on/off, tail on/off, fresh, frozen, etc.), we recommend buying large, tail-on, un-cooked shrimp for shrimp creole. Once thawed you can remove the shells before cooking in the creole sauce.
Fresh or frozen shrimp?
I suggest frozen shrimp.
If you live in an area where you can purchase truly fresh shrimp, I’m insanely jealous of you and you should definitely do that.
As for the rest of us, we have the choice of frozen shrimp from the freezer section or thawed shrimp from the seafood counter. I say thawed shrimp because while it looks “fresh,” it was likely shipped to the store in frozen form and thawed for the display. And, it’s likely been thawing for multiple days which makes the frozen stuff seem even more fresh.
That being said, purchase the highest quality frozen shrimp you can! The better the shrimp, the yummier your shrimp creole will be!
To thaw frozen shrimp, place the bag in the refrigerator overnight or pour the shrimp into a bowl and cover it with ice cold water for about an hour. Drain the shrimp and use paper towels to soak up the water.
How to Make Shrimp Creole:
1. Sauté veggies. Add butter to a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, celery, bell pepper, and garlic and sauté until veggies are lightly browned.
2. Add flour and spices. In a small bowl whisk together the thyme, salt, pepper, cayenne and flour. Stir into onion mixture and cook for 2 minutes.
3. Deglaze the pan with wine (if using) and then add chicken stock, tomatoes, bay leaves and hot sauce. Reduce heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4. Add uncooked shrimp. Remove bay leaves and add shrimp (peel the shrimp beforehand so that you’re adding raw, peeled shrimp with the tails still on). Cook for just a few minutes, until the shrimp turn pink.
5. Serve over hot cooked rice and garnish with chopped green onion.
Add In’s and Variations:
- Chicken creole- use chicken instead of shrimp.
- Seafood creole- Add scallops and haddock.
- Catfish creole- add catfish instead of shrimp.
- To substitute rice- Serve over mashed potatoes or pasta, or serve without rice for a low carb option.
MAKE AHEAD and FREEZING INSTRUCTIONS:
To make ahead: The sauce is almost better made ahead of time to allow the flavors to blend. To make ahead, prepare the sauce as instructed but don’t add the shrimp. Refrigerate for 1-2 days and return to pan to simmer before adding shrimp.
To freeze: make the sauce but don’t add the shrimp. Freeze the sauce in a freezer safe container for 2-3 months. To reheat, allow sauce to thaw, simmer in saucepan, and then add shrimp, cooking until pink.
More Shrimp Recipes:
- 4 Tablespoons butter
- 1 large onion , diced
- 1 rib celery , diced
- 1 green bell pepper , diced
- 2 cloves garlic , minced
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon thyme
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 Tablespoon flour
- 1/3 cup dry white wine (optional)
- 1 15 oz can diced tomatoes , or about 1 ¼ cups peeled and diced fresh tomatoes
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 2 bay leaves
- Hot pepper sauce, such as Tabasco , to taste
- 2 lb large uncooked shrimp , (about 32)
- 6-8 cups hot cooked rice , for serving
- 2 green onions , chopped, for garnish
- Add butter to a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, celery, bell pepper, and garlic and sauté until veggies are lightly browned.
- In a small bowl whisk together the thyme, salt, pepper, cayenne and flour. Stir into onion mixture and cook for 2 minutes.
- Deglaze the pan with wine (if using) and then add chicken stock, tomatoes, bay leaves and hot sauce. Reduce heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Remove bay leaves. Add shrimp and cook until pink, just 3-4 minutes.
- Serve over hot cooked rice and garnish with green onion.
- Chicken creole- substitute chicken for shrimp
- Seafood creole- Add scallops and haddock
- Catfish creole- substitute catfish for shrimp
- To substitute rice- Serve over mashed potatoes or pasta
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