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’re not afraid of a little spice, and a lot of flavor, I’m betting this will be your new favorite shrimp recipe! Serve it alongside warm Buttermilk Cornbread or Flakey Homemade Biscuits!

Shrimp creole on a plate with white rice.

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.

The ingredients needed for Shrimp Creole.

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.

Two process photos for making Shrimp Creole in a white cast iron pot.

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.

Raw shrimp on top of creole sauce cooking in a pan.

5. Serve over hot cooked rice and garnish with chopped green onion.

Add In’s and Variations:

  • Bacon
  • Sausage
  • Crawfish
  • 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.

A pot of shrimp creole with a spoon in it for serving.

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:

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Recipe

Shrimp creole on a plate with white rice.
Prep 10 mins
Cook 20 mins
Total 30 mins
Add to Meal Plan

Video

Ingredients
 
 

  • 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

Instructions
 

  • 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.

Notes

Add In's and Variations:
  • Bacon
  • Sausage
  • Crawfish
  • 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
Make-ahead Instructions: The sauce is almost better made ahead of time and allowing the flavors to settle.  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.  
Freezing Instructions: make the sauce but don't add the shrimp.  Freeze the sauce in a freezer safe bag or container for 2-3 months.  To reheat, allow sauce to thaw, simmer in saucepan, and add shrimp, cooking until pink. 
*nutrition info does not include rice

Nutrition

Calories: 316kcalCarbohydrates: 7gProtein: 39gFat: 12gSaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 483mgSodium: 1795mgPotassium: 294mgFiber: 1gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 499IUVitamin C: 29mgCalcium: 279mgIron: 4mg

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Lauren Allen

Welcome! I’m Lauren, a mom of four and lover of good food. Here you’ll find easy recipes and weeknight meal ideas made with real ingredients, with step-by-step photos and videos.

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I’ve made this twice and both times it was fantastic. I did add more salt and thickened it with a cornstarch flurry after the shrimp cooked. I also don’t add the garlic until towards the end of sauté to avoid it from burning and getting bitter. This is really a good creole recipe. Thanks

  2. 5 stars
    This was fabulous, but I opted for more garlic and less spice, we’re Yoopers and a bit wimpy. My loving husband brought spoons to the table after dinner began then we enjoyed seconds. We ate every drop but he still was disappointed because that’s all we had because he wanted thirds!

  3. 5 stars
    We, very much, enjoyed this recipe! It was easy to make, quick to cook and so delicious. I made it exactly as it is written including the wine and minus the bell pepper as both my husband and I get heartburn from them. All the components go together beautifully….I especially like the flavor of butter and chicken broth and the spices are perfect to create that “creole” flavor. It tastes like I’ve been in the kitchen all day but it only took about 1 hour from pulling out ingredients, chopping veggies, simmering for 20 minutes and incorporating the shrimp for another 3- 5 minutes. Thank you so much for our delicious dinner tonight <3. I will print and keep this one!

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