Shrimp Étouffée is a southern dish packed with all the flavor of our favorite New Orleans cuisine! 

In this dish, tender seasoned shrimp are smothered in a creamy sauce and jam-packed with flavor. The best Shrimp Etoufee is easy to make but it does take a bit of time and I can assure you that the time is definitely worth it!

Shrimp Etouffee on a white plate with rice

What is Shrimp Étouffée?

This is a dish I learned to make in cooking classes in New Orleans. It’s so incredibly delicious, I knew I HAD to share it with you!

Roughly translated, Shrimp Étouffée means “smothered shrimp.” It’s picked up many variations along the way.

For this recipe, a creamy sauce made with a roux will mix with cajun-seasoned shrimp. We love the layers of flavor in this creamy sauce and of course the plump juicy shrimp.

ingredients to make Shrimp Etouffee on a baking sheet

Ingredients & Variations

Étouffée can be made with any kind of shellfish. Sub out the shrimp for crab, mussels, or even crayfish (or crawdads) if you can find them! Fresh shrimp is the best to use, but if frozen is all that’s available, no worries! Just make sure it’s well-drained, and don’t overcook.

The base of this dish is the sauce made from a roux. It’s possible to make different types of roux, from “blonde” to medium, to brown. The longer the roux cooks, the darker and nuttier it becomes, but it can definitely take some time. So our recipe strikes a happy medium, without sacrificing any of the flavors!

If time is short, just go ahead and use chicken broth, or better yet, canned shrimp broth. But if time is no issue and you want to “get your chef on,” then go ahead and make homemade shrimp stock.

How to Make Shrimp Étouffée

This dish takes time but I can assure you it’s worth every second.

    1. Cook Shrimp
      Season and cook shrimp just until pink (per recipe below). It will cook more later, do not overcook.
    2. Make Roux
      Combine flour and fat and cook until it becomes the color of peanut butter. Add onions/celery/peppers (this helps stop the cooking process).

flour and butter mixture cooked to the right color to make Shrimp Etouffee

  1. Simmer
    Add diced fresh tomatoes, bay leaf, and Worcestershire and simmer.
  2. Add flavors
    Add shrimp, green onions, and a squeeze of lemon juice and heat through. Serve over rice.

adding final ingredients to the pan to make Shrimp Etouffee


  • Once the roux has reached the color of peanut butter, add the celery/onion/green pepper (aka the holy trinity). This cools the roux to keep it from browning further.
  • The best shrimp is cooked safely—but just until pink! For the first cooking, remove shrimp from heat just as soon as it turns pink on both sides, which takes just a couple of minutes! Once added back into the sauce, make sure it’s heated thoroughly but doesn’t boil. A very short simmer is fine, but that’s it. This will ensure the shrimp stays juicy and tender.
  • Add green onion and parsley last, just before removing the dish from heat. This way the herbs retain their flavor and stay bright green.
  • Make sure to time the cooking so that the rice is ready when the Étouffée is done. Hot, steaming, and slightly sticky rice tastes the best. Try making Instant Pot Rice or baked rice.

Shrimp Etouffee in a pan with a wooden spoon

Classic Southern-Style Dishes!

Did you love this Shrimp Etouffee as much as we do? Be sure to leave a rating and a comment below! 

Shrimp Etouffee on a white plate with rice
4.95 from 99 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
Or to leave a comment, click here!

Shrimp Etouffee

Shrimp slow-simmered with fresh veggies in a cajun-spice sauce, and served over rice!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 4


  • 1 ½ pounds medium shrimp peeled and deveined
  • 1 tablespoon cajun seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • cup butter
  • cup flour
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • ½ bell pepper chopped
  • 2 ribs celery chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon thyme
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 3 cups shrimp stock or chicken broth
  • 2 cups tomatoes fresh (not canned), diced
  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 bay leaves
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • ¼ cup green onion
  • ¼ cup parsley
  • ½ lemon juiced


  • Toss shrimp with cajun seasoning. Heat oil over medium-high heat and add shrimp. Cook until shrimp just begins to turn pink, about 2 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.
  • Melt butter over medium heat in a large skillet. Stir in flour and cook until the flour becomes the color of peanut butter, about 6-8 minutes.
  • Add onions, bell pepper, celery, thyme and garlic and cook until slightly softened. Stir in the broth/stock a bit at a time until smooth.
  • Add tomatoes, Worcestershire and bay leaves and return to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered about 20 minutes. Add salt & pepper to taste.
  • Stir in the green onions, parsley, lemon juice and shrimp with any juices. Cook just until shrimp is heated through, do not overcook.
  • Serve over rice.


For more flavor, shell your own shrimp. Add shells (and heads), add to chicken broth and simmer on low 20 minutes. Strain and discard shells. Use this broth in place of chicken broth.
Do not overcook shrimp, cook just until pink on each side in step 1. The shrimp will finish cooking through when reheating.
4.95 from 99 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
Or to leave a comment, click here!

Nutrition Information

Calories: 458 | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 42g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Cholesterol: 469mg | Sodium: 2190mg | Potassium: 801mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 2889IU | Vitamin C: 54mg | Calcium: 362mg | Iron: 6mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Dinner, Entree, Main Course, Seafood
Cuisine American

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About the author

Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!
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Recipe Rating


  1. Will be trying this recipe very soon but I have 2 questions –

    Can I use a seafood broth I have on hand in lieu of the shrimp stock?

    Any color bell pepper or only green?

    Thank you!

    1. I haven’t tried seafood broth, but it should work just fine! Any color bell pepper will work in this recipe. Enjoy!

  2. I loved this Etouffee – but wonder why mine never thickened. Next time I will put a little less stock – and I will let it simmer longer so the Holy Trinity will be softer and more “stewish”. Flavor was great!4 stars

  3. Hubby loved this so much, I wrote it on my calendar so I was sure to make it again without forgetting! So tasty and easy!! Looking forward to having it again tonight:)5 stars

  4. Normally, when I use bay leaves, I remove them before serving. Do I remove them or leave them in after simmering for 20 minutes?

  5. this turned out so good and easy. Very tasty. As many times as I have eaten etouffee, i had never made it. It was a good use of celery onions tomatoes and bell pepper. Will make it again.4 stars

  6. This was delicious. It’s just the 2 of us so I made the full sauce to have leftovers. I froze the sauce and am making it again tonight. Amazing!

  7. I made the etouffee and I added okra that I cook down and butter to take the slime out and I added grilled corn and I grill the shrimp on the barbie and it was the best ever ever ever made up ever eaten I loved it just a piece little additions can go a long way

  8. I made this tonight and it was delicious! A keeper for sure. I did the shells in broth. I forgot to add salt and pepper but didn’t miss it. My husband is very particular with his southern shrimp( being from NY) and he loved it!5 stars

  9. Made this for the first time tonight. My husband and I both loved it. But with just two of us we had some leftover is there a way to heat it up with out making the shrimp tuff?5 stars

    1. So happy you both enjoyed it, Vonna! To reheat, you could add it back to the saucepan with a little water and heat just until the shrimp is heated through. You could also cover in foil and reheat in the oven with a little water in the pan just until heated through. We would love to hear how it turned out for you!

  10. Want to double recipe and make a day ahead. Can I make through step 3 or 4 and add shrimp at reheat step…Also will be serving in warming buffet dish…any advice5 stars

    1. Hi Linda, we have never tried prepping this recipe ahead like that but would love to hear how it turned out for you!

  11. The flavor was excellent. I made the quick shrimp broth. I’m sure it added flavor, well worth an extra 20 minutes. My sauce was like broth. Through the whole cooking process I felt like I should have used more flour. I even cooked it longer and at higher heat.. The great taste compensated.4 stars

  12. Easy to make, forgiving and the end result was delicious! I made a stock from the shrimp shells which really made a difference from the other etouffees I’ve made. I used a teaspoon and a half probably of chopped fresh thyme, which was a bit too much, so learn from my mistake. I’m visiting my sister and she LOVED it, as did I. It’s a real show stopper.5 stars