Recipes » Main Dish Recipes » Easy Louisiana Shrimp Creole

Easy Louisiana Shrimp Creole

| | |
5 from 8 votes
Recreate the flavor and spirit of New Orleans in your own kitchen in just 30 minutes. This Easy Louisiana Shrimp Creole will be your new favorite weeknight dinner!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
A serving of Louisiana Shrimp Creole over white rice on a plate.

Recreate the flavor and spirit of New Orleans in your own kitchen in just 30 minutes. This Louisiana Shrimp Creole with its spicy tomato-based sauce is going to be your new favorite weeknight dinner!

This is a real southern tried and true favorite! If you love the flavors of Louisiana, you’ll fall head over heels for Shrimp Creole. Tender, plump shrimp in a tomato-based sauce spiced with Tabasco sauce – you can’t beat it!

A serving of Louisiana Shrimp Creole over white rice on a plate.

And speaking of Tabasco, there’s another thing we have to thank Louisiana for. Did you know that it was created in 1868 on Avery Island, Louisiana, by Edmund McIlhenny? Thank you, sir!

My recipe has been tweaked and revised by me through the years, but it was originally inspired by a recipe from the masterful Craig Claiborne in his wonderful cookbook, Craig Claiborne’s Southern Cooking.

Claiborne was a food writer for the New York Times, but he was born and raised in Mississippi. Southern Cooking is a treasury of classic southern food such as fried catfish, fried chicken, field peas, greens, cornbread, and a huge variety of desserts. Any time I need inspiration for something to cook, I know I can find it in that cookbook.

Lana's Cooking Free Cookbook Cover
Get a Free Cookbook!

Subscribe now to receive our FREE Favorite Recipes digital cookbook with 10 amazing recipes inside!


  • 30-minutes from start to finish
  • All the best flavors of Creole cooking
  • Uses familiar ingredients
  • Can be made ahead

Ingredient Notes

Photo showing all the ingredients needed for the recipe.

At first glance, the ingredients list looks long, but many of them are pantry staples along with herbs and spices. The only thing you may not have on hand is the shrimp.

  • Shrimp (if you live in an area where fresh shrimp are readily available, that’s your first choice; if not, a good brand of frozen shrimp is perfect)
  • Butter
  • Onion
  • Celery
  • Bell pepper
  • Garlic
  • Canned tomatoes (I prefer the petite diced tomatoes; you’ll use them along with their juice)
  • Thyme (fresh or dried)
  • Bay leaf
  • Lemon
  • Tabasco (you can use another hot pepper sauce if you want, but Tabasco is my preference)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Parsley (fresh, finely chopped)

You’ll find detailed measurements for all ingredients in the printable version of the recipe at the bottom of this post.

How to Make Louisiana Shrimp Creole

Let’s Go Step-by-Step

I always like to show you the photos and step-by-step instructions for my recipes to help you picture how to make them in your own kitchen. If you just want to print out a copy, you can skip to the bottom of the post where you’ll find the recipe card.

Prep the Shrimp

Fresh shrimp draining in a colander.
STEP 1.

STEP 1. Rinse the shrimp and set them aside in a colander to drain. You want them to be fairly dry when you add them at the end.

COOK’S TIP 
If you live in an area where fresh shrimp are easily available, by all means, use them! There are, however, several very good frozen brands on the market. If possible, purchase shrimp that are already peeled and deveined. It will save loads of prep time. I prefer to also remove the tails for this recipe. It makes eating so much easier for your family and guests. However, you can certainly leave the tails on if you like.

Prepare the Trinity

Celery, onion, and bell pepper on a cutting board.
STEP 2.

STEP 2. Chop the onion, celery, and bell pepper. Mince the garlic.

COOK’S TIP 
In Cajun and Creole cooking, the combination of onion, celery, and green bell pepper is known as the “holy trinity.” It’s traditionally 3 parts onion, 2 parts celery, and 1 part bell pepper and produces a flavor combination that is unique and readily identifiable as being Cajun and Creole. In this recipe, we are also using a good bit of garlic.

Make the Creole Sauce

STEP 3. Place a large saucepan, Dutch oven, or deep skillet on medium heat. Add the butter.

STEP 4. When the butter has melted, add the onion. Cook, stirring until the onion is slightly softened. Be careful not to let the onion brown.

STEP 5. Add the celery, green pepper, and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring, or until vegetables are softened.

STEP 6. Add the tomatoes with their liquid. Next, add the thyme, bay leaf, Tabasco, lemon rind, salt, and pepper. Simmer 15 minutes uncovered until the liquid has reduced by about half.

Add the Shrimp

Shrimp added to creole sauce.
STEP 7.

STEP 7. Stir the well-drained shrimp into the Creole sauce. Cover and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, no longer. Really. NO LONGER than 5 minutes.

COOK’S TIP 
I think the biggest mistake people make with shrimp is overcooking them. If you’ve ever gotten a rubbery, tough shrimp it’s because it was overcooked. It really wasn’t the poor shrimp’s fault. It was tender and plump when it went in the pot.

Finishing

Chopped parsley and lemon juice added to shrimp creole in a skillet.
STEP 8.

STEP 8. When the shrimp are done, turn off the heat and add the chopped parsley, lemon juice, and, if desired, more Tabasco (or other hot sauce) to taste.

Serve

A skillet filled with shrimp creole and a bowl of steam rice alongside.
STEP 9.

STEP 9. Serve over steamed white rice with garlic bread and a tossed green salad.

Tips/Substitutions/Variations

  • Adjust the spice level to your liking by adding more or less hot sauce to the recipe. Some cooks prefer to use cayenne pepper instead of Tabasco. I’d suggest starting with a quarter teaspoon cayenne pepper and adjusting up or down from there.
  • For a different flavor, add some cooked bacon or andouille sausage to the sauce.
  • You can even substitute catfish for the shrimp and make Catfish Creole.
  • Substitute brown rice or pasta for the steamed white rice.
A serving of shrimp creole over white rice on a plate with the pan in the background.

FAQs

What is the best way to thaw frozen shrimp?

You can thaw frozen shrimp overnight in your refrigerator or by placing the frozen shrimp in a bowl of very cold water for several hours. Be sure to drain the shrimp well in a colander and, preferably, pat them partially dry before adding to the creole sauce.

Can I make this ahead?

You can definitely make Shrimp Creole ahead! In fact, it’s even better made ahead. To do so, cook the recipe up to the point where you would add the shrimp. Let the cooked sauce cool and store in the refrigerator. When ready to serve, place the sauce over medium heat and bring it to temperature. Add the shrimp and finish the dish.

Can I freeze this?

To freeze Shrimp Creole, it’s best to make the sauce, cool it, and store it in a freezer safe container. When you’re ready to use it, thaw and reheat the sauce. Then add the shrimp and finish the recipe from that point.

How is shrimp creole different from shrimp etouffee?

Shrimp etouffee has a roux base (flour and butter) which results in a more gravy like sauce. Shrimp creole has a tomato base and is thinner than an etouffee.

Have you tried this recipe? I’d love for you to give it a star ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating in the recipe card and/or in the comments section further down. You can always stay in touch on social media by following me on FacebookInstagram, or Pinterest and Sign Up to Get my Newsletter, too!

Recipe

A serving of Louisiana Shrimp Creole over white rice on a plate.

Easy Louisiana Shrimp Creole

Recreate the flavor and spirit of New Orleans in your own kitchen in just 30 minutes. This Easy Louisiana Shrimp Creole will be your new favorite weeknight dinner!
5 from 8 votes
Print It Rate It Text It
Course: Main Dishes
Cuisine: Southern, Vintage
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 245kcal
Author: Lana Stuart

Ingredients

  • 1 pound fresh shrimp peeled and deveined
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ¾ cup coarsely chopped onion
  • 3 small celery ribs coarsely chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper cored, seeded and coarsely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 3 cups canned tomatoes with their liquid
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ teaspoon grated lemon rind
  • 12 dashes Tabasco or to taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon

Instructions

  • Rinse the shrimp and set them aside in a colander to drain.
  • Chop the onion, celery, and bell pepper. Mince the garlic.
  • Place a large saucepan, Dutch oven, or deep skillet on medium heat. Add the butter.
  • When the butter has melted, add the onion. Cook, stirring until the onion is slightly softened. Be careful not to let the onion brown.
  • Add the celery, green pepper, and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring, or until vegetables are softened.
  • Add the tomatoes with their liquid. Next, add the thyme, bay leaf, Tabasco, lemon rind, salt, and pepper. Simmer 15 minutes uncovered until the liquid has reduced by about half.
  • Stir the well-drained shrimp into the Creole sauce. Cover and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, no longer.
  • When the shrimp are done, turn off the heat and add the chopped parsley, lemon juice, and, if desired, more Tabasco (or other hot sauce) to taste.
  • Serve over hot, steamed rice.

Notes

If you live in an area where fresh shrimp are available, by all means, use them! There are, however, very good frozen brands available. If possible, purchase shrimp that are already peeled and deveined. It will save loads of prep time. I prefer to also remove the tails for this recipe. It makes eating so much easier for your family and guests. However, you can certainly leave the tails on if you like.
  • Adjust the spice level to your liking by adding more or less hot sauce to the recipe. Some cooks prefer to use cayenne pepper instead of Tabasco. I’d suggest starting with a quarter teaspoon cayenne pepper and adjusting up or down from there.
  • For a different flavor, add some cooked bacon or andouille sausage to the sauce.
  • You can even substitute catfish for the shrimp and make Catfish Creole.
  • You can substitute brown rice or pasta for the steamed white rice.
If using frozen shrimp, thaw overnight in your refrigerator or by placing in a bowl of very cold water for several hours. Be sure to drain well in a colander before adding to the sauce.
To make ahead, cook the recipe up to the point where you would add the shrimp. Let the cooked sauce cool and store in the refrigerator. When ready to serve, place the sauce over medium heat and bring it to temperature and then finish the recipe.
To freeze, make the sauce, cool it, and store it in a freezer safe container. When you’re ready to use it, thaw and reheat the sauce. Then add the shrimp and finish the recipe from that point.
TOP TIP: The biggest mistake people make with shrimp is overcooking them. If you’ve ever gotten a rubbery, tough shrimp it’s because it was overcooked. Five minutes is usually the limit.

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1 | Calories: 245kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 27g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 301mg | Sodium: 1185mg | Potassium: 753mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 896IU | Vitamin C: 53mg | Calcium: 249mg | Iron: 5mg

Nutrition information is calculated by software based on the ingredients in each recipe. It is an estimate only and is provided for informational purposes. You should consult your health care provider or a registered dietitian if precise nutrition calculations are needed for health reasons.

Share on Facebook Pin Recipe
Tried this recipe? Pin it for Later!Follow @LanasCookingBlog or tag #LanasCooking!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe Rating




23 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Very good recipe. Don’t change anything in the recipe. Good one to make a day ahead and let it get seasoned up in the refrigerator overnight

  2. I make this often. Sometimes add a bit of okra, and call it a cross between shrimp creole and gumbo. Good either way. Thanks for the beautiful photo.

    Miss P

  3. Looks a bit too loose. You should probably cook that down quite a bit more. What I would recommend is after you’ve cooked the vegetables add in a teaspoon or more of tomato paste and then cook that until caramelized before adding in the tomatoes. That will be a deeper and richer flavor. Plus you should use at least one can of crushed tomatoes in addition to or in place of the chopped tomatoes.

    1. Thanks, Ed, but this is just the way we like it around here. Everyone has their own way of preparing recipes, you know :-)

  4. i tried this just last night. it came out really well!! thank you for the step-by-step process & the pictures. made my cooking easy!!!!!!

  5. Wow this sounds so gooooood, nice and spicy…and shrimpy!
    Great recipes, thanks for sharing! I’ll be back…… :-)

  6. I love the trinity! I never knew that about creole cooking. Its like garlic, onion, and olive oil for Italians. Cheers!

  7. Looks very delicious!! I love the colors. I don’t think I’ve had shrimp creole before. Wonderful on warm summer day.

  8. I LOOOOVE YOUR SITE!!!! I love your pics!!!
    Now, I have 3 lbs of shrimp and have been wondering how to use it. I have one idea and this would be amazing too.