Easy Louisiana Shrimp Creole
Recreate the flavor and spirit of New Orleans in your own kitchen in just 30 minutes. This Louisiana Shrimp Creole recipe 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!
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.
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❤️ Why We Love This Recipe
- It takes 30-minutes from start to finish.
- It has all the best flavors of Creole cooking.
- It’s the king of Louisiana shrimp recipes.
- It Uses familiar ingredients.
- Easy to make ahead.
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🛒 Ingredient Notes
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 – The sweetness of butter really enhances the sweetness of the shrimp.
- Onion, celery, and bell pepper – The “trinity” of Creole and Cajun cooking.
- Canned tomatoes – I prefer the petite diced tomatoes; you’ll use them along with their juice.
- Thyme – Either fresh or dried.
- Tabasco – You can use another hot pepper sauce if you want, but Tabasco is my preference.
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
Prep the Shrimp
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.
👉 PRO 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
STEP 2. Chop the onion, celery, and bell pepper. Mince the garlic.
👉 PRO 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
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.
👉 PRO 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.
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.
STEP 9. Serve over steamed white rice with garlic bread and a tossed green salad.
- 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.
❓Questions About Louisiana Shrimp Creole
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.
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.
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.
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 to know what you thought!
Leave a rating below in the comments and let me know how you liked it!
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Easy Louisiana Shrimp Creole
- 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
- 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.
- If using frozen shrimp, thaw overnight in the 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.
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.
Very good recipe. I had the good fortune to have a registered coon ass, what Louisiana folks call an RCA, Cajun teach me to cook since I was 12. Many decades ago. The thyme and bay leaves are key. I substituted about 3/4 tsp cayenne pepper for the liquid pepper sauce. Cayenne has a bit deeper flavor. I keep a bottle of Crystal hot sauce handy for guests to add PRN.
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
Glad to know you like it! It’s a favorite of ours, too.
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.
That’s a good idea! I’ll have to try that, too. Except – BeeBop detests okra. Go figure.
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.
Thanks, Ed, but this is just the way we like it around here. Everyone has their own way of preparing recipes, you know :-)
Sounds like a good idea Ed, so would you just use the crushed tomato and if so at what proportion with respect to Lana’s version? Thanks
It looks perfect for tonight…I’m heading to the kitchen now! Thanks!
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!!!!!!
Put it over grits, and we’re good.
That is some beautiful shrimp! Thanks for this great looking recipe!
Wow this sounds so gooooood, nice and spicy…and shrimpy!
Great recipes, thanks for sharing! I’ll be back…… :-)
I love the trinity! I never knew that about creole cooking. Its like garlic, onion, and olive oil for Italians. Cheers!
What a great recipe! Your photos are wonderful.
This looks SOOO good!
Looks very delicious!! I love the colors. I don’t think I’ve had shrimp creole before. Wonderful on warm summer day.
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.