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Shrimp Etouffee Recipe

This rich Shrimp Etouffee made with a dark, flavorful roux with a little spice and served over rice will bring a tasty piece of The Big Easy into your kitchen. The roux takes some time and patience to perfect but besides that Shrimp Etouffee is an easy meal and is perfect for serving a family.

Shrimp Etouffee topped with rice in a bowl.



Etouffee, which means “smothered” in french, is a sort of stew that typically consists of a roux, the Holy Trinity (onion, celery, and bell pepper), some garlic, hot sauce, and either shrimp, crawfish, or chicken. I like to add some diced tomatoes to mine, but many etouffee recipes do not have tomato.

The key to a good etouffee is the roux. Some people like it with a light roux, but I like the full flavor and richness of a dark roux. Unfortunately a dark roux takes much longer to make. You want to cook it long and slow over medium heat until it turns the color of milk chocolate.

Cook it over too high a heat or neglect to stir enough, and the roux will burn, and not only will you have to start over, but you will have a truly awful smell in your kitchen. Done that.

But to learn to cook a roux, unless you have a grandmother standing over your shoulder giving you guidance, you’re bound to burn a roux or two. It’s just part of the learning process. You really have to learn to sense with your eyes and your nose whether the roux is coming along at the right rate.

Etouffe in a bowl with French bread in background.


And whatever you do, DO NOT STOP STIRRING. Not even for a few seconds. You must stir continuously for at least 20 minutes. Not exactly my idea of fun. But worth it.

Not a leisurely stir either, really keep that mixture moving and make sure you’re using a whisk or wooden spoon that can really get to the edge of the pan. But careful not to splash the hot oil up on yourself!

When you are judging color, keep in mind that the roux will darken up when you add the veggies. Immediately turn the heat to low when you add them and stir well. Yes, your arm is getting a workout. There will be lots of hissing and spitting. From the vegetables coming in contact with the roux. Hopefully not from you. Don’t let this alarm you. They will quiet down shortly.

Overhead close-up of Shrimp Etouffee in a bowl.


And one more thing. The pan or pot you use for cooking a roux is very important. It doesn’t really matter so much the shape or size or even the material so long as the bottom is very heavy. Use a pot with a thin bottom and it will be very difficult to not burn the roux. A cast iron pot or pan is perfect. I personally like using a Dutch Oven like the Lodge Pre-Seasoned Cast-Iron Dutch Oven  or the Lodge Color Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven. Both are very versatile, reasonably priced pots that you will get a lot of use out of. I even do my deep frying in a Dutch Oven. Plus they will out live you in the kitchen.

It takes some patience, but learn to cook a roux and you will have a taste of New Orleans right in your kitchen.

Shrimp Etouffe topped with rice in a bowl.

Shrimp Etouffee

A rich and flavorful Shrimp Etouffee made with a dark roux will bring a little taste of New Orleans to your kitchen.
PREP: 10 minutes
COOK: 45 minutes
TOTAL: 55 minutes


  • 1/2 cup Vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups diced onion
  • 1/2 cup diced green bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 (8-ounce) jar clam juice
  • 1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
  • 2 pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • green onions, sliced
  • white rice for serving


  • To make a roux, whisk together oil and flour in a large heavy saucepan (cast iron is perfect, but any heavy-bottomed pot or pan will do) over medium to medium-low heat. Once combined, it is easier to use a wooden spoon to stir. Stir continuously for at least 20 minutes, until mixture turns a dark caramel color. It should darken very slowly. If it darkens too fast, turn down the heat. The roux will burn if the heat is too high or you don't stir continuously. Be sure to really stir all the way up to the edges of the pot. You don't want any of the mixture to stay in one spot for too long.
  • Turn heat to low and add onion, green pepper, and celery to roux. It will start to sizzle loudly and darken some in color. Cook 5 minutes, or until vegetables are soft.
  • Add garlic and cook 30 seconds.
  • Add clam juice, tomatoes, Cajun seasoning, Worcestershire sauce, black, white, and cayenne pepper, salt, thyme, and Tabasco. Bring to a boil and simmer 15 minutes.
  • Add shrimp and cook 2 to 3 minutes. Turn heat off and add butter. Stir to mix it in.
  • Serve with green onions and white rice and additional hot sauce.


I keep things simple and use a bottle of clam juice, but you could boil your shrimp peels and make a shrimp stock instead.
Be sure to use a heavy-bottomed pan or pot for making the roux. Cast iron works perfectly.


Calories: 547kcal
Author: Christin Mahrlig
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: Southern
Keyword: cajun, shrimp

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Originally published September 7, 2104.

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83 thoughts on “Shrimp Etouffee Recipe”

  1. Wow. Amazing dish. I never made a Roux or any food of this type in the past. I spent 65 minutes slowly working the Roux. I did add 1 Tsp Sweet Paprika. Other than that, used this recipe as published. Flavors come together at the end. Don’t be tempted to add more salt.

    Instead of clam juice, I made a Shrimp stock with the shells, onion, green pepper, celery and bay leaves. The recipe comes together so good at the end.

    Thank you for this culinary delight!

  2. Dave Charlesworth

    My wife and I were trying to figure out something to have today on Fat Tuesday. She said she wanted Etouffee. I’ve had it before and honestly, have never liked it. I found your recipe and liked the ingredients and the amounts of said ingredients. We both are not big fans of green bell pepper but figured half a cup of it wouldn’t kill us lol. I just finished making this 15 mins ago and all I can say is wow! This tastes awesome!!! I’ve made a special binder that has recipes that I’ve made throughout the years in it. Very few earn a place in the binder but this one is definitely going into it. It took 30 mins of constant stirring for the roux and told my wife…never again. Well, I’m happily going to eat those words tonight and several more times in the future.

    1. This was great! My only changes were with the dry seasonings…I mean 1/4 tsp thyme will literally add no thyme flavor. I added more of everything by 1/2tsp. Otherwise this was wonderful!

  3. Scott McLeod

    Just phenomenal. It’s actually relaxing watching over the roux. But so flavourful. It’s spicy (we also add a jalapeño), but not for the sake of heat. Thank you!

  4. Very good!
    I did it for dinner, and it was really very delicious , comfort food.
    I just added half cup of water to liquify the sauce little bid.


    This was so amazing and spot on for the best crawfish etouffe recipe (I subbed frozen crawfish i had for the shrimp).
    I also used King Arthur Gluten Free measure for measure flour for the roux, which I wasn’t sure about, but BAM! it worked out amazing.
    Thank you so much for an amazing recipe.

    1. Yay!! I’m planning this tonight and have celiac! So glad the gf flour worked!!!
      Thanks for sharing this!

  6. nancy slacik

    Looks like a fantastic recipe but I suggest a microwave roux. Done in 8 minutes perfectly every time. I’ve been using it for years and converted many. Try it for all your roux based recipes. It’s a snap! Recipe available on any internet search.

  7. craig meyers

    I had the roux cook for 20 min it was dark added veggies let cook added undrained diced tomatoes and my base is not dark at all but looks more like gumbo with a reddish tint rather than brown

  8. Tried this last night and it was delicious. Though I think I did something wrong, because my final product was much thicker than the pictures above. I ended up adding more liquid while cooking to help thin it out. The only thing I did differently from the recipe is use butter instead of oil, since making a roux is equal parts fat and flour, not sure if that could be the reason.

    1. Antonio rendon

      Butter is the more proper you just put to much roux in and the steps are not wrong exactly bt misplaced…you should first make you roux by melting butter once liquid add flower and still till you get a paste like substance keep over low heat constantly stirring if your not a experience cook reccomend not leaving your work station once done take of heat and seperate in a different pot start cooking off your aromatics a Lil oil and a bit more butter should be fine cook them till onions are translucent atleast at this moment you should now start to add the clam juice and any other seasonings once you get it to a boil lower it to a simmer and slowly start adding roux use a whisk and constantly stir adding roux to were your mixing pay attention to how it’s thickening once it’s done being stirred and settled it will thicken on its own for this you do not need much roux

      1. Exactly! I’ve always found the 1 to 1 parts mixture of flour to fat a little heavy on the flour. That’s just me but keeping it down to about 8 to 10 parts flour to fat works better.

  9. Hi,
    This dish as all dishes made in Louisiana can be made different ways. This looks delicious! In New Orleans we make it with more butter and add cream or half and half in our sauce. Also, if you want fantastic seasonings for Louisiana cooking use, River Road seasonings. They are wonderful and have recipes on packages. You can order them online.
    Kim (born and raised in New Orleans)

  10. For all those people that look at this recipe and say it looks good but NEVER MAKE IT…shame on you. I followed the instructions to the letter. You know what happened???? It turned out VANTASTIC. My dinner guests couldn’t believe how GOOD it turned out. I will make this again, and again. I cut the veggies really small and cook the shrimp for the 3 to 4 minutes till done but sooooo tender..

  11. The recipe turned out beautifully!! I subbed in langostino for the shrimp,, very yummy. Thanks!

    1. Goddessvoodoo

      I’m from the south and everyone don’t cook with Lard and Bacon especially if they trying to live.

      1. I assure you that cajuns often use oil to make a roux – you can get it darker with oil than solid fats. New Olreans prefers solid-fat based rouxs, cajuns oil

  12. No! No! No! No! You use fat to make a proper roux…butter, lard, bacon grease….NEVER OIL! Whe did a damn poor sountern cook EVER have vegetable oil!?! Augh!

  13. Reading the post about the time and effort it takes to get a good, deep tasting roux, leads me to pass along this suggestion, as I too have dealt with the frustration of burning a roux.
    One can take the flour, spread it evenly on a sheet pan, place it in a preheated, 400 degree oven for at least a half hour. Check and stir every 10 minutes. The flour will develop a deep color after about 25 to 35 minutes and a wonderful aroma as well. This can then be added to your ALREADY COOKED veggies, coating them well. Now, add the liquid and continuing with the recipe. It will taste great and contain NO oil.

    1. Shawn Veillon

      My father used to do this once he decided to care about his health. LOL I thought he was crazy until I tasted it. You can taste the difference, but that doesn’t make it a negative thing, it is still quite good. I tried it myself but it’s hard to get it consistent (all flower particles same color). That, however is also not necessarily a bad thing – it adds complexity.
      Most of the time I use either olive oil, butter, or bacon fat. What can I say… old habits die hard. LOL

  14. I love this recipe! I have made roux many times – I literally have scars to prove it – so I tried the oven method and it works like a charm. This recipe is perfect, my family loves it. A couple of times I’ve made the base ahead of time, reheated and added the shrimp and it worked great. Thank you so much for sharing, the recipe has made my family very happy!

  15. DeLores Lucas

    Used your recipe for my inaugural cooking of this dish. It was delicious. However, in looking at the pictures of your shrimp etouffee, I don’t see the tomatoes and your roux is much darker. Any suggestions? It was really good and gone that day.

    1. Christin
      Christin Mahrlig

      I probably used the petite diced tomatoes and that is why they are not visible. Making a dark roux takes some practice and a whole lot of patience. 🙂

  16. James Milligan

    Wow, was already aware of how to make the roux, having been raised with gumbo, but with this recipe I was able to make the best pot of shrimp etouffee I have ever put in my mouth. Next time I’ll try crawfish etouffee.

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