Chef John's Shrimp Étouffée


Étouffée is a spicy and delicious New Orleans classic. In this recipe, we're going to demonstrate that it is possible to get good results from using waterlogged frozen shrimp, which unfortunately is sometimes the only option. To make them work we've got to use a few tricks. I prefer this with little chunks of browned chicken or pork, actually.

Prep Time:
35 mins
Cook Time:
20 mins
Additional Time:
20 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 15 mins

This restaurant-worthy shrimp étouffée recipe tastes like it came straight from New Orleans, but it's easy enough to make at home.

overhead angle looking down at a bowl of etouffee with white rice

What Is Étouffée?

Étouffée is a dish consisting of shellfish cooked in a rich sauce served over rice. The secret to authentic étouffée is a cooking technique called "smothering," a Cajun and Creole cooking technique that is similar to braising. In French, "étouffée" means "smothered."

What Is In Shrimp Étouffée?

These are the ingredients you'll need for this top-rated shrimp étouffée recipe:

· Spices and seasonings: This étouffée starts with a spice blend made with paprika, thyme, oregano, cayenne, garlic and onions powders, and white and black peppers. You'll also need salt.
· Shrimp: If your shrimp isn't already peeled and deveined, you can do it yourself with our handy guide.
· Oil: Cook the shrimp in a neutral oil with a high smoke point, such as vegetable oil.
· Stock: Use store-bought or homemade chicken stock.
· Butter: Cook the vegetables in three tablespoons of butter.
· Vegetables: You'll need an onion, green bell pepper, celery, green onions, and diced tomatoes.
· Flour: All-purpose flour thickens the buttery vegetable mixture.
· Sauces: Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce add tons of flavor.
· Rice: Shrimp étouffée is served over cooked white rice.

close up view of Chef John's Shrimp Etouffee in white bowl with a spoon

How to Make Shrimp Étouffée

You'll find the full, step-by-step recipe below — but here's a brief overview of what you can expect when you make shrimp étouffée at home:

1. Make the spice blend.
2. Season and cook the shrimp. Strain the shrimp juices into the stock.
3. Sauté the onion, bell pepper, and celery in butter. Season and sprinkle with flour.
4. Add the tomatoes and the stock. Cook until thickened and season with sauces.
5. Stir the shrimp into the sauce and continue cooking until they're translucent.
6. Garnish and serve the étouffée over rice.

What to Serve With Étouffée

Looking for serving inspiration? We've got you covered. Check out our collection of Best Cajun Side Dishes that will pair perfectly with shrimp étouffée. There are a few of the delicious ideas you'll find:

· Cajun Corn and Bacon Maque Choux
· Fried Okra
· Mom's Cajun Hush Puppies

How to Store Shrimp Étouffée

Allow your leftover shrimp étouffée to cool, then transfer them to an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator for up to three days.

Allrecipes Community Tips and Praise

"This is an excellent recipe and very forgiving," according to Clemetee Whaley. "I added extra seasoning. It was even better the next day. Later, I served it over mashed potatoes instead of rice for a different variation."

"The recipe is excellent," raves Miriam Schurman. "It's my go-to shrimp recipe. The only addition for me is 2 cloves of garlic. I've made it many times and everyone loves it. I sometimes replace the rice with noodles."

"Excellent recipe," says jpossehl. "I tripled the cayenne pepper just cause I like it hot and subbed some bacon fat in for butter. Came out awesome!"

Editorial contributions by Corey Williams


Spice Blend:

  • ¾ teaspoon paprika

  • ¼ teaspoon ground thyme

  • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano

  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder

  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder

  • ¼ teaspoon white pepper

  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper


  • 2 pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

  • 1 ¾ cups chicken stock, or as needed

  • 3 tablespoons butter

  • cup diced onion

  • cup diced green bell pepper

  • cup thinly sliced celery

  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, or as needed

  • ½ cup diced tomatoes

  • ½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

  • 1 dash hot sauce, or more to taste

  • salt to taste

  • ¼ cup sliced green onions

  • cayenne pepper for garnish

  • 2 cups cooked rice, or to taste


  1. For the spice blend: Whisk paprika, thyme, oregano, cayenne, garlic powder, onion powder, white pepper, and black pepper together in a small bowl.

  2. For the étouffée: Drain shrimp in a colander for at least 15 minutes. Transfer to a bowl lined with paper towels and dry shrimp for about 3 minutes. Remove paper towels from the bowl. Season shrimp with salt and 1 teaspoon spice blend; toss to coat.

  3. Heat oil in a large heavy skillet over high heat until oil is smoking. Cook shrimp in hot oil without stirring for 1 minute; stir, and cook 1 minute more.

  4. Transfer shrimp to a large bowl. Let stand until juice collects in the bowl. Strain shrimp juices into chicken stock to total 2 cups, adding more chicken stock if necessary. Set aside.

  5. Melt butter in the same skillet over medium heat until butter begins to turn tan at the edges. Sauté onion, bell pepper, and celery in hot butter until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in remaining spice blend.

  6. Sprinkle flour into vegetable mixture and sauté until combined, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in tomatoes; cook until tomato juices begin to brown on the bottom of the pan, about 3 minutes. Whisk in chicken stock mixture, stirring until smooth. Bring to a simmer and cook until slightly thickened and reduced to a gravy consistency, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in Worcestershire and hot sauce. Season with salt to taste.

  7. Stir shrimp into étouffée sauce; let simmer until shrimp are cooked all the way through and no longer translucent, about 1 minute.

  8. Garnish with green onions and a dusting of cayenne pepper. Pour over rice in large, shallow bowls.

    overhead angle looking down at a bowl of etouffee with white rice
    Dotdash Meredith Food Studios

Cook's Note:

You can use green chile peppers instead of green bell peppers if desired.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

424 Calories
15g Fat
30g Carbs
41g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 4
Calories 424
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 15g 19%
Saturated Fat 7g 34%
Cholesterol 369mg 123%
Sodium 1114mg 48%
Total Carbohydrate 30g 11%
Dietary Fiber 2g 6%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 41g
Vitamin C 20mg 101%
Calcium 105mg 8%
Iron 7mg 41%
Potassium 526mg 11%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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