Let the good times roll with this spicy New Orleans classic
Mardi Gras – aka Fat Tuesday – is next week. And you know what that means, right?
Even if you don’t have much time to cook, you can whip up the perfect dish. Shrimp Creole (a classic dish made all over Louisiana) is extremely fast to put together.
Which works for us. Because less time in the kitchen means more time to eat and drink. And party!
Recipe: Quick and Easy Shrimp Creole
For Shrimp Creole, you first need to make a spicy tomato sauce. Then cook the shrimp in the sauce until done (this takes mere minutes). Most people serve the dish on a bed of white rice, though you can substitute brown rice if you prefer. Or you could even use Polenta or Grits.
You could make a long-cooking tomato sauce for Shrimp Creole (and some cooks do this). But we prefer a quicker sauce, one that cooks in 15 minutes or so. It tastes fresher to us – and it’s a lot easier, too.
Prep time for this dish is about 10 minutes. Cooking time adds another 30 minutes or so.
This recipe yields 4 servings, but It’s an easy dish to scale up or down.
Leftovers keep for a day or two if refrigerated in an airtight container.
- 1 cup uncooked white rice (see Notes)
- 2 medium onions (about 1½ cups, diced)
- 1 green or red bell pepper (use roughly half as much bell pepper as onion)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil or butter
- salt to taste (about ½ teaspoon kosher salt for us; see Notes)
- 2 cloves garlic
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme (or to taste; we prefer a bit more)
- ~1 tablespoon Hungarian sweet paprika (to taste)
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (or to taste)
- ¾ cup dry white wine (may substitute dry vermouth; or you could use shrimp or chicken stock)
- 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
- 1 to 1½ pounds frozen shrimp (deveined and shelled), thawed or not (to taste; see Notes)
- 1 to 2 tablespoons chopped green scallion rounds for garnish (optional)
- 1 to 2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley for garnish (optional)
- The rice generally takes the longer to cook than any other part of this dish. So start it first (prepare according to package directions). If the rice finishes before the shrimp is done cooking, just let it rest for a few minutes – it’ll be fine.
- Peel the onion and cut it into dice of about ½ inch. Wash the bell pepper, dry it, then core it. Cut it into dice of about ½ inch.
- Heat a large frying pan on medium stovetop heat. When hot, add the oil or butter. When heated (it’ll shimmer), add the chopped onion and bell pepper. Add salt to taste. Sauté for 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, peel the garlic and mince it or cut it into thin slices.
- Add the chopped garlic to the onion after it’s cooked for 5 minutes. Sauté for 1 additional minute.
- Add the spices (thyme, paprika, black pepper, and cayenne pepper) to the onion and garlic mixture, then stir to combine. Cook for 1 additional minute.
- Add the wine and cook until it has reduced by about half (5 minutes or so).
- Add the canned tomatoes and mix in. Reduce the heat to a simmer, then cook the sauce for 10 to 15 minutes – until most of the liquid has evaporated.
- Add the shrimp to the tomato sauce and cover the frying pan. Cook until done (how long this takes will depend on the size of the shrimp). Shrimp is done when it’s nicely pink and firm to the touch. Cooking usually takes about 2 to 3 minutes for thawed shrimp, but sometimes twice that long for frozen shrimp.
- Serve the Shrimp Creole: Spoon rice onto each plate, then ladle shrimp and sauce over it. Garnish with a sprinkle of chopped green scallions and/or Italian parsley.
- Want to brighten up the flavor of the tomato sauce? Stir in a tablespoon or two of fresh lemon juice right before serving.
- We like to add a bit of hot sauce (such as Tabasco or Crystal) to Shrimp Creole. We usually put a bottle of hot sauce on the table so that diners can add more heat if they wish.
- In many parts of the country (including ours), shrimp sold as “fresh” often arrive at the supermarket in a frozen state. So we tend to skip the “fresh” ones and buy shrimp from the freezer case.
- Shrimp often retain higher quality anyway if they’re IQF (individually quick frozen). IQF shrimp are “blast frozen” soon after they’ve been harvested, so most of their flavor remains intact.
- For this dish, we used frozen, deveined shrimp that had been shelled and had the tails removed (but you could also use tail-on shrimp if you prefer).
- If you’re using fresh shrimp, you’ll probably want to devein them (the dark line that runs along the top of each shrimp is its intestinal tract, or “vein”). If you’re buying fresh shrimp, you probably already know how to deal with them, but here’s a brief recap of the procedure (we always buy fresh shrimp in the shell, with the heads attached): First, pull off the head and legs. Then, starting at the end where the head was, pull off the outer shell (I usually leave the bit at the tail end attached). To devein, use a small knife and cut a slit down the shrimp’s back, maybe ¼ inch deep. Then use the knife to remove the vein.
- Where possible, we recommend buying shrimp harvested from the Gulf of Mexico. They have the best flavor, in our opinion. And Shrimp Creole is a Louisiana dish, so Gulf shrimp are perfect for it.
- Shrimp are sold by “count per pound.” So you’ll often see numbers like 21-25 or 36-50 (that refers to the approximate number of shrimp per pound). Whatever size you buy, we suggest using 4 to 6 ounces per serving.
- Not a fan of shrimp? You can make Chicken Creole instead: Season some boneless chicken pieces with salt or pepper, then brown them in hot oil. Set the chicken pieces aside. Then proceed with the recipe (using the same frying pan that you used to brown the chicken). Add the browned chicken pieces back to the frying pan when you add the tomato in Step 8, then cook for about 20 minutes (or until the chicken is thoroughly done).
- White rice is traditional for this recipe, and we recommend using either the long-grain or converted varieties. One cup uncooked rice makes about 3 cups when cooked. This may yield too much if you don’t want large servings of rice. If so, you might want to reduce the amount of rice to ¾ cup uncooked.
- Onion, bell pepper, and celery are the traditional “trinity” of Louisiana cooking. We’ve omitted the celery in this dish because we think it tastes better without. But add some if you like (use about the same amount of celery as bell pepper).
- Adjust the spices in this dish to your taste. As written, the recipe is a bit on the spicy side. Use less cayenne pepper if you’re sensitive to heat.
- We use kosher salt for cooking. This is coarser than regular table salt, so it doesn’t seem as “salty” by volume. If you’re using regular table salt, use about half of what we suggest. But, as always, season to your taste, not ours.
- Shrimp Creole is, as the name suggests, a Creole dish (not Cajun). What’s the difference between the two? “Creole” refers to the original European settlers of Louisiana, especially those from France and Spain. Cajuns are descendants of people who moved to Louisiana from French-speaking Acadia (located in what are now the Canadian Maritimes).
- In general, Cajun food tends to be more rustic, while Creole food is more European-influenced. Creole dishes tend to be fancier – which is why they’re so commonly found on New Orleans restaurant menus.
Laissez les Bons Temps Rouler
“Délicieux,” said Mrs. Kitchen Riffs. “Perfect for Mardi Gras.”
“But it’s so hard to choose,” I said. “Which is better, Shrimp Creole or Chicken and Andouille Gumbo?”
“Don’t forget Red Beans and Rice,” said Mrs K R. “Not to mention Red Beans and Rice Soup.”
“Excellent dishes all,” I said. “But then we have to decide what to drink. There’s that New Orleans original, The Vieux Carré Cocktail. But who can resist a Sazerac? Decisions, decisions.”
“I kind of favor the Hurricane Cocktail,” said Mrs K R. “Although the Milk Punch is a popular New Orleans tipple, too. We could even have a Planter’s Punch. It’s a Tiki drink, but they sip plenty of them in New Orleans.”
“Maybe we should try all these eats and drinks!” I said. “After all, Mardi Gras only comes around once a year.”
“Well,” said Mrs K R. “Consume all of that and you’ll definitely put the Fat into Tuesday.”
Mrs K R, always the voice of reason. Dang.
You may also enjoy reading about:
Chicken and Andouille Gumbo
Red Beans and Rice
Red Beans and Rice Soup
The Vieux Carré Cocktail
Or check out the index for more recipes
This looks like the perfect dish to celebrate Mardi Gras.
Hi Pamela, the flavor of this is SO good! And you're right -- perfect for Mardi Gras! Thanks for the comment.
I enjoy reading your posts because I always learn something new. I remember celebrating Mardi Gras in Germany. Since nobody seems to celebrate it here in California I could have my own party with this delicious looking creole shrimp dish.
Hi Gerlinde, didn't know that Mardi Gras wasn't a big celebration in California. It sure is here in St. Louis! Always an excuse to have some good eats. And drinks. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Love the flavors in this creole! It looks terrific.
Hi Pam, it really is terrific. And equally nice as a family or company dish. Thanks for the comment.
It does come together easily and it looks stunning in that yellow skillet. GREG
Great idea for any winter time meal. I guess as you say sausage and chicken for Mardi Gras would also be good -- since you can eat shrimp during Lent even if you are observing the tradition of no meat. I had fresh local shrimp in Florida last week so I have to wait a while before I go back to the frozen ones.
Also, I never eat the Asian shrimp which are raised in environmentally destructive farms by possibly slave labor and (if that's not bad enough) aren't necessarily clean. So try for Gulf shrimp!
best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com
Hi Greg, for such an easy dish, it packs major flavor! Thanks for the comment.
Hi Mae, good point about the Asian shrimp -- which actually is another reason we buy Gulf shrimp. Thanks for the comment.
Oh wow, that looks so delicious, I think it's great for romantic dinner☺
I adore shrimp! This looks so very flvoursome and delicious.
Thanks for explaining the difference between Cajun and Creole food- I wasn't aware of these details. Your post kind of reminds me of the Forrest Gump movie with the shrimp boats! As for me, I'm currently hooked on 'Mexican' chile peppers like serrano and jalapeno- maybe I could add a splash of one of these peppers in the Gumbo dish? Now that's what I would call real fusion food!
You are taking me back to not one but of my trips donw in Nawlins! Love anything seafood and Créole. Glad to know I can make it in a flash. Last time I was there was actually the day after Mardi gras...sis not want to deal with the crazy crowds there. but there were beads like everywhere!
Now you're talking! Yum!!!
what a great dish to make for Mardi Gras. There's a decent scene here in NYC (parties and concerts) but I'd rather sit down and enjoy a dish like this. Good point on gulf shrimp. I had some from a Mexican market last time I was there and it was unbelievable.
Hi Natalia, it's be ideal for a romantic dinner! Or any kind. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Angie, this dish is loaded with flavor! SO good. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Fran, I was actually thinking of add something like jalapeno to this dish. Finally decided against it because the flavor profile would be a bit off IMO. What would work, I think, would be those fiery small red peppers -- that's what Louisiana hot sauce (like Tabasco) is made from, after all. But I'll never say to to jalapeno! Thanks for the comment.
Hi Evelyne, never been to New Orleans for Mardi Gras. But St. Louis has a pretty rowdy one. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Liz, yup! :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Yi, in truth, our crowd scene days are over. Definitely we want sit down these days. Thanks for the comment.
Partee all right with this fabulous prawn creole dish. Nice sized prawns, we are always susceptible to what we can purchase on any given day (although I keep green prawns with tail on in the freezer as a stand by). Happy mardi gras and I hope you enjoy testing out all of your cocktail suggestions with great food offerings ... Enjoy!
I love creole dishes, and this one is stunning!
Hi Merryn, isn't this nice? Loads of flavor. And I almost always have frozen shrimp on hand -- so nice for a fast meal. Thanks for the comment.
Hi Mimi, we're real fans of creole, too. Or cajun -- we're easy. :-) Thanks for the comment.
I would love this beautifully spiced dish! Rice and shrimp and all that paprika! Yummy
Hi Tricia, love Hungarian paprika -- great color and flavor. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Shrimp is one of my favourite and of course I love a speedy meal so this is made for me - thank you! Love your perfect flavours in the tomato sauce. I have been roasting my shrimp in the shell lately because it comes out so buttery and delicious. I think I might toss the whole pan into the oven for 10 minutes. what do you think? Thanks for a great recipe - I'll be making it!
This shrimp creole is just what I look for in dinner recipes, quick, easy and fabulous! My mom always kept paprika in the pantry, it is a wonderful addition to so many recipes.
I haven't tried Creole yet but it looks and sounds like something I would love.
Hi Robyn, really like the idea of putting the whole pan in the oven! When I cook fish I'll oven brown it on top of the stove, then finish cooking it in the oven. Haven't tried that with shrimp, but I will. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Deb, paprika is so nice! We really like the Hungarian sweet (as well as the spicy) kind -- really nice depth of flavor. Thanks for the comment.
Hi Peachy, love creole anything! Good flavor. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Love all the flavor in this dish, such a wonderful way to showcase shrimp.
Cheri, shrimp has a lot of flavor to begin with, so it's always nice to pair it with a flavorful sauce like this. Thanks for the comment.
Spice? Shrimp? Creole? What time is dinner ? I didn't know the difference between creole and cajun . Thanks for that . Always learn something new from you.
I love how this shrimp creole comes together so quickly. Definitely perfect for Mardi Gras!
I would not have any problem sitting down to a delicious dinner of your shrimp creole any day of the week. You made it sound so easy to whip up. Pinning and saving this recipe so we can make later this week. Take care
Mmmm love me some shrimp! NEVER had it creole style though!
Hi Ansh, this is a neat dish -- you'd like, I think. Thanks for the comment.
Hi Liz, we all need more quick (and tasty!) dishes. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Bobbi, this is easy! But makes double -- your boys will thank you. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi GiGI, Creole-style is awesome! You gotta give it a whirl. :-) Thanks for the comment.
This looks perfect, John....I love shrimp creole with all those wonderful flavors. Please pass the dish, I have a fork ready to dig in. Great recipe, thanks ...
Hi Pat, we really love the flavor of this, too. Makes your tongue tingle! :-) Thanks for the comment.
What a great selection of Mardi Gras recipes. And the libations! Well, let the good times roll! And this shrimp? What my MIL grew up with, I'm sure. And a true favorite of Manservant's. So glad you reminded me it's next week. That means I still have time to get it together!
Hi Abbe, Mardi Gras is one of those moveable feasts, so I can never remember when it is! Always have to check my calendar. :-) Thanks for the comment.
For me, Mardi Gras means a decadent over-indulence in jelly doughnuts. But I'm trying to cut back. Your shrimp is undoubtedly a healthier indulgence.
Hi Jeff, I know exactly what sort of jelly doughnuts you mean — Paczki, yes? They're really good! Never made those -- should, one of these years. :-) But they're so easy to buy, that's what we usually do! Thanks for the comment.
Love the previous comment about the jelly doughnuts. :) Oh yeah...even though we've lived in NM for over 40 years, we still go back to Louisiana for Mardi Gras via food. It's interesting that I rarely make Shrimp Creole and I don't know why because I love it! We usually lean toward etouffe and/or gumbo. You're shrimp creole looks so good that it might be time for a change this year. Laissez les bons temps rouler!
Hi MJ, I'm a sucker for doughnuts! And Shrimp Creole. :-) We usually do gumbo or red beans and rice for Mardi Gras, but Shrimp Creole is a wonderful dish -- love it. Thanks for the comment.
Looks so delicious!!.. I don't have shrimp in my home.. I'll try it with chicken..
Please visit: http://from-a-girls-mind.blogspot.com
Hi Krishna, this tastes different with chicken, obviously, but is just as good. Enjoy! Thanks for the comment.
I bet the rice soaks up all that lovely sauce so well,too. I am salivating just looking at the photos.
Love the Mardi Gras celebration recipe! Looking at this is making me hungry!
Hi Carolyn, the rice does soak up the sauce! Tastes great. :-) Thanks for the comment.
How can anyone not like shrimp!?! This is a great, simple recipe . . . and just in time for the par-tay! (and Lent.) And thanks for the reminder of the difference between Creole and Cajun -- I tend to lump them together.
Hi Ashley, makes me hungry just thinking about it again! :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Rosemary, I tend to lump Creole and Cajun together, too. As they've evolved, they've become quite similar. Thanks for the comment.
Looks great…can you pass me the Tabasco please. :D
Hi Karen, bottle of Tabasco coming up! :-) Thanks for the comment.
Wow, this looks so delicious John, and I will probably take the whole bottle of the hot sauce for me :).
Hi Amira, that's a lot of hot sauce! :-) Thanks for the comment.
I love shrimp! This looks like a great dish for any time of year.
That would make my Friday very special. Love everything about NOLA and its amazing cuisines: cajun and also creole.
Absoluelty loving this quick and easy winter meal. That spicy tomato sauce sounds exotic. Lovely share, John. :)
Hi Laura, totally agree this dish is good any time of the year. Heck, someone in Louisiana is eating this dish every day of the year! :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Denise, NOLA food is great, isn't it? Haven't been there for ages -- I need a road trip! Thanks for the comment.
Hi Anu, the tomato sauce is terrific -- loads of flavor. Thanks for the comment.
I think this would fit in with our rice bowls, don't you? I have a favor....I posted a cocktail and am wondering if there's any history behind it...You're my go-to on this if you wouldn't mind weighing in.
Laissez les bons temps rouler!
Hi Debra, I'll be over to check on your cocktail in a minute! And yes, this would be excellent for your rice bowls. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Ooh yum! That bowl in my hand and I am one happy girl!
Hi Taruna, you would be happy to have this -- it's good! :-) Thanks for the comment.
These shrimp creole looks so tempting over the bed of rice!
Hi Shibi, doesn't it look nice? And its flavor is wonderful! Thanks for the comment.
I like that you chose peeled shrimp without the tails because I hate messing with saucy food. I usually save the peel and tails in a zip lock baggy in the freezer, they make an awesome fish stock. Although I do love a long cooking tomato sauce, Ivan see how this quick version would be delicious with the sweet shrimp. We usually add a pinch of bKing soda to mellow the acidity of the fresh tomato sauce, you'd be surprised how it works!
I've been away on holiday and only just getting back to my blogging obligations.
Hi Eva, hope you had a terrific holiday! I should try that baking soda trick -- I've not heard that before. Although Paula Wolfert suggests adding baking soda to some dried beans/legumes (especially chickpeas). Or at least she does in a couple of her cookbooks. Anyway, we like a long-cooked sauce, too, but the shorter, fresher one seems better (at least to us) for this dish. Thanks for the comment.
Hi John ~ Your recipe was our Friday supper -- it was excellent, definitely one to make again. I did use just half the tomatoes, it was plenty even for 1-1/2 pounds of shrimp. That last spritz of lemon juice was perfect too. Thanks so much, this one’s a total keeper, I can imagine lots of variations from this base.
Hi Alanna, glad you liked it! There is a lot of tomato in this dish -- reducing the amount certainly makes sense. And yup, variations of this basic recipe are so easy to do. :-) Thanks for the comment.
This dish looks fantastic! I love Creole and Cajun dishes - so full of flavor!
Hi Amy, this really does have a lot of flavor. Good stuff! Thanks for the comment.
What a perfect way to warm up for king cake! Laissez les bon temps rouler! Creole cookery is just the best.
A perfect, full of flavour dish for February!
This looks so good. I have a large bag of frozen shrimp and was looking for a good idea to use. This must be the one. Thanks for the recipe.
Hi cakespy, love Creole (and Cajun) food! SO much flavor. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Carolyn, February really needs some bold food to brighten it up, doesn't it? This does the trick! Thanks for the comment.
Hi Holly, we usually have frozen shrimp on hand, just so we can make this. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Woo hoo! Your shrimp creole will definitely make the good times roll, John! Only thing better would to be eating in NOLA now, sipping on a Hurricane. And I guarantee that all the shrimp we buy here was frozen at one time, no matter what the sign says! I like the tomato/lemon juice tip and will try that, after I get around to making this gumbo. Cheers!
Hi Pam, NOLA food is the best, isn't it? Can't get enough of it! But a 2nd helping of this will help the craving. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Oh wow, found another wonderful blog with fantastic yummilicious food porn. Thanks for sharing.
Hi Kristy, always fun to discover new blogs, isn't it? Welcome, and thanks for the comment.
I have all the ingredients at home! I can make it today :-)
Hi Amalia, you should make this today! It's SO good. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Oh John, these shrimps look so tasty...I love the spicy touch...yes, I would love to have these shrimps with a bowl of white rice.
Hi Juliana, shrimp and spicy just go together, don't they? :-) Thanks for the comment.
OOooh, how stunning does this look. My best friend is Haitian, so I know Creole cooking. Love the flavors, especially the peppers. Yum!
Hi Nisha, isn't Creole food great? Love this dish! Thanks for the comment.
Can you believe it, John, I've never had shrimp creole before! I don't know why because I would love shrimp in a spicy tomato sauce served over rice! I think your recipe is a great one to try. I love that it cooks up quickly, too! Perfect for a weeknight meal. And thank goodness for Mrs. KR. It's always good to have the voice of reason close at hand! ;)
Hi Anne, that voice of reason is much needed around here! :-) Thanks for the comment.
One more reason to get french tiger prawns soon! I have always heard of the food of the Mississippi area but I have never had a chance to taste the real deal. I think I would like it, especially because it involves seafood and spice blends. Thank you for this great share John!
Hi Helene, you'd definitely like Cajun and Creole food -- really good flavor. Love the spices they use in their food! Thanks for the comment.
This looks so so tasty and that combo never fails to impress. We love a good shrimp dish, and that color looks so good. Creole seasoning is just so flavorful.
So happy to visit your space. Hope you are doing well John.
Hi Asha, Creole dishes are terrific, aren't they? SO flavorful! Thanks for the comment.
Hmm... this looks so scrumptious & flavourful.
Hi Kristy, it's a wonderful dish! And as you suggest, loaded with flavor. :-) Thanks for the comment.
A perfect weeknight dinner and looks like I can make this later, I have everything on your ingredient list
Hi Raymund, enjoy! This is really good -- you'll like it. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi John, this dish looks like a real treat and it seems quick enough for a weeknight too! I absolutely agree about the quality of the shrimp fished from the Gulf of Mexico!It's all we choose at the market too :) Thanks for sharing about the difference between Creole/Cajun dishes, I didn't know that!
Hi Marcelle, this is totally doable for a weeknight! And good enough for a weekend. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Post a Comment