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Creole Shrimp Étouffée is a classic southern stew is full of tender shrimp, the “Holy Trinity” of veggies, and flavored with a decadent golden roux. This stew has a subtle heat thanks to seasoning, but served over rice is the ultimate in Louisiana comfort food!

Celebrate Louisiana and their food culture with this comforting stew. Simple ingredients are used to create a masterpiece thanks to taking some time to prepare them. To complete your Southern experience make sure you try out this New Orleans Gumbo, Shrimp Creole, and this Cajun Garlic Butter Shrimp.

Creole shrimp étouffée over top rice in a bowl topped with scallions.

Shrimp Étouffée

Louisiana is an area of our country that is rich in history and that history shines in the foods that are made and enjoyed there! Due to being on the gulf coast, shrimp is a popular option as a protein when it comes to cooking. And the shrimp truly shine in this deeply flavorful stew broth.

Etouffee is a French word meaning “smothered” which refers to the protein being smothered in a sauce. Etouffee is a dish that can be found in both Cajun and Creole cooking that are both highlights of Louisiana cuisine. This particular recipe I’m sharing today is a creole style Shrimp Etouffee. It is a thick stew, loaded with tender shrimp and served over rice. 

How to Make Shrimp Étouffée:

  1. Prepare Shrimp: peel and devein the shrimp, plus remove the tails to make enjoying the meal easier. Cover and place the shrimp in the refrigerator until ready to add to the stew. 
  2. Make broth: this is an optional step. If making your own broth, save the shells from the shrimp and add to a large stock pot or dutch oven. Add in scraps from the celery, onion and bell pepper, a wedge of lemon, garlic cloves and water. Bring this to a boil and simmer for 45 mins to 1 hour. Strain and use the broth in the recipe. 
  3. If NOT making your own broth: a combination of chicken broth and clam juice gives a seafood style broth and uses store bought ingredients, this saves time if needed. Plus you can buy shrimp that has already been peeled, deveined and tails removed which saves time when prepping the recipe. 
  4. Lightly Brown Roux: the base of the étouffée sauce is made by lightly browning a combination of flour with butter or other fat, like oil. The longer the roux cooks, the darker it becomes. For our étouffée we want a nice golden roux. This is what gives a thick gravy like texture to the sauce, and gives a depth of flavor to the stew. Make sure you stay close and stir this while it cooks, the roux can burn very easily.
  5. Add “Holy Trinity”: this is a phrase that describes the classic combination of onion, celery and bell pepper that is a staple in most cajun and creole cooking. Let these veggies cook in the roux until softened. 
  6. Add broth and simmer: add the broth to the veggies and roux and mix together, add additional seasonings. Bring to a low simmer and let this cook for 10-15 minutes.
  7. Cook Shrimp: the shrimp can be cooked in a skillet with some creole seasoning and served on top of the finished dish. OR you can add the shrimp to the stew and let them cook in the stew for about 10 minutes. This is my preferred method. 

Does Étouffée Have Tomato? 

This is purely preference. Creole cooking typically does have a tomato based sauce. Cajun cooking on the other hand does not. If you are not sure which style you would prefer, add all of the ingredients for the sauce minus the tomatoes, bring to a simmer, taste and decide if you want tomato to be added. 

What is the Difference Between Étouffée and Gumbo? 

Etouffee is a thicker stew since we are only cooking our roux to a nice golden color. Gumbo involves cooking the roux to a deep brown coloring, which also affects the thickening power of the roux. 

Gumbo also will traditionally have more than one protein included, shrimp and sausage or some other type of meat. 

Creole shrimp étouffée in a large pot being stirred with a wooden spoon.

More Southern Recipes to Enjoy: 

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Creole Shrimp Étouffée

5 from 4 votes
By: Serene Herrera
Creole Shrimp Étouffée. This classic southern stew is full of tender shrimp, the "Holy Trinity" of veggies, and flavored with a decadent golden roux. This stew has a subtle heat thanks to seasoning, but served over rice is the ultimate in Louisiana comfort food! 
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Servings: 8 People



  • Prepare the shrimp by peeling, deveining, and removing the tails. Place the shrimp in a medium size bowl, cover and store in refrigerator. If making your own shrimp broth save the shells, instructions are in notes below to make your own Shrimp Broth.
  • Melt butter in a large pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Sprinkle with flour and stir to combine.
  • Cook this roux over medium heat for 12-15 minutes until the roux is a golden brown color. Stir constantly while cooking to prevent burning.
  • Add in the onion, celery and bell pepper. Stir to coat in the roux. Continue to cook another 5 minutes or until the veggies have softened. Add in the garlic and stir.
  • Pour in the broth and clam juice, stir to combine. Then add in the additional seasonings, worcestershire sauce and hot sauce. Stir in the tomatoes. Let this come to a simmer, cooking for 8-10 minutes.
  • Add the shrimp to the broth, cover and let cook for 10 minutes.
  • Serve the shrimp etouffee over cooked white rice. Garnish with fresh parsley or sliced green onion if desired.


Homemade Shrimp Stock: if desired make your own shrimp stock to use in this recipe! Make sure you purchase Unpeeled shrimp. 
  • Shells from peeling shrimp
  • Scraps from celery, onion, and bell pepper
  • lemon wedge
  • 2 quarts water
Bring this to a boil, cover and let simmer for 45 mins to an hour. Strain out the veggies and shells. Use this broth in the recipe above. 


Calories: 370kcalCarbohydrates: 45gProtein: 28gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 301mgSodium: 1506mgPotassium: 274mgFiber: 1gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 673IUVitamin C: 23mgCalcium: 192mgIron: 3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Tried this recipe?Mention @alyssa_therecipecritic or tag #therecipecritic!

About Serene Herrera

Home cook, photographer, mother and lover of food. I love taking simple ingredients and creating delicious meals or sweet treats that the entire family will love, all with a hint of Texas charm.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    The State of La. website lists it’s official dishes. One official dish of La. is Shrimp Delicate. We have had it in a diner in Baton Rough 7-8 years ago and now make it all the time at home. Why is Shrimp Delicate never featured as a recipe? Not just by you but all chefs that write about Creole & Cajun dishes. You would believe this is the perfect stage for an official dish to be highlighted.

  2. 5 stars
    This recipe was delicious. I used it for a Mardi Gras party. I researched a lot of etouffee recipes and choose this one, so happy I did. I followed the recipe exactly, just decided not to do the tomatoes. My husband did a sample and said he could go either way with the tomatoes. I am not a huge fan of a tomato base so I went without. I highly recommend this recipe. I will definitely make again.