New Orleans BBQ Shrimp

New Orleans BBQ Shrimp in a bowl, served with bread

The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 12 mins
Total: 42 mins
Servings: 4
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
314 Calories
32g Fat
6g Carbs
1g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 314
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 32g 41%
Saturated Fat 20g 99%
Cholesterol 86mg 29%
Sodium 507mg 22%
Total Carbohydrate 6g 2%
Dietary Fiber 1g 2%
Total Sugars 1g
Protein 1g
Vitamin C 6mg 32%
Calcium 36mg 3%
Iron 1mg 4%
Potassium 172mg 4%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

BBQ Shrimp is a beloved New Orleans classic with many permutations found throughout this iconic food city. Based on the name, you would expect the dish to involve grilling or a barbecue sauce, but BBQ Shrimp is actually sautéed in a pan and then bathed in a silky, buttery sauce that's "kicked up a notch" with garlic, Worcestershire sauce, and spices.

While there are some theories as to how this dish got its name, it is agreed that BBQ Shrimp originated in the 1950s at Pascal's Manale, an Uptown Creole-Italian restaurant. Traditionally, head-on shrimp is used for this dish, which lends the sauce a richer flavor. Although this recipe doesn't specifically call for head-on shrimp, you should feel free to use it if you can find it.

This peel-and-eat shrimp dish does not make for a dainty dining experience (some restaurants will even offer you a bib), so just dive in with your bare hands and be sure to have plenty of crusty bread to mop up the flavorful sauce.

"I love New Orleans-style BBQ Shrimp and this recipe is a delicious version. While butter-based sauces can be too rich sometimes, this one is perfectly balanced with the gutsy flavors of Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, Creole seasoning and black pepper. Definitely a crowd-pleaser!" —Young Sun Huh

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A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 11 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into pieces

  • 6 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 1/2 pounds colossal unpeeled shrimp, deveined

  • 2 teaspoons cracked black pepper

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Creole seasoning

  • 1/2 cup beer, preferably lager

  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

  • 2 tablespoons hot sauce, preferably Crystal

  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, from about half a lemon

  • Crusty French bread, for dipping

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    New Orleans BBQ Shrimp ingredients in bowls

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  2. Heat 3 tablespoons butter and the garlic over medium-high heat in a large (12-inch) skillet. 

    Butter and garlic in a skillet on the burner

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  3. When the garlic is sizzling, add the shrimp, black pepper, and Creole seasoning and cook, stirring and flipping the shrimp, until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. 

    Shrimp cooking in a skillet on a burner

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  4. Add the beer and cook, while stirring and scraping with a wooden spoon, until the beer is reduced by half, about 1 minute.

    Shrimp cooking in a skillet with beer

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  5. Add the Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, and lemon juice and bring to a simmer, stirring until sauce is reduced and shrimp are cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes. 

    Shrimp with Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, and lemon juice in a skillet

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  6. Turn the heat down to low and slowly stir in the remaining butter, in small batches, to form a smooth and velvety sauce, 3 to 4 minutes. 

    Shrimp and sauce cooking with butter in a skillet

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  7. Remove from heat, divide among bowls, and serve with crusty bread to dip in the buttery sauce.

    New Orleans BBQ Shrimp in a white bowl

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga


  • To devein the shrimp without removing the shell, you'll need a pair of kitchen shears or a sharp paring knife. Snip or cut a shallow ridge along the top of the shrimp from the wide end toward the tail and scrape out the thin black string (digestive tract). Sometimes this string will be clear.
  • If you're using frozen shrimp, defrost it overnight in the refrigerator in a colander set in a bowl. This setup will prevent the shrimp from getting waterlogged as the ice melts.
  • Most Creole seasoning blends contain salt. If the one you're using is salt-free, you might have to add salt at the end to taste.

Recipe Variations

  • If you would prefer to use peeled shrimp or can only find smaller-sized shell-on shrimp, keep in mind that the shrimp may get overcooked. To avoid this, remove the shrimp with tongs to a plate when they are just cooked through, which could be partway through the sauce building process. Return the shrimp to the sauce to rewarm when adding in the butter at the end.
  • Finish the dish with some chopped fresh parsley or scallions.

How to Store

You can store leftover shrimp and sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. To reheat, gently warm the shrimp and sauce in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Keep in mind that the sauce may not stay emulsified but should still taste good regardless.

What do you serve with New Orleans BBQ Shrimp?

While a loaf of crusty bread and a pint of cold beer are hard to beat, BBQ Shrimp would also be delicious served over creamy grits or with a side of white rice and a simple salad.

Why do you keep the shell on the shrimp?

Cooking shrimp with the shell on helps to keep the shrimp moister and makes it less likely to overcook. Also, the shrimp shells contribute a lot of flavor to the sauce.