Classic Cajun Crawfish Étouffée

Classic cajun crawfish etouffee

​The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 45 mins
Total: 65 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
690 Calories
50g Fat
19g Carbs
42g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 690
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 50g 63%
Saturated Fat 29g 146%
Cholesterol 382mg 127%
Sodium 657mg 29%
Total Carbohydrate 19g 7%
Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
Total Sugars 3g
Protein 42g
Vitamin C 24mg 118%
Calcium 120mg 9%
Iron 3mg 19%
Potassium 1099mg 23%
*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.)

This Cajun-style crawfish étouffée starts with a buttery rich, dark roux. The ingredients are added and simmered creating a thick hearty stew type dish. While it takes a little bit of effort and time to make, it is totally worth the time. Its roots are derived from Cajun and Creole cuisine and this étouffée is a classic Louisiana dish. It is delicious with hot cooked rice and crusty French bread.

A French word, étouffée, means "smothered" and this crawfish recipe lives up to its name as it is filled with veggies and crawfish, which are just covered in a delicious and tasty sauce.

Feel free to make this tasty étouffée with shrimp instead of crawfish. This Creole shrimp étouffée is made with a tomato base.


  • 8 ounces (1 cup) unsalted butter, divided

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

  • 1/2 cup chopped onion

  • 1/2 cup chopped green pepper

  • 1/2 cup chopped celery

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste

  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste

  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 1/4 teaspoon dried leaf thyme

  • 2 cups fish stock

  • 2 pounds crawfish tails, peeled

  • 1 cup chopped green onions with tops

  • 2 to 3 tablespoons dry sherry, optional

  • Fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Classic Cajun Crawfish Étouffée ingredients

    ​The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  2. In a Dutch oven over medium-low heat, melt 1/2 cup of the butter. Add the flour and reduce the heat to low.

    Melt butter

    ​The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  3. Cook, stirring constantly until the mixture is a deep brown. Keep the heat low and stir constantly to prevent scorching, creating a Louisiana roux.

    Cook constantly

    ​The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  4. Add the chopped vegetables and seasonings; cook until vegetables are softened.

    Add chopped vegetables

    ​The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  5. Gradually stir in the fish stock and let simmer for 15 minutes or until thickened.

    Stir in fish sauce

    ​The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  6. Add crawfish, green onions, remaining butter, and sherry; bring to a simmer. Simmer for 4 to 5 minutes.

    Add crawfish

    ​The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  7. Cover the pan, remove from heat, and let stand for 15 minutes.

    Cover the pan

    ​The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  8. Serve the crawfish étouffée hot around a mound of rice. Sprinkle with a little parsley before serving.

    Serve Classic Cajun Crawfish Étouffée with rice

    ​The Spruce / Diana Chistruga


It all comes down to taste, so feel free to add a bit more of the spices if you desire.

Recipe Variations

  • Use shrimp stock instead of fish stock.
  • Use shrimp instead of crawfish.
  • A good brandy is a nice substitute for the dry sherry.
  • Add some mushrooms into the mixture.

How to Store

  • Leftover étouffée can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days.

Étouffée vs. Gumbo

Étouffée is typically served as a main dish and is usually placed over cooked white rice. Gumbo is a stew or soup. Both are Cajun and Creole cuisine.