Classic Shrimp Creole

Classic shrimp creole with rice recipe

The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 100 mins
Total: 115 mins
Servings: 8 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
411 Calories
11g Fat
28g Carbs
51g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 411
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 11g 14%
Saturated Fat 2g 8%
Cholesterol 397mg 132%
Sodium 1715mg 75%
Total Carbohydrate 28g 10%
Dietary Fiber 5g 17%
Protein 51g
Calcium 258mg 20%
*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 shrimp Creole is a classic Louisiana dish, made with a tomato-based Creole sauce with the traditional "Holy Trinity" of vegetables: onions, bell peppers, and celery. The Creole sauce is a thickened mixture of tomato sauce, chopped vegetables, garlic, and spices. Add extra hot pepper sauce or cayenne if you like a spicier sauce.

As this recipe comes from the Gulf Coast, it traditionally is made with fresh, wild-caught Gulf shrimp. While you can enjoy it with any kind of shrimp, it is best to avoid farm-raised shrimp. Often, the shrimp you see in the refrigerated section of your grocery store are defrosted, previously-frozen shrimp. You'll get a better result if you buy good-quality frozen shrimp and defrost them immediately before cooking.


  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups onion (chopped)
  • 1 cup celery (chopped)
  • 3/4 cup green onions (chopped)
  • 1 large green bell pepper (chopped)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes (undrained)
  • 1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
  • 1 cup water (or shrimp stock)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (ground)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • Dash hot pepper sauce
  • 3 to 4 pounds medium-size fresh shrimp (peeled, deveined)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley (chopped)
  • 4 to 6 cups cooked rice (or the amount desired for serving)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for classic shrimp creole with rice recipe
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  2. Combine the oil and flour in a Dutch oven. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until mixture is golden colored. This should take about 15 to 20 minutes.

    Oil and flour
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  3. Add the onion, celery, green onions, green pepper, and garlic. Cook, stirring often, 15 minutes or more until the vegetables are tender.

    Add onion and celery
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  4. Stir in the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, water, salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, bay leaves, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, and hot sauce, and bring to a boil.

    Stir in diced tomato
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga 
  5. Cover and reduce the heat. Simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

    Pot of shrimp creole
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  6. Add shrimp and simmer for about 10 minutes more, or until the shrimp are cooked through and turn pink. Do not overcook the shrimp or they will get tough and rubbery.

    Add shrimp
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  7. Remove the bay leaves.

    Remove bay leaves
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  8. Stir in the chopped fresh parsley.

    Stir in parsley
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  9. Serve over hot cooked rice and enjoy.

    Serve hot cooked rice
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

How to Store and Freeze

  • Refrigerate leftover shrimp Creole in a covered container for up to 3 days. Reheat shrimp Creole in a saucepan over medium-low heat until it reaches 165 F.
  • Freeze leftover shrimp Creole sauce for up to 3 months. Defrost frozen shrimp Creole in the refrigerator overnight. Reheat gently to 165 F.


  • The sauce gets better as it has time for the flavors to blend. To make ahead, make the sauce (minus the shrimp) and then refrigerate it, covered, to use in the next day or two. Or, you can freeze the sauce to use within a couple of months. To finish the dish, bring the sauce up to a simmer and add the shrimp.
  • You can substitute a favorite Creole seasoning blend for the red pepper and black pepper. However, be sure to check the salt content of the seasoning blend and adjust the amount of salt you add accordingly.
  • When peeling and deveining the shrimp, rinse them as little as needed. Too much rinsing will lessen their flavor.
  • If your guests have different preferred spice levels, reduce the amount of red pepper and have hot sauce available on the table so those who like it spicier can take it up a notch.

Recipe Variations

  • Change it up by adding 1-inch strips of catfish and reducing the amount of shrimp for a seafood Creole. Or, you can simply make it a catfish Creole, substituting it for all of the shrimp.
  • Use seafood stock or shrimp stock instead of water for a deeper flavor. To make stock from the shrimp shells, heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a large saucepan. Add the shells and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Cover the shells with 4 cups of water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 6 to 8 minutes. Strain the stock through a fine-mesh strainer. Discard the shells. Use 1 cup of the stock in the shrimp Creole recipe and freeze the remaining stock in 1-cup portions.